The very first convenience store (Konbini) opened up in Japan in the early 70’s. To date there is now a staggering 52,872 stores throughout Japan. Hence there name “convenient”, but like so many other things we take them for granted. For people who have shopped at Konbini, have you ever thought about what is uniquely different about them, apposed to other countries?
1: Food quality
Onigiri (rice balls) have all kinds of filling, which tastes very yummy and only costs $1.50 each. Konbini also has their own variety of original bento boxes and breads. The shop staff are more than happy to heat up your bento box and will ask you ‘Obento atatamemasuka? (Would you like to heat it up?)’ so you could say ‘Hai, onegaishimasu. (Yes, please)’ They also sell a variety of drinks including alcoholic beverage. My advice, especially when travelling is to spend more time sightseeing and to drop by a Konbini to grab a quick and cheap meal.
24-hour ATM inside all konbini, allows you to withdraw money using international bank cards.
Oddly enough not so many Japanese banks will accept your international bank cards and if the Post Office ATMs are closed, you always have the conveniences of Konbini stores. Remember to always carry cash with you since many small shops and ticket machines will not accept credit cards.
- Courier delivery pickup/dropoff
You can send or pick up your package. You can even arrange for your luggage to be dropped off and kept safe or have it shipped to the airport, saving you the hassle of lugging it around with you while catching the train.
- Café Konbini
Some konbini will have a space where you can relax and enjoy a drink. Next time, grab your favourite drink and plan where to go next.
- Free public restrooms
Most konbini have clean restrooms for anyone to use. Even for non-customers who only wish to use there facilities, just a quick saying ‘Sumimasen toire o tsukaimasu (Excuse me, I would like to use the toilet)’.
- Free Wi-Fi spot
These days konbini provide free Wi-Fi spots. Just open up your browser in the store, click the English button and follow the instructions. How convenient for travellers!
Konbini staff are welcoming and kind, creating a comfortable atmosphere for your shopping experience. All things are provided , eg. chopsticks, folks or straws. They will also bag your purchases separately if you have both hot or cold items. If you don’t need them, you can say ‘Fukuro/ohashi/ fooku/storoo kekkoo desu. (No bag/chopsticks/folk/straw, thanks)’.
Convenience store in Japan are really convenient, Enjoy!