How to Buy Discount Meals at Japanese Supermarket + Tips

April 07, 2018

One thing that I truly love about Japan is their Japanese Supermarket! Being such an indoor person that loves cooking, nothing impressed me more than real Japanese Supermarket where there can be dozens of fresh foods, high-quality condiments, wide varieties of Japanese seasonings and condiments, pre-packaged foods (bento), and of course the night sale! 

My apartment is just 1-2 mins walk from a big supermarket called LIFE (But I heard the cheapest supermarket in Tokyo is named OK, but it's not near my place). I often shop there for groceries because it's so convenient and truly life-saver. I know you must have heard about the discounted meals in Japanese Supermarket and it really saves you a lot of money for food expense

Most supermarkets start giving discounts from 7pm to their fresh products that will be expired the next morning. However, from 7pm they'll only give you the 20% discount. Most of the products will be sold by this time because salaryman and housewives quickly snatch them away for their dinner time. However if you wait until 8.30/9pm, they will start giving 50% discount off instead!

Here are a few items on sale that will make you want to rush to the nearest supermarket (every supermarket has a different kind of meals, so these prices are just for references) =


Even I doubt Indonesian Supermarket can have the same price with the same quality that they offer

LIFE at my place closes at 12pm. At 8pm, they start giving 20% off, and from around 8.30-8.40pm, some of the products have started being sold for 50% off. If you want some supper or the day after breakfast, this is a good deal compared to going to Matsuya or Sukiya!
I once tried to visit around 11.30pm and 99% of the fresh meals that are about to be expired is gone! They don't do additional discount to 70 / 90 % like I expected. There are still a few items left and I don't know whether they give it to the employees or throw it away


- This trick truly works if you have time during the night. Come around 8pm to snatch a few items that you like from the 20% discount areas. During 8pm, there'll be some leftovers of 20% off discount, and you can do other groceries or wonder around the supermarket while waiting till 8.30pm where the sticker staff decided to stick 50% discount sales

If the products that you have snatched before receives 50% discount, switch it with your 20% meal
If the products that you have put in your basket before is out of stock, then at least you've received 20% discount! But this trick will guarantee you to get the one that you want first. Don't let them sit around waiting for the 50% discount because others might snatch it before you!
If you decide to not buy it in the end, then just simply put it back again at the place that you took it from

- Stuck around to the guy who sticks the discount stickers, and grabs the 50% meals that you've been eyeing on as soon as he stuck it on. I kinda followed him back and forth for a while to the point he must have thought I was such a poor student lol

- Also, another tip is to not think too much about the expiration date. Japanese health standard is too high and in fact 'expiration date' is such a bogus from companies. It is in fact still edible and safe to eat as long as it doesn't taste or smell weird. Expiration date is only what companies feel the best time to eat their food and because of that, there are so many foods thrown away (You can watch Adam Ruins Everything on Youtube to hear about this debunked myth). Hence if you really don't mind the risk or believe that your stomach is strong enough, you don't have to follow the expiration date. Let's say it's expired at 7th 3am, and you want to eat it at 7th, 7pm. Try a bite first and if you find it still edible, then it's edible. Especially Indonesians, our stomach is pretty strong compared to Japanese. And don't forget to always put it in the fridge to keep it safe, but I try to eat it as soon as possible within 1 day after the expiration
Sometimes I do eat food that has passed the expiration date in Japan because it doesn't taste weird and I am still alive up to now. I won't recommend this trick to people who have a weak stomach, so please do this trick at your own risk!
The expiration date is written easily on the printing. Above below is sashimi picture and you can find 18.4.7 and 18.4.6. The below is the production date and the above is the expiration date. They also provide the time for some foods for precise calculation

I hope this would help to increase your knowledge about Japan a little and helpful for both tourists and students in Japan. See you guys again on my next post

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  1. nah ini mah hal yang paling disukain sama ibu-ibu ka, eh makanan nya juga keliatan seger yah

  2. Terimakasih atas infonya.

    salam kenal
    Rak supermaket surabaya PT Aku Sayang Indonesia Ku

  3. stop saying like "you can take me from indonesia, but you can't take indonesia away from me" or "don't ask what your country can give to you, but ask what you could give to your country". you're not miss merry riana at all. compared to her, your struggle is pale in comparison to her. your struggle is nothing compared to miss merry riana struggle