Japanese supermarkets look pretty much like their counterparts elsewhere around the world. Though as fish and seafood is so much part of the Japanese diet, the fresh fish counter in Japanese supermarkets is prominent and a specialized butcher's counter is usually noted for its absence or small size.
Japanese supermarkets usually open around 10am until 8pm though some supermarkets in Japan are 24 hours. Credit cards can be used and many supermarkets offer a points card and a variety of vouchers for deductions on future purchases.
Service at the checkout at japanese supermarkets is speedy and polite. Plastic bags often cost an extra 5 yen to encourage customers to bring their own bags.
Goods stocked in Japanese supermarkets include fruit and vegetables, dairy products, dried goods, canned food, snacks, beer, wines and Japanese sake, non-alcoholic drinks, toiletries and ready-to-eat, pre-prepared foods including a variety of often excellent salads, yakitori and grilled fish. If you can't cook Japanese food, you can buy most of the classic dishes pre-prepared and just reheat them in the microwave and serve with rice prepared in a rice-cooker.
Large supermarket chains in Japan include Aeon, Valor and Daiei along with Costco from the US with several stores in Japan including those in Kobe, Sapporo, Kawasaki and Machida-shi near Tokyo.
French supermarket Carrefour sold its operation in Japan to Aeon in 2005 and left the Japanese market.
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