Buying Booze in Japan: Conbinis

As you may have read before, Japanese convenience stores are beyond convenient. A typical Japanese conbini sells a wide selection of products and one of those is alcohol. They are your 24-hour choice for buying wine, beer, sake, coolers, whiskey, etc..

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In an earlier post called Buying Booze in Japan: Supermarkets, I talked about supermarkets having the widest selection of alcohol. Convenience stores obviously don’t carry the same selection, but when your local supermarket closes at 10-11:00pm, the conbinis will always be open.

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Beer, cooler and highball section at a Lawson convenience store. 
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Wine and spirits for sale at a Lawson conbini.

Not all conbinis are equal. Some have better selections than others. One Family Mart near my house in Kobe is close to university residence buildings and has a very impressive selection of booze while others only have a small selection.

Over the years I’ve noticed (other readers have commented as well) that Lawson convenience stores often have a selection of craft beer.

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Japanese craft beer for sale at a Lawson conbini.

7-11 has made special deals with certain alcohol producers like Suntory and some sake companies to have their own 7-11 branded beer, coolers, sake and shochu.

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7-11 branded beer.
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7-11 branded shochu.

In general, alcohol prices at a convenience store are higher than supermarket prices, but you are after all paying for the convenience.

When you’re in a hurry or it’s late at night and you want a drink, the Japanese convenience store your solution. Snacks, bentos, fried food and booze. they have all the things they may not be so good for you!

Check one out the next time you’re in Japan.

 

 

The writer:

Kevin O’Shea is the host of the Just Japan Podcast and the Just Japan News Podcast. He is also the guy behind JustJapanStuff. Kevin is a Canadian educator who lives in Kobe, Japan with his family.

Follow him on Twitter: @jlandkev

Email: justjapanpodcast@gmail.com

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