If you’re in central Tokyo, your nearest convenience store (or conbini, if you’re local) is probably only a few minutes away, if not within eyeshot. Japanese convenience stores are a staple of life here, and even if you’re just traveling through the city for a few days, the pre-wrapped onigiri, egg sandwiches, canned chuhai (shochu highballs) and fried delicacies that line the warming oven by the register will seamlessly become part of your Japan experience.

Everyone loves how deliciously convenient conbini are, and if you’re in Japan long enough, you start to develop preferences. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to break down the characteristics of each of Japan’s iconic conbini, and what your favorite one says about your personality.

japanese convenience stores

Family Mart

If Family Mart is your favorite conbini, you’re probably either a student, a foreigner or a big party person. They have arguably the best selection of fried foods among all the conbini, including the fan-favorite famichiki (Family Mart Chicken, get with the program), which is popular as an after-school snack or a 3 a.m., last-ditch effort to soak up the one too many Strong Zeros you tossed back. Famichiki has become a viral sensation in its own right, so it’s also become a popular must-try for tourists; you’re probably going to hear more English than Japanese in the Family Marts located in popular areas like Shibuya and Shinjuku.


If your favorite conbini is Lawson, you’re a softie who’s really into healthy food and the finer things in life, and you have a treat-yourself moment at least once a day. Lawson has arguably the cutest logo that recalls an organic bakery in a quaint village, and with their “health-conscious” sister branch, Natural Lawson, they’re doing everything in their power to distract you from the fact that they are, in fact, still a conbini. Even their popular fried chicken, karaage-kun, uses adorable branding techniques in the form of the eponymous cartoon rooster. Lawson has some of the most extensive selection of sweets, ice creams and low-carb baked goods options, so Lawson stans are often scouring the aisles to satisfy their sweet tooth while sticking (at times delusionally) to their organic lifestyle.

japanese convenience stores


If 7-Eleven is your favorite conbini, you’re a bit basic, but in the best way. Your taste leans towards the classic and you don’t care for trends that’ll be gone by next season. You also probably have your life together and eat three balanced meals a day. Originally founded in Texas in 1927, 7-Eleven feels like the leading pillar of all convenience stores, and the Japanese 7-Eleven always has an extensive selection of proper meals, from miso-marinated mackerel to bento boxes. Though somewhat traditional-feeling, 7-Eleven keeps its loyal fanbase hooked with exciting offerings like the karaage (Japanese fried chicken) on a stick, or the cutting-edge technology that is the smoothie machine.

japanese convenience stores

Daily Yamazaki

If Daily Yamazaki is your favorite convenience store, you have a nostalgic streak, and probably spent some time in (or at least have a lot of affection for) inaka, the Japanese countryside. And/or you love bread. Daily Yamazaki has a lot of stores outside of Tokyo, and many of its countryside locations have snacks that are only offered in that region; if you’ve spent any time in the inaka, you might have fond memories of this conbini chain. Daily Yamazaki is also operated by Yamazaki Bread Company (yes, the Yamazaki Bread of supermarket bread loaf fame), so their bread offerings are top-tier, and some Daily Yamazaki stores actually have an in-store bakery for the freshest baked goods.

New Days

If New Days is your favorite conbini, you’re an on-the-go traveler, always jetting off to a different city, a coffee in one hand, dragging a suitcase in the other. New Days is the classic train station convenience store, even located on train platforms. You make use of the three minutes before the next Yamanote Line arrives by grabbing a quick lunch that you’ll have on the bullet train. New Days is unparalleled in having the most convenient locations, but in stores that aren’t at hectic stations, they can have pretty rare offerings, perfect for the New Days fanatics who constantly crave new adventures. You respect New Days for their commitment to be as efficient as possible, and we respect you for that. 

japanese convenience stores

Mini Stop

If you’re a Mini Stop fan, you’re probably a loyal friend who puts in the work for things you really care about, and you have a strong sense of self. Mini Stop doesn’t have nearly as many stores as the big trifecta that is Family Mart, Lawson and 7-Eleven, so sometimes you have to make a trek to get to your nearest store. But they have fresh onigiri and ice creams that are quite frankly superior, as well as the seasonal Filipino cold dessert of halo-halo, which alone has a dedicated fan base during the hot summer months. You don’t cave into the pressure of joining the famichiki or 7-Eleven smoothies train, because you know what you’re about, and it’s Mini Stop.

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