Vitamins and Supplements in Japan

Updated November 22, 2011. What about those nutritional extras that many of us employ, particularly when our bodies mount attacks against us? (and really, does anyone else agree that Vitamin C is almost like eating candy? Tart, orange-y candy?) Are they easy to find in Japan? How difficult is it to find what you need?

Before coming to Japan, I asked a few people about what I should or shouldn’t bring. One person said she usually had her family send her vitamins. My reaction was something like: Seriously? I'm going to a country that doesn't believe in VITAMINS? 

However, my first visit to a local supermarket proved otherwise. In many supermarkets (or what I like to call grocery stores), and drug stores as well, there are "health food" sections. Note the picture. The top row holds vitamins, then a colorful row of Soyjoy bars (like granola bars, without much granola and made with soy), and lastly, a bunch of "healthy" drinks. The vitamin brand you see here is "Nature Made," which is also the main brand of vitamins I've seen anywhere in Japan. The names are all listed in great familiarity for us English-speakers, so finding vitamin C won't be difficult. Some stores also have a multi-vitamin supplement as well, the kind you take daily.

Another great resource for vitamins, and also minerals and supplements, is The company is based in California, and if you choose the Japanese shipping company Yamato as a shipping preference, the cost of shipping is incredibly cheap from California to Japan. The affordability of shipping allows me to regularly get supplements I need, and also food and body products. Most items are organic or natural, but the cost of these items is cheaper than I've seen in many retail stores in the States. Some regulars I buy: bulk bags of oats, maple syrup, peanut butter (expensive in Japan!), brown rice syrup, and sometimes facial products. Keep in mind, there are some products iherb will not ship to Japan, due to shipping prohibitions, (like almonds, sadly), but most other things I want to get that I can't get in Japan or aren't cost-effective, are best bought through iherb.*Use this code for 5% off your first order: ACI278*

Some other resources may include an online retailer in Japan, such as Yoyo Market (English), or the very extensive collection that is Kenko offers its site in Japanese and English, but the Japanese version has a wider range of items.

So, for those trying to stay healthy, or those who want to keep using vitamins without having their mom ship it to them, these are a few good ways to go.

Those of you in Japan, how about you? Where do you get vitamins (if you even use them)?

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1 comment:

James in Nara said...

Realize this is old, but thought I'd mention that there are Costco's in Japan. There's two in Kanagawa, two in Saitama, one in Chiba, one in Fukuoka, Hyogo and Hokkaido. If you're in Shizuoka you might be out of luck, but they're there, and they carry vitamins.

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