Just because you’re living in Japan doesn’t mean you get to slack off on your primal lifestyle. This page is a work-in-progress of what I believe will become the definitive guide to primal shopping in Japan. A lot of these will be online sources (Amazon, Rakuten, etc) as stores tend to have a limited delivery range or prohibitive delivery costs for the casual shopper, and I have tried to denote so in such a case.
The Meat Guy – Most expats in Japan eventually discover this site. The prices are a little high but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better selection, including plenty of organic options.
Niku no Hanamasa – nationwide chain of “direct-to-the-public” warehouses, they tend to sell meat in quantities that foreigners are used to buying. Recently the prices have increased a bit but for your basic meat needs Hanamasa gets my seal of approval.
Coconut Oil – loved by all in Paleo/Primal crowd, this imported organic, cold-pressed Dr Bronner’s is the most palatable I have found. Alternatively, if you’re going to order some Olivado Macadamia Nut Oil at Natumart (see below) then you might want to combine your order with their Olivado Coconut Oil (also has a decent taste).
Macadamia Nut Oil – I generally get the two-pack of Olivado from Natumart as they throw in free shipping. They also have it on Amazon but it’s from Kitchen Garden so you can’t combine it to be shipped with the rest of your Amazon order.
MCT Oil – If “poor man’s MCT oil,” ie coconut oil, is not good enough for you then feel free to lash out and get the real deal. Ironically it’s cheaper to import it from the US than to use the local version (note: I haven’t tried the Japanese version, but the reviews on Amazon are overwhelmingly positive)
Kale – mainly found as “Aojiru” tonic in Japan, I’m yet to find the raw leaf sold in a supermarket or online. I’m not the biggest fan, mind you, and so haven’t spent much time seeking it out.
I had a lot of trouble finding decent pre-made spices and rubs like we have back home, and in fact this was one thing I ask people visiting me in Japan to bring (“just check the label to make sure there is no added sugar, no preservatives,…” etc). Otherwise I tended to mix my own.
Underground wet market below Ameyoko Center Building (アメ横センタービル地下) – decent range of spices used in non-Japanese Asian cuisine. Tokyo.
Protein Powder – don’t screw around with overseas orders, Don Quixote, etc. If you take protein then this is the only option you should consider.
For Bulletproof folks you can find MCT oil, coconut oil and butter under Fat above.
Kettle Bells – swing some iron between your legs. I got a 24kg to get me started, then waited for other weights to come up on Craig’s List/Metropolis.
Sunrise Clock – I actually bought the bigger version by the same maker that is no longer available and while it has served me well, had this portable model been available I would have much preferred it due to the fact that it’s lighter and powered by USB/battery (and therefore I have the option of taking it back with me some day. In Tokyo the sun is up from 4:30am in Summer, 6:30 in the Winter, and having the option to gently smooth that out a little really helps.
Vitamin D Supplements – for the Winter months, or any time you aren’t getting your 15 min/day of afternoon sun.
YNAB Budgeting Software – Helps you keep track of your spending. Nothing to do with Primal living. Highly recommended. Kakeibon is a Japanese-language budgeting app for those of you who prefer Mint.com (ie it automatically logs in to your accounts to download spending) but to be honest I think YNAB is a far superior product (not to mention Japanese Yen support on an English interface, $6 discount, etc).