The 10 Things I’ll Miss About Japan–No.09: Conbini 8

7-11 in Japan

conbini are never too far out of the way

Conbini (convenience stores) in Japan are far more convenient than their counterparts back home. I hardly ever set foot in a 7-11 in the States, but since coming to live in Japan, conbini visits have become a weekly occurrence.

Things I’ll Miss #9: Conbini (Convenience Stores)

#10: Matsuri

In Japan it feels like you’re never more than a block or two away from one of many chains of conbini: 7-11, Lawson’s, Family Mart, Circle K, Yamazaki, Sunkus, or one of the dozens of smaller local franchises. Everyone has their favorite, and I’m no different–I prefer Lawson’s because I have their Ponta point card, but I go to 7-11 and Family Mart often too.

Late for work in the morning and need to grab a quick breakfast? Need to pay a bill? Go to the bathroom? Get some cash? Toss some garbage or recycle a water bottle? Chances are high that at least one conbini will be en route to wherever you were already going.

inside of a Japanese convenience store

inside 7-11

Conbini are great for quick snacks at any time of day. Lots of middle and high school students stop by on their way home from school or club activities to grab something to tide them over until dinnertime.

snack aisle in Japanese convenience store

the packaged snack aisle

fried chicken and other hot foods

fried chicken and other hot foods

If it’s something more substantial you’re looking for, conbini have you covered too. Grab a rice ball or two, a sandwich, some instant soup, or a bento (box lunch) and you’re set!

onigiri (rice balls) and other lunch items

onigiri (rice balls) and other lunch items

Out of all the food conbini has to offer, onigiri are my favorite, hands-down. My go-to fillings are umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum) and konbu (a type of seaweed), and Jeff’s vote goes to the flaked salmon. They’re all pretty delicious though. The clerks will even warm them up for you at check-out if you want.

onigiri (rice balls)

onigiri (rice balls)

I’m going to miss being able to walk into a conbini and pick up my favorite onigiri any time I want. American convenience stores just don’t have the same appeal!

What’s your favorite Japanese conbini chain?
Want more? Check out “#8: Onsen” here!

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