When you first move to Japan, it can be tough to settle in, but these 9 essential items from 100 yen stores will make your life a little easier!
9 Essential Items for Living in Japan that You Can Get from the 100 Yen Store
100 yen shops like Daiso, Seria, and Can Do are perfect if you’re settling into a new place and need household basics. Even though everything is only 100 yen, the quality of their goods is surprisingly high, and they have all the basics you could ever need for living in Japan. Here are 9 essentials to pick up from your local 100 yen store right away!
1. Laundry Clips
In Japan, it’s normal to hang your laundry on the balcony. Unfortunately, it’s also normal for there to be strong winds, especially in the months of March and April. To keep your laundry from traveling to your neighbors’ yards, you’ll need these handy clips, to both attach your laundry to your hangers, and to attach your hangers to the laundry pole. With these, you could even challenge the winds of a typhoon (though I wouldn’t recommend it).
Kabi Kira (カビキラー)
Summer is slowly sweeping towards us and with it a wave of humidity and mold. To defeat the ubiquitous black gunk in your bathroom, you’ll need the spray “Kabi Kira” which you can purchase at both drugstores and 100 yen stores. Kabi means mold, so “Kabi Kira” translates to “mold killer”, and that’s just what this spray does. Just be sure to keep things well ventilated while using it, wear gloves, and don’t wear clothes you care about as the spray has a strong concentration of bleach and other harsh chemicals.
Tengui — Portable Hand Towels
You may have noticed that many bathrooms in Japan don’t provide paper towels or hand driers. Also, hand driers are not in use now due to Covid concerns, making it even harder to dry your hands after washing them (which you should be doing often!) This is where the hand towel comes in. Bring it in your bag, and pull it out to dry your hands after washing them. 100 yen stores usually have a cute selection of designs for you to choose from too!
Daiso and other stores have a surprising amount of good quality, microwave-safe dishware. You can even get yourself a Japanese-style pottery tea set. If you’re clumsy, like me, and tend to break dishes easily maybe splurging on expensive dishware isn’t the best idea. Instead, why not get your dishware for only 100 yen? That way when it breaks, it will be easily replaceable, and not much of a loss.
One thing apartments in Tokyo do not have is space. So it’s important to keep everything well organized and put away. That’s where 100 yen shops come in handy. They have boxes and bags of all kinds: big enough to pack away a futon, small enough to slide in the space under your couch.
Sometimes, the time comes when you need to write a note or send a letter (unusual in the age of the internet, I know). When that time comes, you’ll need some stationery. Fortunately, Japanese 100 yen shops are especially popular for their large selection of stationery. Pens, notebooks, paper, pencils… they have everything. Many items come with adorable designs as well. 100 yen shops often collaborate with popular brands like Pokémon, Disney, or Hello Kitty. If you’re lucky, you might be able to pick up stationery set with your favorite character!
Bottles and Pouches
You may have noticed that on the shelves of most Japanese drugstores, soaps and shampoos come in both the bottled and bagged type. The bags of shampoo, conditioner, and soap are cheaper than the bottled types. So 100 yen stores usually carry bottles for you to keep your bathroom products in. These bottles tend to be more aesthetic than the brand ones, adding a nice touch to your bathroom. Also, especially recently, smaller spray and cap bottles are popular for carrying around hand sanitizer in handbags. It can be cheaper to purchase one giant bottle of hand sanitizer, then use it to refill smaller bottles to bring with you. Finally, pocket-sized pouches are perfect for carrying cosmetics, pills, coins, or any other small, easily misplaced, items.
Stockings, Socks, and Slippers
As long as you fit within the usual range of Japanese sizes, 100 yen stores are a great place to pick up cheap, easily replaceable undergarments, stockings, and socks. Stockings tend to tear easily, no matter how fancy the brand, but if you only spent 100 yen on them, it doesn’t feel like too much of a loss. In the winter, it can be nice to slip off your shoes at the entranceway of your apartment (genkan) and slip on a pair of fuzzy slippers — which are also available at 100 yen stores.
100 yen store decorations are a cheap way to make your apartment personalized, so it feels more like a home. You can pick up posters and picture frames for your walls, or even deco stickers (just check that they won’t damage the surfaces before you use them). If you have a green thumb, you’ll find interior potted plants like cacti, and gardening supplies to deck out your balcony too.