11 essentials ¥100 store items – One of the first things that travelers and foreign residents living in Japan learn to love is the ¥100 shops that are scattered all over the country. Similar to dollar stores that can be found in America, these ¥100 stores contain a wide variety of goods. They house everything from the everyday essentials to novelty items, and even seasonal and holiday items.
There are some major ¥100 retail chains such as DAISO, Can*Do and Seria that are incredibly popular. And there are also many local stores that one may pass on their daily commute or when walking around their neighborhood. It doesn’t matter if you’re browsing one of the big retail shops, or a smaller, local shop because all the items are very similar or comparable.
So, whether you’re in need of some toothpaste that you forgot to pack, or if you just want to get a cute little sumo wrestler pen for a souvenir, the ¥100 yen store is the place that you want to be. Here are 11 items that are worth picking up on your next visit to one of these magical stores.
1. Charging Cables
These are incredibly handy, especially for travelers. A charging cable for only ¥100. What an amazing deal. You can find cables to charge your iPhone or Android device, amongst others. DAISO has some cables that have retractable cords (as pictured) to make packing and unpacking even easier as the cables don’t get tangled with other items. The standard version is also available with a non-retractable cable.
2. USB Wall Charger
This is similar to item number one. It’s a USB wall charger and can also be purchased for ¥100. This nifty little device allows one to plug their USB charging cable directly into a power outlet in any wall to charge their device. Think of number one and number two like a pair. This is a versatile item that can be used for phones, tablets, headphones and anything else that uses a USB charging port. The Apple Store charges around $20 USD for these, so at ¥100, you’re getting a great bargain.
3. Portable Charger
Now you have your charging cables and you even bought a USB wall charger, but there are no wall outlets where you are. What a predicament. What do you do? Not to worry, the ¥100 store has got you covered. In addition to the USB wall chargers and charging cables, these stores also sell portable chargers too!
There are portable chargers that are powered by USB and there are portable chargers that are powered by batteries. Usually you can choose the color of your portable charger: white or black. But buyer beware, the USB powered portable chargers are nicer, but may carry a higher price tag of ¥300 or ¥500.
Still not much considering that portable chargers sell for upwards of $20 and $30 USD at convenience stores and online.
Another item that can be combined with a previous item! Batteries are something that you may want to pick up as well. Even if you didn’t opt for the ¥100 portable charger that is powered by batteries. Usually batteries are a couple of dollars a pack, but at the ¥100 store you can get about 5 AA-batteries for only ¥100 yen.
That factors out to about ¥20 or 20 cents a battery! So, grab a pack and use it for one of your portable chargers or any other battery powered item that you may have, such as a razor or cooling fan. Most airlines don’t allow these types of batteries on board due to safety concerns, so this is a good solution for short-term visitors.
It eliminates the stress and worry of not being able to use an item without paying an arm and a leg for batteries that you will be forced to dispose of before boarding your flight home.
Maybe it’s a sunny day and you left your sunglasses at home on your dresser, like you always do. Or maybe you’re just in the market for some cheeky new shades. Instead of paying ¥1,000 or more at a convenience store to get a new pair, just drop by the ¥100 store and get a cheap pair quickly and effortlessly.
There are usually many designs to choose from, and with the low-price tag, there’s no stress about losing or misplacing them. Or if you want to use them as a gag for an event or night out, they work perfect for that too.
6. Card Case
If you’re living in Japan, or just doing business here, you know how important business cards are. There is an entire ritual and sequence built around meishi (the Japanese word for a business card) and the exchanging of these cards. One of the most important things in Japanese culture is to show respect. Respect is shown to elders, superiors at work and customers shopping at a store.
Bowing is the most prominent gesture of respect and can be seen on trains, in shops and at business meetings. Every once and a while you may catch a glimpse of someone bowing while talking on the phone! This culture of respect extends to business situations and especially when handling business cards.
It is faux pas to scribble a note on a business card (even your own) or to put a business card in your pocket where it can get bent or damaged. To solve this, the ¥100 yen store sells a wide variety of card cases to give you piece of mind at that next business luncheon. My personal favorite is the stainless-steel card case from DAISO.
It can hold about 16 cards and looks very sleek and professional. And it’s stainless-steel! Very tough to break.
7. Clear File Folders (or Clear Pockets)
Another business-related item is the clear file folders (also known as clear pockets) that come in multi-packs. You can get 8 or more folders for just ¥100. These are incredibly handy if you have important documents that you want to protect or just keep organized.
They can be used to hold a resume, a business contract and immigration paperwork or any other file that you deem worthy. Especially handy if you have a meeting and there is a liability of spilling tea or coffee.
8. File Folders
If you have many files (that are now protected because you purchased the clear file folders), but you just don’t have the space for them in your home, you can buy a file folder to help organize them. There are a few different options, but most file folders come with dividers and tabs to label each section.
My personal preference is the clear file folder from Can*Do. It has 5 sections and is perfect for keeping important documents like bills or receipts organized and easily accessible.
9. Scented Candles or Incense
It’s kind of hard to find scented candles in Japan. Occasionally you run across some delightful candles produced by Yankee Candle at Don Quijote, but these are very expensive, and there is no guarantee that they will be in stock. DAISO has recently introduced scented candles.
A candle about the size of a Tom Collins glass can be purchased for ¥100 and will keep your home smelling so fresh and so clean. If scented candles are not available, most ¥100 stores carry various incense products that will also get the job done. Incense is typically sold in either stick form or as a cone. And incense burners or catchers are for sale too.
10. Seasonal Items
Around the holidays the ¥100 stores are a great place to get some holiday themed décor, especially for Christmas or Halloween. Birthday and other party favors can be found too. Most of these items are only available at certain times of the year, and may not come back again next year, so it’s best to browse and see if there’s anything that you may want or need.
This also includes Japanese holidays and festivals such as Children’s Day and Girl’s Day.
11. Region-specific Items
DAISO has a section that is specific to the region where the store is located. In Japan, you can find many traditional Japanese themed items that make great souvenirs or gifts. These include a sumo wrestler atop a pen or a samurai sword refrigerator magnet. In Seoul, Korea there is a DAISO that has a regional section, but with Korean inspired items. Magnets, stickers and more. It’s worth checking out.
Conclusion – 11 essentials ¥100 store items
When you’re on the go, ¥100 stores are a great place to stretch your money. They’re useful for travelers and locals alike. If you want to pick up something quickly or for cheap, these stores are the best option.
With the catalog of items constantly evolving and getting better and better, and prices getting cheaper and cheaper, it’s only a matter of time before all your daily necessities and conveniences can be found at a ¥100 yen shop. Happy shopping!
See you again next time!
Trevor Jones is an American writer currently living and working in Tokyo, Japan. He enjoys writing about his experiences traveling and exploring new destinations. He is also passionate about music and film.