Tokyo can be a foodie’s heaven on earth when it comes to restaurant selection. So while it might be hard at first not to follow your nose into the multitude of establishments seeping out smells of grilled, fried or bubbling goodness, after awhile you might just want some home-cooked meal—for either nostalgic, health or budgetary objectives. Whatever your reason may be, we recently stumbled across a Tokyo supermarket to support the ultimate cheapo lifestyle: A-Colle Discount Supermarket. It’s an Aeon-brand chain of discounted grocery stores spread across the greater Tokyo area. There are 100 stores in Tokyo, Saitama and Chiba—check the store listings page to find the closest one to you (use Google Translate if you can’t read Japanese).
And while not everything in the store is dirt cheap, much of it is. The trick is to choose the “Aeon” brand items over the brand name items that are sold alongside. Below is a list of staple grocery and kitchen items and their prices (including tax) to compare with your local supermarket.
|ITEM||PRICE* (TAX INCLUDED)|
|Bottle of water (500 mL)||48 yen|
|Bottle of tea (500 mL)||48 yen|
|Canned “vending machine” coffee||30 yen to 78 yen (depends on brand)|
|Asahi “Dry” (6 short cans)||1070 yen|
|Asahi “Dry” (500 mL)||255 yen|
|Kirin (500 mL)||255 yen|
|Aeon Beer (tall can)||135 yen|
|Guiness (short can)||258 yen|
|Heineken (short can)||218 yen|
|Lowenbrau (short can)||218 yen|
|Chicken (100 g)||90 yen|
|Chicken (3 small cutlets)||144 yen|
|Beef (100 g)||98 yen|
|Pork (100 gm)||128 yen|
|Maguro tuna (150 g)||298 yen|
|Frozen shrimp (140 g)||278 yen|
|10 eggs white||204 yen|
|10 eggs brown||218 yen|
|Soft tofu (400 g)||30-50 yen|
|Firm tofu (400 g)||98 yen|
|“Spongy” tofu (5 slices)||88 yen|
|Instant noodles bowl (large)||58 yen|
|Instant ramen (5 pack)||158 yen|
|Instant soba (5 pack)||298 yen|
|Aeon brand soy sauce (540 mL)||98 yen|
|Bread (8 thin slices or 6 thick slices)||78 yen|
|Bio Yogurt (4 pack)||198 yen|
|Tropicana orange juice (1 L carton)||198 yen|
|Lemon tea (1 L carton)||198 yen|
|Frozen fries (1 kg)||198 yen|
|Aeon milk (1 L carton)||105 yen|
|3 medium-sized onions||98 yen|
|4 potatoes||98 yen|
|4 bananas||198 yen|
|Enokitake mushrooms||38 yen|
|Bunashimeji mushrooms||80 yen|
|Watermelon (large/small)||980/598 yen|
|30 plastic cups||131 yen|
|4 paper towel rolls||150 yen|
|Swiffer-type sheets||78 yen|
|Dish soap (600 mL)||68 yen|
|Saran wrap, aluminum foil, etc. (Aeon brand)||58 yen|
|Small popcorn bag (50 g)||68 yen|
|Small chips (58 g)||68 yen|
|Bag of mini Kit Kats||235 yen|
|Bento with meat and rice||198 to 298 yen|
|Yakisoba bento||398 yen|
|Onigiri (rice ball)||68 yen|
*Prices are listed at the time of writing (Ikebukuro location) and are not guaranteed.
A few observations to keep in mind:
1) They lack in the veggie department and some are not any cheaper than a regular grocery store. Try Hanamasa, another cheapo-friendly supermarket, for a larger selection.
2) The meat isn’t too pricey, but they only offer the standard chicken, beef and pork. Again, try the above-mentioned Hanamasa for a diverse selection of meats like duck, lamb, etc.
3) Many kitchen items are way cheaper than purchasing them at our beloved 100-yen shops.
4) Watermelons (when in season) do not cost upwards of 100 dollars as proclaimed by Western media. A large one is 980 yen.
A famous park, a former black market and a whole heap of museums—get to know Ueno: