CONTRIBUTED BY LOUISE DUPUY
You can find bargain stores pretty much anywhere in the world. We love a good bargain don’t we? Especially on all those fiddly essential items like tupperware, trash bin liners, and storage tubs. Let me tell you all about Japan’s answer to the Dollar store, and why it’s leagues above its Stateside alternative.
Daiso stores are fairly easy to spot. The big ones usually have white and pink signs, or you can find them in the corners of big shopping centers (they are also signposted, usually yellow and white or blue and white). There are other brands of 100 yen store too: Seria (this has been covered before, by Marlow, see here: https://okinawahai.com/seria/), 100 yen plaza, plus some places have little sections not affiliated with any brand of 100 yen store that offers those products at the same low price.
The basic premise is this: virtually everything is priced at 100 yen (at the cashier’s desk you pay 108 yen, this is due to tax). Anything without a price tag attached is 100 yen. Anything sold for a higher price will be clearly marked, usually with a large red price tag and yellow writing. Some higher quality or large items can go for as much as 800 yen.
So what can you find here? An awful lot. Food, drinks, stationery, crafts, office supplies, electronics, homeware, hygiene products, kids toys, seasonal goods, pet supplies, and gardening equipment. The best ones to visit are the larger stores (there’s a great one just outside Aeon Rycom Mall). The real appeal is not so much the price (although it’s a real crowd-pleaser), but the products. Japan loves to make life easy, and there are some frankly ingenious things here. Let’s list off some of the awesome stuff you can nab here.
You won’t believe the range they have. Egg poachers, egg slicers, tomato slicers, apples corers and slicers, orange peelers, I could spend all day naming them. All for 108 yen each! Amazing. You may be thinking “why would I need all this?” Easy. Time-saving. Got kids? A partner? A job? Maybe two jobs? A dog? Every second counts when you lead a busy life. If a handful of kitchen gadgets could shed time from your day, surely it’s worth it!
Japan seemingly has eccentric taste in food to Western folk. Fancy trying some without breaking the bank? Look no further. Again, for only 108 yen, you can indulge your adventurous side! Give seaweed a go! or pickled everything (fruit, vegetables, fish…), or if you aren’t too brave, indulge your sweet tooth.
They have a great selection of Japanese sweets and candies. I personally love the jelly filled marshmallows! Another thing they stock is matcha, which is a special kind of powdered green tea. I adore matcha, I implore anyone staying here to give it a go! Try it in many forms, including drinks and food. It’s easy to spot because it’s green!
Another thing they sell a lot of is storage items. They like things organized and orderly in Japan (this appeal greatly to my neat-freak nature!), so expect to find a storage solution for everything! I particularly like the desk and office items. You can buy drawer caddies, CD/DVD tidies, mini stackable drawers, and trays, you name it.
These are great for crafty folk, kids, stressed out students, as well as for the handy man’s desk or the home workers! Bigger storage can be bought for under bed, stacking and cupboards. Again, great for storing unused junk (we all have it) and kids toys (especially stuff like Lego and Duplo). I bought a plastic basket for 500 yen that I keep all my cleaning products in. Under the sink is neat and tidy! Lastly, check out the cute fabric folding boxes (250-350 yen each). Lots of different sizes and colors/styles, you could match your storage to your decor!
They have some pretty neat electronic products too. Portable speakers, headphones, charging cables, plus accessories, such as phone cases, stands, cable tidies, CD/DVD cases and batteries. I love the velcro cable tidies, they come in packs and can be used indoors or outdoors. Great for keeping reams of cable in its place! Another cool accessory is the headphone keepers, designed to stop your headphones from getting all tangled up.
More clever ideas for around the home. You’ll find space saving ideas (the 4 in 1 coat hangers are genius), cleanliness ideas (odour eaters that smell pretty and come in a range of colours to suit any decor, silicone plug covers to trap hair and stop it clogging your drains) and some quirky products designed to make life more comfortable (the fluffy toilet seat covers are really cute!). There’s a big choice in cleaning products too, especially for the bathroom, and at only 108 yen it’s much cheaper than most supermarkets.
This is but a small insight into the magical world of the Daiso. I encourage you to pop along to your nearest dedicated store (if you haven’t already) and marvel at just what it has to offer. Happy shopping!