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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogJapanese Supermarket: The Best Surprises!

Japanese Supermarket: The Best Surprises!

James LauJames Lau
Published Time
Posted on 
March 07, 2023
Modified Time
Updated last 
March 10, 2023
A woman shopping at a Japanese supermarket.

Japanese supermarkets offer a unique and surprising shopping experience that is worth exploring. There is something for everyone to discover! Whether you’re looking for traditional Japanese ingredients or limited-edition anime and character goods, you’ll find it all in a Japanese supermarket!

They’re a treasure trove of unique and surprising products that can be exciting and overwhelming. Here are some of the most interesting things you can find in a Japanese supermarket:

Seafood

One of the unique features of Japanese supermarkets is their extensive selection of seafood. You’ll find everything from fresh fish to sushi-grade tuna, as well as a variety of shellfish like clams and oysters.

A plate of seafood and chicken, including shrimp and octopus.
Getting seafood is par for the course at the supermarket! Image via Shutterstock

Some supermarkets even have tanks with live fish that you can choose and have prepared for you. Japanese people love seafood and take pride in the quality and freshness of the seafood they consume.

Prepared Foods at the Japanese Supermarket

Many ready-to-eat foods in Japanese supermarkets are great for a quick and easy meal. These include pre-made sushi rolls, bento boxes with rice, meat, and vegetables, and servings of udon and soba noodles. 

Shelves full of prepared food in a supermarket, including sushi and sandwiches.
There’s a plethora of food to enjoy at the supermarket! You might even get some local specialties! Image via Shutterstock

The most popular choices are takoyaki, fish cakes, and especially fried chicken. There is also a wide range of sauces and condiments to go with these dishes in Japanese supermarkets. These supermarkets also have a large selection of sauces and dressings to accompany these dishes.

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Japanese Snacks

A display of Japanese snacks, including KitKats at a Japanese supermarket.
These stores have the latest Japanese snacks that you can enjoy! Image via Shutterstock

Japanese snacks are some of a Japanese supermarket’s most unique and exciting products. These include rice crackers, mochi (sticky rice cakes), Pocky (thin biscuit sticks coated in chocolate), and various savory and sweet snacks only available in Japan. Japanese snacks often come in beautiful packages and make great souvenirs or gifts to bring back home.

Seasonal Produce

Japanese supermarkets are famous for their focus on seasonal produce. Depending on the time of year, say sakura or cherry blossom season, you might find sakura-flavored snacks, sweets, sweet potatoes, or persimmons, among other fruits and vegetables.

A grid of seasonal produce including peppers, broccoli and carrots.
Japanese supermarkets have a lot of delicious produce available. Image via Shutterstock

Japanese people value fresh, seasonal ingredients, and you’ll often find unique displays and promotions for seasonal produce. Therefore, customers experience seasonal flavors and products that are unique to Japan.

Tea and Sweets

A display of traditional Japanese sweets.
Japanese supermarkets have traditional Japanese sweets as well. Image via Shutterstock

Japanese supermarkets have an extensive selection of tea and sweets, including green tea, matcha, and Japanese-style cakes and sweets. Traditional Japanese sweets, like mochi and yokan (sweet bean paste jelly), are also available! The tea section in a Japanese supermarket is also worth exploring, as you can find various loose-leaf teas, tea bags, tea sets, and accessories!

Instant Ramen on Japanese Supermarket Shelves!

Instant ramen is a staple of Japanese cuisine, and Japanese supermarkets offer an incredible variety of flavors and types. Some popular brands include Nissin, Maruchan, and Cup Noodle. You’ll find everything from classic chicken flavor to spicy beef and unique flavors like seafood, kimchi, and even cheese ramen. 

A wall of instant ramen at a Japanese supermarket in various flavors.
Instant ramen is delicious and affordable! Image via Shutterstock

Instant ramen is also available in noodle types like udon, soba, and yakisoba. Japanese people are famous for their love of convenience, and instant ramen is the perfect example of that!

Anime and Character Goods

Rows and rows of anime merchandise at a Japanese supermarket!
You can find anything from anime-related food to merchandise! Image via Shutterstock

Japanese supermarkets often sell anime and character goods, including plush toys, keychains, and figurines. These products feature popular anime and manga characters like Sailor Moon, Naruto, and Dragon Ball. Japanese people are known for their love of anime and manga, and you’ll find various products that cater to that!

Minimal Packaging

A yellow and red pepper in minimal packaging in front of a light blue background.
Japanese supermarkets use eco-friendly packaging! Image via Shutterstock

Japanese supermarkets are also known for their minimal packaging due to the cultural value of reducing waste and being environmentally conscious. In addition to reducing waste, minimal packaging allows customers to buy what they need, reducing food waste. This practice is especially evident in the produce section, where many items are sold loose or in small quantities!

Attention to Detail at the Japanese Supermarket

Japanese supermarkets are known for their attention to detail, with products arranged neatly and attractively. This care for detail is evident in how the products are set up on the shelves and packaged and labeled. 

An aisle in a supermarket with a Japanese flag.
Many Japanese supermarkets have elaborate displays for their products. Image via Shutterstock

Many supermarkets have staff members dedicated to constantly restocking and rearranging products to maintain a clean and organized appearance. This attention to detail helps to create a pleasant shopping experience for customers.

Sample Tastings

Some Japanese supermarkets offer sample tastings of products like fruits, snacks, and other foods. These sample tastings allow customers to try before they buy, which can be especially helpful for new and unfamiliar products. Sample tastings also help to promote new products and increase sales.

Someone holding a tray or shopped salmon sashimi at a food tasting in a Japanese supermarket!
There are so many supermarkets that have food samples available. Image via Shutterstock

Japanese supermarkets offer a unique and fun way to shop that you should try at least once. Shopping at a Japanese supermarket is an adventure in and of itself, thanks to the wide range of high-quality products, minimal packaging, attention to detail, seasonal offerings, ready-made foods, and unique products.

The commitment to quality and attention to detail make shopping there a pleasure, and the unique and seasonal items give customers a sense of discovery and excitement. The supermarkets in Japan have something for everyone, whether you’re a tourist looking to try new and different things or a local looking for high-quality and fresh ingredients.

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