Bulk buying means different things to different people. For some, it’s about better value on essentials. For others, it means cutting down on time and waste, or even hedging off price increases. In Japan, bulk buying is often conflated to ‘hakari-uri’ (量り売り), or ‘zero-waste shopping’ where you bring your own bag or container and fill up by the pound or kilogram. If you want to know more, buy more, and save more, we’ve found the best places in Japan, and online, for all types of bulk buying. Stock up while you can!
Japan’s best bulk buying online and at the store
Japan’s top spot for bulk buying, meaning big loads of everything, is of course Costco Wholesale. It’s really your (big) slice of Americana with 31 warehouses across Japan. With pricey membership, lack of online shopping choice, and inconvenient locations, it’s not everyone’s truck load of joy.
There are other places online, and perhaps even nearby you, where you can do bulk buying, and here is what we found:
1. Tomizawa Shoten—baking supplies
Tomizawa Shoten is your best place on earth for baking supplies. They’re a major retailer and wholesaler, and their brand name Tomiz also has a popular Amazon storefront.
- Store locations: Throughout Japan.
- Online shopping: No minimum order. Orders over ¥5,980 free shipping.
- Payments: Credit card, R Pay, Line Pay, COD.
- Languages: Japanese only. Online registration will accept Roman character names, but please also write in katakana and everything else in kanji.
Best bulk buys: up to 15 kg and 25 kg on bread, cake, and Caputo flours. Bulk deals on various butter brands, cream cheeses, and shortening. Nuts and dried fruit in 1 kg packs or 10+ kg box crates, cooking chocolate and cocoa up to 5 kg. Other products include sugars, yeasts, imported honeys, frozen preparations, useful things like oxygen and moisture absorbers, and more.
2. Ecostore—house and bath products
Ecostore is originally from New Zealand. They’re your best choice in Tokyo for household and bathroom goods. Their focus is on plant-based ingredients that do no harm, are cruelty free, and they’re B Corp registered too. Ecostore promotes bulk buying and container refilling for environmental reasons.
- Store locations: Ebisu Station west exit Kanazawa City, and numerous stockists nationwide.
- Online shopping: No minimum order. You can select delivery day and time.
- Payment: Amazon Pay, credit card, Docomo, AU, Softbank, R Pay, or COD.
- Languages: Product names are in English and Japanese. You can browse English product info on the NZ site. For registering, your name in Roman characters is fine, everything else has to be entered in Japanese.
Best bulk buys: Everything from 500 ml to 1 L, 2 L, 5 L and 20 L on dishwashing liquid, laundry detergents & softeners. 5 L bulks on bathroom detergent and body washes. Other products are average sizes.
3. Bulk Foods—fruits and nuts
Bulk Foods advertise over 200 mostly organic and health-based foods. They have two stores in Motosumiyoshi and one in Shinmaruko, both in Kawasaki. You can shop by any weight small or large, and with your own containers too. Other than that, they also have an online store.
- Store Locations: Motosumiyoshi, Shinmaruko; Kawasaki
- Online shopping: No minimum order. Free delivery on orders over ¥3,500.
- Payments: Pay ID, credit card, Pay-easy, Docomo, AU, Softbank, Bank Transfer.
- Languages: Minimal English, but with Google Translate or Rikaikun plug-ins you can switch to English for country of origin, ingredients, and other info. The website is simple and nice.
Best bulk buys: This is really a place for all things fruits and nuts. For online shopping, you select a fixed weight of up to 1 kg and then the volume. They sell different nut butters, gift sets, chocolatey snacks, and a small range of naturally based detergents made in Japan.
4. Sakamoto Miso—miso for all
Sakamoto Miso has a full range of various types of red and white miso pastes in sizes ranging from 300g to 10 kg and their flavor comes highly recommended. You can also buy mixed sets of miso, gift sets, and a small range of pickles and condiments. They were founded in Higashigotanda in 1918 and stock up to 40 kinds of miso from all around.
- Store Locations: Higashigotanda, Shinagawa. Also in Setagaya, Nakano, Ota, and Katsushika wards.
- Online Shopping: No minimum order. Free shipping over ¥6,000, but not with COD shipments; Kuroneko cool shipping.
- Payment: Credit card, bank and postal transfers.
- Languages: Website is all Japanese. If you haven’t gone native, you may have to consult a local or deploy Google Translate or Rikaikun.
5. Nue by Totoya—everything organic
Nue by Totoya is a speciality store well worth a mention. They’re a classic buy-by-weight store located in Kokubunji on the Chuo Line at a place called Slow Cafe. They are partnered with similar bulk buying stores across Tokyo and nationwide. All foods are JAS certified organic or even certified under stricter EU organic regulations.
- Store Location: Higashimotomachi in Kokubunji
- Online shopping: Not available
- Payment: Cash
- Language: Website is in Japanese with limited English
Nue by Totoya is a great place for organic pastas, especially ancient Sicilian grain pasta. They also have gluten (wheat) free lentil and chickpea pasta. You can get Japanese stuff too, including organic soy sauce and dried daikon.
Other products are ancient grain flour, different pulses, semolina, oats, dried fruits including berries, nuts galore, vegan fair trade chocolate, dried herbs, teas, and more. They sell organic cotton bags if you forget to bring something along.
Tips for bulk buying on Amazon Japan
It would be remiss not to mention the treasure trove of goods tucked away on Amazon Japan. To get to the bulk without everything else getting in the way, here is what we like to do:
- Go to the Food & Beverage page.
- Click on your category or any subcategory that appears.
- In either case, scroll to the bottom and click ‘See all results’.
- In the page top sort feature, select ‘Price: High to Low’.
- Alternatively, in the left panel select ‘Over ¥5,000’ and ‘Sort by: Featured’.
Best bulk buys: Too numerous to mention, but try ¥275,000 on Kobe beef for the apocalypse (Why not?) or a leg of cured ham for ¥138,000. Be creative in your search skills. You can also do a search like ‘mince meat 10 kg’ or ‘ready meal set’. Once you click on a product, notice the Japanese that appears in the Amazon search bar. Use that for a more localized search term and the tips above. For hard core preppers, you can go straight to the Survival Foods search page. Boxes come with 6 cans each providing 10 meals.
Bulk buying at discount supermarkets
If you’re looking to save money while picking up some bulk deals too, don’t forget your local discount supermarket, or gekiyasu supa. These places often have great spot deals on bulky meat buys, large bags of rice, or in-store brand supersized packages. Not many of them have online shopping though.
We cover these battled hardened price slashers in our article on cheap supermarkets in Tokyo. If you’re laying low in Kansai there are plenty of discount supermarkets there too. For bulk buying in particular, these few deserve another mention:
Gyomu—a nationwide super star
Gyomu Supermarket is great for all frozen stuff like desserts, fruits and veggies, or meats and seafood—some of them in large sizes too. You can also pick up bulk sizes or deals on oils, sauces, canned stuff, pastas, flour, and cheap nuts. They don’t do online yet, but their informative site is in English.
Hanamasa—Kanto’s pound of flesh
Niku-no-Hanamasa, with stores throughout the Kanto area, is famous for its meat variety and bulk shopping deals, including lamb. The bulk deals are so good that still aproned chefs from neighboring restaurants can often be seen roaming the isles for some industrial sized jumbo packs. They have store info in English on their website and do ta-q-bin home delivery.
OK Store—for cheap lock-ins
If you’re in the outer Tokyo suburbs, OK Store brings cheapness and goodness to all. They’re also one of the few discount stores with online shopping, so you never have to leave your house! You have to sign up to see their ‘Everyday Low Prices’ revealed to you, but the site is easy to use and the pictures sell.
Yamaya—your all seasons booze buddy
Yamaya is a nationwide liquor peddler that will keep you going through the best of times and the worst of times. They sell big bottles of shochu, sake, and whiskey, and their wine selection is excellent. Yamaya also stocks a nice range of well-priced snack foods, other imports, and sometimes big blocks of cheese. They also have online shopping.