I Ate Breakfast At Japanese Convenience Stores For 2 Weeks: Here’s The Best Food To Buy

I recently got back from a glorious trip to Japan and let me tell you, the post-holiday blues are hitting me hard. One of the biggest things I miss — aside from galavanting around without any real responsibilities — was the incredibly accessible, cheap food from the convenience stores.

You see, convenience stores in Japan are a holy grail. With over 56,000 stores across the country, they’re on every block. Most are open 24 hours, stocking everything from snacks, coffee, alcohol, full-on meals, phone chargers or anything you can bloody think of that you might need in the middle of the night. Along with the necessities, convenience stores are filled with fun colourful packets and tantalising treats — and we love treats!!!

Culturally, convenience stores — or konbinis — aren’t treated the same way they are here in Australia.

Japanese convenience stores are not a last-ditch effort to grab a snack or a coffee when you’re headed to work on a public holiday. Instead, they’re the first and only stop on the snack-obtaining agenda because the food is cheap and actually good.

Tell that to your local Aussie convenience store stocking an ass-smelling egg sandwich for $7.

Peep the perfectly soft-boiled eggs!!!! (Image: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

With the fast-paced lifestyle, convenience stores are often the go-to place for working people to grab breakfast on the move. I may not have been working, but as an early bird, this is exactly what I did. Instead of getting the proverbial worm, this early bird got two breakfast onigiri. Not only do I think the habit resulted in a few extra dollars in my pocket, but it was a wonderful way to start the day. I was thriving.

Fuelled by Onigiri, I am positive I’m a better person.

I shit you not, I ate at least one (1) onigiri every single day during my trip. (Image: Laura Masia)

My convenience store antics didn’t just revolve around brekie. After a night out on the town, convenience stores became the only option, faithfully lighting up the street and providing me with all of my needs from alcoholic beverages to instant ramen.

As a result, I feel like I effectively sampled a significant amount of the products that the convenience stores have to offer. So, please join me — and after a call out on Instagram, all the people I met in Japan — in reminiscing about the best food to get from each main convenience store in Japan: 7-Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson.

Before we get into it, it’s worth noting that you can generally find an iteration of these items from each of the three chains. These are just the ones that do it best.

The Best Things To Buy From 7-Eleven In Japan

7-Eleven, my queen. (Image: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

7-Eleven first came to Japan in 1974 and has since expanded to almost 22,000 stores around the country. As per the name, the original opening hours were 7am to 11pm, which was pretty groundbreaking at the time. But a year later, things really kicked off when some stores started operating for 24 hours a day, changing the landscape of convenience stores in Japan.


Remember when you were back in school and your mum used to cut the crusts off sandwiches? Personally, that wasn’t the reality in my half-Italian household BUT I did feel like I got to truly live the white-bread crustless experience while snacking on sambos in Japan. At 7-Eleven, you can get all sorts of sandwich flavours in the softest white bread known to man.

My favourite was egg and teriyaki chicken, but there were also options like pork cutlet, potato salad, ham, and even strawberries, custard and whipped cream (!!!!!!!!).

And for the indecisive folks among us, 7-Eleven stock combo packs with three different flavours. Now that’s innovation!

I was so hungover on this day and this sandwich genuinely saved me. (Image: Laura Masia)

Baked goods

Most convenience stores stock a range of baked goods, but for some reason, 7-Eleven seems to stock the freshest with the biggest range. If you’ve got a hankering for a croissant, a pastry or some melon pan, this is the one to choose.

A special mention goes out to the fluffy pancakes. My DMs were jam-packed with messages about how delicious these bad boys are. As a savoury breakfast girl, I’m devastated I didn’t give them a try.

Ice cream

Ice cream has made the list purely due to the incredible range that 7-Eleven has perfectly stacked in the freezer section. Special shout-outs go to Gari Gari Kun Soda ice block, the frozen creme brulée and the Super Cup vanilla ice cream.

Salads and vegetables

A common complaint from tourists visiting Japan is that fruit and vegetables are hard to come by. However, I disagree. Yes, fruit is expensive but vegetables are everywhere, you’ve just got to actively order them.

For the days when veggies were nowhere in sight, I headed to our good friend 7-Eleven where you can get a range of salads, fruits and vegetables to snack on and make you feel ~healthier~. My favourite was cut-up veggies that come with a miso mayo. Delightful.

Or, if you just aren’t vibing the chewing part, you can opt for the viral 7-Eleven fruit smoothie. It’s literally a cup of frozen fruit that you chuck into a smoothie machine and voila — you’ve got health, baby.

The Best Things To Buy From Family Mart In Japan

(Image: Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Next up is Family Mart. This chain first opened in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture in 1973 and has been growing at a super fast rate ever since. I’m talking 500 news stores every three years!

Just like 7-Eleven, Family Mart isn’t purely a Japanese venture. It also has stores in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, China and Vietnam.

Now, let’s get on the good stuff.

Hot, fried chicken

While I was in Japan, stomping those mean streets, it was a particularly bad time to be a piece of Family Mart’s famous Famichiki. Famichiki is a delectable, boneless piece of hot chicken found at the Family Mart counter. You can get the regular fried chicken, or mix it up with the extra crispy or version.

Recently, Family Mart began selling Famichiki onigiri — basically a sandwich of rice held together by seaweed with a big slice of chicken in the middle — and it was incredible.

And for $2.12 AUD (¥220) it’s a bloody steal.

Steamed buns

When I did a call out on Instagram asking my pals their favourite thing from convenience stores in Japan, so many people said Family Mart’s steamed buns.

At each store, right on the counter, you’ll see a steamy glass case full of different flavour buns. The most popular flavour is a pork bun (classic!) known as a nikuman. It’s filled with juicy, slightly sweet ground pork and is sold for only $1.25 AUD (¥130). But if pork isn’t your thing, you’ve got to try the pizza flavour filled with rich tomato sauce and oozy cheese.

As a human Italian hybrid, I reckon it’s a dream come true.

The Best Things To Buy From Lawson In Japan

(Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Lucky last is Lawson! This wonderful establishment has found itself in the headlines recently due to a particular store perched in front of Mount Fuji. It had become a hotspot for tourists to take aesthetic photos of the beloved convenience store with the famous mountain in the background. The issue was that tourists were standing in the middle of the road to get the perfect shot, disrupting the flow of traffic. The solution? Block the view.

Anyway, the good news is, there are still plenty of reasons to visit the Fuji Kawaguchiko Lawson and all the others — the snacks.

The fancy desserts

Lawsons may be the lesser favourite, but it is known as a purveyor of high-quality desserts and sweets. One particular treat is the famous Premium Roll Cake. For only $1.80AUD (¥194), you can grab a soft round sponge cake filled with fresh “speciality Lawson” cream. They come in a bunch of flavours including chocolate, bran and matcha.

BIG YUM. (Image: Lawson)


I’d argue that there is fairly good coffee available at all three chains. However, some locals ride or die for the coffee at Lawson. The freshly brewed coffee at Lawson’s is referred to as the “MACHI café” and is owned by Sarutahiko Coffee, a sustainably brewed coffee brand. For a simple black or white coffee, it’s just over one dollar Australian (¥110), but they have other fancier options available.

Akuma Onigiri

Akuma Onigiri or “Devil’s Onigiri” is one of the most popular snacks exclusive to Lawson. It’s a rice ball flavoured with dashi, tempura flakes and aonori (dried green seaweed). It’s said to be named because it is devilishly addictive, and not necessarily the healthiest choice available.

According to the tourism site tsunago Japan, Akuma Onigiri was incredibly popular from the second it was released, selling 2.65 million in the first 13 days on sale after being first put on the shelves in 2018. Nice one!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Image: Laura Masia)


One of the most beautiful things about convenience stores in Japan is that you can not only buy alcohol at convenience stores and grocery stores — but you can buy anti-hangover products too.

So if you intend on having a big one sipping on whiskey highballs and sour lemons, don’t forget to check out the mini-fridge with the tiny glass bottles and pouches of vitamin-infused jelly to help your head the next day.

Well, there you have it. I wish you wonderful travels and hope you get to taste all the snacks you possibly can.

Laura Masia is PEDESTRIAN.TV’s entertainment reporter but when she’s not tapping away at work, she loves a cheeky backpacking trip with a hefty amount of little treats. You can follow her adventures on Instagram HERE.