100 Yen Shops

There are 100 yen shops located pretty much everywhere in Japan. Called "hyaku en shops" or "hyakkin" in Japanese, they are basically the Japanese equivalent to the American "dollar store" and can be incredibly helpful. The items sold cost around 105 yen each (100 yen plus tax) which is roughly equivalent to a dollar in America depending on the currency rate.

The shops are a great source of cheap necessities ranging from kitchen utensils to makeup to stationary to food. There's a good chance that if you need it, you can probably find it for cheap at a 100 yen shop. The closest 100 yen shop to JCMU is located a few stores down from the Beisia supermarket next to the "Halo Garden" arcade. It's about a 15 minute bike ride away from the JCMU campus.

Shimamura and Uniqlo

Both of these stores sell discount clothing. There is a Shimamura located in Southern Hikone.

Supermarket Deals

Generally the expensive foods are foods not traditionally Japanese. Meat is a classic example, especially beef. As are diary products. Other things that tend to be expensive are packaged snack foods like cookies and chips which come in smaller bags than the typical American is used to. However, Japanese staples like fish, vegetables, soy, noodles, and rice can be extremely cheap. A vegetable stir-fry with green peppers, onions, bean sprouts, broccoli, and a packet of sauce is a good cheap way to make a meal. Your local supermarket may have a discount cart for vegetables which is where we've often found things from bean sprouts to cabbage to gobo (burdock root.) And of course, anything you can mix with rice is cheap and easy. Fried rice with vegetables is also an option as are about any kind of noodles. And if you're not too picky, you can pick up cheap packets of instant curry which when combined with a good portion of rice make a filling meal.

Also important is the fact that many perishable items go on sale a little bit before the store closes for the night. The time varies from store to store but 7:15 at the Hikone Beiseia is when the bentos and sushi go on sale at half price. Various other things such as the fried foods and bean and meat buns also go on sale. The meat that expires soon goes on sale around 5:00. Just stick it in the freezer when you get back home and you should be set. Make note of the time your local supermarket starts marking down prices and go slightly early. People tend to arrive and grab what they want before they start marking down because it's possible to have an employee mark down food that you already have in your hands. Just grab what you want and wait until the employees come out then line up with everyone else.

Give the employee your food and he or she will place a new bar code sticker on it with a discount price.


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