Konbini Food: The Definitive Guide to Japanese Convenience Store Eats

by Gina Elizabeth

Konbini food is unlike any convenience store food you’ve had.

You’ll find an amazing variety of Japanese konbini foods like onigiri, sandwiches, instant noodles, cold drinks, baked goods, fruits, vegetables, ice cream, and more.

What is a konbini?

The word “konbini” is the abbreviated word for konbiniensu sutoru, (convenience store).

Konbinis are a one-stop shop on every street corner in Japan. 24/7 konbinis are also where locals & travelers grab quick, affordable meals.

[RELATED: Top 40 Traditional Japanese Foods]

Japanese Konbini Foods

Here are the top 12 types of konbini food you will find in Japan.

Keep in mind, some of these offerings vary by store, chain, region, and season.

1. Onigiri

Konbini Onigiri

A quintessential Japanese snack — the onigiri rice ball is the best, on-the-go food in Japan.

Popular varieties of onigiri

  • Salmon
  • Mentaiko
  • Umeboshi
  • Kombu
  • Tarako
  • Tuna mayo
  • Sujiko

2. Sandoichi (Sandwiches)

Konbini Sandowichi
THE TOKYO TIMES

Need a quick bite to eat? Grab a tasty konbini sandwich.

These perfectly wrapped triangles are made using exceptionally pillowy bread.

The egg salad (tomago) sandwich has practically taken the world by storm.

3. Bento Sets

Konbini Bento
LIVE JAPAN

A bento box is a single-portion meal, often served in a compartmentalized box or tray.

A traditional bento may contain rice or noodles with fish or meat, often with pickled and cooked vegetables.

The bento has been used for centuries in Japan — kids take their bento boxes to school; employees take their bento boxes to work.

Many Japanese restaurants in the United States have bento boxes on their menus.

4. Instant Noodles

Konbini Noodles
TOKYO EXCESS

Many ramen establishments have been teaming up with convenience stores such as 7-Eleven to sell instant versions of their top-selling noodles.

There are plenty of different flavors to try!

You can’t go wrong with instant noodles. They also make tasty souvenirs to take home from Japan.

Konbini’s also conveniently offer hot water and microwaves to heat up your instant noodles.

RELATED: Best Japanese Instant Noodles

5. Okashi, Dagashi & Wagashi

Konbini Okashi
JUSTMYJAPAN

Okashi

Okashi is the Japanese word for confectionery (sweet) snacks.

Some of the most popular okashi are: Pocky, Kit Kat, Royce chocolate potato chips, Tokyo banana, etc.

Dagashi and wagashi are types of okashi.

Dagashi

Dagashi are comparable to American penny candy.

The word dagashi is derived from the Japanese words da (“futile” or “negligible”) and kashi (snacks).

Wagashi

Wagashi are traditional Japanese confections that are often served with green tea, especially the types made of mochi, anko, and fruit.

Wagashi are typically made from plant-based ingredients.

The term wagashi is derived from the words wa (Japanese) and Kashi (snacks).

What is a confection?

A confection is a food made with sugar and carbs. Bakers’ confections include sweet pastries, cakes, baked goods, and breads.

6. Oden

Konbini Oden

A classic winter comfort dish in Japan, Oden is a one-pot dish with an assortment of fish balls, fish cakes, deep-fried tofu, hard-boiled eggs, daikon, konjac, & a light, soy-flavored dashi broth. 

Hot oden is real “soul food” for the Japanese in the winter months.

7. Tsumetai Nomimono (Cold Drinks)

Konbini Cold Drinks

You will find an amazing variety of drinks, and beverages at your local konbini. Including alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, sake and more.

American drinks like Coca-Cola and Sprite are also commonly in stock.

8. Atatakai Nomimono (Hot Drinks)

Konbini Hot Drinks

Konbinis offer a variety of affordable teas and coffees will make sure that you stay happy and warm.

In every konbini you’ll find a warming case filled with coffee and tea and a self-serve coffee bar. 

Matcha latte, espresso, milk tea, black tea and a winter special cocoa latte are some of the drinks available piping hot from the coffee machine.

9. Sushi

Konbini Sushi

Konbini convenience store chains have started to sell packages of chilled sushi.

You can find a variety on the refrigerated shelves.

Sushi is cold, cooked rice dressed with vinegar that is shaped into pieces and topped with raw or cooked fish, or formed into a roll with fish, egg, or vegetables and often wrapped in seaweed.

10. Aisukurīmu (Ice Cream)

Konbini Ice Cream

Every konbini stocks a wide variety of ice cream – from ice cream cones, popsicles, ice bars, ice cream sandwiches, single-serving cups, and more.

You’ll enjoy a wide choice of pre-packaged frozen ice creams. 

[RELATED: 20 Traditional Japanese Foods]

11. Baked Goods

Konbini Baked Goods

Grab a fresh pastry from behind the counter, or go to the bread and cake aisle for plastic-wrapped goodies like melon pan or dorayaki (a pancake sandwich filled with sweet red bean paste).

12. Fruits, Vegetables & Salads

If baked goods aren’t your thing, head to the cooler section where you’ll find fresh fruits, vegetables, & salads.

Konbini fruit
TIMEOUT

Konbini Vegetables
THE TOKYO CHAPTER

Best Konbini Stores in Japan

7-Eleven is the largest konbini chain — there are nearly 20,000 locations in Japan — and generally has the best food overall.

Its products regularly top konbini food rankings.

Konbini 7 Eleven
ISTOCK/TUPUNGATO

You’ll see the other big players — Lawson and Family Mart.

Lawson Konbini
ISTOCK/TUPUNGATO
Konbini FamilyMart
ISTOCK/TUPUNGATO

Smaller chains include Circle K Sunkus, Ministop and Daily Yamazaki which can be found both in residential parts of the city and in train stations.

Konbini Ministop
REDDIT

Konbini Food FAQs

What are the top 10 products sold at convenience stores in Japan?

  1. Onigiri
  2. Egg Sandwich
  3. Yakisoba Bun
  4. Bento Sets
  5. Instant Ippudo Ramen
  6. Fried Karaage
  7. Coffee Cream Treat
  8. Mochifuwa Pancake
  9. Black Gateau Chocolat
  10. Hot Drinks

Source: klook.com

Is konbini (Japanese convenience store) food healthy?

Konbini food is hygienic. Strict health and safety standards at any food processing facility ensure that your pre-packaged konbini food is free of contaminants and harmful bacteria.

How much is konbini (convenience store) food in Japan?

You can expect to pay around 400 to 600 ($3.50 – $5.25) yen in total for a convenience store meal.

What do Japanese people call Seven Eleven?

Sebun irebun (seven eleven)

What is Lawson Japan?

Lawson is a convenience store franchise chain in Japan. The store originated in Ohio, but exists today as a Japanese company.

What is FamilyMart Japan?

FamilyMart (Famirīmāto) is Japan’s second largest convenience store chain after 7-Eleven. There are now 24,574 stores worldwide in Japan, Taiwan, China, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

What other products and services do konbini offer?

You’ll find more than just food at a konbini such as magazines, copying/printing services, ATMs, and necessities such as underwear.

Konbini’s will even hold your packages for you until you can pick them up. Talk about convenient!

And the ATMs almost always take foreign cards, unlike in Japanese banks.

Which konbini have the most extra services?

The farther you get out Tokyo, the more konbini stores evolve into true one-stop shops.

In downtown Tokyo (where space is limited) stores may not have bathrooms, seating areas, or print and copy machines.

Do konbini’s offer free wi-fi?

You can hop on the free Wi-Fi at konbinis. You’ll need to register when connecting for the first time.

What is konbini payment?

Konbini payment is the 2nd most popular online payment method in Japan, making up 10% of purchases. People pay their phone bills, online orders, games, movie tickets, and so more in the 55,000 convenience stores in Japan.

Do konbini’s have free parking?

Don’t worry about the amount of time you spend inside a konbini — parking is free.

However, in major cities like Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka, free konbini parking is hard to find.

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