If there is one habit that you should not avoid while kicking back in an unfamiliar locale, it’s visiting the supermarket. But, do you know where to go for? Here is a guide to help you learn what to expect during a visit at an international supermarket and import stores in Japan, from major chains to what you can find, to experience the life of a local.
Kinokuniya is an upscale Japanese supermarket chain that specializes in foreign products just a minute away from Omotesando station. They offer a wide range of foreign products, mostly western products. And they also provide parking vouchers for up to 60 minutes. It carries the requisite variety of vegetables, fresh fish and meats, but on the whole the prices are a bit above average.
「Kinokuniya」Omotesando branch store
When it comes to Kinokuniya, you can't go wrong with their goodies. Whether it's the "Truffle Soy Sauce" made with white soy sauce, olive oil and French truffles, or the popular "Pork Chop Sandwich", it's a must-have at Kinokuniya.
"Truffle Soy Sauce" best goes with raw egg with a bowl of rice (1080yen tax inclusive)
The "Pork Chop Sandwich" is made daily at Kinokuniya's factory using Japanese pork topped with its original fruity sauce sandwiched between the store’s popular rich milk bread.
"Pork Chop Sandwich" 430yen （tax inclusive）
Kinokuniya's long-selling custard pudding has been favored for over 40 years. This pudding has a great balance of flavor between vanilla and the bitterness of the caramel.
Custard Pudding 258yen（tax inclusive）
- KINOKUNIYA INTERNATIONAL ( Kinokuniya International )
- Tokyo Minato Kitaaoyama 3 11 7 Ao Building B 1 F
Seijo Ishii is a chain of international supermarkets that can be found mostly in train stations, malls, and other similar facilities throughout the Kanto and the Kansai areas of Japan. The store offers a wide range of high quality food at affordable prices including fresh foods, imported wines and cheese. The items from their original brand, DESICA (Delights Seijo Ishii Chef Approved) is a must not be missed item to look into.
The most fascinating thing about Seijo Ishii is the array of bento boxes near to the entrance, with dozens of dishes ranging from Japanese, Thai and Chinese, making it a great choice for office workers in the neighborhood to pick up before commuting or during lunch hours.
Varieties of bento boxes to choose from
Rich in cream cheese, this baked cake has a natural sweetness from its dough topped with crispy streusel and a hint of almonds and raisins to add some more flavor.
Premium Cheesecake 853yen（tax inclusive）
QUEEN'S Isetan is a supermarket run by Isetan, a long-established Japanese luxury department store that sells upmarket groceries to an upmarket crowd. Products include top quality produce, meat and seafood, with a bakery, deli and good selection of import food.
QUEEN'S Isetan’s “vanilla ice cream” is made with specially selected milk from Hokkaido and according to the manufacturer, no other ice cream other than this vanilla ice cream is made with 50% milk. Both the richness and the refreshing aftertaste of the milk can be enjoyed.
QUEEN's Isetan vanilla ice cream 213yen（tax inclusive）
Eco-friendly shopping bag "Bag Save the QUEEN and the Earth" inspired by the British national anthem "God Save the QUEEN".
KALDI COFFEE FARM
Kaldi Coffee Farm, contrary to its name, carries more than just coffee but also internationally-sourced and original-brand products that run the gamut from fine meats and cheeses to instant noodles, chocolates, canned goods, and teas. However, as the name implies, the store put emphasis on high quality coffee stocking over a dozen varieties of coffee beans to be ground in-store, as well as pre-ground and instant coffee and a host of coffee paraphernalia such as grinders, filters, kettles, and mugs.
KALDI COFFEE FARM
The shop offers more than 10 types of coffee beans and blends and each bean's information is clearly displayed at the counter so even first-time visitors can easily select the right coffee bean for them. There are also many different types of filter coffee available in the shop, packaged neatly suitable for a souvenier.
Various types of coffee ranging from 90 to 130yen per packages（tax inclusive）
The popular French bio store chain opened its first branch store in Azabu Juban in 2016 and now they have more than 10 stores in Tokyo and Kanagawa. From fresh produce to meat and fish, gluten-free bread and a great variety of other unique items, Bio c’Bon sells organic products at an affordable prices.
The store sells a variety of products made in Japan from organic to gluten-free to vegetarian food all receiving the JAS(Japanese Agricultural Standard) certification. Different types of dried nuts, accredited with JAS, are sold by weights.
Whether it be coke, sausages or any other organic and healthy snacks and food you are looking for, these additives free potato chips might be something to consider. With no additives as its name implies, both children and adults can snack on these chips and can enjoy the natural flavor of the potato seasoned with only salt.
Additive free potato chip 345yen（tax inclusive）
Eataly is a Italian food speciality store which has been in Japan since 2009 and currently has three stores in Nihonbashi, Tokyo Station and Harajuku. The store imports everything from pasta, cheese, prosciutto to wine and more, all imported from Italy.
Eataly Harajuku Store
Eataly Harajuku Store Limited Item
AKOMEYA TOKYO is one of the best places in Tokyo to source groceries from far-flung parts of the country with some recommended side dishes that go along well with rice. Aside from those, there are hardwares including cooking pots, chopsticks, tableware, rice polishers and water filters all focused on the theme of “cooking rice”.
AKOMEYA TOKYO Shinjuku branch store
In addition, AKOMEYA has developed many private label products and the most popular one is the "Dashi" (soup stock mainly used for Japanese cuisine), which comes in five different flavors: roasted flying fish, bonito, dried sardine, vegetable, or chicken flake.
AKOMEYA Dashi (soup stock) 10gx5 432yen（tax inclusive）
Kuze Fuku & Sons
Kuze Fuku & Sons is a must visit store that specializes in traditional Japanese cuisines whom they sell more than 2,000 products, including broths, condiments, frozen foods, sweets, kitchen utensils and other products for Japanese cuisine and culinary items. There are more than 70 stores located throughout Japan.
Kuze Fuku & Sons
"Taberu dashi Edible Soy Sauce Soup Stock”is a sumptuous delicacy made by marinating soybeans and malted rice in a special soy-based sauce and then mixing them with koji and bonito flakes. It is produced exclusively with ingredients grown in Japan. It's ideal as a dipping sauce for vegetable sticks or chicken steak.
Taberu dashi Edible Soy Sauce Soup Stock 626yen（tax inclusive）
Another best selling item at this store is the Kaki-no-Tane (rice crackers). Its one of the best finger foods that goes well with beer.
Kaki-no-Tane 1,166yen for a jar（tax inclusive）