Grocery Stores In Japan – All You Should Know

You have moved to Japan or you are planning to visit and stay here for a while. You need to find somewhere to buy necessities such as food, beverages, toiletries, clothing and so on at the best prices. Heading to a grocery store would be the greatest choice for you. Check out this blog to get more details about grocery stores in Japan as well as the most comprehensive guide to shopping in these places!

Grocery Stores In Japan

Grocery stores, which are also called supermarkets, are where you can buy anything you need from fresh food, processed food, dairy products, snacks, ready-to-eat meals, alcoholic and soft drinks to household items, etc.

There is a wide variety of grocery stores in Japan, ranging from large chain stores to smaller ones.

Features Of Japanese Grocery Stores

1. Atmosphere

Entering Japanese grocery stores, you may immediately feel the refreshing cool air from the air conditioners that are always turned on. The stores are also brightly lit with background music playing, which helps you feel really relaxed whenever you go shopping here. Being close to the shelves of fresh products such as fish and meat, you will feel a bit colder. Cooked dishes at the sampling corners and baked sweet potatoes with their odors drifted through the air will definitely appeal to you.

grocery stores in Japan

Grocery stores in Japan are always brightly lit with background music playing, which helps you feel really relaxed whenever you go shopping here.

2. How Things Are Organized

Grocery stores in Japan are all meticulously maintained with numerous items being neatly organized by type on the large shelves. Throughout the day, you’ll find shelves well-stocked and most products are exactly where they belong to. Moreover, products that have expired or are about to expire are rarely left on the shelves. Instead, the majority of those that are about to expire are immediately discounted and placed in a separate discount area.

Throughout the day, you’ll find shelves well-stocked and most products are exactly where they belong to.

3. Price

Shopping in Japanese grocery stores is really budget-friendly. Everything costs considerably less than in convenience stores and there are more discount programs. For example, many famous products such as KitKat and Pocky are cheaper when purchased in larger packages in grocery stores. A matcha-flavored KitKat pack costs about ¥270. Besides, the prices of ready-to-eat meals are reduced from 10% to even 50% off the original price in the evenings.

Many famous products such as KitKat and Pocky are cheaper when purchased in larger packages in grocery stores.

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4. How To Shop

When you enter a grocery store in Japan, the first thing to do is to get a basket or a small shopping cart. Most stores provide free-to-use baskets and carts, however, smaller chains may require you to unlock your cart with a 100 yen coin (this is returned when you take your cart back).

Please keep in mind that you are responsible for bagging your groceries and putting the basket and cart away after you have paid for them. Employees rarely bag your items for you.

grocery stores in Japan

When you enter a grocery store in Japan, the first thing to do is to get a basket or a small shopping cart.

5. Paying Method

After you’ve finished shopping, head to the cashier to pay. Place your basket on the counter, and the clerk will scan and place each of your products in a different basket. You can pay with cash or a credit card in most grocery stores in Japan; but, certain smaller chains may not accept credit cards. Check the registers ahead of time if you’re not sure.

Many stores nowadays are attempting to be more environmentally friendly, so customers are encouraged to bring their own shopping bags. If you need a plastic bag to contain your items, you’ll need to buy it for about ¥5.

6. Operating Time

The majority of Japan’s grocery stores are open at 10 a.m and close at 9 p.m. However, others may be open later or even 24 hours a day.

Things You Can Buy In A Japanese Grocery Store

Grocery stores in Japan seem to sell everything you need. Below is a list of things that you can buy in a Japanese grocery store. Note that you can buy a lot more besides those mentioned.

  • Meat: pork, chicken, beef
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Drinks: alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, soft drinks
  • Seafood: fresh fish, processed seafood, sushi, sashimi, etc.
  • Dairy products: eggs, milk, yogurt, butter, cheese, etc.
  • Snacks: Japanese snacks such as mochi, oreo, KitKat, Pocky, etc. as well as international snacks, rice crackers, potato chips
  • Soybean products: tofu, natto, miso, soy sauce
  • Ready-to-eat meals
  • Condiments
  • Toiletries
  • Others: rice, noodles, cereals, canned, dried, and frozen foods, etc.

Grocery stores in Japan seem to sell everything you need.

Best Grocery Stores In Japan

If you’re on a budget and searching for the best places to buy groceries in Japan, you cannot miss visiting these grocery store chains.

1. BigA

BigA is a 24/7 grocery store chain in Japan with the cheapest fresh products. Here, you can buy a big bag of beansprouts for ¥19, 500g of tofu for ¥30, and 1 kg of chicken breast for about ¥400. In addition, all BigA stores always offer a wide range of snacks, whose prices are considerably lower than in convenience stores.

Fruits and vegetables here are also affordable, but you can find that the choices in some stores are greater or more limited than others.

2. Life

Another popular grocery store chain in Japan is Life, which has stores all over the country. In Life, you can buy everything you need to cook your own meals with fresh produce. If you are busy and don’t have time to cook yourself, head to any Life store to eat bento, onigiri or enjoy other fresh daily made meals that are often discounted sharply around the store’s closing time.

3. Maruetsu

If you are a fruit lover, put Maruetsu into the list of must-go grocery stores. The fruit section in Maruetsu is absolutely affordable with a large variety of fruits such as grapes, cherries, melons, etc. You can buy a big family size pallet of seasonal grapes and cherries for ¥200 to ¥400 and large melon slices for ¥100.

What’s more, Maruetsu has a large frozen food area that is ideal for those who don’t have time or room in their kitchen to prepare meals.

4. OK Supermarket

Like Walmart, OK Supermarket offers various kinds of items, from household things to pantry fillers and other things in between. OK is definitely a budget supermarket where all fresh produce and frozen food are sold for low prices.

5. Seiyu

A few years ago, Seiyu was on the verge of collapse. However, fortunately, the grocery chain was saved by Walmart and it is currently one of the cleanest, best-stocked, and best-organized grocery store chains in Japan. The food are in Seiyu has everything you need, including daily items, and depending on the store, clothing, undergarments, and accessories. The prices here are relatively low and there are so many goods on sale that you’ll have to be careful not to overspend.

6. Gyomu Supermarket

Gyomu Supermarket focuses on wholesale purchasing. It sells anything from precut meat, cut steak to pantry staples like seaweed, cereal, and plenty of other products. When you buy things in large quantities, Gyomu’s incredible offers and pricing even surpass BigA. One drawback of this store chain is that the fresh fruit and vegetable section here isn’t as cheap as BigA or Maruetsu. However, you can choose to buy markedly affordable frozen vegetables instead.

7. Local Green Grocery

If you are finding a place where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables at insanely cheap prices, make your way to local greengrocers. Located in shopping alleys or in residential areas, these Japan food stores provide fruits and vegetables which they grow on their own. You can buy a huge bag of potatoes or giant heads of lettuce for around ¥100. Those who still think that vegetables and fruits are pricey in Japan have obviously never visited the greengrocers in their neighborhoods.

Now, let’s have a tour around a Japanese grocery store!

Online Grocery Shopping In Japan

Online grocery shopping has been around in Japan for years. Now because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is getting more and more popular. More shoppers in Japan opt to shop for groceries online instead of going to physical stores.

What Are The Benefits Of Online Grocery Shopping In Japan?

So, why is shopping for groceries online in Japan beneficial?

  • Time-saving

In Japan, people tend to work for long hours, so they tend to have limited time to spend on going shopping. Therefore, online shopping is the best choice for time-saving. Those who are busy with work can order things online. They can easily reorder previous purchases, add and remove options through online grocery shopping apps or websites.

  • Safer than going to stores

Like in other nations, people in Japan are required to follow safety precautions during the pandemic. As a result, when visiting stores or supermarkets in Japan, you must do proper hygiene and comply with all safety regulations. With online grocery shopping, you can avoid physical contact, which is much safer.

  • Less stressful

Shopping groceries online, you won’t have to go out and then wait in a traffic jam or a long queueing before getting to the stores to buy things you need, which can help you remove stress.

  • More convenient

With online shopping, everything you order will then be delivered to your home and the freshness of the products is still maintained. If you don’t have any cash on hand, you can choose the cashless payment option. Besides, it’s also easy for you to check promotions online.

Top 10 Leading Online Grocery Stores In Japan

Here comes the list of 10 leading online grocery stores in Japan. Let’s check it out!

1. Aeon Supermarket

Aeon Supermarket, which is one of the best online grocery stores in Japan, offers a diverse selection of goods, even bulk or heavy items.

Aeon lets you order things from its stores in your area through Aeon’s app, which costs no registration or annual fee. Moreover, you can also earn WAON points based on the item prices and use these points for your next purchases. Additionally, their home delivery system will make your online shopping a breeze.

Paying method: cash, credit card, and WAON points

2. Tokyu Store

Are you seeking for an online grocery delivery service that takes at least 3 hours from the time you place your order? Tokyu Store is a great place for grocery shopping in Japan.

This store, however, is only available in the prefectures of Tokyo and Kanagawa, which indicates that delivery is only possible inside those prefectures.

There are no fees for registration, annual membership, or monthly membership. You can also earn 3 points with your TOKYU CARD ClubQ JMB Card for every JPY 200 (excluding tax) spent by credit card.

Paying method: cash, credit card

3. Life Supermarket Online

Life Supermarket is mostly located in the Tokyo metropolitan area and the Kinki neighborhood. If you live in one of those places, picking the country’s largest grocery chain with the most reliable services may be the best option.

This store also sells a wide variety of products, ranging from dry goods to fresh food and even imported items.

You can also download the Life App, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. You may obtain excellent coupons, new leaflets, and earn points by linking your “LaCuCa” card – an electronic money function – to the app (1 point per 200 yen).

Paying method: cash, credit card, smartphone payment (PayPay, MerPay, Line Pay)

4. Okuwa Online Store

It’s a regional delivery online grocery store with a diverse selection of products, including fresh produce, daily necessities, and so on. Staff from their business will shop on your behalf and bring the products you’ve bought to your home.

If you have bulk orders and don’t have time to go out, ordering from Net Super Okuwa can be the best solution. Home delivery is far more convenient on rainy days.

Registration and membership are free, just as other online grocery stores in Japan.

Paying method: cash, credit card

5. Daiei

Daiei is another Japanese online food store that’s worth checking out. The store will allow you to shop for a variety of meat, fresh fruits, and beverages, as well as unique things, all of which will be delivered to your door. That means you won’t have any trouble finding your favorite items with this online supermarket.

However, before you start purchasing, you should think about the following factors:

  • The delivery rates will vary in each retailer and will be also determined by the items you order.
  • After you receive a confirmation email, your purchased items will be delivered within seven to ten days.
  • The delivery service is only available in some locations in Japan.

Paying method: credit card, prepaid method, paying at any convenience store

6. Maruetsu

Maruetsu Net Super is also one of Japan’s most popular online grocery stores. Here are some of the reasons why you should buy from Maruetsu:

  • The delivery fee is only 330 yen, and it is free if you spend 3,500 yen or more.
  • Featuring the system of same-day delivery.
  • A staff member will shop for you.
  • The same price will be delivered at the store.

Aside from that, you may easily place an order via their official website or mobile app.

You can earn points by paying with a credit card on the Maruetsu card. You can also exchange your gained points for gift certificates or WAON POINT.

Paying method: credit card, COD

7. Ito-Yokado Net Supermarket

This online grocery store supplies a wide range of products throughout Japan’s 20 prefectures. For every 200 yen spent, you can get one Nanaco point.

Different pickup alternatives are available to online shoppers. You can get it from your house, locker, or the store.

Furthermore, the delivery cost is only 102 yen if you present your Maternal and Child Health Handbook within four years of its issuance date.

Paying method: cash, credit card

8. Rakuten SEIYU

Rakuten SEIYU membership enrollment is free, and there are no annual fees. You may take advantage of a variety of services, including discounts and promotions, with your Rakuten ID.

Apart from that, SEIYU’s daily low pricing allows you to save a lot of money on groceries. To see all discounted items, go to the search category list and click “special feature on bargain products.”

You’ll also be able to save your points and use them to pay for things later. If you need anything the same day, same-day delivery is an option, but it’s only offered in a few prefectures.

Paying method: cash, credit card, Rakuten points

9. Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh, a famous online grocery shopping service in Japan, launched in 2017. With such a huge selection of products, you will undoubtedly enjoy shopping from the comfort of your own home.

This Amazon-owned food store, on the other hand, does not provide free membership. To place a purchase on Amazon’s website or app, you must be an Amazon Prime or Student member. You’ll also need the Amazon Fresh Add-on to your current membership plan if you want free delivery.

In Tokyo’s 23 wards, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Chiba Prefecture, it’s available. Only a few places have same-day or next-day delivery options.

Try Amazon Fresh today for a hassle-free shopping experience!

Paying method: app payment, credit card, Amazon gift certificate

10. Cookpad Mart

Specializing in supplying fresh food on a daily basis, Cookpad Mart is a multi-seller platform that allows local producers and sellers to sell their products.

So, why should you think about shopping at Cookpad Mart online?

  • Instant ingredients for your recipes are available.
  • “Mart Stations” are placed in various locations such as stations, convenience stores, drug stores, and condominiums to keep food fresh.
  • It provides door-to-door delivery.
  • A mobile application is also available

Paying method: prepaid card

Online Grocery Stores Selling Foreign Foods In Japan

Do you have a strong desire for international flavors? Here’s our top pick for online stores where you may buy a wide range of foreign goods.

1. HALAL Meat

Halal Meat Japan is a brand that specializes in Japanese Wagyu Halal Beef and Halal Japanese Chicken and delivers throughout Japan. You can shop for Halal meat here online.

2. HALAL DELI

The website of HALAL DELI provides a variety of Halal Lunch delivery options. On the website, you can select your preferred language.

3. Kobe HALAL

Kobe HALAL Food specializes in Halal cuisine and, like any other HALAL business, delivers throughout Japan. African, Indonesian, Indian, Iranian, Japanese, Pakistani, Tunisian, and Turkish foods are available. If you happen to be in Kobe, you can visit their retail store.

4. HALAL Said

HALAL Said Shop specializes in Halal cuisine and offers delivery throughout Japan. If you live near Shinjuku, you can buy HALAL meals there.

5. Maya Bazar

This is an Indian grocery store located near Meguro station in Japan. You may get a wide range of spices, rice, and tea online.

6. Ambika Online

Ambika sells a stockpile of vegetarian items such as beans, legumes, spices, chutneys, frozen paneer cheese, chapatis, beers, wines, coconut products, HALAL products, and rice types to satisfy the craving for Indian dishes.

Delivery is free for orders above 8,000 yen. Please keep in mind that when ordering refrigerated or frozen items at the same time as standard items, deliveries are divided and paid separately.

Orders under 8,000 yen may have different shipping costs. You can pay with a credit card or cash when the order is delivered.

7. Costco

Wholesalers are well-acquainted with Costco. You may now order specific things online while in the midst of the pandemic. Cakes and deli sandwiches can also be pre-ordered.

8. Seijo Ishii

Do you want European cheeses, handmade bacon, wagyu steaks, truffle-scented almonds, artisanal teas, and Bordeaux wine delivered to your doorstep? Shop in Seijo Ishii right now!

Seijo Ishii is a shop that sells high-end foods and alcohol from all over the world.

If you order more than 8,000 yen, delivery is free. Orders under 8,000 yen may have different shipping costs. You can pay through credit card, cash on delivery, Amazon Pay, or convenience store.

9. Picard

Picard will satisfy your taste senses if you are a fan of French recipes. They’re known for their expertise in frozen fruits and vegetables, as well as ready-to-eat dishes like blanquette de veau (veal in white sauce stew) with rice and other time-saving sides and sauces.

Picard will take your order for appetizers, French pastries, and desserts from the store.

You can register for free. The cost of shipping varies. You can pay with a credit card or cash when the order is delivered.

10. Oisix Ra Daichi

Are you a fan of cakes and pasta? If you’re health-conscious and need foods that are both delicious and healthy, Oisix Ra Daichi will meet your needs. Kanto and Kansai have physical stores. They specialize in organic produce and healthy foods distribution.

Shipping rates differ as well. You can pay with a credit card or cash at the time of delivery.

Here comes other great online grocery stores in Japan recommended for you!

Easy Steps To Successfully Buy Groceries Online In Japan

  • Open the given app or the website. Please log in. Register as a new member if you are a new user. You will earn points by shopping in this manner.
  • Begin selecting your desired fresh products after logging in. Put it in the basket. Give your delivery address.
  • You can pay with a credit card, mobile payment app, or cash on delivery. Please keep in mind that you must also pay for delivery and plastic bags.

Conclusion

Above are all of the details that you should know about grocery stores in Japan. Hope that this blog is really useful for you. If you have any experience shopping in Japanese grocery stores, feel free to share!

About Haruto Suzuki

Haruto Suzuki is a senior food and drinks blogger at Question Japan. He has a background in F&B industry and also experience of running his own Japanese restaurant in Tokyo for over 10 years. Therefore, he has a great knowledge of Japanese cuisine. So if you want to discover Japan through its unique traditional cuisine, Haruto Suzuki’s blog will be a great source of information for you.