That’s right! If you think that konbini are only for grabbing instant noodles, bento boxes, and Japanese snacks, you’ve only just scratched the surface on what you can do there! Let’s take a look at all the amazing things we can do from our friendly neighborhood konbini!
In this day and age, the need to have a personal printer is next to nothing, but there are definitely times when you will need to print or copy some documents. So, what do you do; where do you go? Most work offices don’t let you print personal things, and buying a printer for the two or three times you’ll actually print things in a year is pretty unrealistic.
Lucky for you, there are these multi-purpose machines that give you access to printing at the convenience stores that allow you to scan and copy documents as well! There’s many ways you can do this too.
The easiest way is to have the document saved as a PDF file and send it over Wi-Fi, but you can also bring in USB drives or SD cards. 7 Eleven and Family Mart even have their own apps called かんたん netprint (Easy netprint) and ファミマネットワークプリント (Fami-Ma Network Print) respectively, although the latter is only available in Japanese.
Take it from personal experience, having an all-in-one printing service at most konbinis has helped me on several occasions from sending documents overseas and printing last minute documents on the go!
You may be wondering why I’m mentioning this one, but while Japan can be super futuristic and technological, it can still be very much analog when it comes to money. The majority of everyday transactions are still done with cash and coins, and that makes paying for bills a bit of a pain!
But thanks to the trusty konbini, you can actually go take your water, electricity, gas, and other monthly bills to the convenience store and pay through the cashier. You can even pay your rent there (although I don’t recommend taking out hundreds and thousands of dollars to pay rent at a konbini)! You usually can’t pay bills with credit or debit cards, but if you live in Japan, you’re likely carrying cash on you so paying for bills shouldn’t be a problem!
This brings me to the next thing about convenience stores in Japan: they always have an ATM! So now, if you ever find yourself at the konbini to pay your bills but forgot to take out cash, an ATM will be right there ready to save you a trip to the bank.
Most 7 Eleven stores will even have machines that allow you to use international cards as well, which can be a big help for travelers!
As someone who lived most of their life outside of Japan, it took a while to get used to the need of carrying cash, but knowing that an ATM will be at the convenience store (and there are MANY), it took the worry away of looking for one of my bank’s locations. And because most restaurants don’t allow you to split bills, the konbini might come in handy when it comes time to settle up!
You may not actually use this service, but it’s handy to know that it exists. While it’s not often people in modern times send much by courier, if you ever forget to send something at the post office, you can feel relieved knowing that you can hop over to the convenience store and they will take care of you!
Different konbinis will offer different courier services, so be sure to check beforehand that you are able to send with the right companies. Family Mart and 7 Eleven stores use Yamato Transport, while Mini Stop and Lawson Japan stores use a service called Yu-Pack which is operated by Japan Post.
Now that we’ve discussed all of the non-eating and non-drinking konbini items on the list, let’s get into what we all came here for in the first place! Yes, Japanese convenience stores are the prime places for one-stop shopping, and it would be impossible not to mention that their food alone is something to revel in!
I can personally attest that it’s possible to eat relatively well from a konbini for a few days. If you’re feeling extra brave, you can push for a week and I would not judge you one bit!
With their large selection of onigiri (rice balls), fried chicken, bento lunch boxes, and other hot foods, you might be surprised with how good Japanese convenience store food can be. Japanese konbinis should really be the benchmark for all convenience foods for overseas countries like Canada and the United States!
Did we miss anything on this list that you love about Japanese convenience stores? We’d love to hear from you about your cool experiences at the konbini, so tell us below!
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