Experience through shopping, these are the things Japanese stores focus on!

Uncompromising quality, carefully selected product lineups

We headed to a Seven-Eleven convenience store to learn about some of the initiatives of Seven & i Group, which operates broad businesses including convenience stores, super markets, department stores and speciality stores.

Familiar and delicious, convenient and safe (Seven-Eleven)

External view of Seven-Eleven
Onigiri rice ball placed by the window
“Onigiri” is a rice ball with some filling inside, wrapped with a sheet of seaweed. It has been loved by Japanese people for centuries as it is easy to carry around. Seven-Eleven ensures that all ingredients of Onigiri including rice, fillings and seaweed are delicious.

Seven-Eleven places an emphasis on its convenience and quality. In addition to around 18,000 stores nationwide (as of November 2015) they also have stores inside Narita, Haneda and Kansai Airports, providing convenience for travelers. The shops are open 24 hours, all year around.

Seven-Eleven has about 2,800 items from food, daily goods and stationery to household goods lined up on shelves by their genre so that it is easy for shoppers to find what they are looking for. Seven-Eleven also has popular souvenir items such as cosmetics and Macha (powdered green tea ) sweets. Seven-Eleven’s popular original food products are not only delicious but also healthy. They are safe to eat as they don’t contain preservatives and artificial coloring.

Three stickers indicating duty free etc.
Seven-Eleven that has this sticker can process duty free forms!

Packed Sushi are removed from the shelf after four hours (Ito-Yokado)

External view of Ito Yokado
Staff checking on products' freshness

Seven & i Group also focuses on serving “delicious food” for customers and ensures that only fresh food stays on the store shelves. Superstore Ito-Yokado makes it a rule that packed Sushi stay on the shelf for no longer than four hours after having being made at the store kitchen. In order to ensure that food items, especially fruits and vegetables are fresh, dedicated staff are checking around the store. “Basically all items are checked carefully one by one from the viewpoint of customers” (Iriyama-san from Omori store)

Sushi on the shelf and shoppers
Sushi and Bento lunch box are cooked in the store kitchen. They are also nice to take away and enjoy at your hotel room.

Ito-Yokado has a wide selection of quality products that are necessary for everyday lives such as food, clothing, kids’ items, household goods and daily necessities.

Randoseru school back pack and underwear
Randoseru school back packs also draw attention from overseas (left) as well as highly functional under garments

“Seven Premium”, private-brand products with focus on quality

“Seven Premium” which are private brand items commonly handled across Seven & i Group stores and their original products are developed with significant emphasis on quality, including food items. There are many that turned into mega-hit products, turning the private brands’ conventional image of focusing on prices to focusing on quality and receiving wide support of consumers. If you want to try out items that are in now, go to Seven-Eleven. If you want to have a broad range of selection, go to Ito-Yokado.

Wide selection of original products

Delivering excellent food around the world to Japanese homes (SHELL GARDEN)

External view of THE GARDEN Jiyugaoka
“THE GARDEN Jiyugaoka” operated by SHELL GARDEN

THE GARDEN has quality ingredients and delicacies from Japan and abroad. Carefully selected items include Japanese sweets from well-established stores nationwide, sweets produced in a limited quantity, seasonal food items and over 300 choices of wine, attracting many gourmet fans.

Product lineups carefully scrutinized by professionals

A fun part of strolling the town and shopping is an encounter with exquisite items from Japan and abroad as well as items hand-picked by professional buyers with their outstanding senses. Each Seven & i Group store focuses on having items that are in line with their concept and identity.

Focusing on items which have values and a sense of fun (LOFT)

External view of Shibuya LOFT
Shibuya LOFT
Inside Shibuya LOFT store
There are shelves for the works of young creators. You can experience the Japanese culture of “now”.

Miscellaneous goods speciality store “LOFT” focuses on collecting items people have not seen before and items that are exciting. It handles items ahead of their time including cosmetics, health goods and a variety of miscellaneous items, Shibuya LOFT has over 100,000 items, all of which have actual use and add fun to people’s lives. Some LOFT fans visit the store regularly in expectation of finding items that are in now and items that are likely to catch on.

Sundry articles of Shibuya Loft
The store is full of fun and unique items such as the latest 3D figure, a new form of commemorative photo (upper left), outdoor goods that enjoy popularity in Japan and abroad (upper right), socks that do not slide down your leg (bottom left) and local toys from various parts of Japan as a memento of a trip in Japan (bottom right).

“Supporting smiling childcare” (Akachan Honpo)

In front of Akachan Honpo store
Hon Chen from Shanghai took us to Akachan Honpo GRAND TREE MUSASHIKOSUGI, saying that she likes the brand because of its product quality

The word “Akachan” from “Akachan Honpo” means for “baby” in Japanese. Akachan Honpo is a speciality store for maternity, baby and kids’ items with the concept of “supporting smiling childcare”. Akachan Honpo enjoys great popularity among moms, with broad product lineups and consideration like new born babies’ underwear with stitches on the outside to reduce irritation and friction because of their delicate skin.

Person asking questions about a product
Akachan Honpo’s original private brand product “99% water – super” baby wipe for new born babies is their hit product and can be used for new born babies

The theme of the store is “art and design” (Seibu Shibuya store)

External view of Seibu Shibuya store
LED vision at the entrance displays ever changing color tones responding to the temperature and people’s movements. It is a popular meeting spot as well.

The theme of Seibu Shibuya store, located near Shibuya’s scramble intersection, is “art and design”. Each floor has a different theme, creating a space that is fun just looking at. You are sure to find fashion items to your liking and nice souvenirs to bring back.

Ladies' and men's floors' view
Ladies’ floor with the image of an amusement park with a merry-go-round (left) and mens’ floor designed after a museum. It is fun just looking at them.

Large scale fashion store with carefully selected luxury brand items (BARNEYS NEW YORK)

External view of Ginza store
Inside Ginza store
Apart from the U.S., BARNEYS only has stores in Japan with flag stores in Ginza, Shinjuku, Yokohama, Kobe and Fukuoka. The photo is Ginza store.

Luxury speciality store from New York (U.S.) , BARNEYS NEW YORK is a fashion speciality store with items ranging from the latest design to casual wear. Apart from the U.S., they only have stores in Japan. The store offers a selection of items that were carefully selected by the buyers with their excellent taste and BARNEYS NEW YORK’s original items. There are no partitions that separate different brands on either the ladies’ nor mens’ floor so shoppers can coordinate items from different brands freely.

A doorman and shoppers

Post comments on the website after enjoying a great meal (Denny’s)

External view of Denny's
Person taking a picture of the meal with a smart phone

Our last stop is the family restaurant “Denny’s”. One of the allures of this restaurant is the use of seasonal ingredients and carefully selected ingredients that are safe. All stores have menu books with pictures of the meals so it is easy to order. Free Wi-Fi “7Spot” is available inside the restaurant so you can post your comment on a word-of-mouth website after the meal and show it off to your friends.

Hospitality extended to foreign tourists, convenience provided by Seven & i

In order to choose stores where you can enjoy shopping, the kind of services offered by them also becomes important, like duty free, ATM and free Wi-Fi. In that sense Denny’s is at the top level in terms of hospitality as well, with Seven Bank’s ATM installed at the store that offers an operation guidance in multiple languages and allows withdrawal in Japanese yen.

Seven Bank's ATM

Seven Bank has more than 21,000 ATMs nationwide. They are installed at Seven-Eleven, various Seven & i Group stores like Ito-Yokado, Sogo & Seibu Department Store as well as Narita, Haneda, Kansai Airports and various train stations. You can use them 24 hours.

Duty free

There is an increasing number of stores that process duty free forms. Of about 18,000 Seven-Eleven stores nationwide, about 1,000 stores located at major tourist destinations offer duty free service (as of November 2015 and the number is expanding). Of 180 Ito-Yokado stores, 152 of them offer duty free service. Sogo & Seibu’s duty free counters have leaflets in multiple languages and iPads with translation application.

Free Wi-Fi “7SPOT” is available at Seven & i Group stores. You can also connect from “Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi”, twitter, Facebook and Google+ account.

Wi-Fi spot sign

Now, have you found stores that interest you? You will make even more exciting discoveries if you visit those places in person. Visit Japan and experience first-hand Japanese stores and its fun.