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Unique Drugstores in Japan: 8 Best-Selling Products at a Leading Japanese Pharmacy Chain!

Unique Drugstores in Japan: 8 Best-Selling Products at a Leading Japanese Pharmacy Chain!

Date published: 10 January 2019

There are three things you absolutely have to do when coming to Japan: gourmet, sightseeing, and...checking out drug stores! There’s no way to fly back home without having bought Japanese drugs and cosmetics. A drug store actually offers an authentic “unique Japan” and “Japanese quality” experience!

A lot of people make a list of things they want to buy before going on a trip. However, once actually confronted with the selection, you might find yourself struggling what to pick because you don’t know which products are the best. In these situations, it’s best to rely on the recommendations by the locals!

Drug stores can be found dotted around pretty much every larger Japanese city. Among them is Matsumoto Kiyoshi, a top-class drugstore chain that boasts a particularly large selection and reasonable prices. While it has always been popular with Asian tourists, people from the West have discovered the drugstore as a treasure trove for medicine, cosmetics, and more as well in recent years! LIVE JAPAN interviewed Mr. Yamanaka, the store manager of the all-new Medicine Matsumoto Kiyoshi Ginza Miyuki Ave. Shop, opened on June 15, 2018. We asked him about the drugstore’s most popular long-selling products to enhance your trip to Japan! Surely, you’ll be able to pick up a thing or two for your shopping list!

1. Loxonin S by Daiichi Sankyo (Antipyretic Analgesic)

1. Loxonin S by Daiichi Sankyo (Antipyretic Analgesic)
Daiichi Sankyo’s Loxonin S series, from the left: Loxonin S Premium (pink), Loxonin S Plus (light yellow)

Daiichi Sankyo Healthcare’s Loxonin S series is an analgesic drug known throughout all of Japan. The main component is loxoprofen sodium hydrate and its biggest feature is the immediate pain relief it provides. The Loxonin S series includes the basic Loxonin S, Loxonin S Plus which is easy on the stomach, and Loxonin S Premium, featuring components that actively protect the stomach while easing intense pain fast and reliably.

Do not forget to check the package insert regarding allergies and other details. People with allergies should be particularly careful with Loxonin S.

Price:
Loxonin S, 12 tablets: 648 yen
Loxonin S Plus, 12 tablets: 698 yen
Loxonin S Premium, 12 tablets: 698 yen
Loxonin S Premium, 24 tablets: 1,180 yen

2. Hepalyse GX: a Collaboration Between Matsumoto Kiyoshi and ZERIA

2. Hepalyse GX: a Collaboration Between Matsumoto Kiyoshi and ZERIA
MK ZERIA’s Hepalyse GX

Hepalyse GX enhances the liver function and features hydrolyzed hepatic extraction with a nutritional supplement effect. It promotes the secretion of bile and the digestion of fat while also supporting intestinal movement and acts as a supplement. According to Mr. Yamanaka, the shop manager, this medicine is popular among Japanese businessmen who take it before a drinking party or before going out with their colleagues to prevent hangovers. This drug doesn’t only promote liver function but also helps with the digestion and decomposition of alcohol; it can be taken before or after drinking. However, it also helps people struggling with a busy life, frequent overtime, lack of sleep, irregular meals, insufficient nutrition, general tiredness, poor physical fitness, and so on – a lot of things modern people deal with regularly. If you’re one of them, Hepalyse GX can help with a lack of nutrition!

Price: 360 pills for 8,640 yen

3. Gaster 10 by Daiichi Sankyo (Gastrointestinal Agent)

3. Gaster 10 by Daiichi Sankyo (Gastrointestinal Agent)
Gaster 10 by Daiichi Sankyo Healthcare

Gaster 10 is a gastrointestinal drug that works on symptoms such as stomach pain, a heavy stomach, heartburn, repugnance, and so on. The H2 blockers suppress the secretion of stomach acid, providing quick relief for discomfort by countering excess stomach acid and rebalancing the gastrointestinal environment. Gaster 10 comes as tables, power, but also as mini-pills that can be swallowed without any water.

Price:
Gaster 10 (powder), Gaster 10 (tablets), Gaster 10 S pills; 12 portions each for 1,580 yen

4. Kracie Kakkonto: a Collaboration Between Matsumoto Kiyoshi and Kracie

4. Kracie Kakkonto: a Collaboration Between Matsumoto Kiyoshi and Kracie
Kracie granule with Kakkonto extract by MK Kracie

Kakkonto is a herbal medicine that is the first choice for many Japanese people when they feel like they might be getting a cold. It mainly combats chills, a runny nose, headaches, and stiff shoulders and neck. According to the store manager Mr. Yamanaka, the large packages are the most popular. Kakkonto is made with medicinal herbs that primarily enhance the body’s natural healing powers. It is useful for the sweatless early stages of a cold, warming the body while dissipating heat and thus offering a powerful perspiration function. Please note that this medicine is not suitable for people suffering from frailness and those with perspiration issues. It is most effective when you feel like you might be catching a cold or in a cold’s very early stages.

Price:
Kakkonto A Kracie, 15 capsules: 1,480 yen
Kakkonto Extract Granule Kracie, 30 capsules: 1,093 yen

5. Lion and Ikedamohando’s Cold Syrup for Children

5. Lion and Ikedamohando’s Cold Syrup for Children
From the left: Lion Kids’ Bufferin Rhinitis Syrup S, Ikedamohando Muhi no Kodomo Rhinitis Syrup S, Lion Kids’ Bufferin Cough Syrup S, Ikedamohando Muhi no Kodomo Cough Syrup S

Common cold medicine in Japan is often made for ages 15 and up. But what if the little ones catch a cold? Mr. Yamanaka introduces some choices that are especially popular with Japanese mothers, such as Lion Kids’ Bufferin Rhinitis Syrup S and Ikedamohando Muhi no Kodomo Rhinitis Syrup S, both examples of cold medicine for infants and children older than 3 months. Not only is it a drug made by a major manufacturer that can be trusted and the adorable illustrations on the packaging are also a major bonus. They easily catch a child’s attention and make taking the medicine less stressful for both parents and kids. Make sure to check the components of the different products to find the one that suits your child the most.

Price:
Lion Kids’ Bufferin Rhinitis Syrup S, Cough Syrup S; 120ml each: 925 yen
Ikedamohando Muhi no Kodomo Rhinitis Syrup S, Cough Syrup S; 120ml each: 973 yen

6. Purple Shot Plus Throat Spray: a Collaboration Between Matsumoto Kiyoshi and Shirogane Pharmaceutical

6. Purple Shot Plus Throat Spray: a Collaboration Between Matsumoto Kiyoshi and Shirogane Pharmaceutical
MK Shirogane Pharmaceutical’s Purple Shot Plus

Rather than throat lozenges or powders, a lot of Japanese people go for a spray-type medicine when they have a sore or painful throat. Purple Shop Plus is an original product jointly developed by Matsumoto Kiyoshi and Shirogane Pharmaceuticals. The bactericidal component “cetylpyridinium chloride hydrate” (CPC) sterilizes the affected area and the anti-inflammatory component “sodium gualenate hydrate” directly works on the inflamed area of the throat, suppressing inflammation and thus easing pain and swelling. This product also has a specially designed nozzle that helps the medicine directly reach the affected parts of the throat. According to Mr. Yamanaka, Japanese people choose Purple Shot Plus a lot when dealing with an inflamed mouth.

Price: 31ml for 1,180 yen

7. Sante Medical by Santen Pharmaceutical (Class II Eye Medicine)

7. Sante Medical by Santen Pharmaceutical (Class II Eye Medicine)
From the left: Santen Pharmaceutical’s Sante Medical Active, Sante Medical 12, and Sante Medical Guard EX

The Sante Medical series features three kinds of eye drops. There’s the purple Sante Medical Active that mainly stabilizes the tear fluids with vitamin A, while its vitamin E promotes the metabolism and helps with the reduction of tear fluid secretion caused by age, eye fatigue due to dryness, and blurry vision (when there is a lot of eye mucus). The red Sante Medical 12 is a blend if vitamin B12 and chondroitin sulfate, improving eye fatigue and focus adjustment. The yellow Sante Medical Guard EX features flavin adenine dinucleotide (an active vitamin B2) that promotes the corneal tissue metabolism and repairs and protects the cornea from damage caused by dryness, ultraviolet rays, contact lenses, eye rubbing, and so on. It also provides relief for fatigue and inflammation, symptoms accompanying this kind of cornea damage. All three types of eye drops also contain components that help to protect the cornea and work against water retention, inflammation, and bloodshot eyes. According to the store manager, these eye drops have a most of the components* helping against eye fatigue and other issues are compounded at the maximum concentration of the general ophthalmologic drug manufacture and sale approval standards**.

Price: 12ml of each type for 1,480 yen

*Most of the components = neostigmine methylsulfate, chondroitin, vitamin B12, active vitamin B2, vitamin A
**Approval standards = the specific range of allowed concentration for certain components set by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

8. Loxonin S Tape by Daiichi Sankyo

8. Loxonin S Tape by Daiichi Sankyo
Daiichi Sankyo Healthcare’s Loxonin S Tape

This is Daiichi Sankyo’s Loxonin S series for external use, providing relief as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory tape. The main main component is loxoprofen sodium hydrate with an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect, blended with the same amount as the oral version. Use it for back and shoulder pain accompanying a stiff neck, joint pain, muscle pain, hand and wrist pain, elbow pain, bruises, sprains, and more. The medicine directly penetrates the affected area, getting to the core of the pain. The tape itself is stretchy and fits the body snugly while a gentle aroma makes for a pleasant smell as well.

Price:
7 sheets: 980 yen
14 sheets: 1,580 yen
L-size 7 sheets: 1,580 yen

Matsumoto Kiyoshi Ginza Miyuki Ave. Store

Matsumoto Kiyoshi Ginza Miyuki Ave. Store

Matsumoto Kiyoshi is Japan’s leading drugstore chain, offering a massive selection for affordable prices. It’s one of those shops that pretty much every tourist stops by when coming to Japan. Matsumoto Kiyoshi opened the Ginza Miyuki Ave. Store in June 2018 as the seventh store in the Ginza, Yurakucho, and Hibiya area. Leave the Tokyo Metro Ginza Station and cross Ginza 5-Chome Intersection, and you’ll find Miyuki Ave. near GINZA SIX. The shop boasts very convenient access, so make sure to drop by!

Top left: 1F drug corner / top right: 1F supplements / bottom left: 1F skin diagnose machine / bottom right: cosmetics

Matsumoto Kiyoshi Ginza Miyuki Ave. Store has a main floor and a basement floor, mainly selling drugs, health food, medicine, drinks, masks, and supplements on the main floor. The basement floor is all about cosmetics, supplements, and beauty corners! It’s also the first Matsumoto Kiyoshi in Tokyo that has its own “supplement bar” and boasts a variety of massively popular items such as Perfect One, Cell Pure, and Matsumoto Kiyoshi exclusives. The staff can speak other languages and there’s a tax exemption service, so enjoy shopping without worrying about a language barrier.

On top of all that, everyone who is interested in skincare can have their own skin checked at the beauty counter on the basement floor. Measuring instruments provide detailed data that can be used as a reliable reference as you shop. Another corner showcases makeup and cosmetics not by brand but by color, which is particularly convenient if you’re looking for something specific. Go check it out for yourself!

*The information in this article is as of June 2018.
*Products may be out of stock, varying by store.
*Product prices are based on the display price at the store.
*Although Matsumoto Kiyoshi is a nationwide chain, product prices may vary from store to store.

  • Matsumoto Kiyoshi Ginza Miyuki Ave. Shop
    薬 マツモトキヨシ 銀座みゆきAve.店
    • Address 〒104-0061 東京都中央区銀座5-8-9

    Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
    Closed: open every day
    Access: Tokyo Metro Ginza Station, 2 minutes on foot

Spots showcased in the article

  1. Matsumoto Kiyoshi Ginza Miyuki Ave. Shop
    薬 マツモトキヨシ 銀座みゆきAve.店

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*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.