If your looking to buy beauty products, medicine, health foods, and other daily necessites, look no further than the drug stores. It’s the go-to place in terms of price, convenience, and selection of products. Prices are generally similar for products across the board, but if you go to “battle ground areas” where competition is stiff - usually around the bigger stations - prices drop a bit. And don’t forget to bring your passport. Most shops offer duty free products. If you buy over 5,000 yen (from 5,001 yen and above) worth of goods on the same day at the same shop, the 8% consumption tax will become duty free. Below is a simple list and some information on the major drugstore chains.
[caption id="attachment_13815" align="aligncenter" width="4032"] Matsumoto Kiyoshi Drug Store in Shibuya[/caption]
Over 700 drugstores in Japan, 550 of them in the Tokyo area alone, makes Matsumoto Kiyoshi the largest drugstore company in Japan. Shops are frequently found near stations with their infamous black characters in a yellow sign. You can’t miss them. 80%〜90% of the shops are duty free and many of the shops located around the city have foreign language speaking staff.
[caption id="attachment_13816" align="aligncenter" width="4032"] Sun Drug Store in Tokyo[/caption]
Ranking 2nd in corporate size, Sun Drug has roughly 600 stores nationwide. More than 300 of them are in the vicinity of the city center. Sun Drug signs are red with white characters. 60%〜70% of their shops are duty free.
[caption id="attachment_12911" align="aligncenter" width="1632"] Tsuruha Drug Store in Shibuya[/caption]
100 Tsuruha Drug stores are located around Tokyo metropolis. In Japan, their store numbers reach over 1,000 and rank no.3 in the industry. Their white characters in red (with a touch of yellow) background is their store display. 90% of their drugstores in the Tokyo area are duty free, but that number drops to about 20% outside of Tokyo.