Don Quijote ドン・キホーテ
A huge Donki in Shinjuku
The Don Quijote penguin, Donpen
Shop till you drop!
The undeniable king of discount stores in Japan, discover the crazy world of Don Quijote. If you're looking for something, chances are you'll find it here!
A real institution
The first Don Quijote store (ドン·キホーテ) opened in Tokyo in 1989 and quickly found a place in the hearts of the Japanese. Nicknamed Donki by the general public, every visit to one of these shops is a new adventure. It's impossible to pass one without noticing, since even if you can't read Japanese, you will recognize it thanks to the blue penguin mascot which proudly sits above the sign.
On the official Don Quijote website we learn that this mascot, nicknamed Donpen ("don" from the store name and "pen" from penguin, pengin in Japanese), was born in Antarctica but grew up in Tokyo and looks different in each of the 47 Japanese prefectures, according to the local traditions or specialities.
The theme song that can be heard in all the Donki stores was even released as a single in 1999!
To discover: Mascots in Japan
In the Japanese capital alone, there are almost 40 Donki stores! Today, there are 325 stores across Japan: 206 classic Donki and 119 MEGA Donki, which offer a wider range of products. MEGA Donki is the most family-friendly version of the store for young people. The brand also has other smaller stores that follow the same principle, and even a few stores abroad (Singapore, Hawaii and the United States).
Each shop is unique, and you probably shouldn't go there with a precise shopping list, because you never know what you're going to find. Once you're browsing the endless shelves on multiple floors, you will surely be tempted by products you didn't know existed but suddenly seem essential to your survival.
Temple of bargains
On sometimes as many as 8 floors, tens of thousands of products at great prices await you. At the earliest, the store will close at 9pm, but many of them remain open until 3am, 5am, or are open 24 hours! Don Quijote is like a huge konbini that sells everything, literally. Electronics, clothing, food, cosmetics, toys (both for children and adults...), costumes, decorations, leather goods, accessories, stationery and much more! Floor-to-ceiling, often in a multi-story building, with narrow shelves, it's a real expedition to find bargains and unusual items.
A few days before returning home, why not spend your last few yen at a Donki and bring back some original and crazy souvenirs, as well as stock up on unusually flavored Kit Kats. Also note that in some stores they even accept payment in a variety of foreign currencies.
Snacks at a Don Quijote store
Accessories at a Donki store
Miscellaneous goods piled high at a Donki store