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New Costco

July 20th, 2007

In preparation for our housewarming party tomorrow, I went to Costco early this afternoon. One of the down points about moving away from Inagi was leaving behind easy access to a Costco; the Tama-Sakai store was less than a 20-minute scooter ride away. And since Costco keeps prices low in part by setting up in way-out-of-the-way locales, that means that Ikebukuro is quite a distance away from any one of them. A cost of living centrally.

Now, just last week, a new Costco opened up in Kawasaki. Like other Costcos, it’s in a hard-to-get-to location, but it is the closest one to central Tokyo yet. It’s just across the southern border of Tokyo in Kawasaki City. The address is 3-1-4 Ikegami-Shinmachi, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa. You can Google-Map it here. It’s about a 1-km. walk (perhaps 20 min.) from the closest station, Sangyo Doro Station–and that station is not on a line directly to or from Tokyo. It’s on the Keikyu Daishi Line. The best way to get there from Tokyo is to go to Shinagawa Station and transfer to the Keikyu Main Line; go to Keikyu Kawasaki, and transfer to the Daishi Line.



Now, as the crow flies, the new Costco is just 23 km. from where I am now; the old Tama-Sakai store is 35 km. However, to get to the new Kawasaki store, I have to go through the heart of Tokyo, and that’s never easy. It took me an hour to get there, and an hour to get back, taking different routes each way. By train, it would be almost an hour on the trains alone; add 12 minutes from home to the station, and 20-25 min. from the station to Costco, and we’re talking an easy 90 minutes here.
To get to the old Costco from here would actually be more or less equivalent in terms of travel time. Maybe a bit longer by scooter, but almost identical travel times by train. This despite the Tama Sakai Costco being a lot farther out. Count on Costco to find even more and more inconvenient places to locate…


Now, if you own a car and you don’t mind paying tolls, then you’re in luck; the new Costco is right along an expressway; if I were to take that route, it would likely be a very short trip, certainly less than half an hour door-to-door.

However, if Costco is too far away, and you’re just looking for foodstuffs, you might want to try Niku no Hanamasa. Before now, I liked the shop, but was not too impressed. The reason: I only saw the Shinjuku-Kabukicho store, which does not have all that much great stuff. I simply assumed that they were all like that. But when I checked out the Ikebukuro store this week, I found out that this was not the case.



The Ikebukuro store beats the Kabukicho store all to hell. There is tons more in terms of selection, loads and loads of beef, but also generic but good foods of all types. They have very good wine for very cheap. Good dried fruits. Low-fat yogurt ice cream, which is pretty good. Some imported foods. And so forth and so on.


One surprising thing: their beef is cheaper than Costco’s. I got some Filet steaks from both places; the quality was about the same, but Costco charges ¥600 per 100g for American filets, while Hanamasa charges ¥400 per 100g for Aussie filets. The difference in taste is inconsequential enough to make Hanamasa far more desirable on that count.

Of course, Hanamasa doesn’t have all the great stuff you’ll find at Costco, even as far as food is concerned. But if you’re jonesing for some cheap food, especially meat, Niku no Hanamasa could be a good source for you. Find a store near you.

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  1. Stuart Gibson
    July 23rd, 2007 at 08:27 | #1

    By train I think it’s only about 45 minutes if you make sure to take the Rapid Limited Express on the Keikyu Main Line from Shinagawa to Kawasaki. That’s only 10 minutes vs. the train that makes every stop and takes 30. Although I suppose it could still get up to a 90 minute journey counting transfer times at stations :(.

  2. Luis
    July 23rd, 2007 at 09:13 | #2

    53 minutes was the fastest time I could get, trying many variations on starting times and routes. 53 minutes assumes not only taking the super express from Shinagawa to Keikyu Kawasaki (nonstop between the two), but also the Shonan Shinjuku express out of Ikebukuro to Osaki. No faster way than that, I think. And it still leaves 12 minutes to get to Ikebukuro from here, plus waiting time for the train, plus 20 minute’s walking time to the Costco from the last station. Altogether, that’s a minimum of one hour twenty minutes.

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