Originally published on 2019/09/19

Before I even got to Japan, I already knew I’d be hitting up Daiso for basic household products.

Daiso is pretty popular in the Philippines. In terms of cute designs, it competes only with Mumuso and its sister-brands. It’s almost impossible to leave Daiso without buying something, no matter how small.

The Daiso in my city had prices ranging from 66 to 588 pesos. Many things are actually cheaper here in Japan’s Daiso since most of the products are 108 yen (with tax). That’s about PHP53–13 pesos cheaper than Pinoy Daiso.

Exploring different Daiso branches is an adventure in itself. You’ll never know what you’ll find.

Here are several things you’ll find in Daiso:

  1. Makeup
  2. Detergent, fabric softener, and toiletries
  3. Slippers
  4. Underwear
  5. Basic shirts and shorts
  6. Grooming products
  7. Skincare products
  8. Snacks and sweets
  9. Seasonings, soy sauce, cooking oil, and other condiments
  10. Stationery
  11. Shelves, drawers, and baskets
  12. Pillows (sometimes)
  13. Stools and even tables (sometimes)

There’s a lot more you can find in different Daiso branches, but each branch I think offers these twelve things. So, if you’re running out of cooking oil and there’s no supermarket nearby, just find the nearest Daiso.

The makeup they sell isn’t exactly Dior-level, but they can do the job. Also, there you can find eyebrow extension glue, eyebrow gel, nail polish remover, and something I didn’t know existed — a detergent for my beauty blender.

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There are lots of kobini or convenience stores in Japan. They sell some good food and lots of good ice cream. But my favorite is Lawson 100.

The one near my place has groceries, stuff for cooking, stationery, and things you’ll see at the local drug store. What’s more is that their ice cream costs around 100 to 110 yen (+ taxes)!

What you’ll find at a Lawson 100:

  1. Fruits and vegetables
  2. Seasoning, cooking oil, condiments, etc.
  3. Lots and lots of bread
  4. Bento
  5. Cold noodles
  6. Sandwiches
  7. Hot food (sometimes)
  8. Stationery
  9. Shelves and baskets
  10. Toiletries and laundry stuff
  11. Rubber slippers
  12. Ice cream!
  13. Drinks!
  14. Colored garbage bags for your city’s confusing waste disposal system!

Lawson 100 is where I usually go if I want to pick up some basic detergent, school supplies, food, and dessert without having to leave one floor. You get in, you get out. No more dillydallying and less chances of finding something shiny to bring home even if you don’t really need it — which is what usually happens when I go inside Daiso.

Another 100-yen shop is Can Do. Although Daiso is more popular, I think Can Do is just as ubiquitous. I think it’s generally a lot smaller than Daiso, but you’ll still be able to find a lot of good hundred-en products here.

The things you’ll find in Can Do are a lot like the ones in Daiso. There’s also Seria, where you’ll find lots of cute stationery, kitchenware, and household stuff.

Which things should you buy at a 100-yen shop?

If you’re not particular with the kind of soy sauce, vinegar, and seasonings you use, try buying at Daiso or Lawson 100.

I hit up these stores during my first month here because I wasn’t sure yet what I would like. It’s true you can spend hours reading lists on the best soy sauce to find, but sometimes it’s just better to explore and learn as you go.

Some Daiso shops also sell drinks — soda, Cola, beer, etc. But my favorite, back when I was still in Nishi-shinjuku, was Sangaria’s Banana Milk.

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I also recommend buying shelves, plastic drawers, and wooden containers from 100-yen shops. Daiso has a lot of plain ones, but you’ll find nice designs at Can Do and Seria.

Like this one I bought to contain stuff I had scattered on top of my frigde. I got it from Can Do, and while you’ll probably find stuff in weird English, you will occasionally find some with…okay English.

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Things to buy…elsewhere:

I have really sensitive facial skin, so I can’t just use any soap, facial wash, or moisturizer people on the internet rave about. Even if it has a glowing review or is graded five stars, it can still break me out so I’m very careful with the stuff I use on my face.

So, I would caution anyone with acne-prone or sensitive skin against buying skin care or beauty products from Daiso. Some of them might work on your skin, but some of them might break you out.

You can buy towels and tissues at 100-yen shops, but if you want something that lasts longer and doesn’t crumble in a second between your wet fingers, buy elsewhere. (Lawson 100 has some good tissues though, although they mostly cost a little bit more than a hundred yen.) The towels in 100-yen shops are usually small (even if they are body towels) and shed everywhere.

There are shops like Nitori and maybe Loft for better quality stuff.

Speaking of better quality, I recommend Nitori (since it won’t break the bank) for cooking pans, pots, etc. especially if you have an IH electric stove at home. Also, if you’re going to be doing a lot of cooking, do invest in better cookware.

These are the things you will generally find in 100-en shops, and I hope this has somehow helped you plan better which stores to hit up for stuff you need.

Jam Guibone

Hello! I am Jam. Welcome to my blog! I initially started this to document my adventures while working in Japan as an ALT under the JET Programme. I hope all the information here will be useful to you, whether or not you're also a JET, ALT, or just someone traveling abroad.

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