100 yen shops (100円ショップ, Hyaku En Shoppu) are a type of discount store that sell a wide range of products for 108 yen (100 yen plus 8 percent consumption tax). This corresponds roughly to one US dollar, making these shops a great source for travelers and residents on a budget.
Typically everything in the store costs 100 yen per item; however, they often sell smaller things, such as candy and snacks, in multiples of 2 or 3 for 100 yen. Some stores also sell selected items for more than 100 yen, which are usually priced in multiples of 100 yen. These items will be clearly marked, and, although more expensive, are usually still a good value for the price.
There are thousands of 100 yen shops across Japan, ranging in size from multi-story “department stores” to small corners in shopping malls. A few convenience store chains have even adopted the model and price everything in their stores at 100 yen. Market leader Daiso operates over two thousand stores nationwide and pursues an aggressive expansion policy.
One of the largest 100 yen shops in central Tokyo is Daiso Harajuku in Takeshita Dori, just a few steps from Harajuku Station. Large stores in other cities include: Daiso Sapporo Chuo (South 2 West 2, Odori Station), Daiso Nagoya Sakae Skyle (Sakae Station), Daiso Osaka Keihan City Mall (Tenmabashi Station, Keihan Railway), Daiso Kobe Sannomiya Centergai (Sannomiya Station) and Daiso Fukuoka Kotsu Center (Fukuoka Kotsu Center, Hakata Station).
100 yen shops are able to offer an amazing range of products, many of which are their own store branded goods, at a price that is often below the product’s actual value. They do this mainly by purchasing products in huge quantities direct from manufacturers, which are often located in countries with low production and labor costs.