It’s that time again; here we are with another supermarket guide. From here on, we’ll be focusing on what I see as the more “standard” supermarkets; these supermarkets have fewer special qualities that set them apart, but are still solid choices for shopping. The first of these more standard stores that we will be observing is Maruetsu.
Maruetsu’s selection is a lot closer to that of Seiyu, but it, like many other of the more standard stores, hews closer to more domestic offerings. Within the walls of a maruetsu store, you will be able to find most any of the fixings for more traditional Japanese household cooking. This means that you’ll be able to find all your standard fruits and veggies, as well as noodles, sauces, spices, and the like.
Additionally, many maruetsu stores will also stock more locally grown veggies in addition to the standard locally-grown fare, generally for fairly competitive prices. While these veggies may not always be as aesthetically pleasing as others, their quality is generally up to par, so it’s up to the shopper which they would prefer.
Maruetsu stores will also often have a bakery, where one can buy fresher bread and sandwiches; while the sandwiches won’t be mind-blowing, they’re definitely a solid snack for those short on time.
Additionally, many Maruetsus will have a second floor or other type of area for your daily household needs, such as toiletries and kitchen ware. This can be useful for those first stocking up their pantries, as they will generally sell all of the tools that one might need to get started with cooking.
However, it is worth nothing that their selection of knives is generally small, due to safety restrictions. They also won’t generally be on display, instead requiring the customer bringing a ticket to the counter, and the employee there will grab a knife from their stock for them.
Maruetsu stores are most common on the northern side of Tokyo, though there are a few more scattered about throughout the metropolitan area. Maruetsu, as well as many of the other more standard supermarkets, are much more plentiful than stores such as Gyomu and Hanamasa, so they probably won’t be entirely difficult to find.
3. Point Cards and Payments
Something quite convenient about many of the more modern supermarkets is that they generally accept a wide variety of payment methods.
Most locations take cash and select credit cards (as with most stores in Japan, Visa cards are the most likely to be accepted, though Maruetsu tends to also accept MasterCard and JCB cards), as well as Waon’s electronic cash cards, in case you happen to own one of those.
Additionally, Maruetsu makes use of the T-Point Card, which is usable at a wide variety of different stores, including some Family Marts, so picking one of those up may be worth your while, if Maruetsu is your store of choice.
While Maruetsu has far less to set it apart, it’s definitely a solid and reliable place to shop. If there’s a Gyomu or a Hanamasa at a similar distance, I would recommend making those your first choice, but there’s definitely no shame in shopping with the green and orange.