Will it soon spread throughout Japan? …The mysterious “Sakura Mikura” convenience store “only in Gunma Prefecture | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Will it soon spread throughout Japan? …The mysterious “Sakura Mikura” convenience store “only in Gunma Prefecture

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Exterior view of Sakura Mikura. At first glance, it looks like an ordinary convenience store.

Convenience stores have completely taken root in the lives of Japanese people. Lawson, FamilyMart, and 7-Eleven are probably the only three companies that are unknown in Japan.

However, there is a “mysterious convenience store” in Gunma Prefecture that is different from the three major convenience stores. The name of this convenience store is Sakura-Mikura. It is a “new convenience store” operated by Zensho Holdings, which operates many restaurant chains such as Sukiya and Nakau.

The store’s bright neon signage, spacious parking lot, and other features are no different from those of other major convenience stores. The only difference from other convenience stores is the use of a terrace as an eat-in space.

However, the interior of the store is different from other convenience stores because it is owned by Zensho Holdings (Zensho HD).

A picture of the signboard. The same symbols as those used at regular convenience stores, such as “ATM” and “Cigarettes” are used.

The first is “Mikura Shokudo,” which offers freshly prepared boxed lunches. The concept of this bento boxed meal shop is to provide “hot bento prepared freshly in the restaurant (see the official website).

Zensho HD, which is involved in many restaurant chains, offers a wide variety of menu items, including donburi (rice bowl), unagi (eel), and udon (Japanese noodle).

In addition to meal vending machines, orders can also be placed by phone, making it possible to take out a freshly prepared lunch box on the way home from shopping for daily necessities.

Sakura Mikura, which opened its first store in June 2009, is an attempt to improve on the weak point of restaurants by preparing and serving a solid meal such as a boxed lunch on the spot while buying snacks and drinks, in order to satisfy the demand for takeout from restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis. The restaurant also offers Gunma Prefecture’s specialty, the “Gunma Bento” (boxed meal).

The menu also includes “motsu-ni”, a specialty of Gunma Prefecture, and seems to be closely connected to the local community. As stated on the official website, “We want to be rooted in the community and bring smiles to the faces of our customers,” this is a new form of community-based convenience store.

Gunma Prefecture has the third highest percentage of foreigners to the population in Japan. Perhaps because of this, the flags of Vietnam and Brazil are placed inside the store, and the shelves nearby are lined with seasonings and snacks characteristic of each country.

Perhaps because of this ingenuity, many foreigners use Sakura Mikuura, and the terrace-like eat-in space outside is a place for foreigners to relax, even in the middle of the night.

Sakura Mikuura’s system, which allows customers to eat freshly prepared bento even though it is a convenience store, is unusual and an initiative not seen at other major convenience store chains, and there is no doubt that the food is significantly tastier than the cooked food that is then heated in a microwave oven.

As a result of the drive for convenience, many major convenience stores offer frozen foods and cold bento boxes. The day may not be far off when Sakura Mikura’s system of providing freshly prepared hot bento will spread throughout Japan.

There is also a special shelf in support of a soccer club whose hometown is in the Gunma prefecture area!
Some beverages that are hard to find in ordinary convenience stores…
There are also many unusual snacks on the shelves, and several people were grabbing them while I was taking pictures!
A foreign customer relaxing
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