My Japanese Drugstore Experience (Tips and Haul)

Japanese Drugstore
 I am back from the Land of the Rising Sun! When I was planning our itinerary months ago, I did not think of makeup shopping that much. I have convinced myself that I had too much makeup in my stash and I could not afford buying more. Fast forward to our Japan Trip, I was caught off guard and got too overwhelmed with the variety of skincare and makeup that I found at a Japanese Drugstore. The excitement that I felt when I saw Sephora in SG and the makeup chain in Myeongdong, Korea was incomparable when I entered a Japanese Drugstore.  It was literally a haven for beauty enthusiasts. Japanese Drugstores are not hard to find. There are smaller stores in the subway area or train stations. Then there is the most popular drugstore named Matsumoto Kiyoshi. If you go to Dotonbori in Osaka, you should not miss the tax free shop called Don Quixote. My favorite Drugstore Shop is the one in Umeda where I availed a lot of the tax free incentive.  I love that store because it was easier for me to navigate and there were less shoppers. The SAs were very helpful too. 
My Favorite Drugstore in Umeda just across the subway!!! Walking distance from Umeda Sky Building!!!
Here is picture of a typical Japanese Drugstore. Partida entrance palang yan nakakaloka na!  
 On my very first visit, I was lost. I got so giddy that I just spent an hour just touring the store without buying anything. My husband got irked and told me that I can buy anything I want so we can leave. When he said that, I spent an hour and half more. hahaha I was not ready for this and I was shaking my head for not being prudent for this shopping escapade. 
Japan Drugstore Makeup
This photo was my first shopping experience at a drugstore. Look how ecstatic I look! I honestly did not know how a Japanese drugstore looked like and my first time really got me dazed and confused. The logos and signs in Japanese characters did not help at all. There were also no English translations of the signs and labels.  Here are my few practical tips in shopping at a japanese drugstore:

1. Do your research. I acted a know-it-all beauty enthusiast. I was very confident that I do not need notes on things that I want to buy. I told myself I just wanted an oil cleanser and sunblock. Lo and behold, there were tons of makeup cleansing oils that were available that I suddenly did not know what to get. Read as much blogs or watch youtube videos as you can. It is better to prepare your to buy list early. Perhaps, you can do it after you have prepared your itinerary. Do not worry, there are a lot of top ten Japanese Drugstore Finds etc. that you can find online. 

2. Keep a photo of the things you want to buy. Yes, your to buy list may be helpful but pronouncing the product's name the Japanese way is a different story. I asked an SA where can i find the Heroine Make Mascara and she looked at me blankly. She can't understand my pronunciation. I hurriedly googled a a photo and showed it to her and shopping from then on became easier. Every time I found an interesting product online ( I did my nightly research during our trip), I save the photo on my phone and  searching for the products became a lot easier.

3. Buy things that are less expensive in Japan and those that are just exclusively sold at a Japanese Drugstore. I, for a fact, did not buy anything from Biore or Kpalette because they are sold here in MNL. Yes, they are less expensive but I opted to buy products that can only be found in Japan or are sold at a very cheap price. For example, Kpalette there costs 500-600 pesos, just 300-400 pesos less than PH price but I decided to buy a Shiseido Lash Curler (even though I have no plans of buying one). Why? because it costs a fraction of the price.  I got mine for only 560 yen. Let's do the math and tan tan tan --- my curler just costs 230 pesos. This curler is the drugstore version of shiseido lash curler. I also chose Kose cleansing oil over Biore. The Kose Cleansing Oil is almost the same price with Biore and this brand is not available locally. And if available, it costs a lot. I also got myself a Shiseido Spots Cover Foundation which is not sold locally at Shiseido Counters. 

4. ASK!!! Do not be shy to ask! Japanese are the most hospitable and respectful people that I have met and they will try their best to explain things even if it meant doing hand gestures and signals. :)

5. Buy at Tax free shops. At first, I did not believe this tax free thing but when I saw my savings for every purchase, I learned my lesson. For example, my one time purchase in my fave drugstore in Umeda saved me 1400 yen which is equivalent to approximately 750 pesos. That is quite a lot right?

6. Save money with products in Packs/Sachets!  Instead of buying products housed in bulky containers like a Tsubaki Shampoo or conditioner, try buying those in huge packs/sachets. You can save space in your luggage plus you save a bit more yen than buying those in bulky containers. 

7.Enjoy!!!Most of all, enjoy shopping!!Have fun exploring the variety of Japanese products available! I dare you to buy products that are new to you. I bought a horse oil cream and I am loving it!!!WHo would have thought that a horse oil cream can be so appealing? hehe

Before ending this post, I am sharing with you my Japanese Drugstore Haul! 
Japanese Drugstore Finds - Makeup and Skincare
canmake bronzer
 Cezanne is a brand that is really cheap. I got this super nice duo blusher for only 330 yen or 115 pesos only. I should have gotten more products from this brand!! I also got myself my HG contouring powder for only 350 pesos. 
Shiseido Spost Cover Foundation
 I got this cult favorite foundation from Shiseido, the spots cover foundation. I did not know of this until I saw a group of Korean Women hoarding this baby. I immediatey researched about it and saw that Pony Makeup used it in her tutorials. This is a very thick and highly pigmented cream foundation. I also got the Kanebo Media Moisture foundation that I am definitely loving this hot and humid weather. I got these foundations for less than 500 pesos only. I also got myself the Shiseido Medicated Pressed Powder which is very cheap in Japan. When I say cheap, it costs less than 150 pesos!!!!!
 For the brows, I hoarded Shiseido brow pencils in Brown and Dark Brown. I also got myself their No.1 Mascara- Heroine Make in Long and Curl. I bought the Shiseido lash curler and extra rubbers. I also got this DHC Lip Cream out of curiosity and this is by far one of the best lip balms I have tried. 
Shiseido Perfect Whip
 I got carried away with facial wash!! I bought the Kose Hyalauronic Acid Facial Wash, the Rosette Cleansing Paste and my ultimate favorite - Shiseido Perfect Whip.
Japan Horse Oil
For skincare, I got the Deep Cleansing Oil from Kose (around 275 pesos only), the Sunblock Watergel from Nivea which is very light and non greasy. Finally, I got myself a moisture skin cream horse oil. This is a cult favorite in Japan and I love how this cream easily permeates the skin for immediate moisturization. I use this on the face and on my arms. 

That's it! I love Japan so much that my husband and I plan to go back. Sadly, we do not know when will be that time but God willing He will allow us to visit this beautiful country once again. :)



A blog of young Filipina lawyer and Professional Makeup Artist who found interest in makeup and blogging during her law school life. Peek into her blog to get a dose of ramblings about life, beauty and everything in between.


  1. LMAO! Thanks for sharing! I feel you girl, when I went to Korea, I went crazy on buying makeup and skin care too! saving up for a Japan trip! more hauls please! Thanks :)


  3. Nice haul! Kaloka yung prices!

  4. It inspires me to save for a trip to japan. I want to experience too the makeup shopping you did.

  5. omg that was a huge place, like heaven on earth! canmake products are my fave, it is affordable yet the quality is good. Nice haul!

  6. We're planning to go to Japan soon, so I'm saving up for all the stuff I wanna buy. Haha! Thanks for this post!

  7. This was an amazing post! I lovvee Japanese cosmetics :)

  8. Hi there! I just want to ask if there's a minimum amount you need to spend to avail of the tax incentive? Thank you 😊

  9. @Anne

    It's 5,000 yen to get the tax exemption but it has to be bulked up as either consumables or cosmetics (in short naka hiwalay 5,000 worth of consumables hindi pwede may halong ibang gamit)


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