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Grocery Stores In Japan

Discussion in 'Japan Practical' started by mikomimi89, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. mikomimi89

    mikomimi89 後輩

    Hello everyone. This is my first post so please humor me.

    I was (obviously) wondering about grocery stores in Japan. For example, what type of food could I expect to find or not find in comparrison to other places (I live in California). Also, what is the difference in price, if any.

    If anyone has any other pertaining information I would appreciate it. I did look to see if this topic had been brought up before, but I may have missed it. If so, I'm sorry for the inconvience.
  2. ArmandV

    ArmandV Seven Times To Japan

    Welcome aboard!

    The main stores I've been to in Japan have been Lawson's, 7-11 and Am-PM mini-markets. They are roughly the same (price-wise) as in the U.S.

    I went to one store near Ginza which was a bit odd. It seemed like a hardware store, food store and 5 & 10 cent store all rolled up into one. Here again I didn't find the prices to be out of line with what you'd expect in California. I did go into one supermarket in a lower level of a train station (I don't recall which train station) and it seemed just like the supermarkets in the U.S., except it was under the station. I took a look at the prices of their fresh meats and they seemed to be at or slightly above what we pay.
  3. Mars Man

    Mars Man Well-Known Member

    Welcome to JREF, mikomini89 san ! Well, grocery stores, as opposed to the regular convenience stores or small mom & pop stores, are pretty much what you'd expect to see in the States. It really goes without saying that you'll find things here that Japanese people eat and consume, but otherwise you have your general areas fresh produce, meats, seafood & fish, canned goods, dry goods, drinks & beverages, frozen foods, spices & condiments & sauces, bread/bakery, dairy, prepared foods & deli, frozen foods, household goods & toiletries, kitchen goods & paper products (plates, cups, etc. for picnics or BBQs) magazines and newspapers, kids toys, among maybe a few others.

    As for the prices, I cannot compare with the US as of now, but I would guess that relative to income averages for the economic norm that is Japan, they are mostly in the neighborhood of what you'd find in the US...perhaps just a tad bit higher, more often than not, though?
  4. Goldiegirl

    Goldiegirl Well-Known Member

    I shop at Isetan. I guess it's a more expensive grocery store because it is part of a department store. I can say that the prices are a lot higher, because the quantity is a lot smaller! You can find American products like Ritz crackers, Frosted Flakes and Kraft cheese which is cool. I appreciate that a lot, because sometimes you want something that tastes like home! :)
  5. mikomimi89

    mikomimi89 後輩

    Well that's all good to hear. I didn't see any grocery stores while I was in Japan this summer, so I was a bit worried. I feel much better now. Hahaha.

    Arigatou gozaimasu.

    :: bows ::
  6. Glenski

    Glenski Just me

    Grocery stores here, as Mars Man wrote, are grocery stores. Produce section, meat and fish section, other goods like back home.

    You'll find more fish, tofu, soy sauce, mushrooms, specialized Asian foods, and a few other things here.

    For a quick snapshot of prices, go here.
  7. bakaKanadajin

    bakaKanadajin 先輩

    It can also depend where you're living. Where I lived I didn't really go to the grocery store for much. They were expensive compared to the small farmers stands. The fruit and veggies were much cheaper and seemingly of better quality at these small mom and pops huts along the street. If you're looking for pre-prepared food and special products as opposed to raw foods you will be preparing yourself, then grocery stores are obviously your best bet.

    You'll find the vegetables in Japan are slightly different than those in the West. The carrots are short and fat vs. long and skinny, the eggplants are smaller, the serving sizes of things are also generally quite small. There are a lot of different kinds of mushrooms, and you'll notice a lot of large root-like vegetables, like daikon (giant Japanese radish) and the green onions are extremely long they'll always end up sticking out of yer grocery bag like a bouqet. Lots of bokchoy too, although its quite cheap.

    Green, red and yellow pepers are quite expensive. Oranges are also quite expensive, a bag of htem can cost around 500yen (about 5bucks!) Broccoli is sold in half-stocks, lettuce in half-heads, everything is packaged to death, you really end up getting less bang for the buck produce-wise at the grocery store.

    Most grocery store have a large pre-prepared section with lots of tempura, skewers of chicken, little plastic trays of sushi and sashimi, an assortment of interesting salads made from various pickles, preserves and other things like seaweed which are indigenous to Japan or prepared in the traditional Japanese way. There's a lot of Western style pre-prepped food too like potato and pasta salads.

    If you're not too picky there's plenty to eat in Japan. Getting into a rhythm of shopping on a daily basis is the biggest adjustment because Japanese fridges are small, portions are small, and Japan in general is not setup like the West for the big 'once-every-two-weeks' shopping event. You can get eggs in half-dozens, even 4's, 2's, even one egg!

    One thing you may notice is that bread is seriously lacking in Japan. Unless you go to a nice bakery (even then its sometimes a gamble) a good loaf of real multi-grain or whole grain bread is hard to come by. For some reason the Japanese prefer plain, nutrition-less white sliced bread or nothing! And it comes in packages of 5-6 pieces, not a big whole loaf like in the West. Nice buns like Kaisers or cheese buns, good for making big deli sandwiches, really hard to come by. So you may find yourself going to the bakery a lot if you're a bread person.

    That's all I can think of, good luck!
  8. cranecat

    cranecat 後輩

    wheat bread

    This is my first post! My husband is living in Yokohama and is missing whole wheat bread. Does anyone know of a specific place (bakery or store) in Yokohama or Tokyo that he can purchase whole wheat bread at?
    He is thinking about baking it himself!
    Thank-You for your postings...they are very helpful already!
  9. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch 先輩

    Does Japan have pizza? I mean regular pizza?

    What about the teriaki bugers? I love teriaki burgers!
  10. epigene

    epigene 相変わらず不束者です

    Whole wheat bread can be found in Japan--only you have to look hard. These bakeries do not advertise in English. If you're willing to buy on the Web and have a Japanese friend to help with ordering, you can purchase from here:


    There are a number of organic bread bakeries around Tokyo and Yokohama, as well as in other parts of Japan. Many are small in scale and do not advertise, since they cater only to the neighborhood where they are located. You'll need to talk to Japanese friends who are knowledgeable in organic foods to find a bakery near you.

    As for pizza, Japan has Domino's, Pizza Hut and other delivery pizzas, as well as pizzerias that serve Italian-style pizzas.
    There are also teriyaki burgers. The one that serves very good teriyaki burgers is a Hawaii hamburger chain called Kua'aina.

    HTH! :)
  11. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch 先輩

    Thanks for the info.

    Teriyaki burgers are popular in Hawaii. When I visited Arizona and asked for a teri buger, they looked at me like I was crazy. lol
  12. Davey

    Davey 先輩

    Try sending a pm to Deadhippo (see the members list), or have a look on his website about Yokohama www.deadhippo.com I'm almost sure that he can help you out with this question.
  13. pipokun

    pipokun 先輩

  14. maushan3

    maushan3 Back home

    Groceries are a tad bit more expensive than in America. Think probably 20% on average higher price. Supermarkets are found probably on the same ratio as in the U.S.

    As for convenience stores, yeah, they are more expensive than their American counterparts.

    There are many bakery stores in Japan, if living in a suburb or something, just head to the mall and most likely it will have a supermarket, which have a lot of bakeries, pastries, and what not. Downtown areas also have little coffee shops which serve croissants and that type of food.

    As for pizza, yes, they have it, it is convenient if price isn't really that important to you. Really, I haven't seen any discounts on the major American chains, and one pizza can take out someツ ツ??,000 from your pocket.

    I really think this is where 'When in Roma, do as the Romans do' must come into effect.


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