Many people who have visited or lived in Japan for any length of time will probably preach to you the wonders of Japanese convenience stores or “conbini” as they are commonly called. One may wonder what could possibly be so great about such a seemingly mundane place, but below are just a few examples of how Japanese conbinis bring convenience to a whole new level.
At just about every conbini you can find an ATM to withdraw cash on the go. Most have the option to switch to an English menu screen and some are even compatible with foreign cash cards!
You can take all of your monthly utility bills to the cash register and the staff will stamp and scan the bill then send the cash to the proper places for you. Easy right?
Usually beside the ATM you can find a machine that is a combination printer/scanner/photocopier. You can even bring a USB memory stick or SD card and print documents for about 10 yen per page.
Have a package that you need to send but there is no post office nearby? No problem, you can send parcels from just about any convenience store! A lot of places will even weigh, wrap, and address the package for you.
When you buy things online in Japan, there is often the option to pay via conbini on many sites. When selected, you are issued a confirmation number which you can take to the convenience store and then pay for the item in cash instead of using your credit card.
Aside from your usual snack items you find in western convenience stores, Japanesr conbinis carry all sorts of products including office supplies, underwear, deodorant, alcoholic beverages, pet food and even neckties!
If you plan to visit Japan, be sure to check out a Japanese convenience store at least once during your stay. It will be an interesting experience that changes your understanding of what true convenience really is!