Convenient Japanese Curiosities

When people who have not visited Japan think of this amazing country they tend to think about the random, crazy stuff like used panty vending machines, robots or other ultra high technology gadgets, manga (Japanese animation) or perhaps even fugu, the deadly puffer fish which is prepared by a highly skilled chef to assure the dish does not kill anyone who eats it.

anime girl
Japanese manga

First of all, I am going to guess your mind is still on the used panty vending machine. And no, I have never seen one in Japan, but I have met foreigners here who have claimed to have seen some. Until I see one myself I am not completely assured whether it is an urban myth or not.

sumo wrestler
Would you want to buy his underwear?

Talking of vending machines…

But even if there are none of those damnably intriguing used panty vending machines sprinkled around in every corner of Japan, drink vending machines on the other hand very much are everywhere.

vending machine
Why wouldn’t there be a vending machine next to a main road by a coastline?

It is difficult to walk down a road for too long without bumping into a drink vending machine or a cigarette vending machine. These seem to amaze many visiting tourists but once you live here you truly appreciate the sheer convenience of them.
They stand alone, located in very random – yet convenient – places on streets virtually in every city big or small. Starting from 100 JPY you get yourself a nice cold beverage of your choice as for example mineral water, a sports drink, juice, canned coffee, a fizzy drink, an alcoholic beverage (yes!) or even something called Pocari Sweat (whoever thought that would be a great name for a sports drink escapes me).

pocari sweat
Pocari Sweat, keep you best.

As a side note, in a country where it feels like every other man smokes like a chimney (women seem to smoke a fair amount less) it is no surprise that there are also cigarette vending machines galore on the streets of Japan.

The convenient konbini culture

Konbini, a convenience store. They truly are everywhere, open 24/7 and sell anything and everything from onigiris (rice balls usually wrapped in seaweed) to toenail clippers. The konbini culture is like the epitome of the Japanese culture, it is just so damn convenient.
You are probably getting the gist of it by now: many services in Japan are made as convenient as possible for people to consume and enjoy when and as they please.

Family Mart
Family Mart is one of the many konbini chains in Japan

If you have not been to Japan yet you simply can not imagine how these little konbini oases are everywhere you may or may not imagine. If you live in a city there probably are several within a couple of minutes walk from  you. My current apartment building has four konbinis within a 3 minute walk. No matter what time of the day (most likely night time, in all honesty) I feel a craving for a frozen pizza, a fresh cup of coffee or I need to pick up cockroach poison or some underwear, I am spoiled with options.

spam onigiri
Fancy a spam onigiri? You can find some at your nearest konbini!

I have met tourists who were under the impression that there are no supermarkets in Japan as they had never seen any other food shops other than konbinis. That should explain quite a bit about the food selection konbinis have. But fear not, there are plenty of supermarkets and obviously many of them are open 24 hours a day as well.

¥100 shops: convenience for your wallet

Who ever said Japan was expensive? That was all I ever heard people talk about when they traveled to Japan and truth to be told, before visiting Japan myself I was pretty worried how expensive my holiday might turn out to be. Luckily I turned to my good friend Google and found out about the ¥100 shops. They sell everything you might need and only for – you guessed it – ¥100 per item. That equals around 80 euro cents or 90 US cents.

hyaku yen
One of the many hyaku yen shops in Japan

There are several ¥100 chain stores but the biggest ones include Daiso, Seria and Can Do. These hyaku yen (¥100) shops sell personal hygiene products, kitchen ware, souvenirs, stationary, food & snacks, cosmetics, toys, exercising equipment, you name it.

Life in Japan could be very expensive if it was not for the hyaku yen shops. I buy most of my household items from these shops and honestly, what ever I may need I always go looking for it in hyaku yen shops first – and nine times out of ten I am able to purchase the said item from there. I have saved bucket loads of money this way. It is my first recommendation to visiting tourists. After hyaku yen kaitenzushi (¥100 sushi train) restaurants, of course.


I claim Japan is probably the most convenient country to live in. What do you think?

Welcome to Japan, my name is Pepper. How can I assist you?

23 thoughts on “Convenient Japanese Curiosities

  1. I think my favourite is the hyaku yen store… Whenever I have guests from overseas, they can never understand why I’m so excited about it – until they visit go there themselves….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally know what you are talking about, Dipa! I rave about them and my mates are like “meh”. Not all of them appreciate the hyaku yen goodness even if they visit one! It’s a sad world. 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have always been intrigued by Japan but have been putting off visiting it because I was under the impression that it is very expensive. However, your post is encouraging and I hope to be able to plan a trip to Japan real soon 🙂
    Love from India ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and I’m glad to hear that this was inspiring! Japan CAN be expensive but there definitely are tricks to doing it cheaply 🙂 Definitely come and visit if you have a chance!
      Arigatou gozaimasu (thank you very much) from Hiroshima 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! I think Pocari Sweat is the bees knees alright, name wise anyway.
      Oh I’m not sure about the “Creep” creamer! I will definitely look it up the next time I’m in the supermarket 😛


  3. Definitely an urban myth – used panty vending machine! LOL.
    it is not just in the city one finds the vending machines. Its out in the countryside too! Imagine how they stock these machines…must be an army of trucks and handlers doing that every day!


    1. Yes I did a bit of Googling and to summarize my findings….well, maybe I’ll just write another blog post about that 😀
      Absolutely, the amount of vending machines they have everywhere in Japan must be a difficult task to keep them full and profitable!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It seemed like Avery day around 10am in Tokyo on every other block I would see a largish truck (For Japan at least) with 2 men driving around and loading up the truck with the recycled bottles and then restocking the machines. It’s certainly a feat worthy of olympian effort trying to keep tens of thousands of machines in Tokyo stocked, and thats not even counting machines on secluded country roads.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure if those vending machines are provided due to courtesy or are they actually making any profit…Surely that must be the case but I can not imagine how! None the less, I’m very much stoked that they are around everywhere!


      2. I know here in the US with Coca Cola most of the cost of a drink comes from the bottle/can so with the large recycling effort/ company reclaiming these bottles and cans I’m sure they are making some kind of profit. But Like you said they were a god send after all the walking we would do on a daily basis.


      3. During the hottest months, like July and August, you only have to step outside your door and already be wanting a cold drink 😀 We should write a ode to vending machines.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. We were only there half way through May into the beginnings of June and it was scorching almost every day so I can’t imagine the rainy season and hotter months. I don’t have ode prepared but I do have a haiku. Ahem

        Oh Vending machine
        The machines treat me well
        How I miss Japan


    1. Konbinis and vending machines seem to steal tourists’ hearts in Japan 😀 I definitely don’t know how I’d survive without them now. I’m hooked.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahh the konbinis and vending machines! I’m still missing their sweet embrace since arriving back in the states. Nothing here can beat the price or convenience, and the convenience stores here are anything but with the mindset being you pay more for the convenience of having the item rather than the store being a convenience to you in price and location. Being able to run a block down the road for a couple rolls of toilet paper and some dish soap for 500 Yen was the best feeling ever.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s