When I went to Tokyo and Kyoto in February, I never could have imagined how many times I’d eat at convenience stores. Known as konbini in Japanese, these stores are located on almost every street corner, as ubiquitous as they are in the United States.
But that’s really the only way in which they’re similar to our 7-Elevens and gas station shops. Because I know what you’re thinking: Convenience store food? Like the sad, rotating hot dogs and chicken nuggets sitting in a case beside the register that taste like waste oil? But I will swear up and down that the best snacking I did throughout my travels was at these marts. With their array of prepared foods, ice cream, drinks, and packaged treats, every time I stepped into a konbini it felt like a mini adventure.
The main chains in Japan are 7-Eleven (yes, the one you’re thinking of, but better!), FamilyMart, and Lawson, and the best snacks typically cost $1-3 USD. These foods aren’t healthy, and they weren’t prepared by some celebrated chef. But they’re the Japanese foods I will remember most fondly. Here are the best konbini snacks I found in Japan.