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The expiration date on food products in Japan

Post: Monday March 6, 2017

In Japan, the expiration date and consumption date are determined based on JAS Law and Food Sanitation Law.

Have you ever wondered where the expiration date on food products are in Japan?
Here we explain what the dates indicate on packages.

There are usually 2 different types of dates to look out for or just one of the two dates below. We recommend that you read the name of the two different dates in kanji very carefully.

Young couple shopping in a supermarket

1. Shoumikigen – Best before date


Shomikigen is a period which you can eat deliciously if you preserve it in the prescribed way.
It can still be consumed after the date.
Shomikigen is used for foods which are difficult in reducing quality such as snacks, cup noodle, frozen food, etc.


Milk in Japanese Super markets Expiration date: March 9th, 2017

1 2

Ready-made food pack Expiration date : January 5th, 2018

oreo1 oreo2

Sweets, snacks  Expiration date : November, 2018

2. Shouhikigen – Expiry / Consume by date


This date is used for food that are easy to spoil.
This is common for Obentos (lunch box style ready-made food), side dishes sold in super markets, some sweets, fishes, fresh meat.

Most products are told to be consumed within 5 days. The expiry dates on raw items such as sashimi (especially discounted items) are often set on that day.



Please refer to the article below for seafood labels in Japan.
>> Pick the right fish for your dish - How to read seafood labels in Japan

If you are a foreigner in Japan and have food allergies, be sure to read our guide to Japanese food labels and what to do if you have an allergic reaction.

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This entry was posted in Living Information


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