Everyone knows 7-Eleven is an American company right? Well, sort of. What is now known as 7-Eleven was started in the US in the 1920s, changing its name in the 1940s to 7-Eleven to reflect its unprecedented hours of operation. It expanded to the Japanese market in the 1990s, where the Japanese subsidiary did so much better than the parent company that the subsidiary bought the parent. Japan now has around 19,000 7-11s, almost a third of the global total (that’s not counting any other convenience stores, there are around 50,000 total in Japan). Needless to say, Japanese like their 7-11s (and convenience stores). Here are a few things, especially food, that make them so great and must-visit places when traveling in Japan.
They are truly convenient
There are ATM machines at all 7-11s (and post offices) in Japan that work with international cards, giving you 24 hour access to cash (because not being able to pay for much with credit cards is a decidedly inconvenient aspect of Japan). You can also pay your bills, transfer money, buy bus or airplane tickets, and much more at 7-11 ATMs.
They have Traveler-friendly appliances like chargers and adapters
They Have Pretty much anything else you need
Toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, tissues, medicine, soap, shampoo, sunscreen, utensils, notebooks, pens, envelopes, batteries, disposable underwear and T-shirts, you name it – they’ve got it.
They are dangerously good, you should try them.
The pancake Sandwich
Looking for a quick breakfast? 7-11 has “pancake sandwiches” that have maple syrup and butter inside! Such a good idea
Okay, convenience store coffee is never going to be the best, but just lower your expectations and you will be completely satisfied! They sell ice coffee cups with the ice already in them so you just take it to the register and after paying, push the ice coffee button (R or L) on the coffee machine.
The wide selection of freshly made food
At 7-11s in America you get hot dogs past their prime and crusty pizza. In Japan, you have rice bowls, sushi, salads, curry, soup and a lot more that is all completely fresh.
Any convenience store in Japan is going to have a wide selection of these. You can try classics like Tuna Mayo, Fried Rice and Salted Salmon to more exotic varieties like Cod Roe, Pickled Plum or Fermented Soy Bean. There are tabs marked 1, 2 & 3 on the plastic wrapping, follow them and you will open your rice ball flawlessly.
Sometimes Japanese put weird things in sandwiches (and pizza for that matter) but usually they turn out pretty well. They always sell Western-friendly varieties like Egg Salad, Tuna and Ham/Cheese.
These Potato Chips
Japan’s version of Kettle Chips are insanely good. The black pepper ones are awesome too.
So many kinds of ice cream and popsicles for when it’s hot outside
I could only get half the varieties into the shot!