Traveler’s of Japan will most likely bypass the pharmacy. But inside the Japanese drug store you’ll find much more than just medicine, toiletries and cosmetics. These stores also stock snacks, drinks and often alcohol, at a price far cheaper than vending machines and convenience stores.
Sugi Kusuri 「スギ薬屋」 is a large chain store in Japan, you’ll find them in every major city. They are easily found by their huge red signs with the hiragana くすり which means “medicine”.
I stop by these stores almost daily to grab a bottle of water, a genki energy drink or some Soy Joy snack bars when I’m out seeing the sights of Japan. Usually I never pack any toiletries when traveling around Japan, as they are very cheap to buy from a drug store, and most hotels, ryokan and capsule hotels have almost everything you need anyway.
In Japanese the word for drug store/chemist/pharmacy is yakkyoku「薬局, やっきょく」.
Check out our article on traveling Japan on a budget, and see how you can save money on your next trip to Japan.
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