Something that tends to surprise travelers from overseas is the amount of so-called “Convenience stores” in Japan. We cannot deny it, there are many and not only in the cities but also in the countryside. The reason why they are called “convenience stores” is that they operate 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. From food to drinks, from daily necessities to books, dvds, music and game software’s, there are so many things that you can get hold of in a convenience store. Of course, this includes alcoholic drinks.

    By looking at what is displayed, not only can you see how the season influences product-choice, but you can also experience Japanese trends real-time. What is fashionable and popular in Japan this time of the year? You can get a rough answer by visiting a convenience store, believe me!

    Also, there are some products that can only be purchased at convenience stores. Try to pay attention and guess when there!

    Age proof

    When buying alcohol or tobacco, you need to give proof of your age at the cashier. In Japan, selling alcohol and tobacco to people under 20 is prohibited.

    To proof that you are 20 year old above, you will need to press a confirmation button on the cashier machine panel.

    Eating and drinking at the store

    There are some stores that provide seats where you can eat and drink what you have purchased. In Japanese, we call it “eat in”, as if it were a restaurant, but it’s just a convenience store. As a matter of course, no food or drinks purchased elsewhere are allowed.

    You can have ready meals that can be warmed up in the microwave for you and fresh snacks. Then, instant ramen that would be otherwise too troublesome to be eaten outside in the city. You can also have other types of instant food that requires hot water to be added.

    Remember to through away your rubbish properly!

    Copy machines

    Should you need to print out a document or something else, convenience stores are furnished with copy machines that have multiple functions. Depending on the store you might find different types of machines.

    Usually, you can do operations from your smartphone or flash memory. If you take your data along, you will be able to print it. You can also print photos. It’s quite easy to operate but, should you have any doubts, ask someone.

    Domestic shipping

    There is also window for package shipping. Unfortunately, it only operates on a domestic level.

    It’s tiring to take a heavy luggage along all the way to some place so, if you just have the right details for shipping, you could make use of the shipping service. It is recommended for those who are keen on playing golf, scuba diving, skiing or snowboarding. You can ship your equipment!