For international people in Japan or even Japanese people who are fans of foreign products, purchasing foreign imported food can be difficult and sometimes very costly. A small piece of cheese can set you back 1000 yen, and many items you will struggle to find at all.
You may know of the chain stores such as Kaldi and Jupiter, which are dotted around big cities in Japan and have a good selection of international products. However, if you want to do a big shop in one of these stores, good luck saving any money that month! Luckily, there is an alternative!
— Kotoba.fr (@KotobaFR) September 28, 2017
Gyomu Super is a supermarket which has stores scattered around the country. It is not as dominant or commonplace as Seiyu and other main supermarkets, but if you live in a generally busy area there will likely be one close to you.
The stores have a green sign, displaying “業務スーパー”, at the top, which is Japanese for Gyomu Super. Gyomu Super advertises itself as a business supermarket, which means they sell bulk products to businesses. This explains why products are a lot cheaper than you may find in other places. However, unlike some business orientated stores which you need to prove you have a business to access, anyone can come and shop here!
Gyomu has a large selection of cheap foods and drinks. Many of these are Japanese, ranging from fruits and vegetables to snacks, frozen foods, and canned goods. However, a sizeable portion of the products are foreign. You can get products from all over the world here, including south-east Asia, India, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. For example, they sell things you won`t likely find in Japanese supermarkets such as nuts, beans and pulses, canned goods from around the world, frozen fruits, Thai and Vietnamese noodles and sauces, snacks from Europe and the USA, a large selection of pasta, olives, and numerous other things! They also stock a very good selection of halal foods.
The best thing about the groceries here is that they really are cheap, and usually they come in large size packs making them even better value for money. I would compare it to a much smaller but much more accessible version of Costco! This is genuinely a great place to find decent, cheap, imported foods which could allow you to cook the dishes you love or indulge in the snacks you miss!
For a list of locations, please visit their website below. If you are in Tokyo, some of the store locations include Shinjuku, Koenji, and Mitaka, but there are many stores around the country.
Opening hours vary depending on the store but most are open from 9 am until 10 pm every day, so they are easy to access.
Gyomu Super is a fantastic hidden treasure which many foreign visitors or residents may not be familiar with, due to it not being situated in central locations or department stores. However, the short distance to one of these stores is more than worth it! You may well find yourself browsing the shelves in awe and coming out with a basket full of stuff like I did! Happy shopping!
There are many branches, but we will introduce one of them here: