With thousands of 100 YEN shops spread throughout the country, chances are you’re never too far from one – that is assuming you aren’t living up a mountain somewhere.
With almost everyone knowing the big name brands like Daiso, 100 YEN shops have gained a reputation for cheap high-quality items. Unlike the flimsy, low-quality made products that are usually in the western dollar or euro stores, you may be pleasantly surprised at the bargains they have to offer. Not only is it the quality of the items, but also the vast array of items that brings in the customers.
The following list of products are things I found good value, very useful, or simply a nice little idea. All products are from the Daiso store, and are 108 yen with tax (less than a single US dollar). Daiso also sell a small number of items have a slightly higher price tag, but these are all clearly labelled and are of a higher quality.
Okay, so it’s not the most revolutionary product out there, but I did think it was a nice idea. Simply stick the yellow duck to your bath or let it float around. This will allow you to measure the temperature of the water.
I may just be an idiot but far too many times I have got into a bath that is too hot, only to be covered in sweat when I get out. The perfect temperature bath does sound nice, although the real use of this product is for those with kids. It’s important to get the right temperature for your child if they are young – and if you do happen to have an irrational fear of ducks, there were also a few other designs too.
Summer cooling products
Japan is hot. Too hot. I’m not exaggerating when I say a 2 minute walk to the nearby shop is enough to have me dripping in sweat from head to toe. Ice towels, ice packs, cooling sprays, cooling headbands – there was a full section dedicated to these cool blue products to help us cope with the Japanese summer. Everyone should take extra precautions not to suffer from heat stroke or sunburn when the Japanese rainy season suddenly ends.
Mouse and electronics
If you buy a computer mouse for a dollar, you usually can’t expect much. Daiso however isn’t just about being cheap, but also about maintaining quality, which is why the electronics are particularly impressive. A slim, stylish mouse with a nice shape that doesn’t collect too much grime. Not only that, but it also comes with a scroll wheel, which many cheap ones don’t include. As well as the mouse, there was a full aisle dedicated to electronics and computer-related products.
Tools, gardening equipment, and bug repellents
With a chunky size of the shop dedicated to work tools and gardening, you can probably find most basic items. From toolboxes, to full-size sweeping brushes, and pretty much anything kind of tool you might need for growing vegetables, you will certainly be able to get a gardening bargain.
What caught my attention though is the bug repellent section. In Japan, cockroaches and creepy crawlies can be quite a problem if you’re living in an old building. Unfortunately, cockroach products tend to be pretty expensive… unless you come to Daiso. Daiso had both poisons and sticky traps in stock, as well as a large selection for your other unwanted pests too.
Touch pen/ball point pen combo
If you go into your normal Japanese phone shop, for a simple touch-pen you can expect to see prices like 1000 yen and 1500 yen. Why pay so much money? Just go to a 100 YEN shop and pick one up. Not only is this pen a stylish metallic colour, it also functions as a normal pen, and even has a pen clip too. If this one doesn’t suit your needs, there was a decent selection you could choose from – including small sized pens that clip into the headphone socket of your phone.
Noodle Dish and Tub
Designed as a dish to make and eat your noodles and yakisoba with, this little product it pretty damn good if I do say so myself. It comes with an orange lid for products like noodles that are supposed to be left to steam. It is also a fairly deep bowl, so it can be used for various foods without problem, and of course it can also be used in the microwave. I actually picked this up for myself to use as a spaghetti bowl.
Clogs and sandals
Clogs – not the most stylish footwear out there, but in a hot and wet country like Japan where taking off your shoes as you enter a house is the countrywide standard, you may find yourself wanting a pair of sandals… or even clogs. But why pay 1000 yen or more? Most 100 YEN shops will sell sandals and slippers. Although they do sell a selection of 100 yen sandals, the higher quality ones like clogs are usually a bit more expensive. The ones at Daiso were 150 yen – still a pretty good deal.
Sick of trying to squeeze out that last bit of toothpaste? Fear no longer, the tube squeezer is here! Another nice little idea, and it seems to have become popular enough to be sold in the major stores. Just clip it to the end of your tube and give it a twist to get every last drop out. It also seems to come with a hole in it so you can hang it in your bathroom. Why not give it a try? It will probably pay for itself after a while!
iPhone products, screen protectors, and other mobile goods
Did you buy a phone in Japan recently? If you’re like every other person in Japan, you probably bought an iPhone… and it most likely cost you a fortune. So even if there are only a few 100 yen coins left in your wallet, you can still get some nice products for your phone! With a large selection of phone cases, screen protectors, and other phone products, you can probably find something you need. Unfortunately, the vast proportion, if not all cases are designed for the iPhone. Screen protectors however come in screen sizes, so you can probably find one that fits most smart phones. Although many of the products do have a feminine design, you will find some plain ones too. Not bad for less than a dollar right?
This is a product I’ve used ever since I first came to Japan, and it’s really good for cleaning fabrics, especially things like beds. Once you’ve used this once, you may never stop using it again. It’s truly surprising how much dust, fluff, dirt, and hair that gathers around your home – even after it has just been washed!
The dust roller is just a simple roller that has a large number of very sticky sheets wrapped around. Simply take off the case, and start rolling anything you want to clean. Once the attached sheet has collected a lot of fluff and dust, peel it off and use the next one. The package usually comes with a second roll that is easily attached once your first one has been used up. You can also buy packets of just the sticky rolls, so when it runs out you don’t need to throw it away. When I first bought one, I also bought a packet of 2 rolls and it lasted be a very long time. And don’t worry, if pink isn’t your colour, there is selection of various colours such as green and blue!
With this, the list of my favourite products comes to an end. Which was your favourite? Will you buy any?
I'm sure if you go yourself, you’ll find many more interesting things! The Daiso I went to wasn't small, but it was far from the huge, multi-story ones like you can find in Tokyo. And it isn't just Daiso, there are many different 100 YEN Shops with many different products. So if you’re in Japan, make sure to check some of the 100 YEN shops out and see what other bargains you can find!