Food Shopping in Yokohama
Everyday life in a foreign country has its challenges. Something as simple as food shopping can be an adventure. Fortunately Japan is a very convenient country. This is especially true in the larger cities such as Yokohama.
Living near Yokohama Station offers three supermarkets all of which are less than a five minute walk from my home. Each has their own niche and having the variety is a great option. Daiei, Tokyo Store, and Queens Isetan are three options each with their own style.
Daiei is the typical basic big box supermarket. It is somewhat no-frills and good for value and everyday household purchases. The company has struggled as of late. The stores have become old and due to financial constraints have failed to adapt to the changing consumer. However, Aeon, Japan’s largest retailer acquired Daiei about three years ago. Aeon is investing heavily to turn around the Daiei stores. A revamping effort is under way to modernize the stores and offer quality ready to eat foods. The Daiei in Yokohama is a good choice for daily staples and fair prices. The Aeon private label for many food options is a reliable choice at a good price. At certain times there is plenty of deep discounting of the breads, prepared foods, and produce.
For slightly better quality in some areas is Tokyu Supermarket. It is comparatively smaller than Daiei. But the large attraction for many customers to this store is convenience. It is located below ground adjacent to the Yokohama Station trains and bus terminal. The aisles are tight and narrow. The cashiers are efficient and courteous. They are more formal with their customer service that Daiei. The food departments are much smaller than Daiei. The prepared foods may be slightly better than Daiei. But the produce department is weaker than Daiei.
Finally the third option is Queens Isetan. Like the Tokyu store it s located to Yokohama Station. It is very convenient. Queens Isetan is also a cut above in quality compared to Daiei and Tokyu Store. As expected, prices at Queens Isetan are higher too. Queens Isetan and the Tokyu store share the convenience of being located at Yokohama Station. While the aisles of Queens Isetan are larger and feel more open, their cahier lines are fewer. This market is more expensive for everyday staple purchases. It is a good options for specific items. For example, their wine a nihonshu selection is considerably wider and higher in quality than Daiei or Tokyu. Queens Isetan also has a decent selection of international foods. One area that Queens Isetan is lacking is their meats and fish. They seem to focus more on a variety of high quality non perishable products.
While those summarize the three supermarkets near Yokohama Station, there is one other option that is worthy for any fish lover. The Tsukiji Market is located near Tokyu Store below ground at Yokohama Station. The is a great selection of fresh fish. While the prices are not cheap, they seem fair for the quality. However, this best time to hit this store is the evening when they prices drop significantly. The produce department is excellent as well.
All of these options are close. Each has their own particular strength and that is why shopping at just one supermarket is not a necessity when living near near Yokohama Station.