I remember hearing about the 100 Yen store from a friend who had visited Japan several years back. The first store opened in 1991, and now there are around 1,300 stores throughout Japan and Asia.The largest is a five story gargantuan store in front of Tokyo’s Machida Station while the second smaller version is the Daiso flagship store in the city’s Harajuku neighborhood.During one of our stays in Tokyo, we ended up staying at the Sheraton Miyako right next door to one of the stores, so we naturally wondered in.
And I confess we were hooked!
Not only did we end up visiting it several times to purchase multiple items but started recommending the experience to all our friends. And here are ten good reasons why:
If your luggage is delayed or lost, this is the place to come and replace your missing sundries and cosmetic items. From toothbrushes, slippers, razors, hairbrushes and even packing bags –it is all there at a fraction of the cost that a local drugstore would charge you.
Weather related accessories
Forgot to pack your umbrella or flip-flops?
No problem.The store carries umbrellas and ponchos for the frequent Tokyo’s rainy days as well as sunglasses, fans, flip-flops, and hats for the sunny ones.
If you need a flashlight, luggage tags, lanyards, carabiners, velcro strips, duct tape, or electronic adapters; the store carries it.
Cheap extra clothing items
If your family is anything like ours, then it is always short on socks no matter how many additional pairs are initially packed. But don’t worry-you can find men, women, and kids’ socks, as well as t-shirts and underwear in the store for a buck each.
One of the things we’ve learned over our decade of travel is to have some snacks in the hotel room for those midnight munchies. If you travel across time zones, chances are you and your family members might suffer from jetlag and be hungry at odd hours of the night when regular stores and eateries are not open. The store carries everything from potatoes chips and popcorn to sweets and microwavable noodles.
Hotels tend to charge an arm and a leg for bottled water, and when you travel with a family, this expense can add up. The 100 Yen Store can help you stock up and bring the water bottles back to your room for a fraction of the cost you’d expect to pay at a local grocery store.
As frequent travelers we’ve learned to carry a first aid kit, tissues, and wipes everywhere we go, but it was only last year we realized we also needed to lug plastic utensils, and straws as well when traveling to Asian countries where Western eating utensils might not be readily available in some restaurants.Luckily, we found a dozen forks and knives packages for a hundred yen each.
Toys to fill a travel goodie bag
The 100 Yen Store is a shopper’s paradise when it comes to finding cheap art supplies and sensory toys. Parents can stock up on play -doh, squishy balls, balloons, colorful markers and stickers for years to come without going broke!
Kitchen and Laundry supplies
Travelers choosing to stay in rented apartments instead of hotel rooms may need cheap kitchen items like food storage boxes or utensils as well as laundry items like soap or clips all of which the 100 yen store stocks and has available in every store.
If your child has his or her heart set on buying a few souvenirs for his friends, the 100 yen store is the place to pick up cute headphones, little charms, phone covers, tablet covers and even some licensed Disney merchandise.
We discovered a long time ago that small daily rewards help as incentives for our son with autism to get him to behave during travel; so we were thrilled to discover this store is the crowned emporium of mini rewards.
Our son was very excited to go and comb the aisles for his daily reward. In fact, one of his prized possessions to this day is an anime cartoon DVD he’s watched, again and again, enjoying the animation even though he doesn’t understand any of the Japanese dialogue.
Have you been to the 100 Yen Store?
What items did you buy?