Convenience stores, or konbini (コンビニ), in Japan well and 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 services offered at a Japanese konbini.

Why are convenience stores in Japan unique?

In many countries, convenience stores are simply places where you buy some snacks and drinks. In Japan, they are so much more.

Instead, convenience stores in Japan are places where you can buy daily necessities and also take care of your small tasks in one place.

Additionally, konbini 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.

Onigiri displayed in a Japanese konbini

What can you buy at a konbini?

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 konbini is to get food.

Onigiri, sushi, sandwiches, burgers, ramen, udon, bread, fried chicken, pork buns – and 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 your meal.

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

If you’re out in the city and realise you need something – like an umbrella on a rainy day – then you can make a quick stop at a convenience store and it’s likely you’ll 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 too.

Magazines sold at a konbini

Services offered at a Japanese konbini

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.

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 Family Mart. 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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