100 yen Shops Spread from Japan to the World
Have you ever stopped by a 100 yen shop? The products used to be thought cheap and nasty because everything costs only 100 yen, and the idea was not popular in Japan at first. However, each shop has made efforts to improve their quality, which is yet steadily rising. Nowadays many Japanese shoppers are surprised at cost performance, and worry about the company’s financial situation whenever they go there. For customers who care about the products’ quality, safety, etc., these shops increasingly sell Japan products and exclusive food products which are thanks to collaboration with famous manufacturers. Of course, the design of the products has improved, and they seem recently to cost more than 100 yen.
There are number of 100 yen shops nationwide, and these are some features of the most famous 5 shops. Buy inexpensive and nice items to save money!
Daiso – The King of 100 yen Shops
Daiso is Japan’s number one 100 yen shop. It has also expanded its business all over the world, and several other low-price shops sells its products (even if they cost over 100 yen), and you might have seen them before you came to Japan. It used to operate as a pop-up shop at the supermarket, but efforts were made to raise product quality, and goods were sold at 100 yen regardless of the manufacturing cost.
Therefore, it was also introduced on several TV shows, and the timing was right since people needed cheaper products during and following the depression in the 1990s. Daiso has been able to acquire its customers’ trust, and is now also known for its product variety and strict quality control. Amazingly, though it covers food, clothing, and household goods, you can get stationery, snacks, kitchen tools, necktie, dictionaries, cosmetics, etc. at the same time (one time when I moved to another city, I also got many daily necessities at the large-scale Daiso nearby, and used to frequent the location after work).
By the way, Daiso is known for its red signboard, but you might have seen green one which says “Daiso & Aoyama”. It is collaboration shop with Daiso and Aoyama Tailor (Yofuku no Aoyama). Its product lineup is quite different, but you can get very similar items as well.
Keep in mind that both stores have some items which cost more than 100 yen, so do pay attention to the price tag.
For more details: www.daisoglobal.com/
CanDo & Le Plus – Operating in Japan for 20 years
Cando is Japan’s 3rd largest 100 yen shop chain, and it has been operating for over 20 years. It is known for its wide variety, alongside Daiso, as well as for being particular about stylish design. According to the official website, it has started selling collaboration household items, accessories, etc. with some bloggers who publish their ideas about stylish and clean living.
Moreover, it also offers seasonal items: flip-flops, sunglasses, etc. Of course, Halloween and Christmas decorations will be available, too, and you can enjoy these events even you are in Japan (Halloween in particular is getting more and more popular these days).
Le Plus is also operating as a member of the CanDo group. Although the number of stores is lower than any of the other big 5 100 yen shops, its items, like CanDo’s, are known for their stylish appearance.
For more details: www.cando-web.co.jp/e/
Seria – Stylish Items at 100 Yen Each
Seria is the 2nd largest 100 yen shop chain. “Seria”, by the way, means “serious” in Italian. Its concept is “The 100 yen Shop Which Is Unusual”, narrowing down its lineup and choosing items which have additional value by shattering the typical image of 100 yen shops.
For example, most of its products are made in Japan and built jointly with famous manufacturers. You might think they’d be overpriced, but it keeps to “Everything is 100 yen” despite the other chains introducing products at prices greater than 100-yen. Seria’s lineup specializes in products for women, the demographic which frequents its stores there most. Seria tableware is especially stylish, and it is unbelievable that the items are 100 yen each (I personally buy all my tableware at Seria). Though other chains are also trying to make their tableware more fashionable, Seria’s still retain outstanding designs.
Of course, Seria and other chains provide a wide selection of stationery. This service is used especially by schools and becomes one of the reasons why stationery shops have been decreasing from towns across Japan. Moreover, Seria also has seasonal items, and the Halloween promotions have also begun. You should try shopping there to get ready for the holiday.
To color your days with Seria, check its official site: www.seria-group.com/ (Japanese only)
Lawson Store 100 – The Best of Everything
Lawson Store 100, also known as 100 yen Lawson, Lawson 100, etc., is another business of Lawson’s which is the best mix of a supermarket, CVS, and 100 yen shop. “The best mix” means selling several varieties of items at 100 yen each for 24/7 (though some items cost more than 100 yen). Its main customers are people living alone (including students) and stay-at-home mothers, and items are sold in small quantities to make them easy to consume completely so as to minimize food waste.
Because even groceries are sold at 100 yen, you might be suspicious of their safety, but it cooperates with producers and minimizes its distribution process (bypassing the wholesale market) to cut costs and deliver to each location as soon as possible, which is why it can keep its low prices. Of course, it also has its own products, for which it collaborates with famous manufacturers to offer safer and cheaper items. Therefore, Lawson 100, as well as Lawson, handles Yu-Pack, paying utility bills, and point services for Ponta Card as well as NTT docomo’s Point Card.
One final note: when shopping at these stores you shouldn’t forget about the consumption tax (Daiso occasionally accepts duty-free). Remember that they are sold at 100 yen before taxes.
I hope you may find inexpensive and quality items to suit your lifestyle! Be sure to take advantage of these unique and convenient shops while staying in Japan~
Yuko / JAPAN