Famous discount chainstore dedicates one store to sweets and one to drinks, with popular products for tourists.

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you’ll know that the best place to do your souvenir shopping is at Don Quijote. This chain of discount stores, located all over Japan, are filled with thousands of products spread out across numerous floors, giving you everything from gum-flavoured chips through to bust-enhancing inserts lauded by cosplayers.

Given the chain’s popularity with tourists, Don Quijote has now set up shop inside one of the country’s busiest traveller thoroughfares: the Yaesu underground shopping area at Tokyo Station. And given that time to shop is short when you’re on the go, Don Quijote, or Donki as it’s commonly known, is making things easy by cutting out all the extras and giving travellers what they want the most — sweets and liquor.

This is a whole new retail format for the chain, so we stopped by the new location shortly after the grand opening on 21 May to take a look at what was on offer. First, we ducked into the “Okashi Donki” or “Sweets Donki”, which grabbed our attention with its bright orange signage.

As soon as we entered, we were met with a display for Ichiran Ramen goods, which obviously aren’t classified as “sweets”, but are hugely popular with tourists all the same.

Further inside, we came across another display, this time for food made with insects! That’s when we realised this store really does use the “sweets” moniker loosely, employing it as catchall term for sweets, snacks, and food in general.

Having a crazy array of offerings hidden in maze-like aisles is all part of Donki’s appeal, so seeing this mish-mash of snacks in between the sweets wasn’t too much of a shock to the senses. The snacks themselves were uniquely presented, with a tag showing the cumulative number of sales per year for each product.

▼ Who knew this variety of Cheeza accounts for 77,000 sales a year?

Some of the items boast sales upwards of 1 million, which make them really tempting, even if you’ve tried them already. Whether you’re a local on a business trip or an international tourist, there are plenty of popular snacks and sweets to choose from inside the store.

▼ Now it’s time to take a look inside the Sake Donki.

In Japan, the word ‘sake’ means alcohol, covering everything from beer to spirits and nihonshu (known as ‘sake’ or ‘rice wine’ overseas), and this store has the lot. The first thing we noticed was the “Whiskey Gacha”, which is limited to 100 bottles and costs 3,500 yen, giving you a mystery whiskey that’s said to be worth more than the price you pay for a go at the machine.

Moving through the store, we found beer from all over the world, more than 60 kinds of miniature spirits, and a lot of strange liqueurs, including these ones, which contain edible flowers.

▼ These would look impressive when poured into a glass.

▼ Other unusual products include Cocalero, a herbal spirit made with the South American coca leaf.

▼ And alcohol with labels that appeal to music lovers.

With promotional signs and informative notes plastered all over the place, we finally succumbed to Donki’s in-your-face marketing, picking up two bottles of Mavericks Beer Station, a draft beer served up in plastic PET bottles, which is said to be making its Japanese debut at this very store.

▼ We picked up a Weizen and a Dunkel, priced at 850 yen (US$7.81) each.

Mavericks Beer Station is a brewery in Saitama, and this particular PET bottle beer became available to the public by mail order only in December last year. It’s great to see them expanding into actual retail stores, and this beer will no doubt be a hit during hanami cherry blossom season, due to it being lighter to carry than glass.

▼ The Weizen was gorgeous and fruity…

▼ …while the Dunkel had a soft bitterness with a hint of sweetness.

Both beers were surprisingly good for a product served in plastic bottles, and are a perfect example of the weird finds awaiting you at the new Donki stores at Tokyo Station. And if you’re looking to add even more unusual souvenirs to your collection while you’re there, don’t forget you can pick up a railway stone in a can just outside the Yaesu south exit of the station.

Store Information

Sweets Donki/Sake Donki / お菓子ドンキ・お酒ドンキ
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Yaesu 2-1, Underground Shopping Mall North 1
Hours: 9:00 a.m.-11: 00 p.m.

Photos © SoraNews24 
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