So you’re looking for getting some goods on the cheap. It’s common knowledge that ¥100 stores (百円ショップ hyaku-en shoppu) are the most affordable destination for a huge variety of products at surprising prices (that is, ¥100). Unlike American dollar stores (or pound stores if you are that way inclined), ¥100 shops stock an impressive array of goods, and are a perfectly viable place to do much of your grocery, home item, stationery, clothing, and other shopping. If you’re on a budget, these widely accessible shops should be your first stop.
¥100 shops are everywhere in Japan, though usually found in shopping districts and malls, among other stores. Of course, you’re not going to find a ¥100 store in Ginza, next to Armani and Coach, but chances are you’ll come across one on your local shopping street. The stores are usually large – very often more than one floor – and marked by colorful, even garish signs usually displaying a “100” or “99.”
The Daiso (ザ ダイソ) is one of Japan’s largest ¥100 store chains, with locations throughout the country. The chain currently operates more than 2,000 stores nationwide, and opens an average of 40 new stores per month. Central Tokyo’s largest ¥100 store is The Daiso in Harajuku on Takeshita Dori, just a few steps from Harajuku Station. Japan’s largest ¥100 store is Daiso Giga Machida. It occupies five floors in front of Machida Station (30 minutes, ¥360 from Shinjuku by Odakyu Railways).
Types of goods
Here are just a few examples of the kinds of goods you’ll find at your average ¥100 store.
Household goods: sewing materials, towels, slippers, dish rags
Food: instant ramen, cookies, crackers, snacks, rice, miso soup, candy, soft drinks
Clothing: socks, underwear, ties, scarves, gloves
Tools: hammers, measuring tapes, pliers, screwdriver sets, knives, saws
Gardening: watering pots, mini rakes, flower pots
Kitchenware: kitchen knives, ladles, tupperware, coffee filters, detergent, aluminum foil
Tableware: plates, bowls, tea cups, sake sets, silverware, chopsticks
Stationery: boxes, notepads, pens and pencils, pins, calligraphy brushes
Personal goods: toys, games, ping pong sets, goggles, English-Japanese dictionaries
One more thing…
Remember that Japanese consumption tax is 5%, so you’re going to actually be paying ¥105 at a ¥100 store, ¥104 at a ¥99 yen store, etc.
Directory of ¥100 Stores:
Photo Credit: Akiyoshi’s Room