Go to shopping: the 100 Yen Shop

Until last year orso shops printed the prices for goods so as to exclude the sales tax. It was a very confusing time because you always had to pay a little more than you were expecting. Now the law forbids that and all quoted prices include tax. So legally I suppose we must talk of 105 Yen shops, but they somehow slipped through the net and are still advertising themselves as 100 Yen shops, which makes them a suitable subject to celebrate this blog’s 100th post.

As the name suggests everything in the shop is 100 Yen (+5% sales tax = 105 Yen), some of the smaller independent shops sell for a little lower to make the final price, including tax, exactly 100 Yen, but mostly it’s 105 Yen per item (US$ 0.90, EU 0.67). Often cheaper goods are bundled, like 5 kitchen sponges for 105 Yen and sometimes they cheat with more expensive items, like cardboard shelves costing 105 Yen per section and really needing 6 sections if they are to remain upright.

When it comes to stock they pretty much sell most things any starting immigrant could require to furnish his new apartment: cups, saucers, pots, pans, cooking utensils, crockery, chopsticks, cutting knives, cutting boards, pegs, hangers, slippers, glasses, teapots, lunchboxes, tote bags, soap dishes, towel racks, towels, masks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, garden tools, tools, nails, screws, boxes, trays, socks, shawls, hats, brushes, brooms, Tupperware, portable ashtrays, ashtrays, lighters, lighter fuel, sweets, breath mints, toys for the kids, notebooks, folders, origami paper, name stamps, name stamp ink, signs, empty VHS and audio tapes, single CD-ROMs, CD and DVD cases, washing nets, washing up liquid, washing powder, pens, pencils, charcoal, rulers, straightedges, cutters, watering cans, reed curtains, soaps, wet-wipes, band-aids, plates, bowls, mugs, cosmetics, aprons, in short everything that isn’t too large or too expensive.
In the festive seasons they also sell the required decorations, like baubles, tinsel, boar statuettes, wreaths, cards, candles, etc.

They probably make a profit on the cheaper items while taking a loss on the slightly more expensive ones. Either way it’s obvious they are making an overall profit because there are quite a few of these shops, there have been for a while and they still continue on.

Once you have furnished your apartment with all the essentials 100 Yen shops are a great place to quickly and cheaply fill all the cupboards. For visiting tourists they are a good place to pick up cheap presents, like soup bowls or chopsticks; the recipient need never know how little you paid if you make up a nice story about how you bought them at a traditional handicraftsman’s shop in the middle of nowhere. "No, it may feel remarkably like cheap plastic but it’s really lacquered wood!”

Location: 100 Yen shops are everywhere, except in the more up market shopping areas.
Website: There are many companies that run 100 Yen shops, like Seria, Daiso, Can do, Oh Three, Watts, etc.
Map Seriously, everywhere!


  1. Happy 100th post! I have been with you from the beginning, and I must say the quality of your log is oddly high. Take a break or something, your freaking me out with the regularity of updates.

  2. w000t, happy 100th!! Right around the holiday season too. Hope everythings great over there, I have to endure a few more days of finals and then commence drinking.

  3. "quality of your log is oddly high"
    It must be the fiber I'm eating!

    Thanks guys; onto the next 100!

  4. D'oh, what a cock up! Apparently this was post 99, as I had 1 draft hidden amongst all the published posts. Never mind, the 100th post will be an actual useful and revelant one.

  5. You forgot the most important thing you can buy at the 100yen shops: umbrellas! Cheap umbrellas are a godsend when yours get stolen and you're too upstanding of a citizen to steal someone elses... Too bad the 100yen post wasn't # 100, would've been very fitting :D

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