• Life in Japan

Convenience stores and their uses in Japan!

The wonderful things you can do in a convenience store.

Whether you are living in the mountains of Nagano or the Mega-tropolis like Tokyo, chances are you are within some distance of a convenience store or ‘Konbini.’

Convenience stores are as their name implies and have been in the country for at least 50years with the first 7-11 open in Toyosu, Tokyo May 1974. Hiyashi Chuka in summer or Oden in winter and that familiar jingle- what is not to like?

Yet, did you know that there are more things you can do in a convenience store than buy sweet fast food or expensive chuhai?

Here is LJC’s list of top 5 things you can do at a Japanese Conbini.

5) Pay bills. 

Okay, so it is not the most exciting thing, but it is essential if you are living here in Japan. If you are new to living in Japan, it can often be overwhelming to find an easy way to pay debts (mainly if you come back from a cashless society). In Japan, this is no problem as utilities, house taxes, phone bills, and even amazon orders can be paid for at a convenience store. Just be sure to keep your receipts. It should be noted this is changing since Japan has started pushing for a more cashless society ahead of the Olympics.

4) Buy Tickets.


Although times in Japan are changing, it can still be quite challenging to get a credit card in Japan. Using the Kikai or ‘the machine’ as it is ominously called, one can order their music tickets and be sure to be at the front of the next Baby Metal concert. Tickets to fly back home? This can also be printed by the machine and then paid for in cash at the register.

“..utilities, house taxes, phone bills, and even amazon orders can be paid for at a convenience store.”

3) They are open 24hours a day 365 days a year (Mostly).


Although this is somewhat of a grand sweeping statement by and large most convenience stores are genuinely convenient and open throughout the year. Missing the last train is never fun, but the walk home can be made bearable by walking to the various convenience stores and eating your Niku-man on the go.

2) You can mail your luggage.

Have a ski-trip planned but have to take the train? Don’t want to carry your surfboard on the Tokyo Chuo-line? Have no fear your local convenience store can also double up as a concierge and send your luggage to another convenience store at a specified destination. By using this service, you can quickly check in your luggage a day or two before you leave and pick it up at your destination on arrival.

1) The food.

Now this title might also raise a few eyebrows, but please hear us out. Not all the food you can buy in a convenience store is standardized. Although indeed there are regular items you can buy across the country and many chains, there are also specialized items that are unique to those areas. Champon, which you can find in Nagasaki, may not be able to found outside that prefecture.

Furthermore, if there is a particular item that is selling well, the convenience stores will compete in price and quality to win the customer’s satisfaction. Fried chicken soon becomes fried chicken with cheese discounted.

Interested in living and working in Japan?  Check out ALT jobs with Interac here.