How do I get to Tamasakai Costco?
Here are basic directions to help you get to the Costco in
Tamasakai (Machida, Tokyo) by train
or car. By train -
The store is located about 10 minutes walk from the Tamasakai
Station on the Sagamihara Line. Here are two ways to come
by train. Option #1 - Take the JR Yokohama line
to Hashimoto Station, then take the Sagamihara Line to
Tamasakai (just one station away). When you get to
Hashimoto Station there are almost no English signs.
Turn left as you go out the turnstiles, then follow the signs
to the Keio Line (the Sagamihara Line is owned by Keio).
Buy a ticket at one of the green JR machines. If you
look closely they also say Keio. The ticket is 130 yen.
Go through the turnstile and take the escalator (not the
stairs) to the platform. Your train is to the left at the top
of the escalator. Option #2 - Take the Keio Line
(the one that runs all the way from Shinjuku) to Tama Center.
There are multiple trains that head in this direction -- make
sure that you get on one that will go all the way to Tama
Center. Not all of them do. Also, you will want to find a
train marked "Express" since this is a long ride. Assuming
that you are on an express train, then get off at Tama Center
Station, but do not exit the platform. You will need to change
to a "local" train that will stop at Tamasakai (an express
train will not stop at this station).
Walking From Tamasakai Station
- The store is about a 10 minute walk from the station. Tamasakai Station
is small, and there is only one main exit. As you come
out of the turnstiles turn left. You emerge into sort of
an underground space with an unattractive fountain in the
center. Take the first flight of
stairs up. At the top, go
straight ahead past the covered bike parking area.
You'll see a large store ahead called S.P.A. Members Club.
Turn right when you
reach the main road. After about 80 meters you'll pass
by a McDonald's. Keep going. After about 5 minutes you'll see
Costco, but it will take you another 5 minutes to reach the
store. By car - You
can reach the store by car via the Chuo or Tomei Expressways,
and using Machida Route 16. The store is actually a bit
difficult to find, because in Oyama (where the store is
located) streets are not well marked. Costco will be
placing signs on both the Chuo and Tomei expressways, along
with signs all around the vicinity of the store, to guide
drivers to the store. So if you can get to the area,
then follow the signs. The parking lot is inside the
building on the second and third floors. Good luck!
some "ordinary" deals just inside the door during a
visit (of course, the featured products may change).
How do I become a member? What if
I am already a member in the USA? What about adding
someone to my current membership?
If you are a member of any Costco,
then your membership card is good worldwide. However, if
you want to make a change, such as adding a family member who
lives here, then you will need to transfer your membership to
I think the cost has gone up to
4000 yen per year (plus tax) for business members.
Business members can start shopping at 10 am on weekdays (Gold
Star members have to wait until 11 am). To join as a
business member, bring a business card or business license to
offer as evidence that you own your own business, or that you
are a manager for a business (e.g., that you are purchasing
for a business). The cost for Gold Star members used to
be 4000 yen per year (plus tax), but that may have increased
slightly. Shopping for Gold Star members starts at 11 am
on weekdays and 10 am on weekends.
How does Costco in Japan compare with
Costco in the USA? What products will I find there? Etc.
You will find many of the same products here that are
available at any Costco in the USA, including signature
products like giant bottles of Prego, salsa, and olive oil.
Overall, about 60-70 percent of the products are the same
products that you would find in the USA, and the rest are from
Japan. The prices for imported goods are, of course,
higher than you would pay at a Costco in the USA. But the
prices are very cheap compared with most other stores in
What if I only speak English? Will
there be English speaking staff?
All the managers and most staff at Costco are (at least)
bilingual, so you can use English (even if you speak
Costco's typical book table has most of the same books
you'd find in a US store, and most are in English.
Parents of English speaking children will appreciate all
the children's books and other great things for kids.
way, the clothing area is just to the right of this
table (as usual), with the normal selection of
discounted shirts, pants, underwear, etc. The underwear
packs all warn customers that they are in US sizes. :)
The toy and seasonal sports
sections are also what you'd expect to find in a US
What is the future of Costco in Japan?
I believe Costco plans to keep adding one store each year in
Japan. As far as I know,
Costco still operates at a loss in Japan, with the
anticipation of future profitability as the chain grows.
Presumably, when Costco grows big enough here, they will be
able to cut out middle men more effectively and force their
suppliers to sell at lower prices (and finally recoup their
losses and then some).
Is there a phone number I can call for
Yes. See the right margin toward the top of this page
for phone numbers to reach the Costco stores in Japan. The phone will
probably be answered in Japanese, but someone there should be able to
speak with you in English if necessary.
Past Updates: The Construction of the
This website started tracking the
progress of the Machida Costco several months before the store
opened in September, 2002.
You can scroll down to read past entries and see pictures of
the building during construction.
September 3, 2002 - I started the basic information
section above, which I will keep updated over time.
2002 - Here are 2 more pictures of a flyer (indicating
September 7, 2002 as the official opening date) and a map.
I am also told there will possibly be a pre-opening for
Costco members, so you might want to keep that in mind.
Stores in Japan tend to open with a bang.
(click to view large version)
(click to view large version)
2002 - See the first pictures! These pictures were
provided by Mike Renfro, who lives just minutes from the new
Costco location at Tamasakai. As you can see, the
building is well under way, and it's going to be huge!
The banner (above) shows you
what the future Machida-Tokyo Costco will look like.
The store will open on September 1, 2002.
pictures below show the view down the left and right
sides of the building. Click each picture to see a
2002 - I received this by email from someone who lives
near the site and saw the building: "It's pretty darn
huge! For Japan it is really big! I have been to the one in
Makuhari. This one looks like the same size or bigger."
2002 - According to Richard Chavez,
who is in charge of Costco's Asia operations, Costco will
open a new store in the Tama area in September, 2002.
See his interview in
Business Week Magazine.
2001 - According to the
Housewares Export Council, the new store will cover
29,000 square feet of space and carry 4000 to 4500 items,
and Costco projects annual sales of 10 billion yen.
Future expansion plans include stores in cities such as
Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.
It will be in Tama (in
Machida, Tokyo) near the Tamasakai train station. It's
actually on a smaller line (the Sagamihara Line). It's
two stops from the Tama Center (Odakyu Tama Line) and one
stop from Hashimoto (at the end of the JR Yokohama Line).