Within Your Reach: The Art of Konbini

If you are looking for that one-stop shop that is basically on every corner of Japanese cities who has their lights shining like a ray of hope for the whole 24 hours of a day, then konbini is the right place to go to. Konbini which is short for konbiniensu sutoru or also known as the convenience store is not the average shops you have in mind. In Japan, it is one of the essential things in life.

A Japanese way of life

With the modern life in Japan where everything is so fast-paced, especially in the cities, having convenience is definitely the way to go. The long hours of work and given the short break times, the people need to have a place that is nearby to get food or other supplies such as toilet paper in case of emergencies. They have everything you will ever need in a konbini such as meals, beverages and they also have services such as wi-fi, bill payments, reservation of tickets, ATM, delivery services and even printing your pictures from your camera. Even if you are just in Japan for a visit, the ease of access would be one of the things you will love about a konbini. It has a way of making the things you cannot live without within your reach.

Source: radioshiga.com

Most sought for konbini

With the demand of konbini comes brands that compete for the top spots in the market and so here are the top three.

  1. 7-Eleven
    This is a convenience store chain that was founded around 1927. Japan has the highest number of 7-Eleven than anywhere else in the globe and it is also the most famous konbini in Japan. They have more than two thousand five hundred stores in Tokyo alone. If you need something, just look for a 7-Eleven around the corner.

    Source: dwivyandre.blogspot.jp
  2. Family Mart
    Family Mart originated in Japan and falls close behind 7-Eleven in the race of being the largest chain of konbini in the country. The first branch opened in the prefecture of Saitama around 1973. They have all the things you need from food to magazines to bento and other basic grocery items.

    Source: therakyatpost.com
  3. Lawson
    The third largest in the konbini race in the country but definitely not the least. As much as it is for the food, they are quite famous for their sweets. Even when you had a bad day, this will definitely make your life better.

    Source: japantimes.co.jp

Top 10 konbini food must try

Food is something that you can never go wrong with when going into a konbini. If this is your first time, then you should definitely try one of the ten in this list because they will definitely satisfy your cravings for good food at your money’s worth.

  1. Onigiri
    Lovers of rice would definitely eat this up as it onigiri is wrapped in such a way that it can be easily eaten anywhere you are. It even comes with different fillings.

    Source: gaijinpot.com
  2. Bento
    Japanese and their packed lunch have been getting quite the rave on the internet lately and the bento in most konbini are sure to surprise you with their delicious combinations of meals. Definitely worth trying!
  3. Anpan
    Satisfy your sweet tooth by eating this Japanese sweet roll that is filled with a paste of red bean. It is quite the favorite in the country so taste it for yourself and see what makes it so special.

    Source: justonecookbook.com
  4. Sushi
    You cannot go to Japan and leave without tasting a sushi at the very least. You can find them everywhere and the konbini is no exception. If you are looking for a place to get your sushi for a lower price this is the best one to get it.
  5. Oden
    Especially during winter, oden is really the popular food to buy at a konbini. It is a mix of different foods such as radish, fish passed and more that is put together in a broth that is light to taste and definitely delicious.

    Source: timeout.com
  6. Gyudon
    This is one of the food that you must definitely not miss out when you go to a konbini. Gyudon is basically beef that is fried with vegetables mixed in a sweet sauce then made into rice toppings.
  7. Soba
    Are you a fan of noodles? If so, then soba would be a good pick as it is delicious and light to eat. It is made from buckwheat flour and definitely worth trying.
  8. Sandwiches
    Sandwiches may feel typical and normal but the Japan has the most delicious set of sandwiches in their konbini so be free to try out and see which one suits your taste the most.

    Source: buzzfeed.com
  9. Dorayaki
    If you know Doraemon then you know dorayaki as this is his favorite sweet. Red bean paste is really dear to the taste of the people of Japan and so they have another popular dessert infused with it. Dorayaki are pancakes put together and filled with the red bean in the middle.
  10. Melon Pan
    Anime shows usually feature this type of Japanese bread that is simply a classic. A bread that is delicious that has a grid pattern on top of it, this one is going to be something to remember Japan by.

Treasure hunt!

These are just some of the food that you can grab at the konbini store near you but there are still so many jewels waiting to be found by you. Maybe you would be able to give your own sets of recommendation after you have tried out new products from other konbini. Do not hesitate and just go for it. Explore and keep hunting!

Alecksandra is a food hobbyist and otaku who has a deep interest in Japanese culture and cuisine. She likes knowing how every food out there in the open came to be, the meaning of their very names, why they taste the way they do and the diverging concepts that are behind every dish. One day she will travel to different countries to go restaurant hopping and share her food adventures to the world.

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