Top 100 Yen Shop Chains in Japan

Top 100 Yen Shop Chains in Japan

One of my favorite parts about living in Japan was the 100 yen (hyaku-en) shops. There was one right down the street from where I was living so I visited almost every single day. Let me tell you… Even though things are only 100 yen, there are so many cute and practical things to buy that you can easily get into dangerous spending territory.

Realistically, the items are actually 108 yen a piece because of tax. Unlike most of Japan, the tax isn’t included in the listed price. But, even for 108 yen (instead of 100 yen) the price is a steal.

Much like dollar stores in the States, you can find a wide selection of goods, ranging from food to clothing to cosmetics to household items. The items are often of very good quality (but be sure to use your own judgement anyway) and the food sold is never expired. However, oftentimes you can find certain items as generics at grocery stores for cheaper than at a 100 yen store.

My favorite things to get are cute stationary and household decorations. The bigger chains design and develop their own products and put them out regularly. I follow a few 100 yen store chains on Instagram and would go weekly to see what new stickers or pencils they had. These shops are also useful when you’ve forgotten something random and need to pick it up, like batteries or soy sauce because these shops stock them all.

Here are the five largest chains of 100 yen shops in Japan:

1. Daiso

Daiso is the most famous and ubiquitous of all the 100 yen stores. There are Daiso chains worldwide (though not all keep the $1 price) that sell a lot of similar items worldwide that you can get in Japan. Since they produce and package their own items, they can produce a lot of cute and stylish items.

Recently, their focus has been geared more towards a younger audience. They stock a lot of trendy designs with hashtags and bright colors to attract teenagers. They sell phone cases, makeup pouches, and stationary with these designs so you can look fashionable no matter what the situation.

Apart from trendy items, they also sell a lot of longstanding basics. Oftentimes, you can find things you didn’t even know you needed at a Daiso. Be careful, since you may go in for one thing and end up with 10 things you bought on a whim.


Information:

If you’re looking to find a Daiso nearby, there are about 3,300 stores in Japan and 2,000 more worldwide. In Japan, simply search ダイソー to find one nearby.

 

2. Seria

Seria is the second largest chain of 100 yen shops, right after Daiso. However, their image and style is a bit different from the number one shop in Japan. However, there is still a big difference, as Seria only has about 1,300 stores nationwide.

The concept of Seria is to appear as a 100 yen shop that isn’t a 100 yen shop. To accomplish this, the chain focuses on a limited number of goods to produce them at a higher quality. They also take customer satisfaction seriously, and you can return any items with a receipt for any reason—something relatively unheard of in Japan since most stores don’t accept returns.

Seria’s image is down to earth. A lot of the items are in muted, earthy tones with a lot of browns, deep greens, and oatmeals. It promotes a peaceful environment while shopping. While they do have a range of items similar to any other 100 yen shop, I find that their strongest point is stationaries and household goods (like bento things, containers, and the like). They’re also very good for DIY and other crafting goods.


Information:

If you’re looking to find a Seria, put the Japanese セリア into Google Maps and you can see where one is closest to you!

 

3. Can-Do

Can-Do is the third largest 100 yen shop chain in Japan. Their mascot is a cute little dog named Wan-Do, which is a play on “one” (from one hundred yen) and “wan” (the Japanese for the barking sound a dog makes).

Recently, they have been developing their own goods as well, much like how Daiso does. You can follow their official Instagram to keep up with their latest offerings. While not as prolific as Daiso branches are, I find that the products they put out are sometimes even cuter than Daiso’s! They have cute and fun designs.

They have a lot of household items that aren’t necessarily practical but are definitely adorable. They’ve also been upping their makeup game and are putting out a lot of great products that are becoming popular with young teens.


Information:

Can-Do is written as キャンドゥ in Japanese. Use this to find one close to you.

 

4. Watts

Watts is a store that actually encompasses three different 100 yen stores under the same branch. The stores are “Watts,” “meets.,” and “Silk.” Despite the different naming systems, they all sell the same goods. I think the headquarters eventually mean to consolidate the brands, but for now they remain separate in name.

Of the big 100 yen shops, this one is the more regular and disappointing. Of course, they have the same standard fare as the others on this list. But, compared to the specialized items being produced by the bigger players, Watts falls short in comparison. However, to keep up with the competition they have begun focusing more on appearances as well and putting out more stylish goods.

I’ve actually been impressed by what they have to offer. Their look seems to be simpler but in a minimal way, rather than a boring one.


Information:

Look for Watts (or any of their affiliated stores) with the Japanese ワッツ.

 

5. Lawson Store 100

The Lawson 100 stores are the most unique on this list because they aren’t traditional 100 yen stores. If you’re familiar with the name Lawson already, it’s because it’s the name of one of the most popular convenience store chains in Japan.

The convenience store has branched out into the 100 yen market with its “Lawson Store 100” shops. These Lawsons are actually more like grocery stores and sell mostly fresh foods. There are large refrigerated and frozen sections so you can get everything from 100 yen frozen vegetables to 100 yen meats to 100 yen veggies.

The quality and selection of the food is pretty good, especially when you consider the price. Sometimes, things are more than 100 yen or discounted below 100 yen. If you still don’t trust the foods, they have packaged cookies, chips, and pastries. If food isn’t your thing at all, you can pick up the basic 100 yen shop goods like school supplies and cleaning supplies.

 

If you don’t want to look separately and want to cast a large net of any 100 yen shop in the area, simply put in 100円ショップ and see which chain comes up. It may even be a smaller one that isn’t on this list!

There are also a lot of cheap and cute stores that operate on a single base price. They are a little more expensive than 100 yen, but are also worth checking out because the quality of goods are sometimes better. Look at my recommendations for the best one-price stores here.