If you are an American living in Japan, you have probably noticed the breakfast cereal craze never caught on here. Of course, some of us are happy to live a healthier diet and break away from the morning sugar rush, but now and then, I want an unhealthy bowl of Fruity Pebbles.
Unfortunately, unlike supermarkets back home with entire aisles dedicated to cartoony mascots peddling cavities to children as part of a complete breakfast, the cereal selection in Japan is sparse. Your options are typically cornflakes, expensive granola or disappointment.
So what are we to do when we want some delicious cavity crunch? Thankfully, you’re in luck. Here is a quick rundown on finding your favorite breakfast cereal in Japan.
Supermarkets and import shops
If you search online for where to buy cereal in Japan, your first hits are typically from non-Americans telling you “the supermarket.” You’ll also get recommendations for import and discount stores such as Kaldi, Gyomu Super and National Azabu in Tokyo.
Unfortunately, 90 percent of this is more granola and cornflakes. However, you can sometimes find foreign cereal like Choco Teddy and Jungle Crunch from Switzerland in the import shops if you’re lucky.
Costco in Japan is pretty much like Costco in America. The members-only giant sells bulk items for rather reasonable prices. That also includes cereal. However, you better love Honey Nut Cheerios or Kellog’s Frosted Flakes, because those are your options—and more granola. What is Japan’s deal with granola?
Costco does have a shipping service, but most people make a day of it and rent a car or go with friends and family to help carry home all the items that are needed to justify a trip. Their food court is also pretty popular and a lot of people think the pizza is worth the trip.
However, one caveat is you’ll need a membership or to go with a friend or family member who has one. Annual membership starts at ¥4,840.
Amazon and iHerb
The easiest way to get your favorite sugary cereal is through Amazon Japan. You’ll typically find it from import sellers in Japan or the United States selling two or more boxes or “family size.”
Unfortunately, it is expensive as hell. Prices typically start around ¥1,500 to ¥2,000 and ¥1,000 for shipping. As much as I love Captain Crunch Berry, I am not willing to spend ¥3,000 for a few boxes.
Another option is iHerb—an online vitamin, supplement and health foods store popular with expats in Japan. You can find some alternative and “healthy” cereal brands, such as Nature’s Path, for a reasonable price. Not the best tasting, but if all I can get is “Peanut Butter Panda Puffs” or “Cinnamon Rhino Rolls,” it satisfies the craving.
Our brothers down under
The Australian Food Shop is an online specialty shop for whatever it is that Australians eat. Which I assume is Tim Tams dipped in Vegemite straight off the barbie.
I’ll be real with you—I have no idea what cereal from Australia tastes like, but if “Crispix Honey Pillows” tastes anything like Post Honeycomb, I’m in.
Forward shipping service
A forward shipping service is a company that organizes and sends you shipments you’ve ordered from somewhere else. Basically, they act as a fake address when a store doesn’t ship to your country of residence and re-send it to your actual address.
For example, you order from Walmart’s online store in America using the forward shipping service’s shipping address, and Walmart delivers the goods to that address. Then, the forward shipping service organizes your goods and ships them to you here in Japan.
Depending on the forward shipping service, you might need to pay a membership or handling fees. They’ll ship to you using a shipping company and a price based on the package’s size and weight.
If you want to order a year’s worth of cereal at regular prices, this is the best way to go. The caveat is that shipping is currently very pricey, especially from America. You’ll also need a domestic method to pay for goods, such as an American credit card or prepaid card from the website you’re buying from. However, a few forward shipping companies (such as Stackry) offer to make the purchases for you (for a fee).
Here are a few forward shipping services to check out:
Don’t understand the obsession with breakfast cereal? Know a few places to find some that we missed? Let us know in the comments!