100 Yen Stores in Japan: Your One-Stop Solution for Everything | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
100 yen stores

100 Yen Stores in Japan: Your One-Stop Solution for Everything

By Afia Ibnat Sep 8, 2022

100 yen stores are the one-stop solution to everything you need in your life (well, that’s a stretch, but these stores are impressively well-stocked across a diverse range of categories). There’s only a ten percent consumption tax added in, so almost every item totals 110 yen only.

Most people have the perception that cheap things are often not durable, functional or aesthetic. However, the 100 yen stores in Japan will surely change your mind. These stores have quality products that can last you a long time. From storage boxes to mugs to socks to groceries, Japan’s 100 yen stores have all the essentials you need. High-quality products at cheap prices sound too good to be true, but that’s what makes shopping so economical and satisfying in Japan. If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck, your local Seria or Daiso should become your go-tos. 

100 Yen Stores Are as Budget-Friendly as They Get

100 yen store onigiris on a shelf

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The general consensus is that living in Japan, especially closer to Tokyo, is quite expensive. Many non-Japanese residents, especially international students, need to find the most cost-effective way to live in a country where one mango costs upwards of 2,000 yen. This is where the 100 yen stores swoop in as a Godsend. 

Seria and Daiso have several aisles of just stationery items, along with a wide selection of different types of storage products such as shelves, boxes, dividers, etc. They also carry items such as bathroom cleaners, slippers, cosmetic items and pretty much every kitchen item you can think of. Even something as obscure as a cover for your kitchen exhaust fan can be found in these stores for only 100 yen. They have multiple other categories of items, including home interior goods, gardening goods, DIY goods, cleaning supplies, utensils, food, and even electronics. It’s truly a wonder how such high-quality products are offered at such a remarkably flat rate. 

Just a reminder, though – some products at 100-yen stores cost more than 100 yen, but those items will have their respective prices displayed on them, unlike the rest of the products. 

Even Groceries?

groceries in a store

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While Daiso or Seria might not have groceries, your local 100 yen Lawson (or Hyaku-En/ 百均 Lawson) usually does. From spinach to mushrooms to potatoes, you’ll find exceptionally low prices for your cooking essentials here compared to the usual superstores. You can even find different kinds of milk, fruit juices, and snacks. The same items will cost you double or triple the amount elsewhere. But do keep in mind that this is only true for the 100 yen Lawson and not the regular Lawson. 

How 100 Yen Stores Make a Profit

You may be curious to know how these shops end up making a profit if they’re selling everything at such a low price. Your assumption could be that it leads to a loss for the company, especially with the impressive durability of the products.

Surprisingly, that is not the case. Since the stores operate in a way where companies order a massive amount of merchandise with a high initial cost and sell these goods in enormous amounts to make a profit, the goods at 100 yen shops can afford to retain their quality while at the same time remaining the same price. Japanese manufacturers achieve these affordable, high-quality products by significantly increasing production efficiency, such as through the installation of durable machinery that can handle large-scale production or the creation of a supply structure that can handle a significant amount of raw materials.

All For 100 Yen, But at What Cost?

hand rehand reaching for stationery items

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We’re all filled with a certain amount of happiness when we find something cute and quirky at the 100-yen store and get to marvel at how amazing products can come at such low prices. However, that can sometimes make us lose sight of our frugality. Excessive spending by wasting money on items that we don’t really need is, unfortunately, a common side effect when we see such good deals. So we must know that despite the economical options available to us, it’s still up to us to control our impulse to shove everything in our baskets and become wise consumers.

While 100 yen stores allow us to be frugal, it can be easy to rack up an unexpectedly long receipt that’s hard on our wallets, simply because mentally, we assume that the prices are so low that we keep shopping without abandon, which defeats the entire purpose of wanting to be frugal in the first place. In a hyper-consumerist world, it’s crucial to be mindful of what we spend on, so even when you see all these beautiful items, always ask yourself whether you really need them or if the item’s uniqueness momentarily caught your eye. More often than not, it’s the latter.

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Featured image credit: Canva