TOKYO | Family Mart is a chain of convenience stores that can be found across Japan, and other Asian countries too. It’s the second largest convenience chain in Japan behind 7-Eleven, and has developed a bit of a cult reputation amongst foreign visitors. This might seem strange to the uninitiated, so let us tell you why Family Mart is the essential store for visitors to Japan.
The fact that Family Mart is a convenience store is useful in itself. Looking for water, or a drink (non alcoholic or alcoholic), a snack, chocolate or some gum? Family Mart’s always a reliable option. Need a spare SD card or a charger cable for your phone, or some last minute basic cosmetics or skincare products? Again, Family Mart will generally have what you need. Useful, but expected from a convenience store.
What makes Family Mart really worth visiting for the tourist? Well there are several things. Firstly, you can use your foreign ATM to withdraw Yen from Family Mart ATMs. Most Japanese ATMs will not accept foreign cards for cash withdrawals, but at Family Mart (and 7-Eleven and Post Offices) you can get cash when you need it. Secondly, the food here is actually pretty good. Sure it’s not restaurant quality good, but it’s a cut above what you’d expect to find at a convenience store.
Hungry? Well beyond the usual snacks you can find things like as onigiri (rice balls), obento (lunch boxes), fried chicken, oden, and katsu sandos. If you’re thirsty, you can find many hot and cold drinks, as well as alcoholic drinks like beer, happoshu, chuhai, sake, shochu and wine.