June 07, 2003

Costco Haul

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It's not much, but then I shop here quite often. A couple pillows (why is it so hard to find pillows in Japan that aren't tiny and don't have the bean-bag stuff on one or both sides?), lemons, a juicer (works pretty well, tried it last night), some peppers, and that's a chicken bake in the wrapper.

In case you hadn't known, Costco opened its third branch in Japan in western Tokyo last year. This is after their first store in Fukuoka and their second in Makuhari, Chiba (#4 is slated for Osaka, then #5 in Saitama, by the way). The west Tokyo branch is located in Tama-Sakai, one station east of Hashimoto on the Keio-Sagamihara line. From Shinjuku or any other station on the Keio line, go to Chofu and transfer to a Hashimoto-bound train (one that stops at every station, or take the express to Hashimoto and double back). If you're north, west or south of there, you can take the Sagami or Yokohama lines into Hashimoto and hop the one station to Tama-Sakai.

At Tama-Sakai, it's a 15-minute walk to the Costco; directions, though straightforward, are a bit hard to describe, but if you ask someone local they're pretty sure to know the way. Most people drive there, and there's a lot of parking. If you buy too much or want to buy something you know you can't carry, don't worry--there's a takkyubin desk in-store behind the registers, and they will deliver almost anything you buy there, except maybe the really big items (like the jacuzzi, for instance).

Also, bring a backpack and/or bags--they don't give you anything but spare boxes to carry stuff away, they presume you'll bring your own. Not the most upscale of shopping experiences, but where else in Japan can you buy stuff like Polish sausages, 4-cheese ravioli, real bagels, or an assortment of other stuff including clothes, electronics, toiletries, vitamins, liquor, meat fruit and vegetables, clothes, books, DVDs, power tools, soaps and detergents, so forth and so on.

Not to mention they have a big food court that sells pizza, chicken bakes (try one), churros, and other stuff, with free-refill drinks.

And it's all cheap, cheap I tells ya!

Posted by Luis at June 7, 2003 10:02 AM

you wrote:
> then #5 in Saitama, by the way

geez, i wonder if there's any way I can keep my wife from hearing about this (:

Posted by: Kurt at June 9, 2003 03:24 PM

Sorry, Kurt, you're doomed.

A little note: despite the claim I heard that Costco wants to open 50 branches in Japan over the next 10 years, they seem, for now, to be taking it slow, more at the pace of one every year or two.

Also, there's no telling where in Saitama it's gonna be. The "Tokyo" store is way off in south-western Tokyo, practically in Kanagawa. The Saitama branch may also be out in the boonies, way out west or north somewheres....

Posted by: Luis at June 9, 2003 04:09 PM

Do you know if they sell Black Black at Costco in Tokyo? I need to buy large quantities the next time i go to Tokyo for my addicted friends here in the states.

Posted by: mkellner at July 8, 2003 09:14 AM

I heard that Costco wants to open 50 branches in Japan over the next 10 years too.. I bet it is true!

Posted by: juicers at August 31, 2003 03:45 PM

I have heard rumours of a Costco opening in Yakosca January 2003. Has anyone else heard this rumour?

Posted by: lola at September 30, 2003 11:47 AM

We are moving to Tokyo this summer and are wondering about the availability of tortillas (especially fresh ones but...). Mexican food is a staple in our diet. Do the costco's carry them (one will be close to where we live)?

Posted by: Brian at January 31, 2004 11:23 PM

Brian: The answer is a conditional "yes." At the Costco where I shop (Tama Sakai, next to Tokyo), they usually (but not always) have Romero's Large Burrito Size FlourTortillas on sale, frozen, in 2-packs.

It is conditional because I have noted they are absent at times (though rarely), and you did not say which Costco you will live near--different shops may not carry identical stock.

The supermarket near where I live carries a fair variety of Mexican food items, from taco shells to salsa to taco seasoning mix and so on--but again, that is a local thing and they are not found in every supermarket.

Hope that helps! Please come back and comment on where and when you'll be in Japan.

Posted by: Luis at February 1, 2004 12:53 AM

Thanks (muchos gracious)! We are much reassured -- my children can again sleep at night knowing our salsa and tortilla heavy diet won't have to be sacrificed along their pets and friends (ok -not LITERALLY sacrificed but...). We are moving to Higashi Kurume, 30 minutes from Ikebukuro, which is on the northwest side of downtown Tokyo to teach at the Christian Academy in Japan. Not to say we are fanatical about Mexican/Southwest cooking, but if there are good and affordable tortillas in Tokyo we will find them (salsa can be easilly made from diverse ingredients, but tortilla making is incredibly labor intensive).

Posted by: Brian at February 1, 2004 01:31 AM

Good to hear that everyone will be happy. However, Costco may not be your best bet. From Higashi-Kurume, it would be a very arduous train ride, much too far to do with any frequency would be a bit much. The train ride would be an hour and a half each way (not counting door-to-station), with at least three transfers along the way, and quite a bit of walking. It costs about $8 per adult each way, too. If you will have a car, that would be much better, but not many people have that.

Not all hope is lost, though. I would also alert you to the Foreign Buyer's Club (http://www.fbcusa.com/), which might serve your needs better. They are a bit more expensive, and sometimes shipping times can be long, but they have a very large selection and they ship to your door. You pay a yearly membership fee, and then any shipment--no matter how large or small--costs about $10. Check out their web site to see what I mean. You can download a complete catalog from them there.

Posted by: Luis at February 1, 2004 01:44 AM

Again thank you. We were told Costco was close -- I guess "close" is relative. We also heard about the buyer's club, we'll check it out.

Posted by: Brian at February 1, 2004 02:18 AM

Thread from Yahoo Groups "Living In Yokohama"

> Has anyone heard anything more about
> the Costco that was supposed to
> open near Yokohama this summer?

I don't know anything new about the opening date (Summer/Fall 2004 I originally heard), but I have found out the precise location. It will be near Namiki-Chuo on the Seaside Line. This line runs from JR Negishi Line/Seaside Line Shin-Sugita Station and Seaside Line/Keikyu LineHanazawa-Hakkei Stations. To the east-southeast of Namiki Chuo Station, there is/was a "Tokyo Gas Ground" It appears on my map to have been a baseball stadium. It is about 300 meters south, and then 300 meters east of Namiki Chuo Station -- very "trainable-walkable" :-)

A Google search for
costco yokohama "namiki-chuo"
returns nothing -- as does
costco yokohama "namiki chuo"
costco yokohama namiki
returns several hundred hits as Namiki is a Japanese retailer/business of
some sorts that appears on many pages along with CostCo.

Someone might call the currently existing CostCo stores, Costco Makuhari, Chiba, 043-213-4111 or Costco Tamasakai, Machida, Tokyo, 042-798-6001 and ask them about the details of the new store and post the results back to this list.


JapanTimes job listing http://job.japantimes.com/corpinfo_e.php?ccd=00405
" . . . and a new warehouse will be open at Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama this fall.

http://www.globalcompassion.com/costcojapan.htm CostCo fan in Japan
http://www.blogd.com/archives/000093.html another fan site

http://www.fbcusa.com/ Foreign Buyers' Club - food delievered to your door
http://www.theflyingpig.com/ CostCo goods delievered to your door

Greg Conquest

Posted by: Greg Conquest at June 13, 2004 10:05 PM

Yeah, I've been hearing the Yokohama thing for a while now as well. Some guy at Costco recently told me where the one after that would go, but I forget where he said.

When Costco arrived in Tama/Machida, they said the plan was to open 50 branches in Japan in ten years. And though they have been doing very good business, their pace is far behind that claim--and yet, the people there are now saying that the plan is for many more than 50 stores.

So let's wait and see. But I would take it as a given that any Costco opening up will be in an out-of-the-way location, accessible primarily by car--that's how they've been so far....

Posted by: Luis at June 13, 2004 10:42 PM

I've just arrived in Japan a couple of months ago and am pining for wax strips in an audaciously girlie sm fashion(being as sideburns went out of fashion many decades ago). I'm living not particularly close to the Fukuoka branch with minimal opportunity to visit in the needy term.My questions are:
1) Do costcos carry this item which is so offense to the nation's sense of propriety and
2) is there any way to order it on-line?
Can you help me Guru?!

Posted by: Liz at July 28, 2004 02:14 PM