Convenience stores in Japan コンビニ
In Australia our convenience stores are admittedly trying to step their game up and there have been a lot of improvements and developments in the last 5 years, however, Japan is lightyears ahead.
As a traveller visiting Japan; Konbini’s are little beacons of hope.
They offer free Wifi
Always have available toilets (that are kept sparkling clean)
Sell an array of alcohol that is inexpensive (you can drink in public in Japan)
ATMs that have good exchange rates and fees
There are over 53,000 Konbini in Japan. There is always one close by!
Most allow you to pay using Suica and Pasmo (Prepaid Travel cards)
Purchase tickets for sports, theme parks and other events on a reservation machine
Copy, Fax and print in store
And they sell almost everything you could possibly need!
When I think of servos in Australia I think: Sausage Roll and a Gatorade. Meat Pie and pack of Ciggies. Krispy Cream and an Ice Break. Nothing especially outstanding. All ridiculously priced.
The food in Konbinis are on a whole other level. We recommend on one day to grab as much as possible from a Konbini and having a lovely picnic in a park. We headed to the Konbini for breakfast almost every morning during our stay.
Lunch sets and ready-made food. Konbini’s all have a large array of pre-made meals that can be taken away or microwaved there to enjoy in store or close by. There are Bento boxes, Noodle salads, Curries, Sushi, etc. All made fresh, reasonably priced and pretty delicious.
We feel in love with Onigiri おにぎり which is a rice ball (made from seasoned sushi rice) with a heap of different fillings and types. Our favourite type is the triangle pack where the Nori (Seaweed) is separated by the plastic wrapping. This keeps the Nori fresh and crispy! YUM Our favourite flavour is the Salted Egg Yolk from 7/11! This is a MUST TRY.
To open the Onigiri that keeps the Nori fresh you’ll have to pull the numbered tabs then slowly slide out each side. I’ve indicated the numbers below.
We also feel in love with the Egg Salad Sandwiches in Japan! Every Konbini has them. They are extremely popular. I can guarantee you have not had an Egg Salad Sandwich as good as these before. (We love eggs and we don’t care who knows!)
The hot food available. There are a heap of seasonal products and products that are available all year round. One of the seasonal products you’ll see available in all Konbini during Autumn and Winter is Oden おでん It’s a common dish served in winter. The soup is a soy-flavored dashi broth. When purchasing Oden you pick out which selections you please such as boiled eggs, daikon, konjac, fish cakes and more.
Our recommended and favourite hot foods from Konbinis are Nikumans which are the Japanese take on Chinese steamed fluffy buns. Common flavours are curries, Chinese pork, Pizza-mans and more! We also recommend the Famichiki range at Family Mart which is juicy, tender and crispy! What more can you want?
In the bakery section you’ll find an array of interesting treats! Our favourites are Melon Pan (Pan = bread), Curry Pan and this carb on carb monster Yaki Pan (Yakisoba inside a bread roll) it’s so bad yet so good (try it microwaved).
Our favourite instant noodles from Konbini (these can also be found in Australia) are these brands of Kitsune Udon and Miso Ramen. I also really liked the range of Miso soups in 7/11.
For sweets my favourite chocolates are Crunky and Black Thunder. Mainly I chose these for their unusual choice of names but they both turned out to be fantastic.
When it comes to alcohol you’ll find a pretty large array of different options. Relitively cheap too! They are always running seasonal products and this was my favourite! It tasted like a really good quality apple juice! Went down a treat on the hot days.
If you’ve made it this far; congratulations! You are now ready to hit some Konbinis full of knowledge and inspiration!