Most travellers who have been to Japan come back raving about its version of the convenience store. Known as konbini, which traces its roots to the English word “convenience,” it can be found at every corner of major Japanese cities: a 24/7 wonderland where you can get lost in the aisles, awestruck by the sheer variety of ready-to-eat food, snacks, confectionary, beverages, basic necessities, household products and magazines. More than just a source of basic needs, the konbini has become part of everyday life for many Japanese people.
Japan's first convenience store opened in 1969 and today, there are more than 55,000 konbinis scattered across Japan. The largest chain in the country is 7-Eleven, followed by Family Mart, then Lawson.
The konbini culture in Japan is unique and significant. Even during times of recession in the early 1990s, these convenience stores did not fade away. In fact, they adapted to the changing needs of the consumers and became a one-stop-shop with an emphasis on convenience and practicality.