Hello guys! My journey in Japan continues and today I will be talking about shopping!
Shopping is one of the biggest activities we look forward to doing in Japan, especially for Malaysians and Singaporeans. And you guys have already seen my luggage filled with groceries on the last day of my every trip to Japan – that’s how important it is to me.
Today I am introducing Ito-Yokado, one of Japan’s largest tax-free supermarket chains offering good quality products at reasonable prices, and why it would be your one-stop shopping destination especially before flying back home for all your last minute shopping.
Ito-Yokado was founded in 1920 so next year it will celebrate its 100th anniversary! What an amazing feat! Ito-Yokado has 160 stores nationwide. In Tokyo alone there are lots of chains and most of them are located conveniently near airport such as Haneda airport, and tourist attractions such as Sky Tree, Ghibli Museum, Sanrio Puroland, Tokyo Disney Resort and more!
Ito-Yokado – Sky Tree
So today I’m bringing you to Ito-Yokado store near Sky Tree.
To access you will get to Hikifune Station on Tobu Skytree Line and just walk across the street.
Supermarkets are honestly one of the best things you can ever find in Japan, and Ito-Yokado has been awarded three times for their “Safety and Assurance” measures by Japan’s METI Minister’s Award. You will see why later.
I was immediately drawn to their ready-to-eat aisle filled with a myriad of freshly prepared delicacies.
One of my top recommendation is their sushi corner! Ito-Yokado has their own very strict standard of food freshness and safety. The sushi for example, is placed on the shelf only for 6 hours after being made directly in the kitchen. There’s even temperature control to make sure that the food are of premium freshness.
And for such high quality sushi, it is extremely reasonably priced!
A 10-piece sushi set featuring a line-up of premium “neta” – including amaebi, ikura and anago, for only JPY698!
Also, the fresh food prepared here contains zero preservative and artificial coloring so you can consume it safely. You can also see that there’s a “freshness management” check list, where the staff will monitor the freshness and temperature every hour. So much thoughtfulness put into ensuring the safety of their consumers!
My favorite oden set at JPY550 for so many items!
Fresh sashimi are also available.
This is a fish corner where you can select your choice of fish and have it cooked the way you like at no additional charge! How amazing is their service T_T.
Recently I saw news that the price of sanma fish (pacific saury) has increased immensely due to reduced quantity in the ocean, so I was really surprised to find that it is sold at such low prices here, it really shows that Ito-Yokado is committing to providing high quality at good prices for their customers.
This is ready-to-eat Tendon (tempura rice bowl), it makes a really great lunch for just JPY580.
The yakitori selection looks absolutely delish too.
Although it’s a little tricky to buy fresh groceries especially meat products, but if you happen to stay in an apartment that comes with a kitchen, you can also consider simple cooking – whip up a Matsusaka wagyu steak at less than half the price of dining out in a restaurant!
Fruits and vegetables
Ito-Yokado also put pride in their farming selections with all their vegetables and fruits coming from known sources where you can see the name of the farmers and more information on the farm from scanning the QR code to ensure the best quality and food safety.
At the fruit aisle, don’t be surprised if you see a number indicating the sweetness of certain fruits!
Here’s another favorite – the grocery aisles!
Ito-Yodako is part of SEVEN & i HOLDINGS, a large Japanese retail group that also owns 7-Eleven chains in Japan, so you will be seeing lots of limited edition and specialty products made for 7-Eleven and Ito-Yokado chains.
For example the ramen corner! Among the huge selection of flavors and brands, you may find…
Original products made in collaboration with famous ramen shops, such as Ippudo Hakata Tonkotsu Instant Ramen. Now you can enjoy the original taste of super popular ramen without queuing, back at the comfort of your hotel or even your home country!
I was so so excited to find Tomita Chuka Soba Cup Noodle collaboration – one of my favorite ramen from Matsudo which I blogged about here from my trip to Chiba. Please try it when you have a chance!
For sweets lovers, of course you will also find the latest products and limited edition from popular brands such as Haagen Dazs – this is Hojicha Latte flavored!
A while ago I introduced my favoirite Pocky flavor ever – Salted Sakura, a spring limited edition and for this autumn, they have Momo&Ichigo (peach and strawberry) and Kuromitsu Kinako flavor.
Beauty / Cosmetics
On this multi-storey Ito-Yokado store, you will not only find food, but also a broad range of popular cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and drugs at “Bi no Garden” floor.
There are lots of mid-range drug store cosmetic brands that are very affordable.
You will also see their original and exclusive collaboration items such as FANCL Botanical Force.
And for example KOSE Sekkisui which is exclusively available only at SEVEN & i group stores – if you look carefully the kanji is different: 雪肌粋 (Sekkisui) instead of 雪肌精 (Sekkisei). Sekkisui also has smaller size options, perfect for traveling in my opinion, and it is also slightly more affordable than the departmental store counterpart.
You can spend quite a fun time shopping for different varieties of beauty and cosmetics products here.
Ito-Yokado even has their original clothing brand, ranging from basics, inner wear to casual and business.
It is extremely affordable too!
The ladies’ fashion floor is worth checking out too.
This knit top is from GALLORIA, Ito-Yokado’s original brand, price at JPY3900+.
Of course at the kids floor you can find lots of kids products for your little ones such as clothing, toys and stationery.
There are also an arcade and a huge selection of gacha gacha machines to entertain the curious children.
To add value to the consumers, you can also find a money changer machine and “pocketchange”, a machine that will help you make great use of your leftover coins and bills – including JPY, SGD, USD, etc, by instantly converting them into electronic money / vouchers / or charitable donations to be used in your country of choice.
There’s also special coupon for foreign travelers only to help you save even more when you purchase JPY10,000 and above. Just scan the QR code on the brouchure and show your smartphone screen at the cashier.
Of course, tax-free shopping is also available and you can read about it more here.
Find out more from Ito-Yokado’s official website:
The next time you are in Japan, don’t forget to drop by Ito-Yokado and find all your value buys and limited edition goods before you head back to your home country!