Hey I’m Mr. Wada on duty. It’s been cold again here. I hope Spring will be coming soon.
Do you like convenience stores? Me? Yeah, I guess I do. “Buy hot foods and stuff?” Nah, not always.
How convenience stores are like in Japan
You would find convenience stores (Japanese call them konbini) everywhere in Japan. In big cities they are like on every corner.
Little bit of Trivia
Open 24/7 but take a look closer, you may actually see SHUTTERS installed at konbini (apparently not all of them). Why the hell they’ve got shutters? There are times they actually CLOSE for such things related to Royal family for instance. I barely remember though, it was when the previous Japanese emperor passed away, all the stores closed (including konbini) for mourning. Other reasons would be disasters like earthquake, or when it has to close completely by financial matters (out of business).
5 Great Services of Japanese Convenience Store
Konbini in Japan today really seem convenient literary. Other than foods, drinks, or magazines, there are more great services that you should know. Let me tell you some that might be helpful.
Well, nothing less or more, ATM is ATM. Though think that we can withdraw cash at konbini, not at the bank! Plus, some banks don’t charge service fee for konbini ATM (perhaps with some conditions like certain amount of balance in your account would be required. It depends on the bank). I’ve found it quite useful especially for emergency.
Note: It might charge you extra during the holidays or weekends. Check conditions of your bank.
(Photo credit: Stéfan)
2. Bill Payment
Taxes, insurances, power bills and some other payments can be done at konbini. No hassle of lining up at the bank!
(Photo credit: Brendan Wood)
3. Delivery service
Mailing/shipping and delivery services are available. I strongly recommend this delivery service. For instance, Amazon Japan accepts this service. When I place an order on Amazon, there’s an option for shipping address. You can pick home address, another address or a specific konbini location. I normally pick konbini near work or my place. With this service I can pick up my package anytime! (what a relief) Well, it’s all because seeing a notice from a delivery guy as I get home and end up I’d have to go pick up my package at the post office really kills me. So I really appreciate this service.
Note: Convenience stores normally hold packages about a week or so. Make sure you will make it before that.
4. Free WiFi
Many konbini now offer free WiFi. Since there are millions of them in Japan, it’d be useful for travelers especially. I will guide you how to use it in another time.
5. Ticket Reservations
The ticket machine is usually installed next to the ATM or the copy machine. We can purchase/reserve variety of tickets like for concerts, amusement park, flights, movies, etc.
I wouldn’t call it a service but perhaps this could save your ass (it’s true that I’ve been saved by this several times). At most of stores, washroom is open to anyone. It’s like standard public washroom in Japan today.
There are a bunch of other services I couldn’t tell you this time. Go visit and explore what they got! They keep changing.
Oh, I’ve got to swing by and pick my package up at konbini. See you around.