British Goods Sold In Japan

British Goods Sold In Japan

Looking where to find British goods in Japan? Look no further we've got the best of British Brands and where to satisfy all your British branded cravings whilst living in Japan.

Richard Bowe · 8 minute read

So perhaps you’ve been in Japan for a while, or maybe you’ve just arrived - but either way, you’re starting to get a craving for something familiar.

Probably you want to buy something to eat but it could also be products you liked using at home in the UK, or possibly a brand you enjoy wearing!

When in Rome, as they say, is all very well, and there’s no doubt the quality of Japanese products is very high but - at the end of the day there’s nothing quite like the comfort of home - so let’s explore your options out here for finding those British goods sold in Japan!

What’s the shopping situation like living in Japan vs the UK?

After browsing through the shopping options available in Japan, I’m sure you’ve realised that products in different countries are very specific to where they’re sold. The farther you get from home, the less of it can come with you, and a lot of import goods fall into this category.

In Japan, virtually all of the products are from Japanese makers. It’s one of the reasons the domestic economy remains strong, as Japan goes a long way to protect its own goods against something that might compete with what it can already produce. (or IS producing!). Every country does this to a degree.

You should note that smaller chains of stores and supermarkets still exist out here, alongside the larger ones - but they are nothing on the scale of the Tesco/Sainsbury’s situation in the UK. However, there is a particularly large supermarket chain called Seiyu, which was bought by Walmart in 2008, and their prices are among the cheapest.

What are some of the UK exports to Japan?

A surprising amount gets exported to Japan from the UK. Most of it probably has no direct impact on your lifestyle - industrial machinery, medicine and the like, but some does come through that you will use in your daily life - such as appliances, household items, cars, fashion and of course - food and drink!

Why are the prices so high in Japan?

There are a few reasons for the higher prices in Japan - sales volume, shipping costs, import duties, and (for food products) wastage. The main problem is that shipping items across the globe only becomes reasonable as the quantity gets larger, but with such a low ex-pat population out here, the demand for certain types of imported products is similarly low, and so buyers for stores tend to err on the side of caution - purchasing limited quantities and setting their prices higher.

Are there any British Companies in Japan?

With a long trade history between Japan and the UK, some companies have gained ground here and now have an established consumer audience - not just for the Brits, either! Notable ones with actual storefronts include Dr. Martens, Lush, The Body Shop, Clarks Shoes, Burberry, Next, Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls-Royce, among others. There are also companies with products that you’d recognize in stores and supermarkets - such as Unilever, GlaxoSmithKline or Dyson.

What British Household Goods are there in Japan?

In terms of appliances - Dyson has built a very strong reputation here in Japan. You’ll be able to find all of their Vacuum cleaners, Fans, Hairdryers and so forth in any of the major appliance retailers in Japan (for example Yodobashi Camera or Yamada Denki).

Unilever, GSK and Proctor and Gamble have also extended their reach here, so you can easily find brands you’d see around the home in the UK such as Bold, Ariel, Dove, Cif, Lux, Finish and even Aquafresh toothpaste.

Although not strictly British - you can also buy your Gilette razor-related goods everywhere.

How about British Designer goods out in Japan?

Some designer fashion brands from the UK have also made inroads to Japan.

You can find Paul Smith goods in most of the major cities, whether they be bespoke shops, outlets in major train stations or department stores.

Clarks shoes have also made a footprint in Japan (get it?) - and their shoes can be found pretty universally throughout shoe stores, including large retailers such as ABC Mart.

Burberry, Barbour and Next have fewer stores across the country, but their online sites are there and have become very good as remote lifestyles have become more common.

You can also find Ted Baker and Laura Ashley shops in the larger cities if that’s your thing!

Are there any British Beauty products in Japan?

The Body Shop is gaining ground in Japan, with over 70 stores across the nation. You’ll be able to find all of the same products out here - from face packs to bath scents to exfoliators, although bear in mind the UK gets new releases earlier and not everything from home reaches the far East.

Lush has a massive presence in Japan with over 150 stores, so there’s no shortage of places to buy your homemade vegetarian and vegan beauty products.

What British Food can I find out in Japan?

Now for all those hungry tummies...Before we begin though, you’ll need to adjust your expectations about what can be found out here. The enemies of food imports are expiration date and weight, and some brands don’t want to deal with the logistics of shipping it over!

Are there any British bakery goods in Japan?

There are a few more companies producing English muffins these days, and the ones from Yamazaki Pan (a big bread producer in Japan) are pretty good and can be found quite easily in the big stores, such as Aeon Mall or Jusco. In-store bakeries are becoming more common in most large supermarkets now, and Japanese bread making is increasing in quality, although the bakery loaves are a little more limited in range and more expensive than what you’re probably used to in the UK.

What kind of British Pantry goods are out there in Japan?

Cereals travel well, and you can find the majority of Kellog’s main lines, such as Cornflakes, Cocopops and Allbrain in almost any supermarket. Oatmeal (porridge) has made a comeback, and local varieties are sold throughout Japan now. Quakers and Weetabix can only be found in import shops really though.

For British Crisps, you can find Lays (Walkers in the UK) with a more limited offering of flavours. Pringles are everywhere and you can even purchase them from convenience stores. If you like Doritos, you’re in luck too as they are popular in Japan.

The biscuit situation is a bit dire - Digestives have made some progress, and there is a Rich Tea equivalent but most of the biscuits are in the ‘can’t buy’ section of this article! Jams-wise the Bonne Maman jams are all here, and Marmite is available in Kaldi coffee sporadically - but it is a competition between those who love it, as it seems to sell out quite quickly.

In regards to sauces - Heinz has a presence here, and you can purchase their ketchup almost anywhere, although HP brown sauce is going to be import store only. Branston Pickle hasn’t made it here yet, so you’ll have to DIY it or order online! Hellman’s does have a mayonnaise product, but you can only find it in the bigger cities.

Can I buy British sweets in Japan?

Chocolate doesn’t travel all that well due to its temperature sensitivity, but you can still find a few Cadbury’s bars if you go to Kaldi Coffee. They usually have at a minimum the plain milk chocolate and nuts variety, but no fruit and nut for some reason(?). The rest of the Cadbury line is largely ignored, unfortunately!

Kit Kats can be bought almost anywhere, but really only in the mini variety (half-stick length). They do tend to innovate a lot for the Japanese market so you will find lots of new flavours.

Haribo has a presence here, and you should be able to find tubs of their gummy sweets in Costco, as well as smaller packs in most Family Mart convenience stores.

What about fresh products?

Cheese is being taken more seriously in Japan recently, and you should be able to find imports of Cheddar, Stilton, and Red Leicester varieties in most big supermarkets - with more specialist types at dedicated cheese stores in larger cities.

Are there any British drinks in Japan?

Some drinks suit the Japanese market, and some don’t. There are the usual suspects (Coke and its sub-brands, such as Fanta and so on) as you’d expect. Schweppes is primarily known for tonic water over here - no lemonade to be seen!

If you fancy a cup of tea, Liptons is out here and Twinings also has various teas in supermarkets across Japan.

As for alcohol, there are no British products as such, but Carlsberg and Heineken can be found in convenience stores, and Bass Beer is also brewed under license by Asahi so it can be found in the better alcohol stores.

What are some popular British things you can't get in Japan?

Baking - no crumpets to be found(!) I’m afraid there won’t be any Warburton or Hovis sandwiches anytime soon either. Mr Kipling is also sadly missed. Sweets - Maynard bassets are out, as is anything by Rowntree’s. No Maltesers, Cadbury’s Buttons or orange chocolate of any merit - including no Jaffa Cakes. Munchies and Rolos similarly are out of sight. Drinks - PG Tips and Yorkshire tea are almost impossible to come by in stores, as is Lucozade and Irn Bru. Cordials and squashes are also nowhere to be seen so better to try an import store if you’re after Ribena or Robinson’s. Pantry - Bisto is nowhere (imagine that!). Mccoys crisps and Hula Hoops are missing and you’d better bring your own Jacob’s crackers! Shredded Wheat is not here either. Also, as rice is a savoury staple food here, no Rice Crispies. Household - No Colgate, sorry - apparently there’s something in the formula which doesn’t sit right with the health department in Japan. Persil and Fairy are also missing. Also, not much in the way of relaxation or bubble bath liquids - the Japanese prefer plain hot water! Deodorant is also pretty expensive and limited in variety. Pets - Whiskas and Felix pet food isn’t out here in the stores, so it’s best to look online or bring it with you.

If you're missing some of these tasty British food and drink items you can find these items online at britishcornershop.co.uk and delivered straight from the UK to Japan.

Are there any import shops or international supermarkets in Japan with British goods?

Luckily, there is a growing interest in British food products in Japan, and the image is gradually shifting from the jellied eels image of the past to reflect the much more delicious aspects of the British palette!

In terms of chains spanning the country, the go-to store would be Kaldi Coffee, who have at least 1 store in each prefecture and in some case more than 20 (for example, in Osaka). Originally a coffee importer, they not only stock goods from around the world but also have a lot of coffee beans to choose from.

Seijo Ishii is next up, with over a hundred outlets across the main Honshu island - mainly near or in train stations. They offer a wide range of items, including fresh foods, imported wines and cheese for when you’d like to get something fresh in for a dinner party.

Natural House is an import shop which focuses on organic products - some from the UK - they have around 12 stores nearer the bigger cities, and are a good shop to visit for the health-conscious.

As an honourable mention, in the Tokyo region, there is also the Nissin World Delicatessen, which offers a lot of meats from different parts of the world, and makes an excellent stop for when you want to pick up something to roast.