You Would Be Surprised by What You Can Buy for 100 Yen! The History and Evolution of 100-Yen Shops
The 100-yen shop is one kind of iconic store in Japan. You are sure to be surprised by the wide assortment of products on sale: from food, sundries, small accessories, and daily essentials to the latest electronic devices. This article looks at the history of Japan’s 100-yen shops, and some of the appealing products sold there.
The 100-Yen Shop Is an Iconic Store in Japan
As the name suggests, a 100-yen shop is a store where almost all products are sold for 100 yen each.
There is such a broad range of products for sale; you could almost say that there is a limitless selection of items. From sweets, sundries, to daily essentials like eating utensils and cleaning supplies, and even the latest electronic devices, you could say that it is relatively rare for you not to find the product you want at a 100-yen shop.
You can see 100-yen shops in many different places as you walk through the streets of Japan. You may feel that these stores are an essential part of Japanese people’s lives.
There are multiple brands of 100-yen shops. Each brand has a different atmosphere inside the store or offers products with distinct characteristics. Apart from going to these stores with a specific purpose to buy certain products, why not come into these stores just to have a look if there is something nice there? As you look through the wide variety of products while shopping, you are sure to have a fulfilling time.
The History of 100-Yen Shops
The history of 100-yen shops goes back many years. It is said that they originate with a type of store called “Ju-ku Mon Mise” (literally, “19-Mon stores”) about 300 years ago. “Mon” is the name for a unit of currency that was used in Japan at the time, and so this type of store got its name because it sold many different products all for 19 Mon (equivalent to $2.18 USD today) each. It is said that “Ju-ku Mon Mise” were established in light of poor economic conditions. In 1716, Tokugawa Yoshimune (the shogun at the time) adopted a set of policies called “Kyoho no Kaikaku” (literally the “Kyoho Reforms,” where “Kyoho” refers to the name of the era at the time). These policies strictly demanded the common people to be more frugal. As a result, Japan’s economy slowed down and products no longer sold well. As such, “Ju-ku Mon Mise” appeared, allowing people to buy things for affordable prices, and it is said that these stores gained popularity.
Apart from Ju-ku Mon Mise, it is said that several other kinds of stores sold different products for a set price, such as Shi Mon Ya (4-Mon stores) and San-Ju-Hachi Mon Mise (38-Mon stores).
It is a surprise to know that there were similar stores to 100-yen shops before the yen was created as the modern-day currency in Japan.
The word “100-yen shop” first appeared in 1985. The first ever 100-yen shop opened in Aichi Prefecture, one of the regions in Japan. Ever since, the word—and the type of store it refers to—spread across the whole of Japan.
In the present day, guides for tourists to Japan from abroad feature information about 100-yen shops. One brand of 100-yen shop has even rolled out about 2,000 stores across 26 countries and territories worldwide. In this way, 100-yen shops are spreading not just throughout Japan but around the globe as well.
100-Yen Shops Boast a Wide Selection of Products: You Would Be Surprised That They All Have the Same Price!
The appeal of 100-yen shops can be found in their rich selection of products and their high level of quality. It is impressive to see every kind of item at the store, with eating and cooking utensils, food, electrical goods, cosmetics, DIY products, fashion items, and more.
Recently, 100 yen shops have started to deal in products that cost more than 100 yen. They have an array of products priced at 200 yen, 500 yen, or other round numbers. These items have such a high level of quality; you would not believe that they are sold for these prices.
For example, VR goggles are generally sold for anything from several thousands of yen to tens of thousands of yen, but you can buy some for 500 yen at a 100-yen shop. Just attach the VR goggles to your smartphone and play a VR-compatible video to enjoy a highly immersive experience. With soft protective cushions and a feature to adjust the positions of the lenses, it is a surprise that these goggles cost 500 yen with this high level of quality.
You can also find mobile batteries for sale at 500 yen, letting you charge your smartphone and other electronic devices. Despite their compact size, they have enough capacity to fully charge your smartphone twice, so they are useful for when your battery goes down while you are outside. The benefit of 100-yen shops is that they let you buy electronic devices that you use on a daily basis, all for affordable prices.
Many stores have an area for toys, and these areas are hugely popular with kids. You are sure to be delighted with the extensive variety of different toys, including dolls, water pistols, toy instruments, and beads.
There are similar stores to Japan’s 100-yen shops abroad, such as dollar stores in America and pound shops in the UK. However, 100-yen shops in Japan are well-received by people from abroad for their wide selection of products and high standard of quality.
Japan’s 100-yen shops also offer many souvenirs for tourists from abroad, with a vast assortment of items that feel typically Japanese, such as pouches and fans decorated with Japanese patterns.
The reason why products at 100-yen shops have a high level of quality is that the stores use a style of business where they order a large number of products with a high original cost, and they sell these products in huge quantities to get a profit. At 100-yen shops, you can find many high-quality products that are made in Japan. Japanese manufacturers achieve low-priced, high-quality goods through work to thoroughly boost production efficiency, such as by installing sturdy equipment that can manage large-scale production, or by developing a supply structure that deals with a huge volume of raw materials. They also achieve lower costs through creative approaches in distribution methods, and they offer different selections of products in each store based on data about bestselling products. In this way, these companies make every effort to reduce costs so that they can offer good products at low prices. They are able to sell products with an unbelievable level of quality for 100 yen because they have a strong passion to bring customers appealing and valuable products that are in line with current trends. Japan’s 100-yen shops are sure to continue bringing joy to people in the future by offering new and appealing products to everyone.