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Memories of Japan – 100 Yen Store

January 9th, 2008 · 4 Comments · Memories of Japan

It is a widely held belief that living in Japan is very expensive and I was a little intimidated by that when told I was headed to Japan the first time. I claim to be cheap but my husband is kind and says that I am frugal. Merriam Webster defines cheap as obtaining something at a low price or at minimum expense and frugal as characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources. I like to economize our funds by getting things at low prices so I guess we are both right!

What I found was the cost of living wasn’t as crazy as I had expected (but then I expected the worst and was coming from Hawaii and Vancouver, Canada which are both expensive in their own rights) I still was a bit shocked to see 3,000 yen mangoes as Thomas at Nihon Hacks describes in his post on how to find 300 yen steaks in Japan. I wish he had been blogging 10 years ago!

Anyway, after I began to feel comfortable with daily life and had the basics down I wanted to expand beyond the trips to the local grocery store and back. While walking around I noticed that one store in particular seemed very popular so I went in. Well, it turned out to be a 100 Yen store (there were actually two in our neighborhood but one was better than the other).

What is a 100 Yen store? It is a store where anything in it costs you 100 Yen (about $.92)! What can you get there? Pretty much everything. I would buy my household cleaning supplies, re-usable plastic containers, kitchen gadgets and stationery there on a regular basis. Check out the product selection at Japan-Guide and Daiso (90,000 different products). It was my idea of bliss and anytime I had a craving to go shopping that was the first place that I went being the cheap, I mean frugal, gal that I am.

You might think that the quality of good was poor but that was not the case. I am still using a can opener, 10+ years later, that was purchase at a 100 Yen store in Japan! I can’t wait to go back – I might even go there before the grocery store if I pass it first!

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Shane // Jan 9, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    You’re welcome. Don’t let this article fool you though it can be very expensive to live in Japan. Housing in particular tends to be pricey but there are deals to be had and ways to save money…good luck!

  • 2 allybrown // Jan 9, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    it was always my dream to live in japan,but i was afraid it’s to expensive. now that i know they have somthing simillar to the american dollar store, i feel much better :-)


  • 3 Shane // Feb 5, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I won’t be running out to but $30 dollar melons anytime soon but then I can do without them!

    I think that this impression comes from the tourists who don’t have the opportunity to go to the grocery store or eat in everyday restaurants. Alternatively they want everything to be like home and look for American/Canadian branded items which are almost always more expense than the Japanese version of the same thing…

  • 4 Mike // Feb 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Certain things in Japan can be quite expensive but overall I find it’s not too different from things in Canada. Fruits are always crazy expensive but the cost of a coke or a burger in McDonald’s is about the same. You can’t have the same things you can have back in North America but you can have a pretty comfortable life in Japan if you are flexible!