Dollar stores are plentiful in Metro Vancouver and most of them sell the same mix of bargain knick-knacks and shiny plastic trinkets. But not every discount deal shop is the same-especially if you head to the biggest Canadian branch of Japan’s most famous dollar-store-like chain.
Oomomo (formerly known as Daiso) opened its huge, bi-level store in Richmond’s Aberdeen Centre in 2003. It’s since become a staple for in-the-know locals as well as curious visitors looking for a unique shopping experience—and a chance to buy unusual items without spending too much money. Most of the items here are priced at just a couple of dollars or a little more.
From Japanese candies to colourful ceramics and from canned coffee to cutely-patterned chopsticks, we recently explored the aisles at Oomomo, creating our very own list of top 10 items to buy. Read on for our recommendations or, better yet, hop on the Canada Line to Aberdeen Station and check it out for yourself.
SNACKS & CANDIES
There’s a vast array of intriguing, sometimes puzzling treats to discover at Oomomo, including lots of options for adventurous snack fans. Consider the Pringle-style tube chips, ripple chips in flavours such as cheese and pizza, and countless colourful boxes of Pocky candy sticks in varieties such as almond crush and green tea chocolate. Make sure you add some lip-puckering sour jelly candies to your basket as well as a few bars of Kit Kats in various exotic flavours.
There are plenty of Pocky treats to dive into at Ooomo. Photo credi: John Lee
STICKERS & STATIONERY
Some Oomomo visitors come just to salivate over the stationery aisles that are filled with cool pens, erasers, journals, and craft paper. But there’s also a sparkling array of stickers that shoppers of all ages love to pore over: sheets lined with tiny renditions of flowers, hedgehogs, teapots, and shinkansen (bullet trains). Our favourites? There are always stickers here depicting cats in various stages of cuteness – the perfect gift for any feline fans you happen to know.
A great place to find unique stocking stuffers (it’s never too early shop for Christmas), take some time to peruse the downstairs toy aisles here. You’ll often find intriguing transformer robots, huge-eyed furry critters and unusual model cars, trains and airplanes. Keep in mind that the selection changes frequently so if you suddenly spot that neon-pink dinosaur-shaped water pistol you’ve always wanted, snap it up immediately.
The toy department is well worth a look. Photo credit: John Lee
The Second-floor pottery and ceramics section at Oomomo is always busy, and it’s well worth taking your time to peruse everything on the shelves. Reflecting Japan’s rich craft heritage, there’s an enticing array of decorated and patterned bowls, plates, and tempting little teapots to peruse. For just a few bucks, you can collect your own set of sake tumblers or gather a six-serving array of charming fish-motif rice bowls. We particularly loved the little cat-shaped soy sauce jugs with matching toothpick holders (also available in owl form).
Pottery and ceramics are popular at Oomomo. Photo credit: John Lee
CHOPSTICKS AND MORE
Looking for a unique gift? Why not create your own chopstick kit? There’s an almost bewildering array of lacquered wooden chopsticks to choose from here (motifs include blossoms, monkeys, and rainbows). Add a decorated chopstick carry box plus a ceramic chopstick rest (we love the ones etched with foliage patterns) and perhaps a colourful pottery rice bowl. Oomomo also sells colourful gift boxes if you want to make your pressie look especially attractive.
For many shoppers, the most intriguing products here are those reflecting historic and contemporary Japanese culture. Exploring the aisles, you might come across kitchen sponges shaped like sumo wrestlers; noodle bowls with Mount Fuji motifs; sake tumblers depicting kimono-wearing characters; or coin banks shaped like trains. If you’re looking for unique, culturally specific gifts (or you want to pretend you’ve just vacationed in Japan), you’ll find plenty of options here.
Culturally-specific Japanese items are easy to find here. Photo credit: John Lee
If you’ve ever visited Tokyo, you’ll have noticed the ubiquitous sidewalk vending machines dispensing small cans of coffee. You can explore this java-based beverage scene at Oomomo where dozens of varieties line the shelves, complete with intriguing names such as Black Fire and Boss Café au Lait. Why not pick up a few and have your own at-home taste test? Not a java fan? There are lots of additional exotic canned drinks to explore here, including sports sodas and fruity, non-alcoholic sangrias.
There are lots of varieties of canned coffee to sample. Photo credit: John Lee
Oomomo is an excellent spot to pick-up value-priced craft supplies for that new hobby you’ve always planned to try. Kick-off your creative side by filling you basket with buttons, origami paper, paintable masks, tubes of paint, coloured pencils or carving tools. There’s also a good selection of kid-friendly craft kits – we spotted make-your-own wooden animal sets and a mould-and-paint race car fridge magnet kit.
Slip-on slippers are commonplace in Japan where everyone has them at home and they’re also deployed in restaurants and other businesses where outdoor footwear is left at the door. Oomomo has good selection to choose from (mostly priced well-under $10 per pair) and patterns range from plaid to coloured corduroy and from rabbits to Micky Mouse. Some even come with traditional bamboo insoles. Nearby, there are also racks of socks to peruse, including some Japanese-style toe socks
Slip on some slippers at Oomomo. Photo credit : John Lee
There’s a full array of handy items to enhance your next trip here. Eye masks and travel pillows are top sellers at Oomomo, but you’ll also find earplugs, packable ponchos, foldable cups, and even a collapsible mini toothbrush that clips into its own rinse cup holder. We especially liked the huge selection of different-sized mesh bags for dividing your suitcase into well-organized sections. You can even mail your postcards home from here – the store has a Canada Post outlet on its upper floor.
IF YOU GO:
Oomomo is in Richmond’s Aberdeen Centre (4151 Hazelbridge Way) and is open daily from 9:30am to 8:00pm. The Canada Line’s Aberdeen Station is right outside the mall and just a few minutes’ walk from the store.
Last Updated on November 5, 2022 by Tourism Richmond