Shopping is the least of worries for every foreigner visiting Japan. From pop-up shops to large chain stores, you will never run out of shopping choices.

Most shopping establishments in Japan are open from 10AM – 10PM especially the ones near tourist landmarks while smaller stores close at an earlier time.

For foreign passport holder’s, some Japan shops offer a great deal on purchases minimum of 5,000 yen. The deal is that if you purchase a minimum of 5,000 yen you can get your purchases tax free, consumption tax or sales tax in Japan is 8% of the item’s price. Look for shops with “Tax Free” sign outside if you want to shop tax free. You will also need to provide your passport at the cashier for verification that your visa is only for 3 months. After processing your payment the cashier will attach the receipt on your passport, don’t remove the receipt until you returned back to your country.

The usual mode of payment in Japan is by cash, when paying at the cashier place your money on the money tray. It is usually placed on the counter right beside the cashier machine. Never place your money on the counter, always on the money tray!

For those who are ok with online shopping, I suggest that you go with purchasing online. Usually you can get cheaper prices online especially on Amazon and get your items delivered immediately next day after you place your order.

Supermarket / Grocery Stores

One of the most challenging activities for non-japanese is going to the grocery store and to pick the right item that you are looking for.

For those who can read and understand Japanese, it is not a problem but for those who cannot read the Japanese characters especially the Kanji characters, it is really hard not to make mistakes.
Below is a list of basic grocery items with Japanese translation.

Let’s Learn Japanese!

Ninjin wa doko de arimasu ka / (item name) wa doko de arimasu kaWhere are the carrots?
Pan wo kaimasuI will buy bread

EnglishKanji (漢字)Romaji (ローマ字)
Ramen Cup Noodles –カップめんKappu-men
Pepper 胡椒こしょうKoshoo
Salt 塩しおShio
Sugar 砂糖さとうSatoo
Egg 卵たまごTamago
Milk 牛乳ぎゅうにゅうGyuunyuu
Soy sauce 醤油しょうゆShooyu
Beef 牛肉ぎゅうにくGyuu-niku
Pork 豚肉ぶたにくButa-niku
Chicken 鶏肉とりにくTori-niku
Fish 魚さかなSakana
Garlic 大蒜にんにく/ニンニクNinniku
Onion 玉葱たまねぎTamanegi
Cabbage –キャベツKyabetsu
Potato –じゃがいもJagaimo
Carrot 人参にんじんNinjin
Egg plant 茄子なすNasu
Cucumber 胡瓜きゅうりKyuuri
Toothbrush 歯ブラシハブラシHaburashi
Toothpaste 歯磨き粉はみがきこHamigakiko
Soap 石鹸せっけんSekken
Cup / glass –コップKoppu
Dish 皿さらSara
Chopsticks 箸はしHashi
Detergent 洗剤せんざいSensai
Medicine 薬くすりKusuri