MaxValue is your go to supermarket in Japan.
Incidentally, you can find MaxValu in many places around the country, or the larger version – AEON supermarkets – in AEON malls.
You can sign up for a point card at any Aeon establishment and receive the Aeon Waon card right away. You can charge it in store, and use it as prepaid payment option.
Every time you pay with the card, you not only get points, but the machine makes a great ‘wan’ noise like a dog barking. This is the main feature that I personally love about the card. It’s sad, but I buy things, many things, just to hear the bark.
Cooking is hard. Time. Ingredients. Money. Sometimes, it is just faster and quicker to buy instant. Sometimes, this would make a poor choice, but not in the case of MaxValu. The instant meals, from prepared, chilled, to frozen, are for the most part amazing.
I love the pizza, frozen pasta, the chilled pasta salads, and most of all, the chilled fish and chips! Just pop them in the toaster oven, and you are in merry ol’ England enjoying some nosh.
They also have great instant foreign foods, like Indian curry and prepackaged Naan. It is a foodie’s paradise, really.
From 7 AM to 9 AM to 11PM – 12 AM sometimes, but 24 hours a day, all year, for a lot of them. Just be sure to pay attention to the signs in your local area. As well, just keep an eye on the doors. Some doors close after 11PM to leave just one open, in order to reduce shoplifting and increase safety. I have walked into a few closed automatic doors in my rush for some grub.
Buffets are great at a restaurant, more so at a supermarket! You get to choose what you want, place it in a an appropriately sized dish of your choosing, weigh it, and pay at the register. They have it all, pastas, fried chicken, pasta salads, Japanese pumpkin salads. As an added bonus, they are often half off after 10PM. Score!
If you have a friend visiting Japan, and don’t want to shell out the cash for a bunch of restaurants, take them to Maxvalu first. Taste test! Then go to the good places for the stuff they like. In all seriousness, sometimes the supermarket is just cheaper, more delicious, and more convenient. Do you really want to spend time and money, mixing tiny ingredients to make the perfect simmered veggies? No. Buy them. Delicious, convenient, and cheap.
So, if you come across a big purple sign sporting a MaxValu logo, go in, and try something new! And pick up a point card, so you can hear the bark.