Whether you are visiting Japan or planning on living here, you should know everything there is to know about the popular 100-yen shops!
What are 100-yen shops
100-yen shops (100円ショップ, hyaku en shoppu) – as the name might hint – are a type of store where you can buy a wide range of products for 100 yen (or more exactly 110 yen if you add the consumption tax).
They are almost as convenient as Japanese convenience stores (combini) and should definitely be in your bucket list!
Most items cost 100 yen; however, you can find some articles sold in sets and smaller items such as snacks for even less!
By the way, if you were wondering, 100 yen corresponds to a little bit less than 1 US dollar or 1 euro, so it is really cheap! These stores are a gold mine for shopping lovers on a budget.
They also sell some items for more than 100 yen (often multiples of 100 yen, such as 200, 300, 400 or 500 yen) but don’t worry as the price is always clearly indicated. These items are usually bigger or of higher quality which still makes them a great value for their price.
100-yen shops brands
With 3,620 stores in Japan, Daiso is the largest of the 100-yen shop chains in Japan. The brand is also present in 25 countries and region around the world, counting nearly 2,300 stores overseas (as of 2022). They have an impressive range of over 100,000 products, and their total warehouse space (≈ 826 000 m²) is 15 times bigger than the Tokyo Dome!
With 1209 shops in Japan (as of March 2022), Can Do is known for its stylish easy-to-navigate stores. They also sell a variety of everyday goods and consumables and their brand name products “Do!STARS” are very popular.
Seria might be the more stylish brand of the 100-yen shop chains in Japan. Their designer tableware is especially beautiful: from cute cat patterned bowls to IKEA-vibe modern dining plates, you can easily find your taste! Their simple and elegant organizer boxes have been particularly popular this year. They also have wide collection of DIY goods and decorations.
LAWSON STORE 100
A convenience store selling 100-yen items! Can you believe it?
Their concept is “combining the convenience of combini and the variety of supermarkets for the uniform price of 100 yen”. You can find all your favorite food just like a regular Lawson (cup ramen, curry, drinks, snacks…), daily necessities (tissues, toilet paper…) and even fresh fruits and vegetables! Moreover, as a combini, it is open 24/7!
What can you find in 100-yen shops?
From daily necessities to stationery, you can find a very wide range of products in 100-yen shops!
All 100-yen chains also have their own store-branded goods.
While it would impossible to give a complete description of all items, here is a list of some articles that are sure to find on 100-yen shops shelves:
Japanese & Western tableware: plates, rice/miso soup bowls, teacups & kettles, sake sets, etc.
Kitchenware: knives, fridge/microwave containers, coffee accessories, aluminum foil, etc.
Cleaning & laundry products: detergent, dish soap, sponges, brushes, wipes, gloves, towels, etc.
Bathroom items: toothbrushes, empty bottles, mirrors, cotton, etc.
Can you imagine that all those items can be purchased for only 100 yen?
If you are moving to Japan, these chains are a real gem. Except big furniture, you can find almost all what you need for way cheaper than the popular household goods & home decoration stores IKEA and NITORI, and the 100-yen items are becoming more inventive and fashionable every year.
Must-Buy Japanese Souvenirs
For visitors, if you have a long list of relatives to please back home, you might particularly be interested in buying beautiful and unique Japanese souvenirs.
Even in 100-yen shops, Japanese-theme design items are made with quality materials and often manufactured in Japan.
Here is my list of the most traditional goodies you can find in a 100-yen shop that would make for excellent omiyage (souvenirs):
Top Souvenirs List
- Bento boxes & accessories
- Traditional Japanese wrapping cloths (“furoshiki”)
- Traditional Japanese handkerchief (“hankachi”)
- Japanese stationery
- Goldfish purse
- Compact mirror
- Solar dance toys (lucky cat)
- Japanese fans
- Japanese kitchen items
Another tip concerning the 100-yen shops is to be sure to check the Japanese national calendar not to miss out on anything during your stay!
Each shop has indeed a special “seasonal event” corner (usually near the entrance) full of new items for each season, event, and national holiday.
From December to January, to celebrate the Japanese New Year “oshogatsu“, hundreds of new year decorations will be out on the shelves! You can also purchase beautiful traditional greeting cards (called “nengajo“) as well as “otoshidama” envelopes (the latest are traditionally used to give money to children, but they are so cute you won’t be able to resist!).
If you visit Japan during the early spring season, be sure to check their seasonal corner to find as many cherry blossom-designed products as you can imagine (especially picnic items for cherry blossom viewing “hanami“).
You can also find many carp streamers (“koinobori”) decorations at the beginning of May (for Children’s Day); fireworks/kakigōri (Japanese shaved ice dessert bowl, super cute!) themed picnic items, furin wind chimes, and fans in summer; and many Japanese maples (“momiji“) themed decorations in autumn.
I introduced the 100-yen shop chains above but note that Daiso Harajuku is one of the most popular touristic spots for cheap souvenirs shopping!
As you understand now, these stores are not just about cheap goods but offer a variety of very good quality and unique Japanese items that you can use every day!
They are a popular choice among both locals and visitors, of every age and budget.
Even if most items are sold at 110 yen, you might end up with a spicy bill since you will surely be attracted to plenty of items, so take the time to choose~
Each of the brands introduced earlier offers similar products, but if you have the time it is worth checking all of them so you can find the best souvenirs to bring or send home.
Did you know that there are also 300-yen shops in Japan? They are also super popular!
Stay tuned for JD’s next article on the best 300-yen stores to shop in Japan ~