There are many types of mixers and alcohol in Japan, and Japanese convenience stores—referred to as ‘konbini’ by locals—sell pretty much all of them, at really affordable prices. They are a great alternative to bars that may overprice alcohol.

In fact, ‘konbini soto (コンビニ外, outside konbini)’, which refers to standing around and drinking outside Japanese convenience stores instead of in bars, is a growing trend in the country. Let’s go through this list of Japanese alcohol you can find in Japanese convenience stores, to help you figure out what to buy so you can ‘konbini soto’ like a pro when you’re in the Land of the Rising Sun! 

Speaking of experiencing Japan like a pro, let FLIP Japan handle all the nitty-gritty details so you can focus on enjoying your journey stress-free. From organizing flights and accommodations to curating unique experiences and insider tips, we’ve got everything you need to make your Japan trip truly unforgettable. Book our FLIP Travel Planner service and start your journey with us today! 🇯🇵🌸

Check out convenience stores, department stores, and 100yen shops here.

One of the best ways to explore Tokyo is to visit the local areas and immerse yourself in the local culture. If you want to explore local areas, we have created scavenger hunt adventures personalised to your interests, filled with fun facts, clues and puzzles. If you’re curious, you can check out the games here!

Check out the Flip Japan Games here!

Nihonshu (日本酒)

Sake nihonshu alochol you can find in convenience stores in Japan
Credit: Sake Times

When discussing Japanese alcohol, it’s essential to mention Japanese sake, or as it’s known locally, “nihonshu.” Contrary to popular belief, the term “sake” in Japanese refers to alcohol in general, while “nihonshu” specifically denotes rice wine. While convenience stores typically offer large bottles of nihonshu in their alcohol section, it’s worth considering the mini bottles for a more varied tasting experience. These smaller bottles allow you to sample different types of nihonshu without committing to a larger quantity, making them ideal for those eager to explore Japan’s rich sake culture.

Sake cups and cans alochol you can find in convenience stores in Japan

Some bottles feature adorable or unique designs, making them great souvenirs to take home from your Japan trip! Additionally, Japanese convenience stores offer boxed nihonshu, some even equipped with a convenient straw for on-the-go enjoyment. Don’t miss out on trying these unique packaging options while exploring the diverse offerings at convenience stores in Japan.

Sparkling nihonshu

sparkling sake sparkling nihonshu alochol you can find in convenience stores in Japan
Credit: Sake Times

Often dubbed the “Japanese champagne,” sparkling nihonshu is a delightful option for those seeking a lighter and sweeter alternative to traditional sake. With a modest alcohol by volume (ABV) of just 5%, it offers a more approachable drinking experience compared to regular sake, which can be perceived as too strong by some. These sparkling varieties are typically available in charming, mid-sized bottles, making them both convenient and visually appealing options found in Japanese convenience stores.

Shōchū (焼酎)

shochu alochol you can find in convenience stores in Japan
Credit: Excite

Shōchū, often likened to “Japanese vodka,” is another popular alcoholic beverage available in Japan’s convenience stores. Unlike Korean soju, shōchū boasts a unique flavor profile and is crafted from a variety of ingredients such as rice, sweet potato, barley, or buckwheat. These versatile spirits are typically sold in large plastic bottles or cartons, making them accessible options for those seeking a taste of traditional Japanese drinks at their local convenience store.

Chūhai (チューハイ)

Chuhai alochol you can find in convenience stores in Japan
Credit: mybest

The term ‘chūhai’ originates from “shōchū highballs,” a popular mixed drink featuring a shōchū base. Among the variety of chūhai flavors available, Lemon Hai, also referred to as Lemon Sours, stands out as a favorite. It’s concocted by blending shōchū with soda and a hint of lemon juice or garnishing it with a lemon slice. Japanese convenience stores offer a wide selection of chūhais, including Lemon Sours, conveniently packaged in vibrant, eye-catching cans. So, whether you’re craving a classic Lemon Hai or eager to explore other chūhai flavors, convenience stores have you covered with their colorful array of canned beverages.

Strong Zero

Credit: Amazon 

Known as Japan’s go-to blackout drink, the infamous “strong zero” is a type of chūhai boasting a high ABV typically ranging from 7% to 9%, coupled with zero sugar content. Despite its seemingly innocuous taste, a single strong zero is equivalent to consuming two beers, making it a speedy ticket to a pleasant buzz. Whether you’re out for a night on the town or looking to unwind after a long day, strong zeros are a popular choice found in Japanese convenience stores, offering a quick and convenient solution for those seeking a potent yet refreshing beverage option.

We have a list of strong zero brands sold in Japanese convenience stores, most of them costing less than or around 200 yen (USD$1.9). The most famous strong zero is Suntory’s -196°C Strong Zero (pictured above); if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of available brands in Japanese convenience stores, you can’t go wrong with this one. 

Strong Zero amazon

Get your own Strong Zero now! This tasting set includes all of the most popular flavours for you to start drinking right away!

Japanese Beers

Japanese beers convenience stores alcohol

As we covered in our blog article about classic (and craft!) Japanese beers, there are four main beer brands in Japan: Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo and Yebisu. You might even have them in your home country too! Japanese convenience stores sell a ton of variations of the four main brands, as well as other brands that aren’t widely available in most bars and restaurants in Japan. 

As aficionados of beer, my partner and I have embarked on a mission to sample the diverse array of Japanese beer available in Japan. Our humble collection of beer cans, proudly displayed at home (pictured above), continues to expand—all courtesy of our frequent visits to Japanese convenience stores. Whether you’re a fellow beer enthusiast or simply looking to explore new tastes, convenience stores in Japan offer a treasure trove of unique and refreshing beer options waiting to be discovered. So, if you have room in your luggage or are fortunate enough to call Japan home, I highly recommend indulging in this delightful pursuit!

Japanese whiskey

Alcohol in convenience store suntory
Credit: Suntory

Japanese whiskey has gained a lot of recognition, after Suntory’s Hibiki 17 was featured in the Hollywood film, Lost in Translation (2003) and after Suntory’s Hakushu 25 was declared the best single malt in the world in 2015. While you’re unlikely to find these blends in convenience stores (consider yourself extremely lucky if you do!), you can always find the good ol’ classic Suntory Whiskey, known as ‘kakubin’ (角瓶, square bottle) for its angular bottle shape. If you don’t like whiskey on the rocks, you can always get Suntory Whiskey Highballs, which are also sold in Japanese convenience stores in cans! 

Umeshu (梅酒)

Umeshu you can buy Alcohol in convenience store
Credit: Fashion Press

Often referred to as “Japanese plum wine,” umeshu is actually a delightful sour plum liqueur. Despite its sweet taste that masks its alcoholic potency, umeshu typically boasts an ABV of 10-15%, making it a beverage to savor in moderation. Japanese convenience stores offer a variety of umeshu options, available in bottles and cartons of various sizes, catering to every taste and occasion. So, if you’re looking to indulge in a taste of Japan’s vibrant drinking culture, umeshu is a must-try beverage conveniently found in local convenience stores.

As you can see, you don’t have to go to bars or restaurants to try Japanese alcohol and Japanese drinks in Japan. If you want to spend more time visiting museums and shrines and don’t have much time to go to bars or restaurants, then stop by a Japanese convenience store and bring some Japanese alcohol back to your hotel room or Airbnb for a chill night in!

Want to find out more about Japan? Check out Popular Japanese chain Restaurants and Best Tokyo Late Night Ramen! Have a look at convenience stores, department stores and 100yen shops here.

Stay tuned for more information about Japan travel, Japanese culture, moving to Japan, living in Japan, Japanese language and more.