This is the Matsumoto Kiyoshi drugstore in Akihabara. (Photo: Tyra 'nell Pille-Lu)

Matsumoto Kiyoshi

The biggest drugstore chain in Japan

This is the Matsumoto Kiyoshi drugstore in Akihabara. (Photo: Tyra 'nell Pille-Lu)
Tyra 'nell Pille-Lu   - 3 min read

Japan is not just famous for high tech and advanced gadgets, appliances and electronics, but is also recognized for its great brands of cosmetics and good quality of medicine. In Tokyo alone, you will come across many drugstores in almost every hundred meters.

The biggest drugstore chain in Japan is called Matsumoto Kiyoshi. They don't just provide original brands of drugs and medicines, but also authentic brands and makes of cosmetics, both Japanese and internationally-made. Both female and male customers, local and foreign alike, who value their looks and hope to invest in beauty products, will surely find Matsumoto Kiyoshi to be the best place to purchase their beauty secrets. They have several cosmetic and beauty products that you can't see or buy in any other drugstores.

I've often frequented their cosmetics area and found all kinds of beauty products arranged on the shelves according to their brand, make and type. They have Shiseido, Kose, CanMake, Cezanne, Chifure (shi-foo-reh), Kate, Maybelline and MaQuillage among others. Each type of cosmetic on display is accompanied by a sampler which customers can use as a test, to smell and get the feel of the products before buying them, to decide on which color and shade matches the buyer’s appearance. I find this to be one of my best shopping experiences here.

Matsumoto Kiyoshi also provides other lines of products: items such as sweets, sandwiches and several other kinds of food and drinks; pet food and toys; hair, nail and skin products, toiletries, cleaning products, health products and fashion and hair accessories, among others.

You can easily identify the drugstore even from a distance by the vibrant color combination of blue over yellow, running the whole length on top of the store. In the middle you'll see a huge kanji character 薬 read as kusuri, which means “drug" or "medicine” in Japanese, in a blue and yellow square border over the name Matsumoto Kiyoshi written in katakana characters: マツモトキヨシ.

Matsumoto Kiyoshi had its humble beginnings in Kogane, Matsudo City in Chiba Prefecture in 1932, as a privately-owned business originally called “Matsumoto Pharmacy”. Now, it dominates the Tokai, Kansai and Kanto regions, achieving the highest sales in the industry in 1995.

They have different kinds of shops in several locations, responding to each area’s needs and wants: prescription pharmacies (as the Shinmatsudo Dispensary and others), nail salons (Sweetie Nail and others) and suburban drugstores – Koshigaya Nishikata Store, Ikebukuro Higashiguchi Annex Store, Aoyama and Akiba Store, and many more.

Tyra 'nell Pille-Lu

Tyra 'nell Pille-Lu @tyra.nell.pille

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