Hello everyone, how are you?? Today I will be discussing konbiniensu sutoa aka konbini! A konbini is a Japanese convenience store; you’re probably wondering why I would be writing about convenience stores, what could possibly be interesting about that enough to write a blog post on it? Well simply because it is a Japanese convenience store and we all know that the Japanese have a completely different and ethical way of thinking when it comes to life.I didn’t really know what a konbini was but I follow Cheeserland and read her blog, and she has been visiting Japan A LOT as of a late; man, all she do is write about Japan and her baby and OMG I LOVE HEERRRRRR!! Lol. Seriously not surprised as to why she is one of Malay’s top bloggers, I LOVE her blog, LOVE hearing about her trips to Japan and LOVE reading her baby diaries (baby no2 was born in June so that means even more baby diaries, yay)! Okay enough about me fan-girling over Cheesie, you can visit her blog here. She often writes about what she gets up to in Japan and talks about konbini stores a lot and how amazingly convenient they are for her, especially whilst travelling with JunJun! The term popped up again in another article I was reading on Japan and decided to check out more about them, and would you believe it that Japan actually utilises the term convenience.What do I mean by that? Well convenience stores here in the UK tend to just be a smaller version of their main store; we have mini versions of Tesco, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s popping up on every corner, taking over the smaller ‘corner shops’ like One Stop. And you know how you walk into a convenience store and you find everything but what you’re after and you were better off just making a longer journey to the bigger store elsewhere? Well konbini’s are not like that, they take careful consideration into the planning of their store, relying not only on their customer data but the weather too.Customer data such as age and gender will play a large role on what sort of items a konbini sells; for example if it is located in an area surrounded by students, you can be sure it will sell items such as instant noodles, premade lunches and cheaper alcohol, if by the beach then you can be sure to find beach essentials when the beach season begins. The konbini will stock what is needed for the people in that area and because there are multiple konbini’s from the same chain doing business in close proximity of each other, delivering to each store is not only easier but cheaper for the business.Konbini’s have limited floor sizes and therefore limited shelf space, making the strategy of selling only what is needed to the people of the area even more ideal. Stock is also ordered as needed rather than in bulk which makes their small stock rooms less of a problem. If an item isn’t a huge seller straight away then it is returned to the manufacturer, the stock turnover might be high but it enables the business to observe what sells quickly; trends and tastes are always changing so you might find that the sweet you enjoyed last week is no longer available! The 2-5 deliveries a day allows for produce to always be fresh, and is why many people prefer to purchase konbini food such as fresh salads, fruit, onigiri, sushi, sandwiches and bento rather than make their own and the cashier will even heat up food meant to be eaten hot for you. If there is word that an area in which a konbini is located will be expecting an extreme weather condition such as rain, they will even order in weather protection ready for that day.
Konbini’s are also very useful for other things besides products:
- They stock basic office supplies and have photocopier, print and fax services available for you to use.
- Seven Eleven, one of the top konbini stores in Japan, were at one point the only place in the country that had ATMs that accepted foreign cards; though this may not be true anymore, head to your nearest Seven Eleven to ensure you’ll find an ATM suited for foreign cards.
- Konbini will often have recycling bins for you to recycle your waste since bins in Japan are scarce to encourage people to take their waste home with them.
- They also may sell tickets for travel or local events such as concerts, movies and theme parks, so if you’re looking for something to do you can check out what they have to offer!
- Konbini in the suburbs and countryside usually have spacious parking which is a rare thing to find in Japan, so people often use them as rest areas.
- Many Japanese convenience stores are Wi-Fi hot spots, so if you’re struggling to connect to the internet you’ll want to head to the nearest convenience store.
- Open-to-public toilets are available in many konbini which can be incredibly useful when out in public if you are not sure of where the nearest public restroom is; though it can be considered rude to just use the Wi-Fi and restrooms without purchasing, so make sure you buy something (no matter how small) as courtesy to the store and its staff.
You can pay in a variety of ways in most convenience stores; many will allow you to pay with cash and credit card but also accept payment from IC train cards which is great news for foreigners!
Waahh~ Konbini sound so amazing! I’m pretty lucky that I walk past a large Asda when going to work, so I stock up on all of my lunch needs on the way but back in my home town the nearest convenience stores are either 10-15 minutes away, neither are convenient because neither hold anything that I actually need or are incredibly limited. It would be really good to have a Japanese convenience store here especially since the nearest post office to me is 25 minute walk from my house; I think it would be most convenient for those in University at the end of their street!
One day I will get to go to Japan and discover the wonders of a Konbini store! I don’t know why but I find them really interesting to learn about, I think most people who have visited Japan or live in Japan say that your experience in Japan won’t be the same unless you visit a Konbini store! It will make your trip much more convenient! Thanks for reading, until next time ~♥