The first few times we went grocery shopping in Japan, we felt a mixture of sheer excitement and a little panic. Even though we were very familiar with Japan, we quickly realized that we’d need to find new brands for almost everything in our home. Fortunately, we’ve found our favorite grocery stores in Japan and never looked back.
While many of these stores can be found throughout Japan, the information in this post is specific to Yokohama and the Tokyo area. Each of our favorite grocery stores in Japan has different merits, so we’ll do our best to highlight why we love them!
Note: Be sure to always check what your local grocery store and/or convenience store is offering throughout the year. There are some fantastic holiday goodies that you really won’t want to miss!
Favorite Grocery Stores in Japan
Walking around Aeon feels like a premium experience — at least the ones in our area. Our local Aeon is truly a one-stop shop where we can find almost everything we’re ever looking for and more. I’m always relieved when I’m out and spot an Aeon.
The first floor of our closest location is where you can find all the food and groceries. Just outside the main doors is a cleaner which is really convenient. On the second floor, you’ll find home goods, a pharmacy, and a Daiso (this is like the best dollar store ever). You’ll also see a salon, restaurant, chiropractic clinic, and gym!
Best Things About Aeon
- Huge selection of food — The produce and meat quality is top-notch, especially the chicken. You can buy breast pre-sliced for a very affordable price and I love it so much that I don’t buy meat from any other store.
- Easy self-pay shopping — Don’t speak Japanese? No problem! There’s a little device you can attach to your shopping cart so you can scan your items as you go. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to pay for your grocery haul and you’re done!
- Best side dishes — Japan loves side dishes like potato salad and pickled cucumbers. The ones at Aeon are the absolute best and taste really homemade. I’d been making a potato salad recipe for years and we were all shocked that the one from Aeon tastes identical. We love it!
- TopValu is the best store brand — If you like buying store brands to save a little money, you’ll definitely want to check out TopValu products. We love them so much that it’s become one of our favorite brands in Japan!
- Restaurants/eating area — There are several restaurants and an eating area where you can microwave dishes you bought in the store. We’ve enjoyed many quick post-shopping lunches together in this spot!
We love Ito Yokado almost as much as we love Aeon. Some people describe it as Japan’s Target, but I don’t think that’s quite right. While you can find a LOT of things at most Ito Yokado stores, the experience is uniquely Japanese.
Some locations are MASSIVE. I mean truly enormous. Our local Ito Yokado has two floors but also has multiple clothing shops, an electronics store, a massage clinic, a bookstore, and a Daiso (among other things!) on the two floors above it.
Best Things About Ito Yokado
- 7-11 products. Before you roll your eyes, lemme just say that 7-11 products in Japan are amazing. Not only are the labels bilingual (so you can read in English!) but they genuinely make good stuff. I love the vegetable stir fry sauce, for example. It’s so cheap and delicious!
- Salads. Can’t explain it, but Ito Yokado has the best salad and salad dressing (this technically should fall until the whole “7-11 products” thing but the salads are so good they deserve a bullet of their own). Try them.
- Home goods. We’ve bought pots and pans, Splatoon video game Amiibos, school supplies, and even a Daruma doll at Ito Yokado.
- Prefectural events & holidays. All grocery stores have events and holidays but our Ito Yokado often devotes entire weeks to foods and goods from the different prefectures. We love it!
Before moving to Japan, we’d always try to do one grocery trip per week. It was just more convenient and helped us stay on budget. Now, the exact opposite is true. We usually shop at least four times a week! There are a few reasons for this.
First, food in Japan expires a lot quicker than in the States due to the lack of preservatives. We used to buy bread that could last up to two weeks. Our bread now only lasts two to three days. It’s super fresh! Second, we love making our meals based on what’s on sale that day. Third, it’s easy to find little grocery stores in neighborhoods across Japan. We don’t have to find a big store to get what we need!
Best Things About My Basket
- Well-stocked. It’s small so it’s easy to assume that there’s not a lot in there, but they’ve really chosen the most important products for these little stores. Fresh produce and meat, rice and noodles, cleaning supplies, frozen foods, snacks…it’s rare that they don’t have something that we really need. It’s amazing!
- Great location. We’re literally surrounded by these little grocery stores so we walk down every day and do our shopping.
- Good prices. The prices at these small shops are the same or similar to the large grocery stores.
Just like anywhere in the world, Costco is a great place to buy things in bulk. If you’ve got a bunch of kids in the house, like we do, then you should probably check it out. Of course, you will also find a lot of Japan-specific goods too so it’s always a fun adventure!
Best Things About Costco Japan
- Produce. We love buying local produce from our supermarkets, but foreign produce like melons, grapes, and limes is hard to find or very expensive. You can find these items at Costco Japan for a good price!
- Chips and salsa. It’s not always easy to find Mexican foods in Japan, so when we’re craving chips and salsa, we head to Costco!
- Kirkland products. Need I really say more? You know what I’m talking about!
- Cereal, pasta sauce, and paper towels. We need all of these things in bulk (plus, one of our twins will only eat Classico pasta sauce) so we get them in bulk!
- International foods. Whether it’s fresh croissants, Korean bulgogi meat, or Oikos yogurt, this is where we find all that good stuff!
- Disaster preparedness. A reality of living in Japan is that natural disasters are common. Stock up on catridges for gas stoves, portable toilets, and other supplies at Costco!
When all else fails, check on Amazon! Honestly, we don’t buy a LOT of groceries on Amazon, but the few items we’ve found are things we order again and again. Sauce for Korean tteokbokki or certain American and Canadian things we’re craving. It’s easy to find on Amazon Japan!
Shopping in Japan can be a little overwhelming at first. You won’t find a lot of products that you recognize and if you can’t read Japanese, you’ll struggle to figure out what to even buy. Over time, though, you won’t even think about it anymore. So, if you’re reading this and feeling stressed — hang in there! We hope this list of our favorite grocery stores in Japan helped you plan for your next haul!