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Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/14 15:02

In one month, my boyfriend and I will be travelling to Japan for 3 weeks.
We want to save some money by buying our breakfasts and lunches and snacks at grocery stores rather than all individual throughout the day.
I cannot find anything helpful online about supermarkets or grocery stores in Japan.
We are staying at:
Osaka (higobashi)
Hiroshima (kanayamacho)
Kyoto (karasuma)
Kyoto (gojo)

We are willing to travel a bit in order to get to a good supermarket.

Thanks for helping.
by emmarose__:) (guest)  

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/14 16:58
I think it's nice idea to take advantage of local supermarket as you can see not only tourist attractions but also local ppl's daily life.

supermarket near Higobashi

supermarket near Kanayamacho

Gojo and Karasuma are street names. Will you specify the town or area or station?
by v (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/14 21:10
If you want to save money but get some really excellent restaurant meals, try eating lunch instead of dinner in a restaurant, and then have dinner in your hotel room with food you pick up in a market or take-out place. (Or have something like ramen or an inexpensive rice bowl for dinner.) I have had some simply amazing restaurant lunches in the 1000-2000 yen range. Mini kaiseki, prix fixe French, outstanding seafood course-meals, that sort of thing. Lunch buffets are often a bargain, too.

Also be open to markets other than the "super" kind. In Kyoto you will be near Nishiki Market, which is an excellent place to buy food items.

There's a fairly nice medium-size supermarket in the Aeon Mall near Kyoto Station. It is not near Gojo or Karasuma, but if you're at Kyoto Station for some reason it's less than a 10-minute walk.

Department store basements usually have a small-size supermarket (i.e., place that sells general groceries), but they are usually relatively high in price. But the basement will also a whole array of food vendors selling ready to eat delicacies.(Some, but by no means all, need to be heated up, so those things are not a good choice unless you have a microwave.) And there are wonderful bakeries. Try Japanese sandwiches, if you've never done so. Daimaru in downtown Kyoto has a good food basement (a stone's throw from Nishiki Market).

You can also get plenty of things to eat in a convenience store. If you've had a fine lunch, then it's natural to "go simple" and just pick something up and cocoon in your hotel room.

Bakeries and convenience stores are good places to buy breakfast. The convenience stores are open early, unfortunately most bakeries are not (I often buy things the night before). Breads in Japan are simply fabulous.
by Uma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/14 21:56
Unless you have access to a stove, shopping at a supermarket won't necessarily save you any money.

It will give you access to a fairly large variety of relatively fresh dishes of varying nutritional value.

The cheapest things at many supermarkets will be bento lunches. They will cost from 250 - 500 yen depending on size and content. This is really no different from picking up a bento at a Hokaben shop.

No matter where you go, healthy food choices will cost more. How you fair in the battle of nutritional and monetary value constantly being waged between convenience stores and supermarkets depends on the city, the time of day, and your priorities.

Everyone has different priorities but I do think it would be a shame to come all the way to Japan and not experience the food culture. It doesn't necessarily have to be expensive but it would require more than shopping at supermarkets and convenience stores.
by kyototrans rate this post as useful

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/14 21:58
Osaka (higobashi)

This is not a great area for supermarkets, I believe I remember there being one in the area, but I can't

remember where. You will find many conveinence stores, but they will be more expensive and do not discount.

The best area for supermarkets is in south Osaka. One of the biggest is MaxValu in Namba, if you go

there late in the evening (after 8.00 pm) fresh foods will be discounted to clear (bento boxes,

sandwiches, sushi, etc). If your hotel room has a fridge you should be okay keeping stuff for the next day:

There is also a fairly new supermarket within the JR Namba station building just north of Max Valu, but I thought it to be rather expensive.

Also look out for Tamade supermarkets, this one is next to Exit 1 of Hanazonocho subway station:

And I am pretty sure there's another supermarket at exit 3B of the same station.

Hiroshima (kanayamacho)

Directly east, and on the far side of Hijiyama Park should be a MaxValu, even though the store says "Saty" on Google StreetView.

Kyoto (karasuma), Kyoto (gojo)

These are practically next to each other, Gojo is not great for supermarkets, but if you go west of Karasuma station, there are a few to be found. Next to Shijoomiya and close to Omiya station is a Frescso supermarket:

Continuing west on Shijo Dori there is a Gourmet City:

There is a Coop supermarket near to Nijo subway and JR stations:
by RobBeer (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/15 05:08
Thanks for all your help :)

And I am aware that buying all my food isnt experiencing Japanese food culture- but my boyfriend is really picky and doesn't eat much so I need to have a back up.
I've been to Japan twice before- so I know the sorts of foods and prices etc. But just not the location of the markets.

I was actually thinking of having cheaper meals in our hotels like noodles and eating at a restaurant for lunch- so thanks for confirming that it's a good idea. :)

I wasn't really looking for somewhere to buy ingredients for meals to cook, moreso bulk snack options like museli bars, chips and things etc. So no need for fridges.

Also, I have read a lot about the department stores food levels- but I was of the opinion there were expensive.

So yeah, thanks for all your help guys!!

Oh p.s could I please get that list of restaurants for lunches? thanks

by emmarose__:) (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/15 05:14
Japan is the land of prepared foods.
Don't worry about or waste your time trying to find supermarkets as they are not everywhere.
Anywhere you go you will find good tasty & healthy food cheap.
If you see these, go in.
convenient stores are everywhere. They have microwave ovens for warming.
At rail stations or department stores, go underground where you will find bustling and freshly prepared a la carte type of all kinds. Also at rail station platforms have udon/soba noodle kioks for quick stand up eating that are crowded by Japanese.
You might run into bento shops which sells hot bento box.
But many restaurants offer lunch specials very cheap.
Also there are many Japanese fast food places cheaper than buying ingredients or inconvenience of preparing, i.e. Yoshinoya, Matuzakaya beef rice bowl, curry, ramen, etc.
Some may open late night, early morning or all night. Some very cheap places have meal ticket vending machines. All are decent & offer standardized taste.
by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/15 07:33
It's true that department store basements are not the cheapest places to buy dinner, although the quality is usually pretty good. If you go an hour (or less) before closing, there are sometimes excellent markdowns on bentos and other take-out.

I wish I had a list of good lunch restaurants, but I don't. What I usually do is buy a Rurubu guide for the city I'm staying in. Rurubu has led me to a lot of really terrific restaurants. However, they do not publish in English.

In Kyoto, consider trying an o-banzai ryori buffet for lunch one day. Last time I was in Kyoto I went to one at the Hotel Unizo, which is in the Sanjo-Kawaramachi area. It was only 1000 yen (including beverage) and had quite good variety and the quality was excellent. They had an ample number of classic vegetable-based dishes but the spread was by no means limited to vegetables, or even to o-banzai dishes. (They had Japanese curry, for example.)

Assuming you will be staying in hotels, the front desk is often the best source for directions to supermarkets in the area. But I agree with amazinga that it's generally not worth spending a lot of time trying to find them and get to them. You might save a few hundred yen over what you can buy elsewhere, but your time is precious, too.
by Uma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/20 10:30
Buying bentos at supermarket can be a great way to save money during a trip (although, as others have mentioned, if you're going to spend the money to go to another country, you might as well experience all there is to experience [including the food]). If you go past a certain time at night you can find bentos for half off (so I've gotten bentos that were originally ~400 yen for 200 yen).
by Anon (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/21 07:06
I guess I'll just share my experience then.

I found that supermarkets (supaamaketto) in Japan are far and few. There are, of cource, the ginormous food courts in the big department stores (depaato), and the food markets such as the one underneath the trainstation in Ueno, Tokyo. But all of that will most likely get you the raw ingredients, meaning you'd need cooking apparatus to prepare everything, and you'd probably need some knowledge of Japanese in order to read what the packages trying to tell you ;)

The most convenient way of getting good items for breakfast and lunch is definately a convenience store (konbini). And they are freaking everywhere! And not just in city centers, but truly everywhere. You'll usually have a grand selection of rice-products, bread (I can recommend melon bread!), hot & cold drinks, noodles (just add hot water, and they'll do that for you if you want), as well as ice creams, chocolate, chips and other snacks for desert.

In smaller towns and villages, you might come across small grocery stores, no bigger than convenience stores. Again, everything is very affordable, but expects items to be a little bit less focused on convenience, and a little more on the shopping housewife.

But I'd urge you to, at *least* for dinner, to go out in the city, have a stroll somewhere and find a restaurant that looks nice. Restaurants, to my experience, are always affordable, the food is delicious, and the staff is friendly and polite. You can't miss.

Good luck :)
by thany rate this post as useful

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/21 08:12
I found that supermarkets (supaamaketto) in Japan are far and few.

There are actually supermarkets all over the place in Japan- probably more than in a lot of countries because a lot of people don't have a car so there has to be one within walking distance.

Visitors might think there aren't many though because a lot of the sights in Tokyo for example are in central city areas, whereas the proper supermarkets are all out in the suburbs where everyone lives!
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/21 09:27
7 and I holdings and AEON are the top 2 retail store chains in Japan. Have you heard of them? I guess most foreign tourists have never been to their "mega-stores" since most of their stores are located in suburban areas(outside of Tokyo Yamanote Line or Osaka Loop Line).

Imagine what kind of areas Walmart supercenters are located in.
by example (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/21 10:17
In Osaka, if you happen to be at Tennoji Station, there's a pretty good Ito Yokado supermarket nearby (you can find the exact location on a map, or ask someone in the vicinity). That's the best supermarket I've seen in central Osaka, but I don't really know that area very well.
by Uma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Supermarkets or grocery stroes in japan? 2012/2/21 10:18
Have to agree with Sira that there are plenty of supermarkets out in the suburbs, but even in central Tokyo, in and around the Yamanote line I can think of many supermarkets. Either by or within a few minutes walk of many Yamanote line stations like Otsuka, Sugamo, Komagome, Ueno, Shinagawa, Gotanda and Mejiro. Within the Yamanote line I can think of three supermarkets within a few minutes of Korakuen station.
by RobBeer (guest) rate this post as useful

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