The biggest chain of discount stores today in Japan is called Don Quijote (written asドン・キホーテ for those on the lookout), often known as Donki. Don Quijote Japan is known for its unique and exciting shops, and these stores are always full of surprises. Donki’s are packed with quirky and unusual items that surely will entertain and delight visitors. From unique toys and games to strange sweets and snacks, Don Quijote has something for everyone. 

The shops typically have multiple stories and are pretty big. Mega-Donki shops have many floors and sell an incredible variety of goods. It truly serves as your one-stop shop for all your purchasing needs in Japan; if you are looking for something specific, you have a high chance of finding it there.

Donki is a must-visit for anyone’s Japan trip, as its products will raise an eyebrow or two. There are currently more than 160 locations all over Japan (almost 40 in the capital alone), and you can even find them in Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, etc. So if you’re looking for a truly unique Japanese shopping experience, check out Don Quijote.

What Is a Don Quijote?

Don Quijote Japan is a very popular network of discount stores in Japan. The store usually stays open from early till very late (in some places, 24 hours), and you can find the widest variety of products there, including:

  • Onigiri
  • Luggage
  • Dog outfits
  • Bento meals
  • Funny socks
  • Make-up
  • Costumes
  • And much more!

In these stores, you will often hear their theme song, “Miracle Shopping,” which may even make for some sensory overload for some visitors. Navigating through the maze-like, very narrow isles with even a few items hanging from the roof is quite the adventure, and you will never know which treasure you might find next at a Donki.

Owing to its disorganized design and enormous merchandise collection, Donki’s has been compared by retail professionals to a “hoarder’s paradise” due to the stark contrast to conventional Japanese stores that prioritize minimalism, organization, and effectiveness.

Because of the services it offers to clients traveling from abroad, Donki is well-liked by foreigners, and many of the employees of Don Quijote are multilingual! 

History

In September 1980, Don Quijote, then known as Just Co., debuted its first location in Suginami, Tokyo, where Takao Yasuda had founded the company. While Japanese shopping was based on saving time, according to Takao Yasuda, Don Quijote encourages customers to be leisurely and explore.

The idea behind Donki is that it’s hard for shoppers to find, buy and take items, so when they leave, it feels like they always forgot something.

The literary figure Don Quixote from Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s well-known novel shaped the franchise’s name. The book’s character is a nobleman who challenges social norms by attempting to revive knighthood and chivalry, starting on a journey to achieve heroism. The store, Donki, aspires to be similarly outlandish and breach the law, eclipsing conventional retail. 

What Makes Don Quijote Great?

There are many reasons to love Don Quijote. The store is always packed with various items, from clothes and cosmetics to food and household goods. In addition, the store staff is always friendly and helpful, making shopping a pleasurable experience. And no matter what you’re looking for, you will find it at a bargain price.

Donki is perfect for browsing; remember not to bring a shopping list as you’ll likely leave frustrated. But, of course, you never know what you will leave with, and you might only come out after a few hours. That is the beauty of this overstocked (they claim to have more than 45,000 products) shopping experience. 

Shibuya’s Mega Don Quijote opens all year and sells everything from raw meats to booze, Japanese trinkets, apparel, home goods, and electrical appliances. Donki’s late or around-the-clock opening is also ideal for that shopping spree while returning from a big night in town, so get ready to have breakfast with an odd collection of drunken impulse purchases! Exploring this store is a must when visiting Japan!

More Than a Discount Store!

When you go to a discount shop, you always expect to see similar products and settings, but not at Don Quijote. From Ferris Wheels to theaters and maid cafes, expect the unexpected and more at Donki.

The Donki in Asakusa boasts not only an on-site karaoke bar but also a theater for music. The theater is dedicated to the famous girl Japanese Pop band, AKB 48, and you can only win tickets through a raffle because they are so popular. Then the Akihabara branch, located in Tokyo’s geek culture area, has a giant arcade and a maid cafe.

Furthermore, you will find restaurants and takeaway counters in other stores. Some even have Italian food, and a street food favorite potato flavored ice cream. In some stores, you might also find a giant fish tank at the entrance, welcoming guests and attracting kids from the street.

Gifts

Whether you are looking for gifts or souvenirs, Don Quijote has you covered. You will find many Japanese souvenirs here that are cheaper than most other gift shops. For instance, Studio Ghibli’s items are more affordable here than in their store. 

For your sweet tooth, you can choose from many Japanese sweets, including Tokyo Banana, Osaka no Koibito, and Kitkat Sakura-kinako flavors. These always make great souvenirs to take home! They are famous for other Kit Kat flavors like baked potato, wasabi, matcha, rum, sake, and many more.

Tax-Free Souvenirs

Another great bonus to shopping at Donki is their tax-free areas for larger than 50,000 yen purchases. Now you can buy many keepsakes and get your 10% tax back. Remember to bring your passport! Remember that you can’t consume the products in Japan; otherwise, you might have to pay the 10% tax back at the airport. But don’t worry. They pack your goodies in a sealed bag, which will help with the temptation of opening them sooner.

After paying for your tax-free goods, you can send them straight to your airport departing! Don’t have Yen with you; no worries, Donki accepts seven currencies, including Yaun, Hong Kong and Us Dollars, and Euros. Also, all Donki stores have an ATM, so you will always be able to get some more money for Blue Juice.

Adult Toys, Anyone?

In many ways, Japan is beautiful because of how advanced its sexual culture is. For example, you can buy sex toys made by Tenga, the primary sex toy producer in the nation, in all Donki stores. If you are unfamiliar with the company, Tenga adult toys are distinguished by their stealthy packaging. The notorious Tenga cup, a “masturbation aid” to replicate sex, is possibly Japan’s most well-known sex object.

You get the impression that Donki has everything adult toys in the world and more when touring the adult area. You’ve probably never heard of or seen most of the sex toys they have here, and you will often not know what you are looking at. Be warned you might find it hard to hold back the laughter.

Food

Donki is equipped with a wide variety of Japanese products, including: 

  • Wagyu
  • Alcohol
  • Munchies
  • Fresh produce
  • Sweets

Generally, you will find that liquor and fresh produce are cheaper here than in other supermarkets. So be on the lookout for fresh produce like grapes, herbs, tomatoes, and avocados because they can be expensive in Japan.

Here is a list of other food items you can purchase at Don Quijote. This list contains everyday groceries that you might also be found in depachika or supermarkets. 

  • Mega Beef Bowl
  • Maruti Ramen
  • Mega Pork Bowl
  • Furu Furu Apple Juice
  • Beef Shabu
  • Takumi Wiener
  • Maruto Cheese Cake

Some Donki stores also stock Western items like peanut butter, salsa, muesli, etc. Check at Donki first because these products are usually cheaper here and also not very easy to find in Japan.

Luxury Goods

You heard correctly! Regular visitors to Donki will be aware that the stores in Japan offer high-end goods at reasonable costs. 

Because Donki buys unwanted designer goods at a discount, they can pass those savings on to you. So keep an eye out for Hermes, Vivienne Westwood, and Louis Vuitton. They stock luxury bags, accessories, and sunglasses. Some items might even be brand new, along with a good selection of second-hand items.

Don’t forget to get your tax back as well!

Some Unique Items Available

As we mentioned, Donki is packed with some out-of-the-ordinary items. Here we have selected some of the fascinating ones (there are too many to cover):

Teeth Wipes: For A ‘Clean’ Smile

Forget face wipes; at Donki, you can buy teeth wipes. Teeth wipes make sense in theory, even though they initially look a little odd.

Children in Japan are taught the value of hamigaki (teeth brushing) at a very young age, and most Japanese adults brush their teeth after every meal, even if that means doing so in front of others. Furthermore, since maintaining good dental hygiene is as essential to most Japanese people as washing your hands, it is not surprising to witness harried commuters and coworkers brushing their teeth over the shared sinks in public restrooms.

Donki’s tooth washes are helpful for this reason: Do you need a slight energy boost that mints and gum can’t provide? Use a tooth wipe.

Anti Aging Knee Cream

Do you frequently fear that your knees reveal your actual age? Luckily your knees are in Japan, where there is a solution to this issue. The anti-aging treatment for the knees functions similarly to a face wash, exfoliant, and toner.

Together with many other hard-to-pronounce components, they claim the scrub’s peach leaf, soybean, and witch hazel leaf extracts may have a “tightening effect.” 

Edible Bugs

The use of insects as a substitute protein source to address the worldwide food deficit has gained interest. Many claim insect protein is much better for the environment than beef and other animal proteins. 

Donkis stock a wide variety of exciting insect products. Ever fancied a scorpion dipped in chocolate? How about a protein bar made of crickets? Donki has all your bug cravings covered, and don’t worry; most of them are freeze-dried.

Be sure to look for their insect protein bars to try these products or take them home to that friend that spends a lot of time in the gym.

Katana Umbrella

Your most effective way to prepare for those Japanese storms is with these Katana umbrellas. These umbrella handles look like the handle of a traditional samurai sword. These are ideal for those days when you want to act like a samurai yet still avoid getting wet. 

The katana umbrellas are the ones you need; forget about those boring transparent umbrellas you see people in Tokyo carrying.

Eye Mask (Steamed)

This mask claims to remove inflammation and circles around your eyes, and it is also a lot cheaper than a day at the spa in Japan. It also claims to loosen your mood, so be sure to use it after a hectic day of sightseeing and grab a pack for the long flight home. You never know; it just might work.

The Best Apple in the World

Apples are a reasonably common gift in Japan, particularly as a souvenir from an apple-growing area. Japanese apples come in a wide variety and frequently differ from those in Western nations. 

Do you know the source of the best and crunchiest apples? According to the owner of Donki, they originate from Japan. One of these apples sells for around $3.00, so they better be good, right? Remember to eat these in Japan and not fly with them.

Nose Wax

Want a practical approach to removing all the hair in your nose? Then it is time to try this interesting creation. You put a stick into a hot wax dish, insert it into both nostrils, allow the wax to cure, and then yank it out firmly.

A little or a lot of pain will come with it, but that’s the price you must pay for beauty.

Funny Costumes

Don Quijote certainly does have a costume for you if you want to be adorable, sexy, frightening, or just plain funny. Donki’s shelves are stacked with weird and beautiful costumes. There are loads of masks, crazy power ranger costumes, Halloween costumes, or Japanese school girls. You name the outfit, and you’ll probably find it at Don Quijote Japan.

Somen Slider Nagashi Machine

Do you want to add some fun to dining on noodles back home? Thanks to this gadget, the somen noodles will spin in circles as you try to catch them using chopsticks.

This is meant to mimic the sensation of watching noodles fall on a bamboo slide, which you might have seen the Japanese perform in videos. A great dinner party conversation starter!

Clear Drinks

Recall how absolutely everyone was taken aback when Suntory released its clear milk tea? Donki boasts a superb selection of transparent drinks in addition to clear milk tea.

Imagine transparent coffee or translucent iced peach tea. Your senses are immediately confused by their conflicting aesthetics and tastes. This stylish package of drinks is more for novelty than anything else, and it makes a funny gag present for anybody who doesn’t already know about it.

The Biggest Donki in Tokyo

The MEGA Don Quijote Shibuya Store is a must-visit location in Tokyo, which is only a 5-minute walk from Shibuya Station. The largest Don Quijote in Tokyo is located in Shibuya and has thousands of intriguing objects just waiting for you to find.

There are eight levels in the MEGA Don Quijote Shibuya Store, from B1 to 7F. Many different things are available on each floor, and many are heavily discounted! The courageous and devoted dog Hachiko will greet you at Don Quijote as soon as you enter the store through the back entrance, serving as Shibuya’s emblem.

The signage and broadcasts from the shop’s loudspeakers are even offered in a variety of other languages, including Japanese, Thai, English, Chinese, Korean, etc., as this is a well-liked tourist destination for many foreigners.

Discover Don Quijote Japan for Yourself

Don’t worry if you can’t read kanji; as you can see, Donki is an institution in Japan frequented by locals and foreigners daily. An entire list of their offerings would be far too long, so be sure to get lost in a Donki and discover their unique offerings. Exploring more than one Donki in Japan is an entertaining adventure for anyone.

Donki is a terrific place to get Japanese souvenirs to bring home and share with your loved ones, and many Japanese chocolates and sweets you will only find in Donki.

You could spend hours perusing all the fascinating items at Don Quijote Japan, even if you are not planning to purchase anything. Almost everything in Donki is also affordable, and a visit to Don Quijote will undoubtedly amuse you, whether you’re seeking useful products, fantastical trinkets, or you want a good chuckle. 

Visit Don Quijote Japan and find your new favorite store. It’s illogical, strange, and hilarious!