Feel Italian Atmosphere in Nakano「Big Smile Store」

This article was written by students as a part of their course activity.


Hello!  We are “team HYGGE” from the Sato Seminar, the School of Global Japanese studies, Meiji University in Nakano.  In this article, we will introduce a newly opened store named “Big Smile Store” in Nakano!

Fall in love with monochrome signboard

Straight from the North exit of JR Nakano Station, go through “Nakano Broadway”, you will find “Yakushi Ai Road” ahead.  The Road is one of the famous shopping districts in Nakano.

When you walk straight for a few minutes, you will find a chic shop with a monochrome signboard of “Big Smile Store” on your right side.  The signboard got our attention so much while walking the area, so we decided to look inside. You can see the stylish interior from the outside of the shop. 


Entrance of the shop

The Big Smile Store was opened in May 2021.  Mr. Taishi Sato, a store manager told us a lot about the shop and the products.

Italy’s Open-air Market !?

In addition to the Nakano Arai store, there are other affiliated stores in Nishiogikubo and Kugayama. It was originally an Italian restaurant in Nishiogikubo.  But, due to the effects of the new coronavirus, the owner thought it would be risky to continue the restaurant, so he decided to open a new retail store in Nakano Arai.

The concept of the store is based on “the food store of an Italian restaurant”, and it offers many foods and items that cannot be bought in supermarkets or convenience stores. Perhaps because it is located near a residential area, it is visited by customers of all ages.

You will definitely be captivated by their quality!

In the refrigerated case near the cash register, there are some delicious-looking Italian dishes. The food is made by chefs in the former Italian restaurant in Nishiogikubo, so there is no doubt about the taste. The most popular item is the lasagna. It was so popular that it had already sold out when we visited the store.

Tripe and other stewed dishes that are rarely cooked at home in Japan are also very popular among housewives. It looked so delicious that we were getting hungry!  What surprised us was the price.  The manager told us that he tried to keep the price as low as possible. Despite the reasonable price, we could see from the appearance that the quality was not cheap at all!


Authentic Italian dishes

In the refrigerated case on the left-hand side, there are stylish desserts. Tiramisu and pistachio pudding are popular among female college students because of their cute appearance and delicious taste.

Various kinds of unique products

 In this store, you can buy not only Italian daily dishes and desserts but also many kinds of items that are suitable for gifts, such as for mother’s day, father’s day, or midsummer gifts (ochugen). 

We pick up three recommendations from the shop!

The first recommendation is the ginger syrup that is directly delivered from Okayama.  The spicy taste of ginger gives an accent to the syrup. With soda, you can enjoy authentic ginger ale. 


Ginger syrup

 The next recommendation is olive oil. There are many kinds of olive oil bottles at the store. In particular, the picture below shows the one we rarely find in Japan. As it is very thick, this olive oil has a sharp taste! 


Olive oil

In addition, natural wines are one of the main goods of this shop.  Among various kinds of wines in the shop, their unique colorfully designed labels attracts our attention so much. Since most of these wines do not contain antioxidants, you can enjoy their gentle flavor.  Mr. Sato says he does hope to enjoy these natural wines among other wines.  As each producer attached lovely labels, the wines are suitable for a special gift! 

Wines with unique labels

A store full of smiling customers

Basically, most of the items are imported directly from importers and cheese and vegetables are ordered directly from the producers.   The manager said that he would like to develop the stores’ original products in the future, so let’s look forward to it!!

In addition to selling foods and products, there is a small outside eating space where you can enjoy the foods you bought at the shop. Cutlery are available to borrow, so you don’t have to worry.  Currently, there are some rules to prevent new coronavirus such as setting a time limit. Of course, you are welcome to take home any leftovers. 


Table in front of the shop(Due to the effects of the coronavirus, it is not currently in place)

Mr. Sato said that he would like people to experience a variety of foods in Nakano. Currently, it has become more difficult to dine out or go abroad due to the COVID-19.   However, the foods can give people a feeling of being abroad or dining out at home. Please visit the Big Smile Store, which is filled with passion of the owner!


Big Smile Store 
Address : 1-15-2, Arai, Nakano-ku
Phone number, FAX :  03-5942-7227 
Opening hour : 11:00-21:00
No regular holiday