japanese convenience store food for kids

Guide to Japanese Convenience Store Food for Kids (7-Eleven Family Mart Lawson)

Last Updated: February 8, 2024
Written by Kay

Whether you’re living or traveling in Japan, there might be a time when you need (or want!) to get something to eat or drink for your child from a convenience store.

Convenience stores in some countries may be a place where you avoid getting food like sandwiches even for yourself. But in Japan, all of the food and drinks from convenience stores, known as konbini in Japan, are safe, delicious, and affordable. Just as the name implies, Japanese convenience stores are convenient places to quickly pick up something for the entire family when you’re on the go or need something when grocery stores are closed.

Food, snacks, and drinks at Japanese convenience stores are always changing, especially since they carry limited-edition or exclusive items. This is one of the best (and sometimes worst) parts about konbini. I made sure to consider this when writing this article since I want to share great go-to things to get for your small child that will hopefully stay on the shelves. Everything on this list consists of items that I have given my daughter (four years old at the time of writing) and that she likes.

Note that this list doesn’t go into ingredients, allergies, or sugar content. If your child has any dietary restrictions or allergies, make sure you check the ingredient list carefully (use a translation app like Google Translate if you can’t read Japanese).

Also, if you’re just starting to introduce your child to solid food, please do not give them something containing ingredients they have never tried before as they may have an allergic reaction. For instance, parents in Japan are advised to give their children soba noodles after they turn 1.5 years old since buckwheat is an allergen.

I’ve included recommended ages for different konbini food and drinks, but as a parent, you know best what your child may or may not be able to eat. And always try it first before giving it to them! 

Now let’s dive into the different convenience stores in Japan and what they have to offer.


Popular Convenience Stores in Japan

No article about food and drinks at convenience stores is complete without an overview of all the different convenience stores in Japan.

The following convenience stores can be found across the country:

7 Eleven (セブン‐イレブン)

7 Eleven Japanese Convenience Store

7-Eleven is famous for its rice balls (onigiri) and its coffee, which is served at Denny’s as well. They also have their own product line called 7 Premium, which they invest a lot of yen into so that it’s top quality. Some branches carry DAISO (100 yen) products as well.   

They also carry diapers in three sizes (which I’ll explain later in the article).

Lawson

Lawson in Japan

Lawson is known for its sweets, in particular its Uchi Cafe line, and its fried chicken called Karaage Kun, making it one of the most popular convenience stores in Japan. Some Lawson branches also sell freshly made bentos.

This convenience store also carries some basic MUJI products such as stationery.

There are also two other kinds of Lawson — Lawson Store 100 and Natural Lawson.

Lawson Store 100 is like a cheap grocery store where many (if not all) of their products and produce are priced at 100 yen. 

Natural Lawson sells healthy food but also has the usual drinks and snacks you can find at any convenience store.

Family Mart

Family Mart Japanese Convenience Store

This convenience store in Japan is renowned for having its own clothing brand and its fried chicken called famichiki. It’s especially beloved by foreigners living in Japan! 

famichiki

They also sell Merries diapers! (More on that below.)

Mini Stop

This is the place to visit for its soft-serve parfaits. Otherwise, they have a smaller selection of items compared to the three chains above, but you can usually find the usual, such as drinks, bentos, sandwiches, bread, and onigiri. 

Daily Yamazaki

Daily Yamazaki sells their bread in grocery stores across Japan, which is why they have a large selection of (unsurprisingly) bread. And fresh bread just like a bakery, not the kind that’s packaged!  

NewDays

You’re likely to see this at stations in Japan. They don’t have a wide selection of products since these kiosks are quite small.


There are regional convenience stores as well that have similar products to those listed above.

In terms of taste, I find that the main three (7-Eleven, LAWSON, Family Mart) are generally very good overall and carry almost everything I will introduce in this article.

However, although the quality is generally good, the taste might vary depending on what you’re getting. For instance, I like the onigiri from Lawson (despite that 7 11 is more famous for theirs) but prefer the coffee from Family Mart.

Some stores also have their own specialty food. For instance, some of the common hot snacks at convenience stores, such as fried chicken or pork buns, are all different in terms of looks and taste. 

People vary according to palate so it’s worth trying food items from different convenience stores and seeing what you and your little one(s) like best.

Best Japanese Convenience Store Food and Snacks for Babies, Toddlers, and Kids

Plain Yogurt

Convenience stores sell a plethora of yogurts in the refrigerated section, but as a parent, you might be looking for plain sugar-free yogurt or low-sugar yogurt.

For sugar-free yogurt, look for the kanji 無糖 (muto) or 砂糖は添付してありません (satou wa tenpu shite arimasen). The image below shows 砂糖は添付してありません on the lid.

sugar-free yogurt
Sugar-free yogurt (砂糖は添付してありません)

For low-sugar yogurt, look for the kanji 低糖 (teitou), shown in the image below in the lefthand red boxes.

low sugar yogurt
Low sugar yogurt(低糖)

Recommended for children ages 6 months and up.

Salads

salad at konbini

If you want a healthy side for your child, consider giving them a salad. These salads have a nice balance of vegetables and protein, ranging from chicken to tuna. 

Egg Salad Sandwiches (Tamago sando, たまごサンド)

Sandwiches at convenience stores taste quite good but you have to be careful when it comes to which sandwich to choose for your child. Some of them seem quite harmless, like ham and cucumber sandwiches, but might contain surprise mustard mayonnaise or another seasoning that your child might not like. So always take a bit of the sandwich first before giving it to your child! 

tamago sando (egg salad sandwich) at a Japanese convenience store

I think a fail-proof sandwich for kids is egg salad (たまごサンド, tamago sando). The egg salad is a little sweet thanks to Japanese mayonnaise and doesn’t have any strong seasonings. It’s perfect for little ones to munch on and packed with protein from the eggs. The bread is also soft and delicious.

There are also plenty of other sandwiches your child might like and thankfully all the packages have English written on them so take the time to browse! 

sandwiches at japanese convenience store

Recommended for children ages 1.5 years and up.

Rice Balls (Onigiri, おにぎり)

This is maybe one of the best things to try with your little one from a convenience store in Japan. It’s hands down my daughter’s favorite thing to get and considering the low price point at around 100 yen and how healthy it is compared to other options, I don’t mind at all! 

tuna mayo onigiri rice ball at a japanese convenience store

My daughter likes tuna mayo (ツナマヨネーズ or シーチキンマヨネーズ) the best, likely thanks to the sweetness of the mayonnaise.

I also recommend the following for small kids:

  • Salmon (しゃけ・さけ)
  • Shrimp and Mayo (海老マヨネーズ)
  • Bonito Flakes (おかか)
  • Plain Salt (塩にぎり)

Recommended for children ages 1.5 years and up.

Bread (パン)

There is so much bread at convenience stores in Japan and it can be hard to narrow down what to get. 

For sweet bread, which my daughter usually has for breakfast, she likes mini croissants, butter rolls (バターロール), and stick bread (スティックぱん). For savory, she likes hot dogs. 

bread at konbini

You can also buy slices of white bread and jam from grocery stores to make some sandwiches for breakfast. But keep in mind that convenience stores in Japan don’t sell actual peanut butter. Instead, it’s something called Peanut Cream and it’s… not the best.

Recommended for children ages 1 year and up.

Fruit 

Good news for parents — convenience stores have fruit! The varieties range from whole fruit like bananas to peeled and cut apples or cut pineapple.

apple cut fruits at a japanese convenience store

 

Inari Sushi (いなり寿司)

For those that don’t know, inari sushi is basically sushi rice tucked inside a seasoned deep-fried tofu pouch. It’s easy for kids to eat, not just because of the soft texture but also the sweetness.

inari sushi at konbini

These can be found in packs or even sold as an onigiri.

Recommended for children ages 1 year and up.

Fried Chicken (Karaage・唐揚げ)

karaagekun fried chicken from lawson in japan

Karaage is a big hit with kids in Japan so if they’re hungry and you want to get them something quick and easy to eat, definitely check out the hot food section right next to the cash register, which will likely have some form of karaage. I say “some form” because each convenience store tends to have its own version of this. 

Family Mart and 7-Eleven’s tend to be a little too fatty and too big and crunchy for my daughter, who prefers Lawson’s Karaage Kun (からあげクン) instead. Karaage Kun has the texture of chicken nuggets but is more juicy. It also comes in different flavors like Regular, Cheese (my kid’s favorite), Red (don’t get this for kids as it might be too spicy) as well as limited edition flavors such as lemon and my all-time favorite, tartar sauce (たっぷりタルタルソース味).

Recommended for children ages 1.5 years and up.

Bento Boxes

The black plastic trays with rice, sometimes in onigiri form, and fried chicken are great for kids as well.

The regular-sized ones tend to be too big for me but I find it is the perfect size to share with my daughter. Some stores also carry smaller bento boxes so keep an eye out for those too! 

bento boxes at konbini

Recommended for children ages 2 years and up.

Vegetable Sticks

As a parent, you want to make sure your child is getting a balanced meal so vegetable sticks are a great option as they’re easy to eat on the go. These sticks usually consist of carrots, cucumbers, and daikon (Japanese radish) and come with a bagna cauda dipping sauce. 

veggie sticks japanese convenience store

Note that daikon is a little spicy when raw, which young kids (like mine) might not like.

Cheese

cheese at convenience stores in japan

Like many kids, my daughter loves cheese so it’s always nice to know we can get her some from the konbini if needed. 

さける (sakeru) cheese is string cheese and the perfect snack to munch on while getting your calcium fix. Go for the blue package for plain (unflavored) string cheese. 

ベビーチーズ (baby cheese) is a natural processed cheese and also a good option for kids. I like that there are multiple blocks in one package. 

Candy and Chocolate

candy and snacks at konbini

I have the best memories of getting candy from the convenience store growing up in Canada, so it’s hard for me to say no when my daughter wants something sweet as well.

The chocolates and candies are super cute and cheap at convenience stores. For instance, you can get an Umaibo, a puffed corn snack, for as low as 12 yen!  It’s not the healthiest option by far but sometimes it’s nice to let your child have a little treat sometimes.

Best Japanese Convenience Store Drinks for Babies, Toddlers, and Kids

Barley Tea (麦茶, mugicha)

This tea is an excellent drink to give to little ones as young as six months. It contains zero caffeine, and no sugar, and kids love the taste of it.

mugicha barley tea for kids

You can also find mugicha at almost every vending machine in Japan but also in supermarkets and convenience stores. 

There are also many other kinds of caffeine-free teas, so just look for the text カフェインゼロ (caffeine zero) on the bottle. 

Recommended for children ages 6 months and up.

Calpis Water (カルピス)

Yet another favorite of my daughter’s, Calpis Water is a sweet and milky soft drink made of cultured milk.

calpis water

It’s popular with young kids in Japan as it’s not carbonated and easy to drink. I definitely think it’s worth trying if you’re visiting Japan.

Recommended for children ages 1.5 years and up.

Mineral Water

water at kombini in japan

This might seem like a no-brainer but I am putting it here because when you’re in another country, sometimes you don’t want to accidentally buy the wrong water.

Some of you dear readers might be thinking, “What? How is there wrong water?”

Well, convenience stores in Japan carry flavored water, which your child might not enjoy. But never fear, an easy way to tell if water is flavored or not is to look for a picture of fruit on the package. 

It is very easy to find plain old mineral water at convenience stores in Japan that are perfectly fine to give your kids. Here are some names to look for:

  • いろはず
  • 富士山系の天然水
  • 南アルプスの天然水
  • クリスタルガイザー (Crystal Geyser)
  • エビアン (Evian)

Some convenience stores also have their own brand of mineral water, such as 7-Eleven’s 7 Premium Natural Mineral Water (プレミアム 天然水). These are usually the cheapest option.

Fruit Juice

There are tons of 100% fruit juices available at convenience stores, such as orange, apple, grape, peach, mixed juices, and so on. 

fruit juices in japan

For fruit juice with only the good stuff (so no added sugar), look for “100%” written on the package.

Milk (牛乳, gyuunyuu

Kids worldwide love milk so if your little one needs their fix, look no further than a convenience store in Japan.

milk at konbini

For homogenized (whole) milk, look for the following kanji on the package: 成分無調整.

Yogurt Drinks

These are something my daughter loves, which doesn’t surprise me considering how much I loved a yogurt drink called Yop when I was a kid in Canada. 

yogurt drink konbini

Note that many of these drinks contain brown sugar.

Recommended for children ages 1.5 years and up.

Best Baby, Toddler, and Kid Products at Japanese Convenience Stores

There are far more useful items you can get from konbini for kids other than food. Here are my top picks.

Diapers

Recently, I’ve found that Family Mart and 7-Eleven have started to sell diapers, which is super helpful if you’re in a pinch. However, their selection is quite limited. 

Family Mart sells Merries Pull-Up diapers in size L, which is perfect for toddlers (Merries is also my personal favorite).

diapers at a japanese convenience store

Meanwhile, 7-Eleven carries Genki pull-up-type diapers in sizes M, L, and XL (Big).

Where to find diapers at convenience stores in Japan

Tip: If you need a changing table, try to look for a nearby family restaurant, department store, or mall, which will likely have one. You can also use an app called Mamapapamap, which shares information about nearby changing rooms and places to breastfeed in private.

If you’re thinking, “I need more than one diaper! I need an entire package!” or the convenience store doesn’t carry any diapers, then head to any drug store (Matsumoto Kiyoshi, Welcia, etc) or even a grocery store as they are likely to carry them as well as wipes. And of course, don’t forget baby stores!

Tissues

With runny noses and messy mouths or hands, there’s a good chance you might run out of pocket tissues. But never fear, convenience stores are stocked with them!

tissues at konbini in japan

Books

This one might be surprising but yes, there are books for kids at convenience stores! These are located near the magazine section at the entrance of bigger convenience stores like Lawson, Family Mart, and 7-Eleven.

books for kids at konbini

When my daughter is being particularly fussy during a road trip and we’ve forgotten to pack her a book or toy, we sometimes pick up a Pretty Cure (プリキュア) board book, which doesn’t break the bank and will last the remainder of the trip and longer.

Socks

Family Mart’s clothing line is quite popular in Japan, especially their socks, and they sell sizes for kids as well! I feel like having konbini socks would make an excellent souvenir for kids.

If you’re unsure about what size your child is, the shoe size chart in my article on children’s products in Japan should help! 

family mart socks for kids


For those living in Japan, is there anything your child likes from a Japanese convenience store that I’ve missed?

If you’re visiting, do you have any questions about kids and convenience stores that I didn’t address?

Let me know in the comments! 

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Hi! I'm Kay

I’m a long-term Japan resident and parent who loves writing and traveling. My goal is to help parents from around the world navigate living and traveling with kids in Japan.

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