Review: Nafco

The homestore that has everything

When living in Japan, occasionally there is a need to buy furniture, tools or other common items that help a house run smoothly- enter Nafco.

Nafco is a home furniture giant that have hundreds of stores scattered across Japan, mostly concentrated in Kyushu (with 194 stores) and radiating outwards to further regions- each with less stores, Hokkaido having none.

But what does such a store have, you may ask. Nafco has everything from building supplies, gardening supplies, cleaning products, pet products, bicycles, furniture, beds, kitchens, and even coffee.

But my favourite sections are the reduced sections (no surprise there)- they usually sell off their old products at very good process but there is still a ‘it’s cheap for Japan’ feeling on occasion with a wireless mouse for 3000 JPY (with 30% off).

General household items are usually brilliant prices. Soaps, shampoo, laundry detergent- or any other cleaning supply is very cheap when compared to a supermarket. This extends to their stationery and pet food sections.

Additionally, they have a work clothing section- for which I do frequent- with a good range of products at a brilliant price. If your feet are normal sized (not Godzilla sized) they also sell a good range of footwear from crocs, to trainers/sneakers, to work gear, and wellington boots.

The homeware section is massive (an entire floor of it) and they sell so many items. While shopping, there is not a feeling of being in a warehouse (like other massive stores) but a department store instead- which always helps.

If you ever needed a proper desk or computer gaming chair- they can also be bought here starting at 12,000 JPY- which is a normal price for the US and UK markets.

Finally, there is also a point card available. When you spend money here, you acuminate points which can be used to either reduce the price of future transactions or completely pay for them.  

Conclusion, it’s a very good place to go to but be careful in pricing- it can be a bit up and down at times and the gardening section has many plants- brilliant for your gardening needs.

If you have the inclination, please check it out.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

Opinion: the decline of Daiso

Know as Japan’s dollar store, but should it be?

Daiso I known to many as being the epi-centre of all things cheap. From Electronics, to cosmetics, food, DVDs etc. It has it all.

Additionally there are many YouTube videos that feature tag lines such as “I buy dollar store makeup”, “I buy food from the dollar store” (note: if you want to see how prolific this is, just search ‘daiso’ on YouTube- the hits DO NOT END).

But the problem is that not all items are 100 JPY, some are 300, 400, 500 or higher and that is my first problem- it is NOT a dollar store nor is it as true 百円ショップ (ひゃくえん-100 yen)shop and It never claims to be- despite so much western media attention depicting it as that.

Another problem is that, while they have a good selection, shopping there makes you feel cheap or to put it a different way- it’s 100 yen, I suppose I can buy it at that price. Which is NOT how you want to feel shopping, it should be more “I can’t believe that it is only 100 yen”. Additionally, some items are of a poor quality which makes you as a very basic question- what am I buying.

But is there an alternative?

Of course, its Japan at the end of the day. My favourite and true 百円ショップ is Seria which to put briefly here (as the review is to come), seems to have much better quality of stock, has themed sections and displays, is always busy (having a lot of other people in a store helps your confidence when buying), and most importantly everything is actually 100 JPY + tax (so 108 JPY at time of writing).