In a megacity like Tokyo, it’s essential to consider all of your grocery options if you want to shop smart, especially if you want to reduce your living expenses or just want to do most of your cooking at home. If you haven’t put much thought into your grocery store of choice yet, you might be missing out on major yen-saving deals by just sticking to whatever’s closest. The good news is that no matter where you live, you’re surrounded by options, and this roundup of the cheapest stores in the city will help you make the best choice, whether you’re looking for an all-around discount store or the best place to save in each food category.
General Tips on Budget Shopping in Tokyo
While the cost of groceries is about the same across the 23 wards, remember that areas with a greater concentration of grocery stores see price competition that results in lower prices. In Tokyo, this means high-traffic areas like Shibuya, Shinjuku, or Ikebukuro. Where competition is high, you’ll also see special sale items and deals posted daily, so keep your eyes open and make use of store websites and discount leaflets when possible to know what’s coming.
Also, you should absolutely be taking advantage of point cards whenever they’re available for stores where you shop often. Individual convenience or grocery store chains may have their own point card (like OK Supermarket, listed below), or you can look into overall point cards accepted by a range of businesses, like d POINT and make sure you’re using them at every possible opportunity. Finally, make sure you’ve read our Japanese supermarket guide, because the more you know, the more you save!
Tokyo’s Cheapest Supermarkets for Budget Shopping
Don Quijote (Donki): Cheap Snack Heaven
Don Quijote (including Picasso, the smaller version, and MEGA Donki, the bigger version) is all over Tokyo, and is known for having pretty much everything you could ever need, all for CHEAP. When it comes to food, you can find hundreds of Japanese snacks and candies and usually a pretty expansive selection of international ones, too. This is also a great place to pick up heavily discounted canned and dried foods, drinks, and alcohol.
If you find a MEGA Donki, they have much larger food sections, including produce and fridge items, although generally they aren’t the most reliable place for the freshest, highest quality produce. Most Donki and MEGA Donki stores are open 24 hours or into the late night, but there are some exceptions, so be sure to check!
|Name||Don Quijote (Donki)|
|Hours||Varies by store|
|Locations||All over Tokyo, see all locations here.|
(Japanese and English)
Niku no Hanamasa: Quality Meats at Unbeatable Prices
Niku no Hanamasa established itself as a butcher shop bringing in quality meats for restaurants and has since expanded to a consumer chain without losing its quality and super low prices. Here you can find domestic and imported meats in quantities of 1 kg or more, from seafood to lamb. You can also find a selection of cheap bulk products here, like pasta, nuts, canned beans, and cooking staples. Some branches offer home delivery, and some even have a cook-your-own facility above the store, so Hanamasa really has all of your BBQ needs covered.
|Name||Niku no Hanamasa|
|Opening Hours||Varies, but many are 24 hrs|
|Locations||About 40 locations in the Tokyo metropolitan area, many in east Tokyo and along the JR Yamanote Line, with a few in West Tokyo (Meguro, Setagaya). See the full list here.|
Gyomu Super: Everything’s Cheaper in Bulk
If you don’t have a Costco membership, here is your wholesale bulk store. They have many stores across Tokyo, and though there aren’t quite as many as other major grocery chains, chances are that you have one nearby, and it is definitely worth the trip! Get a great price on everything, from pre-cut meats to pantry items to frozen vegetables. They keep their prices low by producing their own private-label products, purchasing directly from manufacturers, and by buying and selling in bulk. You can definitely find a unique selection of products here, compared to your average Japanese grocery store.
One customer favorite is their paper carton sweets, wherein takes traditional Japanese desserts like mizu yokan (red bean jelly) are packaged in a 1-liter carton! They’ve got an extensive Halal food section as well, and you can see all of their current Halal products on their website (in English).
|Locations||Across Tokyo, including Shinjuku, Koenji, and Mitaka.|
Big-A: Don’t Miss These Weekly Sales
Get crazy deals like 300 g of tofu for 33 yen or bags of cut cabbage for 69 yen as part of Big-A’s sale campaigns, all of which are kept updated on their website and in their sale leaflets. The campaigns aren’t the only reason to give Big-A a try – they’ve also always got very cheap fresh produce, competitive meat prices, and a good snack selection, and most of the stores are open for 23 hours a day!
|Opening Hours||Varies, see location list for full hours|
|Locations||85 stores across Tokyo, see them here|
OK Supermarket: For All of Your Household Needs
OK Supermarket (sometimes listed as OK Store) is most likely the cheapest overall grocer in Tokyo, and you can find them everywhere! In addition to a full grocery and an in-house bakery, they have a huge range of inexpensive household items, and their motto is “high quality, low prices every day,” so they’re working to bring customers the best deals and discounts constantly.
If you have a membership card, you get an automatic 3% discount on every cash purchase, so you can get extra savings on even normally priced items. You can even search by location on their website to see the current “congestion status” (how crowded a store is) and plan the best time for your trip! If you only have time to do all of your shopping in one place, you can never go wrong here.
|Opening Hours||Varies, but generally 8:00 am – 9:00 pm|
|Locations||All over Tokyo, see the full list here.|
YaMaYa: The Cheapest Alcohol and Imported Delicatessen
Imported food in Japan is never cheap, but YaMaYa offers the best selection at the most competitive prices. Here you’ll find an entire range of alcohol at an equally diverse range of prices, and the cheapest imported chocolate, cheese, canned or dried foods available. Check the official website for their latest campaigns and coupons.
|Opening Hours||Varies, but generally 10:00 am – 9:30 pm|
|Locations||Across Tokyo: Aoyama, Akasaka, Ikebukuro, Kameido, Kojimachi, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Meguro, Hikarigaoka, Omori, and Ginza. See the full list here.|
Ozeki Supermarket: Bustling with Great Deals
After work and on weekends, Ozeki stores are bustling with customers looking for the day’s hot deals and staff who are restocking as fast as possible to keep up. Don’t miss out on Ozeki’s huge (and cheap, of course!) fresh produce section. You can also catch great deals on marked-down evening bento and bread here. It’s pretty much your standard Japanese grocery, but the deals are hot and the customers are taking advantage!
|Opening Hours||Varies, but generally 10:00 am – 9:00 pm|
|Locations||More prominent in south and west Tokyo, including Shinjuku and Setagaya. See all locations here.|
Y’s Mart: Value Sushi and Bento
Y’s Marts are a bit harder to find than some of these others – there are fewer locations and the stores themselves are usually on the smaller side. The prices for produce here are pretty standard, but you can find real cheap deals on cut meats, sushi, and “bento” (Japanese lunch boxes) starting from as little as 398 yen. Many stores offer shipping, even same-day, and they have their own point card!
|Opening Hours||Varies by store|
|Locations||37 stores across Tokyo and Chiba, see the full list here.|
Lawson Store 100: The 100-Yen Supermarket
Lawson convenience store meets 100-yen store here, meaning you can find all of the typical Lawson items with the addition of fresh produce and grocery items, all for 100 yen, and 24 hours a day! It’s tempting to see all of your favorite conbini snacks marked down to 100 yen, and it’s straight up unbelievable to see the same for fresh produce, grocery, and even deli items! There are hundreds of locations in Tokyo, and after one visit you’ll never go back to regular Lawson again.
|Name||Lawson Store 100|
|Opening Hours||24 hours|
|Locations||See all locations here.|
Start Eating on the Cheap!
A true bargain hunter will mix and match their supermarkets to get the best deals in every category of their shopping list. A slightly less ambitious bargain hunter might just pick a tried and true all-around discount store to knock it all out. Whatever you need, if you choose your stores wisely, you can be sure you’re getting the best deal in the city!
If you’re ready to take your bargain hunting to the next level or want to shop in true Japanese fashion, check out 10 shopping streets you need to visit in Tokyo on our sister site “tsunagu Japan,” where you can learn all about Tokyo’s local grocery markets.
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.