Daiso Japan is Japan's approach to the discount store chain. In Japan they sell everything for 100 yen, which should come to about a dollar in Australia, but they have the retail price here instead at $2.80, with some stores also stocking more expensive items.
So what can you buy for $2.80?
There are actually a lot of things on sale for $2.80. Imagine all the cheapest items for every part of a department store, all in one little shop. There are caps and Japanese sandals, there are numerous types of cookware, then if you need to box or paper to wrap a gift, you will find something very cute. Don't forget the gardening and hardware sections.
It is really difficult to describe what you get in Daiso. Every time I go there I see things I haven't seen before. Basically if you are shopping for some sort of cheap item, then you should head to Daiso first. More often than not, you will find it there.
This is where to shop for Kawaii or to translate from Japanese, cuteness. Yes, the Japanese Kawaii craze is beginning to take the western world by storm. Daiso is the best place to go to stock up on cute. Whether this is a cute cooler bag, cute homewares, cute stationery or colourful kitchen items, Daiso is cute, cute, cute!
But the Japanese doesn't stop there. This is where I go to by my chopsticks. Yes they have some cute ones, but I have also bought some giant sized cooking chopsticks as well. Then there are also a lot of Japanese style bowls and plates. It is the only place I know in Brisbane where I can buy some proper flat cups for drinking my saké.
Beyond that they also have lots of little use things for the home that are truly Japanese. For example I bought this amazing little fold up sponge and squeegee combination.
What is the most mundane item?
Even if you don't want something that is Japanese or kawaii, there are also lots of normal everyday boring things. This includes standard cups, plates and cutlery. Don't forget useful things like screwdrivers and plastic storage containers. They basically have a little bit of everything.
Unlike other discount stores, Daiso focuses on their own supply chain, so they have a very reliable product line which covers a whole range of things. It is fun to wonder around the store just looking.
What are some of the most useful products?
So we have talked about the cute and the Japanese. But Daiso is a very practical shopping destination. Whenever I need something cheap for the home, I head to Daiso first.
Some items I know I can only find at Daiso. So if I need something for cooking, I know I can find a good quality item at Daiso. If I want Asian style slip on plastic sandals or bamboo place mats, there is no other place to go. If I want some cheap practical item that is also cute, then what other choice is there than Daiso?
And there is food too
Don't forget there is also food. Now their most popular item is the Filipino dried mango. This is very sweet and much cheaper at Daiso than at any of the Asian grocery stores around Brisbane.
They also have Japanese drinks, snacks, noodles and other little food items. You wouldn't be able to do your grocery shopping here, but you might find something interesting to try.
Is it value for money?
Given that they sell items that are worth $1 in Japan at $2.80 it can be questionable whether this is good value for money. Yet there are many items that they have which are great value for money or which you can't get anywhere else. Then try buying some lovely Japanese bowls for $2.80 anywhere else, if you can even find them.
Some items are cheap and not that well made, while others are definitely great value for money at $2.80. There are certainly many items that would be the same quality in other shops but at more than twice the price. Other items are a bit of rip off and you can buy better elsewhere.
But if you only have $2.80 in your wallet, you are sure to find something fun, cute or amazing to buy.
Daiso isn't like most other Asian shops, they don't hide out in the cheap neighbourhoods, but take over locations in mainstream shopping malls. This means you can pick up some amazing and cheap Japanese products in many suburbs around Brisbane.
They currently has stores in the Myer Centre, Indooroopilly Shopping Centre and the Westfields in Garden City, Chermside and Carindale. There is also a store at Australia Fair in Southport.