Features Japan Glances
Japan’s ¥100 Shops
One-Coin Shopping—Plus Tax
[2016.04.23] Read in: 简体字 | 繁體字 | FRANÇAIS | ESPAÑOL | العربية | Русский |

More than discount pavilions packed with an array of products, Japan’s ¥100 shops have forged reputations for quality items and daily necessities. Recently, stores have also gained popularity among overseas visitors.

An Array of Items

Hyakuen shoppu, or ¥100 shops, are retail stores offering products for the fixed price of ¥100. Stores stock an extensive variety of goods to meet all sorts of shopping needs. Whether buying a single item or going on a spree, shoppers can readily find what they are looking for. The ¥100 price does not include consumption tax, but even after tacking on Japan’s 8% rate, customers pay a mere ¥108 for each product at the check-out stand.

Daily necessities are popular choices, along with small household and office items. Stores generally carry a lineup of everything from kitchenware, beauty products, and stationery to hobby and craft goods, toys, and snacks. Colloquially referred to as hyakkin (from hyakuen kin’itsu, “uniform ¥100 pricing”), they have become standard fixtures in shopping arcades near stations and even inside department stores. National chains like Daiso and Seria vie for customers with small local retailers.

Smartphone cases and adaptors on display at a ¥100 shop.

Price is not the sole appeal of ¥100 shops. Stores earn customer loyalty by offering high-quality products, often on par with choices at standard vendors. Specialty goods are also a draw, with some outlets providing original selections carried under the shop’s own brand.

A selection of shoes, hats and other apparel at a hyakuen shoppu.

Souvenir Shopping

In recent years ¥100 shops have caught the eyes of overseas visitors looking to stock up on small gifts for friends and family back home. Many stores in areas frequented by foreign tourists report that overseas shoppers now make up a significant percentage of their clientele, with some retailers seeing hundreds of travelers each day. This includes repeat shoppers who visit the same outlet multiple times during their trip.

Riding this wave are chains like Daiso, which has taken its ¥100 shop model overseas. As of 2015 the retail chain has branches in 26 countries.

A Daiso store along Takeshita-dōri in Tokyo’s Harajuku district.

Overseas visitors often prefer items produced in Japan. But the quality of products originating abroad is generally on par with domestically produced ¥100 goods. In fact, discerning shoppers can easily come away from a hyakkin with a bagful of goodies that look like they cost more than ¥100.

Overseas visitors search for souvenirs at a ¥100 shop.

Outlets frequently rotate items on display, making repeat visits pay off for loyal shoppers, and it is not unusual to find products sporting popular characters or well-known brand logos among a store’s lineup. Whether picking up a set of markers, a specialty nail clipper, or a new coffee mug emblazoned with a favorite anime character, shoppers look to ¥100 shops to provide affordable shopping thrills.

  • [2016.04.23]
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