I Love Konbini: Awesome Konbini (Convenience Store) In Japan!
I love konbini (convenience store) in Japan and I often use it in different situations, for lunch, after work, family trips, and so on.
What’s so awesome about it?
Well, it’s amazingly convenient, food is delicious, and so much more!
This time, I’ll be introducing some of them.
1. It’s Everywhere!
As of August 2004, there are already 50,173 stores all over Japan according to Japan Franchise Association. That means, you can find a konbini just within 5 to 10-minute walking distance in cities of Japan.
2. It’s Always Open!
Mostly all konbinis are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, just go to the konbini and you can buy basically any items that you need even in the early morning or late at night.
3. Great Restrooms!
Restrooms are clean and free to use (in most stores)! Because there are many konbinis everywhere in Japan, it saved me many times in case of emergencies. (LOL)
4. Variety of Foods
There is a wide variety of foods available in konbini. So, you can choose whatever you feel like eating on that day. (Be careful of overeating though!)
These are some of the foods you can find:
– Onigiri (rice balls) and bento (packed meals)
– Fresh salads
– Sandwiches and breads
(Personally, I think milk and curry bread are the best combination ever!)
– Cup ramen (or cup noodles)
(You can even ask the staff to pour hot water to your cup ramen!)
– Hot snacks
At the counter area, there’s always a hot display cabinet placed in front that contains selection of hot snacks. Each konbini has its own line-up and it changes every season.
Summer: deep-fried chicken, hot dogs, french fries
Winter: oden (a Japanese style pot-au-feu), nikuman (steamed pork buns)
– Snacks and Sweets
Recently, sweets sold in konbinis are becoming exceptionally more delicious.
You can find wagashi (Japanese sweets), pudding, yogurt, ice cream and many more!
Also, for foods that are best eaten warm, the staff will be so willing to heat it up for you.
You can ask them by saying, “Atatamete kudasai.” But most of the time, they will ask you first “Atatamemasuka?”, which means “(Would you like me to) heat up (the food)?”.
Especially, you’ll be surprised how many kinds of canned or bottled coffee drinks are available. Well, it only shows how necessary coffee is for a Japanese businessman. In addition to that, soda and refreshing drinks, beer, and liquor are also being sold.
What’s actually interesting is the display shelves for drinks.
When you take out one bottle, other bottles behind it will automatically come forward.
This system allows filling in and organizing the shelf by itself without bothering the customers.
Isn’t that great? It’s not only customer friendly, but worker friendly as well.
There’s a large collection of magazines and you can even browse through it without being warned.
(Even adult magazines are available, too.)
7. Other services are great, too!
Because konbini is always available everywhere, at any time, there are a lot of convenient services to avail from.
That is why, no worries at all even for a workaholic Japanese.
Other services that konbinis offer are:
– Free Wi-Fi
To avail this service, you need to register first.
So, when you come to Japan, take advantage of this free service.
After registering, you’ll receive original contents and coupons.
– Bill Payments
You can even pay your bills (electricity, gas, water, even telephone bill) at konbini.
In Japan, many people cannot go to banks during working hours. So this service is indeed very useful.
Well, the same reason as I stated above.
I find it ironic that Japanese people works to earn money but mostly have no time to withdraw it. (LOL)
– Copier, Fax, Photo Printer
Konbinis nowadays have multi-function machines installed.
It boasts various functions not only for copying but also for scanning materials and printing photos.
You can even print out documents and images from internet which you can register online beforehand.
For home-based businessmen, maybe they don’t need to buy their own photocopy or fax machines anymore and just avail these services at the konbini.
– Ticket Purchase
At konbini, you can also buy tickets for concert, movie, trip, lottery, and even express bus ticket. (As I’m writing this, I feel like we can really buy just anything in konbini!)
– E-money and Prepaid Cards
You can buy various e-money and prepaid cards of iTunes Store, Apple Store, and Amazon. That is why, for people who are into online and smartphone games, konbini is an absolute necessity.
– Courier Service
You can also pick up packages you purchased from online stores and they even accept packages you want to send, any time.
It is very convenient especially for people who are busy with work or other errands.
What do you think about Japanese convenience stores? Aren’t they just great?
Although it is being said that convenience store started in United States, thanks to the intensive research and know-how in Japan, konbini became what it is right now.
Well, when it comes to improvising (“kaizen” in Japanese), aren’t Japanese just good at that?
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