Yamaya, Japan’s Imported Goods Paradise

By Donnie | American Brands in Japan

Huh? What? You’re coming down with a scorching case of LAB (the Living Abroad Blues) you say? Have I got a temporary solution for you. Try Nibbling on some imported foods. It just may do the trick. “But Donald where will I find these magical, imported goods that you speak of?!” Hey, hey…you know I got you 😉 .

There’s this wonderful store called Yamaya! If you’ve never been to this store, simply put…it rocks! It’s the place I go when I’m really needing a foreign goods fix. The Yamaya that I usually go to isn’t all that big, but the staff is really nice, and they have a pretty nice selection of goods.

This is the place 😀

What Kinds of Goods Can You Find At Yamaya?

Let me give you the rundown. Of course this isn’t a comprehensive list, but here are some of the things that I was happy to see (perhaps they’ll have the same effect on you): Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal, Skippy Peanut Butter, Cherry Coke, A&W Root Beer, Smuckers Jam, Planters Peanuts, Doritos & Pringles(you can find these everywhere, though), among other things. Not all of the brands are American of course. Yamaya carries brands from all over the world. There are great food products to purchase, but I think Yamaya’s true specialty is in wine/alcohol. There are imported wines, liquors, all kinds of stuff.

This place has loads of imported alcohol.

What’s the Yamaya Staff Like?

Very kind and very efficient. There is also the occasional Japanese cutie working there, which is always quite nice. The manager at this location is a pretty cool guy, too. One time I had a party to go to and wanted to take a gift. I don’t know very much about alcohol and wine, but I wanted to buy wine for a friend’s party, so I asked the manager for a recommendation. He actually took the time to help me find a good wine that wasn’t too expensive. I remember seeing the store owner right after the big earthquake back in March, and I made it a point to go and ask him if everything was okay, and offer my apologies.

Where is Yamaya Located?

The Tsukuba Center Yamaya can be found at the Tsukuba MOG shopping center. It is very close to the CREO outdoor plaza. Depending on the season, it’s in this plaza that they set up the Christmas tree, it’s where they have the food vans, the carousel, and where they sometimes have concerts. It’s very close to the the Lotteria Burger shop. Please take a look at these pictures to get a better idea:

Yamaya is very close to the Creo Plaza.

Yamaya sits right next to Lotteria.

and directly across from Cayhane

Is It Expensive?

Not really. I know it depends on what you buy. Some foods are just going to be expensive no matter where you buy them from. Like maple syrup for example. A small bottle can cost about 500 yen while you could end up paying as much as 1400 yen! In general, though, the prices on the imported goods are totally reasonable.

I have heard there are bigger stores in the Yamaya chain, so they may be worth checking out as they may have a larger selection. But if you’re ever in Tsukuba and you want to get good imports from a good shop with a good staff, go to Yamaya at Tsukuba Center at the MOG shopping mall.

Maybe I’ll see you there,

Donald Ash

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  • miyuki

    Ohh thank you ! Never been to Tsukuba, do you know how much time it should take from Shinjuku station ? Thank you in advance for your reply ! Greatly appreciated ! 🙂

  • Noah C

    Don, I was in the initial training class with you at AEON which was almost 4 years ago!! I just stumbled across your blog. Nice work.
    It’s funny that you mentioned maple syrup. That was the one imported item that I always blew money on. Eveything else I was fine forgoing or eating a Japanese equivalent but the stuff they were passing off as maple syrup was unacceptable! I had have the real stuff.
    Anyway, best of luck with everything.

    • Donald Ash

      Wow, blast from the past. I think the last time I saw you was at the follow-up training we did a little while into the job. I’m probably going to stock up on the real syrup when I go back home. Thanks, Noah.

  • Noni

    Ooh, I was wondering if I’d be able to get my Aussie red wine fix. I bet they have some, I’ll check it out as soon as I get my first paycheck! 😉
    Wonderful blog you’ve got going here, I’ll be slowly but surely checking out the lot… And maybe I’ll even see you around Tsukuba 😛

  • Russ

    Yamaya began in the Sendai area, in fact, my wife attended the same Eikaiwa school as the founder’s son. I met him in the days just before they launched the brand. I loved their stores and shopped them frequently when I lived in Sendai. I’m happy to see they’ve become widespread. Are they fully nationwide, or still just in Honshu?

    • Donald Ash

      That’s a good question, Russ. I want to say Yamaya is everywhere, but I don’t know for sure. Looks like a cool research project (it would give me an excuse to travel, lol). Whoa! The same school as the Yamaya founder’s son?!!? Are you serious? That’s pretty freakin’ incredible!

  • mingu

    Hi, do anyone here know this character? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFPUUs9viYA (mimi candy ?) I think it’s from japan?CMIIW. Where can I find store that sell it’s stuff in japan? My child love the song.thanks

  • rem

    hi, do you know of a place in Tokyo where you can buy “surprise eggs”? the likes of the Kinder egg. I want to gift my 2 year old niece with them, she always watches videos of it on youtube.

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