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Source: Gaijin Pot

If you come from a land where good cheese is just as common as good bread, you were probably at least somewhat disappointed to find out that just isn’t the case in Japan. I know I was.

Sure, you can find some cheese at your local supermarket, but it’s typically a small portion and expensive. Moreover, it’s almost always some kind of mozzarella blend. Or bland slices of tokeru (melty) cheese.

Just like when we asked with cereal—where is the good stuff? Shropshire blue, halloumi, real cheddar! If you’re always on the hunt like me, you’ve come to the right place because we will run through the best ways to get your hands on some real cheese here in Japan.

Supermarkets and chain stores

Photo: iStock/ Maroke
Don’t expect cheese wheels here.

The fancier the supermarket, the more luck you’ll get with foreign cheeses. Regular supermarkets like Maruetsu will have a small selection, whereas upmarket shops like York Benimaru (with shops from Ibaraki to Yamagata) will have a few more to choose from. Many have online stores for delivery throughout Japan, but their selection of cheese is usually larger on site.

You can even find good old British Wyke cheddar at some Niku no Hanamasa stores. Fellow Brits, rejoice!

However, prices and sizes can still vary between stores. While you can get a 200-gram block of Wyke mature cheddar for ¥398 from Niku no Hanamasa, a mini wheel of camembert at Seijo Ishii online will cost ¥755 plus postage for only 125 grams. So, be prepared to open the purse strings a little.

Your best bet for finding good cheese is with these stores: