The Hyaku Yen - Japanese Dollar Store[Photo Gallery]
By Chief Writer Sasaki
Firstly, don't even begin to associate the American dollar store to the Japanese Hyaku Yen. They aren't vaguely similar or on the same order of magnitude. Then why is this article titled the Japanese Dollar Store? You're right, its a misnomer. But let’s get on topic.
Not just for midnight snacks and cheap crap, the Hyaku yen offers so much more.
Let's go in rack by rack:
Although small in size the Hyaku Yen’s produce section provides the bare essentials for fruit including: watermelon, honey dew, apples, pears, bananas, limes, pineapple and more.
The vegetable selection is more comprehensive, providing basically all the vegetables you’ll find in a standard full-sized grocery store. Cabbage, lettuce, carrots, onions, potatoes, egg plant and then of course domestics such as the giant daikon (huge white radish) .
The veggies don’t stop there. There is usually a full refrigerated section for frozen veggies.
The Hyaku Yen even has a meat section and it does not disappoint. As you may expect the ‘one dollar rule’ does not apply in the meat section; expect to spend a minimum of two dollars for any meat product.
Selections include: chicken breast, ground pork, beacon, beef strips and chunks.
Although relatively affordable, what you gain in savings you loose in quality of meat.
Depending on where you go you’ll find either a shelf or half an aisle devoted to pastry and bread based desserts. What are bread based desserts? Danishes, cobblers, muffins doughnuts, cream filled breads, cheap cakes, etc etc.
Chips & snacks
Typically an entire aisle will be devoted to chips and snacks. While this may sound exciting, most foreigners will be disappointed to find that most of these snacks are not in agreement with their pallet
Many flavors are seafood-based or just strange all together, but even then there is plenty of ‘cheese’, ‘bbq’ and other standard flavours. However even these seemingly normal flavours have an odd twist of taste in Japan. Japanese cheese and bbq flavour are quite different than that in the U.S.
However with some trial and error you’re certain to find a flavor you like.
Instant ramen is without a doubt Japan’s most popular ‘quick meal’. Costing as little as a buck and relatively tasty its not hard to see why. However there is no comparison to a bowl of real ramen prepared at a Ramen Shop, however be ready to spend 600-700 yen.
Different from the instant ‘top ramen’ in the US, Ramen in Japan is sold in plastic bowls, so that they can be conveniently prepared.
Flavors are typically beef based and seafood based.
Need milk and eggs? No probs, the Hyaku Yen’s got you covered. Interestingly milk is rather expensive and scarce in Japan, therefore you will find an abundance of ‘like milk’ products as well as real milk. (but for a p rice)
Personal Hygiene & Household items
Aside from most food you’ll need, the Hyaku Yen provides a surprisingly complete stock of personal hygiene items as well as cleaning products, office supplies and household items. Things like bowls, chop sticks, cleaners, paper towels, tape, pens and paper… the list goes on.
Lastly we come to the climax. Offering more frozen desserts than any convenient store and rivaling full sized super markets, the Hyaku Yen hooks you up with half an aisle of frozen goodies. Haagen Das rip offs, ice pops, drum sticks, ice cream cookies, the selection is definitely satisfactory.