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Services at Japanese Supermarkets (aka “SUPA”)

Every time I visit Japan, as a Japanese living abroad, I could see many things in a new perspective and experience. Things which I accustomed to and things which I took for granted while I was in Japan, and Japanese supermarket is one of them.

Supermarkets in every country in the world are different in its own special way. The setup, food and services are very much designed to cater to the people’s lifestyle and needs in that country. If you want to learn about the country’s culture, supermarket is a great place to start. That’s what make it an such an interesting place to explore. I find it fascinating now going to Japanese supermarket with a new set of eyes. Everything is new again!

Japanese called supermarket “SUPA”, short form for Supermarket. In this article we will explore a list of services which Japanese “SUPA” provide for its customers.

1. Angled Shopping Basket
Just like other supermarkets, you usually find shopping baskets stacked up beside the trolleys at the entrance. In Japan, the first few baskets are usually placed in an angle so that customers can easily remove it from the pile. The idea is simple but it give the customers a welcoming impression – like the head bowing welcome.


2. Free Ice-cubes
Ice box is available at the checkout for customers to get ice cubes to keep your fish, meat, ice-cream or beer chilled. They are free and usually plastic bags are provided for you to take as much as you like. It’s self-service but some supermarkets do go to extra length provide free pre-packed ice cubes just in case you’re in a hurry and haven’t got time to pack it yourself. Dry-ice is also available with a small cost. Amazing!


3. Refrigerated Lockers
Coin lockers are commonly seen in train station, department stores and other public fascilities. How about refrigerated lockers?! Some supermarkets do provide refrigerated lockers near the entrance. This is very handy when you want to hang around the shopping area longer but worry that your fresh sashimi might go bad or ice-cream melting, you can use the refrigerated locker to keep your food fresh and chilled.


4. Gadgets For Packing
It’s very common for supermarket to provide all sorts of stationery and tools for packing. Usually free small plastic bags, sticky tapes, thread/string (with cutter) and damped cloth. Some supermarkets provide disposable plastic handles for you boxes.


There are still a few list of fascinating services which Japanese SUPA provides for its customers that are worth acknowledging. We’ll continue in the next post.



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