Japan is renowned for its convenience stores, or “konbini” as they’re locally known. These stores are more than just places to grab a quick snack; they’re integral to daily life in Japan, offering a wide range of services and products that cater to the needs of both locals and tourists. Among the numerous chains, three stand out as the giants of the industry: 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, and Lawson. Let’s delve into the similarities and differences that define these iconic brands.

1. 7-Eleven: The Global Powerhouse

7 11 japan
7-11 in Japan


  • Product Range: Like the other two, 7-Eleven offers a vast array of products, from ready-to-eat meals and snacks to magazines and household items.
  • ATM Services: 7-Eleven, along with FamilyMart and Lawson, provides ATMs that are foreign-card friendly, making them a lifesaver for tourists.


  • Global Presence: 7-Eleven has the most extensive international reach, with stores in numerous countries outside Japan.
  • Private Brands: 7-Eleven’s private brand, “7-Premium,” often collaborates with gourmet producers, ensuring high-quality products at affordable prices.

2. FamilyMart: The Innovator

family mart japan
Family Mart


  • Fresh Food: FamilyMart, like its competitors, places a strong emphasis on fresh food, offering a wide variety of sandwiches, bento boxes, and onigiri (rice balls).
  • Payment Services: All three chains allow customers to pay bills, taxes, and even purchase concert tickets.


  • Café Space: Some FamilyMart stores have introduced café spaces, where customers can sit and enjoy their purchases, a feature not commonly found in the other two.
  • Collaborations: FamilyMart often collaborates with popular brands and characters, resulting in limited-edition snacks and goods.

3. Lawson: The Health-Conscious Choice

lawson japan


  • 24/7 Operations: Like 7-Eleven and FamilyMart, many Lawson stores operate 24/7, ensuring convenience at any hour.
  • Multifunctional Printers: All three chains offer multifunctional printers where customers can print, copy, and even scan documents.


  • Health Focus: Lawson stands out with its “Natural Lawson” stores, which emphasize organic and health-conscious products.
  • Unique Services: Lawson often introduces unique services, such as their ticket service “Loppi,” which allows customers to purchase tickets for various events.

In the bustling aisles of Japan’s top convenience stores, a common trend emerges: the prominence of “store-brand” products. Each of the big three – 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, and Lawson – boasts its line of everyday items, ranging from chips and water to onigiri, salads, and the ever-popular fried chicken. The quality of these store-brand items across the three chains is remarkably consistent. Shoppers can expect a high standard of taste and freshness, often making it challenging to distinguish between them in terms of overall quality.

family mart chicken
“FamiChiki”, or chicken from Family Mart


While 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, and Lawson share many similarities that define the Japanese konbini experience, each has its unique strengths and offerings. 7-Eleven boasts a global presence and premium products, FamilyMart is known for its innovative spaces and collaborations, and Lawson caters to the health-conscious and offers unique services. Regardless of these differences, one thing is certain: these stores have transformed the concept of convenience, setting a gold standard not just in Japan, but globally.

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