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Posted on Sep 28, 2007 in SF Bay Area Local, Shopping | 28 comments

Shopping: New Daiso stores, lead-free gear

Shopping: New Daiso stores, lead-free gear


1. Daiso

Daiso, a Japanese dollar store with branches internationally, has two new stores in the SF Bay Area: Mountain View and Union City in the East Bay (EDIT: They’re running behind schedule on the Mountain View branch and will open it early October — SORRY!). Daiso sells cheap bento and household goods, and the Union City branch is supposed to be even larger than the Daly City or San Jose branches! Shout out to readers Jennifer and freecia for pointing this out!

Daiso Union City
El Mercado, 1785 Decoto Rd. (next to Marina Foods, betw. Alvarado Niles Rd & Meyers Dr)
Union City, CA 94587 (510) 477-9441
17,760 sq. ft., opened Aug. 8, 2007

Daiso Mountain View
550 Showers Ave. #1, Mountain View, CA, 94040 (near El Camino and San Antonio)
(EDIT: was scheduled to open Sept. 24, 2007, but delayed until early October 2007)

Daiso has a selection of cheap bento boxes, accessories, antibacterial bento sheets and food cups, freezer containers, cooking equipment, metal bento boxes, mini microwave steamers, stovetop fish/veggie grills, home products, dishes, hobby gear, children’s toys and books in Japanese, etc.
Laptop Lunchbox
2. Reusable Bags & FAQ on lead and plastic concerns

I found a 20% off coupon for Reusable Bags; use code f70838 (case sensitive) and check out their selection of lead-free lunch gear, lunch kits, lunchboxes, reusable bottles and the lead-free Laptop Lunchbox (they ship internationally). Their FAQ on health and safety issues is helpful in learning the latest about lead and plastic concerns. (Disclaimer: The Reusable Bags links here are affiliate links; using them to get to the site when making a purchase helps support Lunch in a Box.) (Aug. 2008 Update: The f70838 code for 20% off at Reusable Bags is valid and updated, and you can also add code FREEACME (case sensitive) in the order comments section for a free Acme reusable bag on orders over US$25 (ACME Bags Workhorse Style 1501, Black Mesh).

3. Bento stores in San Diego

Sugoi Bento has put together a list of bento stores in the San Diego area, including a new Daiso over in the Marukai Marketplace.



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  1. Hi,
    I just wanted to thank you for a wnderful blog and for sharing all your tips with us. I was just about to head out to Daiso in Daly City (40min.) for the first time when I read your post about the new one in MV! That’s only 15 min. away. And thanks for the coupon code for I just started reading your blog and my kids lunches have already improved dramatically. We LOVE the Lock-n-lock boxes available for $3.50 at Target. Thanks!

  2. oops…I called and the MV store is not yet opened. They are running behind and plan on early October. Guess it’s Daly City then.

  3. ooho! a REusable Bag code! I’ve been meaning to get a few things from them recently, so glad that I procrastinate!


  4. Oh wow! I didn’t even know the MV store opened yet!! I’m heading there today then!! XD I wonder if the MV one is bigger than the one in SJ though. Thanks for the heads up Biggie!

  5. Oh, MAN! I want a Daiso in Denver! Wahhh!! (Maybe whining will make them build one! LOL)

    I wonder if there are plans to put a Daiso in the North Bay somewhere…San Rafael or Novato. That would be cool.

    Still counting the days til Ichiban Kan goes online with their mail order store.

  6. Yuhoo, Daiso!!! There are people living in Europe too, although I can see that they might have some issue with establishing a customer base. However, they could start small, with a selected assortment of, lets say, convenient bowls, BENTO boxes for sure, and other every day things that are not just very Japanese if you get what I mean with that. I miss alot of convenient things from Japan although I am an airhead at presently so can’t really give you any examples.

    For years though swedish stores sucked at catering to a growing mid-eastern immigrant population. Then stores began to discover that wow, they shop too (!) so now more and more stores are adding mid-eastern foods to their stores. Some have whole sections dedicated to “foreign” foods. Now when it is ramadan it is quite noticeable in many of the chain stores that wouldn’t have given it a second thought some years ago. I read about a year ago that this store, that had an Iranian employee told her boss they should sell these cookies and pastries that are special to ramadan. They settled for a taking in 6 boxes of each pastry. Rumour spread, cookies and pastries were sold out in a day.
    And me, that is into all kinds of food, roam around those shelves, look and see and then take it home, google and then cook it. A travel in its own merit :).

    So Daiso! Head over here. Scandinavia preferably!

  7. @3 from Suneeta: I’m so sorry about the false alarm on Mountain View!! Thanks for checking it out; I’ll be more careful about independently confirming things like this in the future. I’d be interested in your feedback on the store once they open, though!

  8. @5 from FUYU: Stop, wait!!! Suneeta called the MV store and evidently they’ve had to delay their opening until early October. Save yourself a trip!

  9. @4 from katherine: Hooray for procrastination! Unfortunately, I’m also good at procrastinating — it’s great when that accidentally turns into a plus, isn’t it?

  10. @6 from Beanbean: That would be great if they opened something in North Bay, wouldn’t it? It would fit their apparent M.O. of opening numerous stores in one metropolitan area at a time.

  11. @7 from Jessica: As you say, eventually big stores figure out that growing minority populations have money to spend like everyone else, and figure out ways to capitalize on that. I wonder if Daiso is banking on the large Asian population on the U.S. West Coast to go to the stores and use them to spread via word of mouth.

  12. I think they are opening one by the new Marukai in Cupertino too…that’s much closer to me :D

  13. Sorry on the incorrect Mtn View info. The checkout lady in the San Jose store told me it was open, so I thought it would be. Alas. (I might have mistyped the address as 505, but I believe you linked to the correct addr at 550.)

    So sad. No daiso for me tonight.

  14. YIKES! I was so excited about it because even though I’m in San Jose, it’s actually closer to me than the one at Eastridge Mall (It takes 30-40 minutes to get there from my house!).. I was thinking of heading over to the MV one after I picked up my daughter, but as I was driving to pick her up, I became hesitant and decided to go this weekend or something. Now I’m glad that I didn’t go!! hahaha

    If what Tam says is true about the one opening in Cupertino — EVEN BETTER!! Horray for more!! I’m glad it’s such a success here in America! Hopefully they’ll have more than one storie floors eventually like the ones in Japan.. wishful thinking… XD

  15. Thanx so much for the coupon! I had a great excuse to order the Laptop lunch box set! lol~
    I live on the east coast, so I’m not as lucky as all of you guys over there…there aren’t much stores around here that sells bento boxes and accessories. So I have to make do with what I have available here. Thanx again!!

  16. @13 from Tam: Great info about the Cupertino store! If you happen to notice that it’s open, feel free to leave a comment or shoot a note so everyone knows!

  17. @14 from freecia: No worries about the info; I should have double-checked it before posting anyway. Still, thanks for the heads up — it’ll be open soon, now everyone knows! :-)

  18. @15 from FUYU: I’m so glad you didn’t go to MV today! (Sorry to anyone who did, BTW.) I’m jazzed that they’re opening more stores around here, although that must be frustrating to folks in other areas without Daiso… I like Mujirushi as well — simple design, good prices (at least for Japan, don’t know how competitive they’ll be in the States — we’ll see).

  19. @17 from Shie: Glad the 20% off coupon worked for you (both in actual discount and rationalization to buy yourself fun gear)!!

  20. I was heading out to Ichiban Kan in San Mateo when I saw your post about the new Daiso in Union City. Hit that instead and it was fabulous! Came home with three huge bags of stuff for less than $21. My only problem was that the bento boxes they had were child-sized; I could not find any adult-size boxes but what the heck. I’ll experiment with these little ones. They were about $1.50 apiece; such a steal! And they had the teensy little sauce/dressing bottles I’ve been looking for. I’ll definitely be going back. Thanks for the tip!

  21. I found the lock n lock boxes at target today…they were $3.96 each for the square one with the 4 small containers. they have several to choose from.

  22. @22 from neverenoughjam: Cool that you were able to hit the Union City Daiso, but too bad about the child-sized bento boxes. You can always double up to make one proper meal, but it is a pain to kludge together something when you know there are appropriately sized boxes out there. Keep looking! Both Daiso and IBK carry those 600ml two-tier boxes (a variety), depending on branch and when you hit them in their inventory cycle.

  23. @23 from colleen: Ooh, score!!! That’s great info for people without Asian stores nearby (plus Lock & Lock stuff is just well designed and reasonably priced anyway). I’ll add store info to my photo on Flickr too in case folks stumble across it.

  24. Have you heard any news on the Ichiban Kan online store? Are they still on for next month? From the way you plug Daiso, I almost wish THEY had an online store! :D I need to move to California! haha.

  25. @26 from Sile: I asked them a few weeks ago if they were still on, and they said yes (but no firm date). I’ll pop in and ask again this week, and post anything remarkable (i.e. if they’re still on schedule, no new post from me). You’re not the only one who wishes Daiso had an online store! They’re really good (and I have no commercial affiliation with them, BTW, just think Daiso and Ichiban Kan both rock at low-price, decent quality household stuff).

  26. Daiso is the best! We lived in Chiba City for 2 years and have some very fond memories. I think DH and I went to the Daly City Daiso in the first week it opened- and then my friend Masumi and I went to the San Jose store on opening day. You might say we’re hyaku en shop fiends. ;) Thanks for the updates- the MV store is close to my house so I’m dying for it to open!


  27. @28 from sea: Hey, you’re “SeaMaiden”, right? We’ve actually e-mailed each other about three years ago when my husband was going through his gluten-free thing (misdiagnosed, long story). You helped me clear a list of Japanese food products as being GF — thanks!

  28. Hi- I just wanted to let you know that this code for 20% off is no longer valid.

    Thank you!