5 characteristics of Japanese convenience stores! Introducing the differences from overseas and regional convenience stores!

In this article, we will introduce the characteristics and recommended products of Japanese convenience stores. A feature of Japanese convenience stores is that most of them are open 24 hours a day to anyone.

In addition to major convenience store chains such as 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson, Japan also has “local convenience stores” that are unique to each region.

We will also introduce recommended local convenience stores, so please use them as a reference when stopping by.

■5 characteristics of Japanese convenience stores

Convenience stores in Japan are very convenient, as anyone can shop 24 hours a day, and they offer a variety of services other than shopping.

We will introduce five characteristics of Japanese convenience stores, including the differences from convenience stores overseas.

① Open 24 hours

Most convenience stores in Japan are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s very convenient because anyone can use it anytime they want.

Many people may be surprised when they come to Japan, as it is unusual for restaurants to be open 24 hours a day overseas due to local regulations and security issues.

②Easy to use even late at night

In Japan, convenience stores are easily accessible even late at night. Overseas, you may be required to attend a counter or show your ID late at night, but this is not necessary in Japan.

The fact that anyone can feel free to drop by at any time of the day can be said to be unique to Japan, which is said to be safe.

③ Wide variety of products

Japanese convenience stores carry many products such as rice balls, bento boxes, drinks, and miscellaneous goods, so you can find almost anything you want.

There are hot snacks and counter coffee next to the cash register, and each convenience store has different flavors and product selections.

At stores that sell tobacco and alcohol, when purchasing tobacco or alcohol, you must present your ID at the cash register to verify your age. Once you clear your age verification, you can purchase cigarettes and alcohol.

④Toilet available

Most convenience stores in Japan will let you borrow a toilet. The restrooms are clean as the employees clean them regularly.

Many people may be surprised because overseas, many convenience stores do not have toilets, do not rent toilets, or charge a fee.

When renting a restroom, please ask an employee, “Please lend me the restroom.”

⑤Full of services other than shopping

Of course you can shop at convenience stores, but let’s take a look at other services as well.

Japanese convenience stores have microwave ovens, hot water pots, multi-copy machines, and ATMs inside the store, as well as the ability to send and receive parcels.

Some stores have eat-in corners where you can eat the bento you purchased inside the store.

■Recommended products from major convenience stores

The three major convenience store companies, 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson, have stores overseas, but the product lineup differs depending on the country.

This time we will introduce recommended products in Japan.

7-Eleven has a wide selection of private brand products

7-Eleven has a wide variety of private brand products called “7 Premium.” You can purchase a variety of high-quality items from food to daily necessities at reasonable prices.

We also recommend the rice ball “Mochi Mugi Series” and the retort food “Kin no ○○.” They also have a larger selection of frozen foods than other convenience stores, making them useful for making meals for one person or making extra meals.

Counter coffee is also popular, and you can choose the strength of the coffee, so you can enjoy your favorite flavor.

Family Mart is popular for its bread and Family Mart cafe.

FamilyMart’s popular product is bread. There are many kinds of delicious breads such as sweet breads and deli breads, and you can eat delicious breads.

In addition to coffee and latte, Frappe is also popular at Family Mart Cafe. A frappe made by placing it in a coffee machine and adding milk is perfect for hot summer days.

FamilyMart also carries a wide variety of products, including apparel products called “convenience wear,” which have become popular with their colorful socks, and inexpensive cosmetics.

Lawson is popular for its Karaage-kun and sweets.

At Lawson, we recommend the hot snack Karaage-kun. In addition to the standard regular, cheese, and red flavors, it will be fun to try new flavors that are sold in limited quantities.

Also, when you think of Lawson, you think of “Uchi Cafe Sweets”. You can casually enjoy authentic sweets that you wouldn’t expect to find at a convenience store, including the “Premium Roll Cake,” which is a fluffy roll cake mixed with smooth, moderately sweet fresh cream.

■Region limited! 4 local convenience stores

In Japan, there are “local convenience stores” that are only found in that region.

This time we will introduce four local convenience stores that are particularly popular in Japan, so please be sure to stop by when traveling in the area.

[The oldest convenience store in Japan] Seicomart (Hokkaido)

Seicomart, which is said to be the oldest existing convenience store in Japan, is located in Hokkaido.

We have a wide selection of side dishes and can be purchased at reasonable prices. One of the reasons for its popularity is that there is a corner called “Hot Chef” where you can purchase freshly prepared bento boxes and rice balls.

Seicomart was originally a liquor store, so they carry a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages that are not often found in convenience stores may be sold here, so even those who like alcohol will enjoy this store.

[Supporting beauty and health] Natural Lawson (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama)

Natural Lawson is a convenience store with the concept of supporting “beauty and health.” We have a wide variety of products that are good for beauty and health, such as rice balls and bento boxes made with brown rice and multigrain rice, and sweets made with carefully selected ingredients.

Sweets and bread are also popular, and their sugar and calorie content is clearly displayed, making them easy to pick up even for those who are concerned about beauty and health.

All of the products are made with health in mind, and although many of the products are more expensive than other convenience stores, they are popular because they taste good and are satisfying.

[Nation’s first dining convenience store] Orange Box (Fukui Prefecture)

“Orange Box” is a local convenience store in Fukui Prefecture that is popular for its homemade side dishes and bento boxes. In addition, the affiliated store “Orebo Station” is located in the expressway parking area and is popular as the first “dining convenience store” in the country, where you can also purchase souvenirs.

All stores have a wide selection of homemade side dishes and bento boxes, and some stores offer buffets for lunch and dinner.

[Beautiful design] Future convenience store (Tokushima prefecture)

“Mirai Convenience Store” in Tokushima Prefecture is a beautifully designed convenience store located in a village with a population of about 1,000 people. It has won numerous international awards for architecture and design and is recognized around the world.

The building is designed to harmonize with the beautiful scenery and nature, and serves as a place to create smiles and futures for children and local residents. There is a cafe inside the store, where you can purchase original menus and products using yuzu, a local specialty.

■Summary of convenience store characteristics

Japanese convenience stores are open to anyone 24 hours a day and are characterized by the fact that they have everything from food to daily necessities. In addition to purchasing products, you can also purchase copy machines, tickets, receive courier services, and receive deliveries.

Each convenience store has a different selection of products, so it can be fun to visit several convenience stores to find your favorite products. At local convenience stores, we recommend products that are unique to the region and not available at major stores.

Be sure to add a convenience store to your itinerary.


Q. Can I enter convenience stores in Japan late at night?

A. Many convenience stores in Japan are open late at night, so you can enter the store. In Japan, you don’t even need an ID to enter a store late at night.

Q. What is the difference between convenience stores in Japan and convenience stores overseas?

A.Japanese convenience stores have a wide selection of products, and you can purchase many products such as food and daily necessities. Additionally, they are different from convenience stores overseas in that they offer services other than purchasing products and the ability to rent a toilet.