Unusual colour scheme celebrates the local area. 

Can you recall the brand colours of Japanese convenience store chain Lawson? Most people would say blue and white — said to represent blue sky white clouds — and they’d be correct…unless you’re at this branch in Kumamoto Prefecture.

Located in Minamiaso, this branch is conveniently located near Shirakawa Suigen (Shirakawa Spring Source), which has been selected as one of “Japan’s 100 Remarkable Waters” by The Ministry of the Environment.

▼ Shirakawa Spring Source

Despite being close to such a popular tourist spot, this particular branch of Lawson isn’t well-known outside of the local area, which makes it an exciting find for visitors like our reporter Takashi Harada, who stumbled upon it by accident while visiting the spring source.

▼ Though the giant Lawson sign by the road looked the same as any other, when Takashi pulled in he realised that this was no ordinary Lawson…

▼…it was a brown Lawson!

The brown wooden panelling blended in with the surrounding landscape, making the building look more like a log house than a convenience store. The wide windows also helped to give the interior a bright and airy atmosphere, creating a neighbourhood-store-like feel.

Inside, the products were no different to a regular Lawson store, although there were more local souvenirs for sale, which was understandable, given its location in a popular sightseeing area. The interior utilises a large amount of locally produced Oguni cedar in its construction, to help champion the local industry and pay homage to its location within the Aso-Kuju National Park region.

The high ceilings and open space inside were a nice change to the cramped Tokyo stores Takashi is used to shopping in, which made for a pleasant shopping experience. And as he pulled out of the carpark to continue on his journey, Takashi spotted another specialty of the prefecture that matched the colour of the unusual brown Lawson.

▼ Kumamoto’s famous Akaushi, or Japanese Brown cattle.

The hue of this native Japanese breed, prized for its Wagyu, was identical in colour to the brown Lawson, which, whether intentional or not, was another nice nod to the local area.

Minamiaso really is a beautiful part of Japan, so if you’re ever sightseeing in the area, be sure to keep an eye out for the brown cows…and the brown Lawson. Convenience stores like this can be a lifeline for the local community, and discovering them is part of what makes travelling in the Japanese countryside so wonderful!

Store Information

Lawson Minamiaso Hakusui store/ローソン 南阿蘇白水
Address: Kumamoto-ken, Aso-gun, Minamiaso-mura, Nakamatsu, Kamishazuru 3898-1

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