We visited a wildly popular Japanese dollar store's first NYC location days after it opened. Here's what it's like to shop there.

Rachel Askinasi/Business InsiderMostly everything in the store costs $US1.99.
  • Daiso – a Japanese dollar store – opened its first location in New York City’s Flushing, Queens, in March.
  • The store has a cult following, according to Time Out, because of its consistently low prices on quality Japanese goods.
  • We went to the new location just days after it opened and found a huge variety of home goods, Japanese snacks, beauty products, toys, and so much more.
  • While it was clear they were dealing with the rush of just having opened, the shelves were pretty well-stocked, and the store didn’t look like it had been ransacked by excited shoppers – even though there were plenty of them there.
  • Although Daiso is advertised as a dollar store, there are signs that say everything costs $US1.99 unless stated otherwise. Most things were $US1.99, and some were marked at either a lower or higher price point.
  • Here’s what the new location looks like and what you can buy there.


Daiso — the Japanese dollar store with a cult following — has a new location in New York City. This new location marks the store’s jump onto the East Coast as American shoppers in California, Washington, and Texas have already gotten a taste of the discounts.

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Source: Daiso


Located right off the 7 train’s Main St. stop …

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… in Flushing, Queens, …

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… the store is on the second floor of The Shops at Skyview, a shopping mall.

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The mall also has a Nike, Target, Forever 21, Uniqlo, and Chuck-E-Cheese, among other stores.

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Daiso was easy to find. I went up the escalator and followed the flow of the walkway. I passed the large Forever 21, an Adidas store, and a Converse store before I reached the dollar store. There were also a lot of kiosks in the middle of the floor — some had trinkets or food on them, others were completely bare.

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Even though the walkway was fairly crowded, I couldn’t ignore the Auntie Anne’s pretzel smell. The pop-up was located right at the entrance to Daiso.

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As I turned toward the store, I saw stanchions set up. One of the store employees told me those were left over from opening day, to help control the line of people waiting to shop.

Rachel Askinasi/Business InsiderBlack stanchions were in place to keep the long lines in order on opening weekend.

While no one was lined up in them when I visited, there certainly were a lot of people coming in and out.

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On my way in, I stopped to grab a very pink — and very on-brand — shopping basket.

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There were more stacked up in other parts of the store for anyone who didn’t grab one on their way in or who wanted to abandon theirs mid-shop.

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The store gave a somewhat overwhelming first impression.

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One of the first things I noticed were all the signs hanging up around the store. I first noticed signs putting out a call for employees to join the store’s Queens team.

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Small, colourful signs pointed out “customer favourite” items, best sellers, and new items.

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They also directed shoppers to the store’s social media accounts.

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But the most important sign was the one that said everything in the store cost $US1.99 unless stated otherwise.

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There was a table of trinkets to the left when I first walked in.

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Looking around, I saw a wall of reusable bags on the left, with animal-themed neck pillows hanging next to them.

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Some bags were even branded specifically for the store’s new neighbourhood.

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The front section seemed to be seasonal — it had shelves of decorations for upcoming holidays like Easter and the further-away Fourth of July.

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Hair accessories lined the wall behind the holiday decorations.

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I could tell the store was still getting things set up because of the box of hairbrushes sitting on the floor, nestled between the two hanging displays.

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The rest of the front area followed somewhat of a theme: bath and beauty. Rubber shoes that looked like Crocs hung on the display directly opposite a wall of beauty products.

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Beauty products ranged from fake eyelashes and eye makeup to foundation and nail care.

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There were also lots of beauty gadgets hanging on the wall. I didn’t know what a lot of them were, so I had to do a little digging — the tools seen here are all related to some form of acupressure treatment.

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There were also plenty of gadgets to keep your hair dry during a bath or shower …

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… and to create your own at-home sauna.

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There was also a large selection of giant puzzle pieces like the ones here. They’re meant to be pieced together to make a mat on the floor of your bathroom.

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There was plenty to choose from when it came to bathing and beauty, but some items were running low on stock. This sparse selection of nail polish wasn’t the only half-filled display in the store.

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There were cleaning mitts and slippers …

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… arts and crafts supplies …

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… and storage bins that all seemed to be fairly popular with shoppers.

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Storage was a huge product theme throughout the store. There seemed to be some sort of storage bin wherever I turned. These bins lined the back of the store …

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… these thinner bins flanked one of the aisles …

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… and there was an entire wall of mesh storage bags in the middle of the store.

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Speaking of reusable bags, the store carried a variety of canvas bag options with different sayings on them. This bag bearing the phrase “Bring The Sunset” cost $US3.50.

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There were more on hooks near the register.

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In addition to bags, Daiso also had tons of buckets and waste baskets for sale. You could find some better suited to be indoors and decorate a room …

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… or some that work better outside with gardening supplies. An entire section was dedicated to gardening pots.

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And on the other side were accessories for growing and taking care of smaller plants.

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There were shelves of fake plants, too. But these were in one of the home and crafts sections.

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Walking through the aisle, I passed picture frames …

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… Daiso-branded candles …

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… Daiso-branded potpourri …

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… and a selection of piggy banks.

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Crafting supplies were located near the stationery and gift-wrapping section. There were the iconic ribbon bows that are known for topping presents …

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… colourful pens, markers, and clay molds …

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… crafting kits …

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… and stationery. There was certainly a wide variety of notebooks and pads to choose from.

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The store also had matching sets of paper and cards for anyone who wanted to put together a stationery kit themselves.

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The stationery was appropriately placed with the school supplies, which included three-ring binders for $US1.99 …

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… and carrying cases for posters or art projects on sale for $US4.50 — one of the more expensive items in the store.

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There were also dry-erase markers, white boards, and magnets shaped like pieces of sushi around the corner at the head of another aisle.

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There were rows of little trinkets like yo-yos, keychains, and marbles.

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Other games included hand-held puzzles and toys designed to make you think a bit.

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The main toy section was positioned next to the electrical section. So that means rubber ducks were hanging next to wire covers.

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And at the head of the aisle was a selection of over-ear headphones and rolled-up exercise mats.

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Making my way down the aisle, I walked past some toy swords hanging on the wall.

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There was another selection of toys one aisle down and closer to the front door.

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There were also plenty of toys for pets. There’s a hanging wall filled with toy balls for tossing …

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… and mice that squeak when they’re squeezed.

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There were also little soccer jerseys for dogs that cheer on team Japan.

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There’s also clothing options for humans.

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Socks and stockings hung next to neck ties and bandanas.

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Shoppers can also pick up men’s and women’s underwear.

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There were also accessories like the gloves seen here — both for working and keeping warm — …

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… and reading glasses at a variety of strengths.

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Closer to the line for checkout was a whole aisle of dishes. There were plastic plates with sayings on them, like this one for $US3.50 …

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… and drinking glasses for $US1.99 each.

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Other home goods I found were plungers …

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… clothes hangers …

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… gardening tools to keep birds off of ledges …

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… window decals …

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… sponges that can be cut to any size you want …

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… and tools to make the dreaded process of doing laundry a little easier.

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Much like any drug store, candy and snacks line many of the aisles at Daiso.

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The main food aisle, though, is where shoppers were lining up to wait their turn to check out at the register.

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It was stocked with Japanese snacks, including potato chips in flavours like seaweed and salt …

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… hot chilli with seaweed …

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… and shrimp.

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There were plenty of cookies …

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… fruit chews …

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… and chocolates to choose from.

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There were also more savoury snacks on offer …

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… like dried squid …

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… and curry-flavored Cup Noodle.

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A selection of soft drinks sat at the end of the aisle right before you get to the register — it’s as if they know you already broke into that bag of chips you picked up and need something refreshing to wash them down.

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Pouches and cans of juice were on sale for $US1.

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And they even had some soda inside a refrigerated case if you wanted something that’s already cold.

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There were seven registers at the front of the store, but only four of them are permanent.

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An employee told me the other three registers were set up in anticipation of the rush of opening-week customers.

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It’s important to make sure you read the fine print. The return policy at Daiso is simple: no returns and no exchanges.

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I visited around lunchtime on a Tuesday, and the store was extremely crowded. It was difficult to move through aisles and take time looking at things on shelves.

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After walking through and seeing the wide selection of Japanese goodies on sale for around $US1, it wasn’t hard to figure out why so many people love this store.

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Source: Eater, Time Out

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