Need anything? Guide to services offered at convenience stores in Japan

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Convenience stores, or conbini (コンビニ), in Japan truly live up to their name. From buying food and drinks to paying your bills, the services available at convenience stores in Japan are guaranteed to make your life easier.

Read on to find out all the things you can buy and the services offered at a Japanese conbini.

Why are convenience stores in Japan unique?

In many countries, convenience stores are simply places where you buy snacks and drinks. In Japan, they offer so much more. Instead, convenience stores in Japan are places where you can buy daily necessities and take care of your small tasks all in one place.

Additionally, conbini are extremely clean and well-kept, whereas in other countries they might commonly be seen as dirty or even dangerous places. Many convenience stores in Japan are open 24 hours and are safe places to go, even for a 4:00 a.m. snack run.

Cold drinks on a shelf at a convenience store in Japan.

What can you buy at a Conbini?

Convenience stores in Japan sell a range of things, but it’s safe to say that one of the most common reasons for visiting a conbini is to get food.

Onigiri, sushi, sandwiches, burgers, ramen, udon, bread, fried chicken, ice cream, pork buns – the list goes on. You can get food heated up there, or some stores also have microwaves and hot water, as well as seating for you to enjoy a quick meal while you’re on the go. Many conbini have limited edition seasonal items as well, so be on the lookout for those.

You can also buy a range of soft drinks and alcohol, fresh coffee, as well as yogurt drinks, milk, smoothies, and more.

If you’re out in the city, or even traveling through the countryside, and realize you need something – like an umbrella on a rainy day – then you can make a quick stop at a convenience store in Japan and you’ll likely be able to find what you need. Many stores sell things like shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, phone chargers, towels, razors, and of course, manga and magazines.

Manga displayed on a shelf at a convenience store in Japan.

Services offered at a Japanese Conbini

Food and drinks are great and all, but it’s the services offered at convenience stores in Japan that make them so amazing. These include ATMs where you can withdraw and deposit money, copy and fax facilities, and machines where you can pay for tickets and online purchases. You can also pick up and drop off packages and pay for your utility bills at the register.

Just landed in Japan or about to leave for the airport? You can safely store or transport your luggage through a convenience store so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of carrying it around.

The most common convenience store chains in Japan are 7-Eleven, Lawson, and FamilyMart. All of the chains provide very similar goods and services, but perhaps one of the most important differences is that each one has its own ticket service.

If you want to purchase tickets for a specific event, it will help to check beforehand which stores are best for the type of ticket you want to buy. It also means that if one store is sold out of tickets, another one may not necessarily be.

As you can see, there is almost no end to the services offered at convenience stores in Japan. They are some of the most useful places when it comes to buying daily necessities or taking care of small tasks.

Want to know more about life in Japan? Read more on our blog and get in touch if you have any questions about studying in Japan.

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