Convenience stores (konbini)


Convenience stores (konbini) are an essential part of Japanese life and a convenient place for tourists. The following is a section on what to expect when shopping at a convenience store in Japan.

1. check business hours: Convenience stores are usually open 24 hours a day, but some stores may have different hours of operation. Check the hours of operation, especially if you will be using the convenience store early in the morning or late at night.

2. payment methods: Convenience stores may accept credit cards and electronic money in addition to cash. There may be restrictions on payment methods, so be sure to check in advance.

3. how to stand in line at the cash register: At convenience stores, there are certain rules for standing in line. In general, it is considered good manners to stand at the end of the line. Also, carry your own shopping basket or bags and do not leave them at the checkout counter.

4. Charged plastic bags: In order to protect the environment, plastic bags are now charged for in Japan. Some convenience stores also charge for plastic bags. Bring your own eco-bag or carry bag, or purchase a plastic bag if necessary.

5. merchandise next to the register: Convenience stores often have small items and snacks on display near the register. These items are called “products next to the register,” and although it is easy to pick them up, be careful not to interrupt the flow of the checkout process.

6. returning or exchanging merchandise: In general, merchandise purchased at convenience stores cannot be returned or exchanged. Please think carefully when selecting items, and if necessary, ask the clerk to clarify any questions you may have.

7. use of eating and drinking areas: Convenience stores may have eating and drinking areas, but eating and drinking inside the store may disturb other customers, so please enjoy your meal quietly. Also, be sure to dispose of garbage in designated areas.

8. restrictions on alcohol sales: In Japan, the sale of alcohol to minors is prohibited by law. Convenience stores may ask for your ID to verify your age, so bring it with you if necessary.

9. no smoking rule: Smoking is prohibited in many convenience stores. Even if smoking is allowed, refrain from smoking in areas other than designated smoking areas.

10. consideration for other customers: Convenience stores are frequented by many people, so please be considerate of other customers. Do not talk loudly or cause a disturbance when standing in line or doing anything else in the store.

By observing these precautions, you can enjoy a smooth shopping experience at Japanese convenience stores. In addition, a variety of souvenirs, snacks, and beverages can be easily purchased at convenience stores, so please be sure to use them when you visit Japan.