With whatever you need on the ultimate budget, the various chains of “100 yen shops” around Japan are a godsend for everyday living in Japan, but they’re also perfect for bringing back the best souvenirs for yourself and others.
They go by names like Daiso and Seria, but 100 yen shops across Japan are united by a common price and mission: making everyday things cheap and easy. That means that just about everything, unless otherwise marked, is 100 yen plus tax, and you’ll be surprised at the quality and variety you can get at that price.
For the most part, 90% of what a 100 yen shop carries won’t be of much use to you unless you need various household cleaning supplies and everyday items, but there’s still plenty available for travelers and souvenir hunters.
Where they’re located
The biggest 100 yen shops are generally not found in the center of Tokyo, especially the higher-end areas, but there are still some pretty good options available. The Daiso shops in Harajuku and Shibuya are already plenty to explore, but if you find yourself a bit more in the suburbs there are shops that are so large they would keep you browsing for hours.
During your trip
While they don’t have name-brands, if you need basic travel goods you’re in luck. Everything from toothbrushes to underwear are available. Suddenly need a necktie for an impromptu night out? They’ve got you covered (and even pre-tied). Also the various types of pouches, bags, and containers can make your travel easy as well. There are even small electronics options like cables and adapters that are much cheaper than going to an electronics store.
100 yen shops are also a great place to try out various Japanese snacks and treats in smaller amounts without spending much money. They don’t just carry generic products in this case either, but it always depends on product cycles for good deals to be had.
Bringing back home
Souvenirs are where the 100 yen shops shine. Let’s face it, if you buy a traditional item like chopsticks for a friend, they likely aren’t going to know (or care) about the difference between 2,000 yen chopsticks and 100 yen chopsticks. It’s the thought that counts, and right now we’re thinking about saving money!
The same can be said for snacks and other packaged goods, but you’ll also find stickers, stationery, and other items with a Japanese edge that are perfect for bringing back home. Our advice is to save the more expensive souvenirs for the right people, but otherwise there’s something for everyone at a 100 yen shop.
Our Top 100 Yen Shop Products
Snacks: Everything from candies to dried squid, and in many varieties. Are people going to know it’s not a name brand if they can’t even read the label?
Japanese items: These are the bowls, chopsticks, and other products with a traditional edge to them. Even small wooden containers for sake and rice look great for their price.
Stationary: If you want the best in Japanese stationery you need to go to a proper store like Loft or Tokyu Hands, but otherwise you have a large selection of stickers, notebooks, and other items that people will love.