5 Great Japanese Convenience Store Services

conveni_sign

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.

conveni_sign

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).

shutter
(Photo credit: halfrain)

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.

1. ATM

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.

ATM

(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!

power_bill

(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.

deliverly

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.
wifi_sign

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.

ticket

Washroom (Extra)

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.

washroom

Lastly

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.

 

Related link

How To Get Free Wi-Fi In Japan


Coffee to go in Japan!

machi_cafe

Yo, it’s Mr. Wada on duty. Right now I’m in a hurry to grab some coffee (dying from thirst). On the way I’m sharing some info where you can get coffee instantly in situations like mine right now (shhhh, don’t ask for details!).

 

Places for coffee to go in Japan!

After reading Mrs. Wada’s report here, instant coffee isn’t bad after all hah? Coffee to go in Japan, which used to be just cheap & low quality, is not only cheap but actually good nowadays. I’ve listed up some of them to compare. Check it out.

Note: Stars for evaluation are all based on my opinion. Nothing serious.

1. Convenience stores

Lawson: Machi cafe

machi_cafe

Seven Eleven: SEVEN cafe

SEVEN cafe
Any of the convenience store coffee today is fairly good (enough). With coffee machines installed, fresh coffee are now served (do I sound like from a TV commercial?). As you press the start button, it goes through the whole process of brewing from grinding coffee beans to dripping . It’s reasonable as well from a price of 100 yen. Grab & go!

SPEED
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PRICE
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QUALITY
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2. Fast food

McDonald’s
McCafe_Coffee

(Photo credit: MIKI Yoshihito)

The world-famous American franchise has improved its coffee. I suppose it isn’t bad, though I wouldn’t feel comfortable to get only a cup of coffee there. Less points given (personally).

SPEED
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PRICE
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3. Vending machines (canned coffee)

As TV commercials say “canned coffee has improved its taste, now as good as regular dripped coffee”.

vending_machine_01
vending_machine_02

It is not so bad and that it’s available in every vending machine (there are millions of them in Japan) which adds up extra points!

SPEED
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PRICE
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4. Cafes

Drive through is available at some cafes.

starbucks_drive_thru

(Photo credit: Brad Reeser)

Unfortunately cafes tend to be busy. Less points given.
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SPEED
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PRICE
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QUALITY
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My opinion

What do you think?  For me, convenience store coffee seem good in total because it’s available mostly anywhere, reasonable, and I don’t encounter long lineup that often. You might want to compare and taste the differences yourself.

Ok, I think I’ve found a place to quench my thirst. I will be in touch in a week. See you around.