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The ultimate battle for ham sandwich supremacy – we examine Japan’s convenience store sandwiches

By Katie Pask, SoraNews24

Sandwiches. Is there anything better? Of course, Japan being Japan, you can find a number of unique sandwich fillings wherever you go, ranging from the delicately beautiful all the way to the objectively disgusting. But there are times where you just don’t feel like being adventurous and yearn for a simple ham sandwich. Luckily, Japanese convenience stores have you covered, as you can find packaged sandwiches in stores nationwide.

We decided to taste test sandwiches from the three big hitters when it comes to Japanese convenience stores – Lawson, FamilyMart and 7-Eleven. All three sandwiches are enticingly named “Juicy Ham”, but was that all they had in common? How did they taste? How juicy was the ham? And more importantly, how sensible were they? Fear not; SoraNews24 has done the hard work so you don’t have to.

The stage was set, with the three combatants ready for battle. All three sandwiches had ham and cucumber inside, with the Lawson and 7-Eleven sandwiches costing 250 yen. The FamilyMart version was marginally cheaper at 239 yen. The Lawson sandwich had mustard mayo, but that’s not all that was impressive about the Lawson ham sandwich.


Check out the meaty filling in the Lawson sandwich.


When lined up against the other sandwiches, it’s easy to see the difference. The Lawson sandwich is jam-packed with ham, although it’s worth mentioning that the Lawson sandwich only comes with two sandwiches per pack, whereas the other two come in packs of three. It could be that the same amount of ham is present in all three sandwich varieties, but in the Lawson sandwich it’s been crammed in, like trying to shove all your clothes in your closet.

▼ Even for ham fans out there, this is a ridiculous amount of ham, surely?!


So in the category, "Sandwich Sensibleness," we decided to give the Lawson sandwich a 0. Look at it. Would any sane person be able to eat so much ham in one sandwich?

As for the taste? Well, the Lawson sandwich definitely has a hint of mustard, but really they should consider changing the name of the sandwich from "Juicy Ham" to "Overwhelming Juicy Ham." The amount of ham is just too much. It kind of feels like you’re just eating ham straight from the packet. The bread, mayo and cucumber have no impact at all. Sorry, Lawson.


How about the remaining competitors? The 7-Eleven sandwich had a strong mayonnaise taste, but there was a hint of spice in there too. As we checked the ingredients list, we noticed the mayonnaise had horseradish in it. Now this was a proper ham sandwich. Not overdoing it on the ingredients, just a simple ham sandwich.


The FamilyMart sandwich actually goes by the full name "Standard Popular Juicy Ham Sandwich," and as the name suggests, it was kind of basic. Nothing to write home about in particular, but also nothing to complain about either. Just your run-of-the-mill ham sandwich. It’s probably no one’s favorite sandwich, but you wouldn’t regret buying it, either.


So in the end, it all depends on your mood as to which sandwich you might prefer. If you want something unsurprising and predictable, go for the FamilyMart sandwich. If you want a sensible, well-balanced sandwich, the 7-Eleven version is the sandwich for you. If you’ve lost all sense of reason and just want to let go of your inhibitions, the crazy ham-packed sandwich is waiting for you at your local Lawson. Although Lawson’s Overwhelming Juicy Ham is nothing compared to this 20-slice beef sandwich from Subway!

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- FINALLY! An acceptable breakfast option at 7-Eleven! We try the Eggs Benedict Sandwich

-- This month’s slightly bizarre Japanese Twitter trend is showing off overly full Subway sandwiches

-- Baskin Robbins sandwiches are going on sale in Japan

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I'd love to have a sandwich made with whole grains. It seems that the bread here must be as white as snow, with nothing in it, no fibre, and as soft as a souffle. No thanks.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Japan has some of the best food, and one of the best food cultures, in the world. It also has some of the worst sandwiches in the world.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Japan has some of the best food, and one of the best food cultures, in the world. It also has some of the worst sandwiches in the world

Yep. Japanese food is excellent in general but there are some notable failures. Cheese is another disaster.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Except all the ham is stuffed to the visible side of the sandwich.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Wish the bread wasn't so wet.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Pukey - agree wholeheartedly.

Why do they have to stuff ham / eggs into almost every sando?

It's like they were told eons ago, that "real" sandwiches are like and just can't break the habit.

And the cutting off of the crusts - arguably the best part of the bread - is again a stuck in the mud habit going back to the old days, when the it was thought the highest quality sandwiches were to be had at that very British affair - High Afternoon Tea. All the crusts off for a delicate touch.

Fast forward to 2020, and the past 50 years world storm of sandwich inventiveness has somehow not been embraced in Japan.

Like the GaraKei (Galapagos Mobile phone), GaraSando (Galapagos Sandwich) needs to go and a SmartSando evolve - crusts and all.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I like the sandwiches for a quick easy snack, but struggle to even call it real bread.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Conbini sandwiches are just bread onigiri; a blob of something semi tasty in the middle of something that isn't. I suppose they are cheap.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Been here 30yrs & have NEVER been impressed by these so called sandwiches, extremely mediocre & certainly not heathy, I only buy them when there is nothing else on the shelves, have no idea why they have stood the test of time LOL!!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )


Easy to hold Vince.

And deceptive. After that first bite, most of the filling is gone.

Why oh why do sandwiches in Japan have to have either ham or eggs? It's as if there's a lack of imagination here. Even the worst Pret-a-manger ones were even better than the best ones in Japanese supermarkets and convenient stores. Awful. Better not say too much. I got criticized for criticizing the other day.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Sweet, marshmallow bread and wet ham, not to mention every sandwich is soggy from all that horrible mayonnaise. Ugh.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Everyone knows a ham sandwich should have mustard, not mayonnaise. All the combini ones suck equally for that reason alone.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Now some combinis have brown bread. It’s white bread with caramel colour. And they charge more for it!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The local bakery gives away the crust "mimi" ends for free. Unfortunately, limited to two/customer. I guess they are very popular! At first, they would give them all to me. Orimhime...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Conbini sandwiches are as nasty as can be!!  No one has a reason to ever eat these ever.  Has anyone in Japan ever been famished with no alternative except these?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Lawson ham sandwich for me - that is what I call a proper ham sandwich.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Guys, this is the Japanese sandoitchi version.

It will never be the same as what you're accustomed to.

Could be worse - the South Korean sendhuwechi is an acquired taste.

2 ( +4 / -2 )


I have bought that one a few times! But sadly even that one has too much mayo\butter or some kind of ooze inside it LOL!!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How about they review the King of Sandwiches at these stores---Egg Salad. I will take Egg Salad over Ham any day of the week.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Subway smashes anything those three produce. Back around 2002 or something Pret A Manger opened a trial store in Kamiyacho. It literally stayed open for a month. I guess the competition kicked in and their licence and taxes made it not worth the effort. Pret A Manger would boss it in Tokyo and Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


 Cheese is another disaster

Not necessarily. Look for the Cheese Guy!

Invalid CSRF

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't care. All ham sandwiches taste good to me

0 ( +3 / -3 )

FamilyMart has a decent ham and cheese in a bun. Sadly, the mayo is tinged with wasabi. Wasabi has such a sharp and distinctive flavor it should be an option, not foisted on the customer and it should be mentioned on the label. Crazy.

It seems about 95% of the mayo in Japan is ruined by some degree of wasabi, so I buy "Best Foods," imported from the US. By far, the best mayo available here. I wish FamilyMart realized that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ya gotta love the "Fami Chikin" at Family Mart. Goes great with any of their sandwiches. Yuuum

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Lawson and 7-Eleven sandwiches costing 250 yen. The FamilyMart version was marginally cheaper at 239 yen. 

Not according to your photo. The Lawson sandwich is the cheapest one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Zichi Italian panini are sandwich like and a real great, so right

Japanese sandwiches just remind me of English ones. Empty flavor.

Plain French sandwiches are also very very good, even if it may look simple.

Never buy the ones outside baker's like shops though.

Japanese sandwiches shall be better although it is more dietetic.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The best "Japanese" sandwich is tonkatsu. Just watch out for ones with "karashi", Japanese mustard, which is just bland bitter heat. Mustard is strong contender for any list of foods Japan does badly.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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