lifestyle

What Chinese tourists are buying in Japan

45 Comments
By KK Miller, RocketNews24

Often when you visit another country, one thing on everyone’s to-do list is a little shopping. It’s always interesting to see what products a foreign country offers that you can’t find back home. It’s also weird and fun to see the products you are familiar with presented in a different way.

One of the main reasons Chinese tourists visit Japan is to shop. It’s not uncommon to see a Chinese visitor enter a store and drop the equivalent of hundreds of U.S. dollars – usually in cash – on seemingly everyday products like clothes or electronics, but in some cases store shelves are picked completely clean.

But what’s on these tourists’ shopping lists? Here are 11 pharmacy products that Chinese visitors simply have to buy when they visit Japan.

When thinking about your next vacation, you normally wouldn’t consider over the counter medicinal goods to be the purpose of your trip. That’s exactly the reason for many Chinese tourists, though, who come to Japan and line up in front of drugstores before they even open. These shoppers will buy a bunch of items in bulk and leave having spent on average 20-30,000 yen, with some big-time shoppers spending close to 50,000 yen at one drug store.

  1. Eye drops
  2. Anti-inflammatory medicine
  3. Liquid bandages
  4. Cooling patches
  5. Headache medicine
  6. Keratin softener
  7. Cysteine medicine
  8. Constipation medicine
  9. Canker sore medicine
  10. Feminine hygiene products
  11. Throat lozenges/cough drops

It may seem strange for eye drops to be at the top of the list, but it’s not uncommon for Chinese people to carry them in their purse, back pocket or pencil case. When Chinese shoppers are asked why they buy these in Japan, they reportedly answer, “Chinese products don’t work at all, whereas Japanese items, especially painkillers, are really effective.” We suppose it makes sense to stock up after all!

Another popular commodity is adhesive bandages/plasters, especially amongst women. They claim that Japanese plasters don’t come off when you are cooking or getting your hands wet, making them much more convenient. Adhesive bandages are also cheap and light, so they make for a good souvenir and can be bought in bulk.

Chinese shoppers’ comments that Japanese medicine is more effective might seem odd to expatriates living in Japan, since dosages for painkillers and other medicine are usually quite a bit lower than versions you can find in western countries. However, since China is much closer to Japan than the U.S., Chinese travelers looking to buy some non-prescription drugs will continue to flock to Japan, and around 10 million Chinese tourists are expected to visit Japan this year alone.

If you happen to be suffering from dry eyes while in Japan and pop into a store to find them all sold out of eye drops, now you know why. You may find yourself lining up before the stores open just to get some.

Source: Nikkan Spa!

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- You won’t need your lucky charm anymore – now all you need is this lucky tea -- 10 handy products – The best 1,000 yen you can spend at the 100 yen store -- You won’t believe what’s at the end of this 4-hour line

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


45 Comments
Login to comment

Why aren't Merries diapers on the list? I often see groups of Chinese buying them en masse

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Japanese items, especially painkillers, are really effective

Wow, there's a new perspective.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Wow, there's a new perspective.

I agree, it's hard to believe. Maybe something to do with their similar body sizes? Personally I have to take twice the recommended dosage to get any effect.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

There's a sign up in my local Home & Garden shop (which also sells pharmacy products) warning shoppers that children's disposable nappies cannot be bought in bulk.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

They're mostly for resale, from what I've heard. Would explain the hordes of Chimese tourists you see in Matsukiyos around Tokyo's more central parts.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Maybe something to do with their similar body sizes?

It's like this, indeed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry, but Japan still has a long ways to go to match the top five ranked countries in tourism.

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/03/most-popular-cities-for-tourists-in-2015.html

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Japanese items, especially painkillers, are really effective

I fell off my chair laughing at this one. (And then took 2 Tylenol!)

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Can I ask why the media is so obsessed with what Chinese tourists are buying? I keep seeing TV shows about it. I get companies caring but locals not involved in this? Why? It just seems more "us" and "them" crap.

And what is with the diaper bulk ban? And why Merries and not Pampers?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Probably tourists number will increase even more ...year by year in Japan ... because : Japan is one of few first world countries ... where the tradition is still intact since centuries ... and chinese tourists are tired of being distract in Paris and Europe ...and today , Japan is much cheaper than Europe for the chinese people ...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"It may seem strange for eye drops to be at the top of the list,..."

Eye drop sales are probably due to the nasty air pollution in certain areas of China.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Japanese pain killers always work fine for me but I am shorter than your average foreigner. @tmarie Because Merries diapers are better than Pampers apparently. Very soft, breathable so babies don't get diaper rash and the capacity to hold a large amount of urine so they need to be changed less often.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

*mistreated

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Chinese products don’t work at all, whereas Japanese items, especially painkillers, are really effective.” Blimey, Chinese aspirin must really be bad to think this! Most westerners living in japan assume that Japanese painkillers are basically placebos.

5 ( +9 / -5 )

Chinese products don’t work at all

Hmm, I once bought some Mr. Wang solution from a traditional herbal store in SF china town. This product worked just fine.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

One thing not mentioned in the article is that many Japanese drug stores now also have duty free services that allow tourists to get the consumption tax refunded to them for just about all the products that they purchase, including tobacco and alcohol. That 8% is pretty big when buying in bulk.

In Okinawa foreign tourists rank Kokusai St as the No. 1 location (shopping) No. 2 are department stores (more shopping) No. 3 are convenience stores (more and more shopping) and No 4....drug stores. Shopping, go figure.

I often see Chinese tourists getting off the monorail with empty suitcases and getting back on, heading to Naha AP loaded down with all sorts of stuff. They are literally keeping one local drug store in business.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

tmarie

Can I ask why the media is so obsessed with what Chinese tourists are buying? I keep seeing TV shows about it. I get companies caring but locals not involved in this? Why? It just seems more "us" and "them" crap.

So that people will hate them more while their businesses are making money from them. Killing 2 birds with one stone. This is Abe type of stuff.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Who cares? Let Chinese people and anyone for that matter shop in peace. Do they really need so-called journos with cameras following them from store to store?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

All they have to do is open up their stupid country to foreign made goods.

Might I ask what "stupid" country you were educated in, or wait, no education right?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I fell off my chair laughing at this one. (And then took 2 Tylenol!)

Yubaru,

I hope they were IMPORTED Tylenol(there are J-Tylenol) 0therwise you need to take 5-6 pills & pray for relief!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I hope they were IMPORTED Tylenol(there are J-Tylenol) 0therwise you need to take 5-6 pills & pray for relief!

Yes they were, and I would probably need a whole bottle! Japanese over the counter meds are a literal joke.

5 ( +7 / -3 )

Tmarie

There was an article a while ago about this. It said that Chinese would go to a pharmacy and buy them in bulk to then resell them in China. While leaving the locals, who really needed them, unable to buy diapers because the Chinese bought the entire supply. Why Merries? Don't personally know.But according to the article, in China people think they are far superior than whatever brand they have over there.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"What Chinese tourists are buying in Japan"

Japan

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Garth, if true, hilarious. This is the same country that hoards butter and toilet paper but I guess since its Chinese folks doing the buying...

Can't say I've ever heard a J mom say Merries is better. Perhaps Chinese snobbery as pampers is available there? (I'm guessing Merrues is not)

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

"What Chinese tourists are buying in Japan" Japan

Japan is just getting a taste of what it did in other places during the bubble years.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Can't say I've ever heard a J mom say Merries is better. Perhaps Chinese snobbery as pampers is available there? (I'm guessing Merrues is not)

Merries are availble in China, but the Chinese figure that the ones made in Japan are better quality.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I am heartened to see that several comments have seen through the paper-thin veneer of nonsense articles like this and highlighted the tawdry sub-text.

It is just embarrassing now.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Thank God for foreign capital

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Merries are availble in China, but the Chinese figure that the ones made in Japan are better quality.

But are they? I can't help think this is just snobbery.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Actually the best brand of diapers weve found were pampers. They dont leak even when your kid has done a bath sized pee. And they dont they breath better dont leave a rash. Weve tried they all on our two kids and pampers won easily

0 ( +3 / -3 )

A US professor told me his Chinese student would fill his suitcase with face masks when travelling back home. They can be sold for a much higher price in China (he said).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

But are they? I can't help think this is just snobbery.

I have no idea whether they are or not, but that's the perception. I'm not sure how it would be snobbery though - the Chinese think the Japanese make a better product. Snobbery would be thinking your own country's product is better simply because it's your own company's product.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

These shoppers will buy a bunch of items in bulk and leave having spent on average 20-30,000 yen, with some big-time shoppers spending close to 50,000 yen at one drug store.

Young Chinese couple in front of me at the registers in Don Qixote one night bought 180,000 yen worth of cosmetics and medicines. It was two shopping trolleys (4 baskets) stacked high and i think the teller just gave them a full pack of shopping bags. Outside they started packing it into two massive suitcases (in the middle of the street, of course). I just thought they might have a LOT of friends to buy omiyage for

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Outside they started packing it into two massive suitcases (in the middle of the street, of course).

I bet that looked real classy.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Snobbery in terms of "I bought mine in Japan!". Lord knows I hear crap like that with foreigners when discussing shopping and the like.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I see what you mean. That's definitely possible. But conversely, Merries in China being of a lesser quality is equally plausible.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I thought that Chinese people hated Japan? do they make exceptions when it come to shopping for drugs and other goods?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I thought that Chinese people hated Japan?

It's an over-generalization. Some Chinese people hate Japan. Not all of them by any means.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Brian Wheway

If they really hated Japan they wouldn't come hording and you would not see this kind of article in the first place.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm actually surprised diapers aren't on the list. I use Merries pantsu type for my one year old during the day and Pampers at night. Merries (and Japanese diapers in general) are very soft and comfortable for a wiggly baby (and actually Moonies too!). But Pampers are basically leak free (why I use them overnight) but smell a bit chemically for me to want to put them on my kid all day.

I don't get the part about the medicine, but I'm American and we like our OTC meds to get the job done first try.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Most Chinese people don't believe the nonsense that their government spins.

Japan is a luxury vacation for them with a similar enough culture for them to feel at home with.

I am not sure about the article though because there is a different demographic of extremely wealthy tourists who come to Japan shopping for luxury goods.

I guess this refers only to the economy class mass tourists on package holidays.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Also here in Germany near Frankfurt Airport, actually near a hotel that is used by Air China for their cabin attendants, one can see many of the Air China flight attendants flocking to the local drug store and buying things in large amounts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What is "Cysteine medicine?" Anyway, I think merchants overall provide a better reason for continued peaceful coexistence than do political leaders.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Strangeland, Iam sure its the propaganda machine spewing out its hate, Iam sure there is a new generation of youngsters who don't know anything about there history of there country,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Are you talking about Chinese kids or Japanese kids?

Anyways, my friend in China pointed me at this link the other day: http://www.chengduliving.com/dont-believe-chengdu-protest-hype/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites