By Donnie | Articles

Never Fear! Costco is Here! (Shim, Misato)

Getting just a little slice of home can be a wonderful wonderful thing. Whenever I see a big name franchise that I was familiar with back home, it makes me feel (just for a moment) that I’m not a world away from America. Today, I went to Shim Misato and had a chance to Costco (pronounced kah-suh-toh-koh in Japanese). I wanted to see just how similar or how different Costo Japan is different from Costcos in America.

COSTO Japan vs COSTO America: The Similarities


The same exact rules apply. Costco in Japan is also membership-based. In order to shop there you have to purchase a membership and show your membership card at the door. Another rule that I was happy about is that a member can take in up to two guests (that’s how I was able to go today). So if you have any friends with a membership card, it can be a good way to do some heavy-duty shopping.

Store Layout

Another similarity included store layout. Costco Shin Misato looks EXACTLY like the Costcos I’ve seen in Georgia. It’s that same, no-frills style. No fancy designs, just a simple warehouse stocked to brim with items. The funny thing was, that even some of the signs were in English. Look (I don’t recommend taking pictures inside of a COSTCO…trust me):

Some of the signs were even in English.

No frills, just like back home.


I was expecting that since this was Costco in another country and because Costco Japan imports American products that it was going to be expensive…ABSOLUTELY NOT! Costco Japan has the same great, big-bulk/low-price deals you can expect with Costco anywhere.

The Food Counter

Ah yes, I remember this one. This is probably why I don’t need to purchase a Costco membership. Costco in Japan has that same food counter on the way out of the store. The large pizza slices, the ice cream sundaes, the hot dogs, the smoothies, the soda. Cheap prices, overly-generous servings, tasty…DANGEROUS!

The Delectable....

The Highly Caloric...Costco Food Counter

The Costco Weekend Crowd

Yep, just like in the U.S., if it’s Saturday or Sunday and people have time, they go to Costco in droves. nDespite COSTCO being a really big warehouse, it was packed today. Just be ready for that if you go on the weekend.


COSTCO Japan vs. COSTCO America: The Differences

Honestly, I couldn’t see a whole lot of differences. From A to Z both stores are extremely similar. I might say the super-sized elevators that are big enough for people to go in with shopping carts, that was a difference. Or there was an electronic ramp to help people easily get to their cars with their items. Without mentioning obvious differences and sounding silly (one’s in Japan and the other’s in America), it seems like COSTCO is COSTCO if you’re in Japan, America, or Kathmandu (wait, do they even have a store in Kathmandu? Ahh…you get the point 🙂 )


Where is Costco in Japan?

The two major locations are located in Makuhari, Japan and in Shim Misato, Japan. The Makuhari store the larger of the two (that’s what I’ve heard, but I’m pretty sure they must be comparable in size).

How much is a Membership?

I thought you’d ask that question. There are two membership classes:
The Business Membership: ¥3675/year and the Gold Star Membership: ¥4200/year

I think it's well worth the price!

What times are they open?

Unless it’s a holiday, they are generally open from 10:00am to 8:00pm

Is It Close to the Station?

For both Shin Misato and Makuhari, Costco isn’t far from the station at all. If you’re on foot, you should be able to get to the warehouse in under 10 minutes.

What Kind of Products Do they Have There?

All kinds of stuff! Cookies, cheesecake, cashews, cheese, scones, cereal, protein, noni juice, soap, socks, shirts, coats, cherries, fish, tarts, pre-made meals, flowers, pizza by the slice, pizza by the pie, potato chips, spam, plants, Kleenex, ketchup, muffins, tents, croissants, trail mix, office supplies, computers, beds, glasses…A LOT!!

Costco Japan Website
The site has an English option.

Happy shopping!

Donald Ash

About the Author

  • Vivian says:

    just be careful not to drop too much cash

    the first time we went i went nuts…30,000in a shot


    and they dont take credit cards either. so bring enough…but not too much to tempt yourselves.

    yeah going on weekends is just asking for trouble. weekdays or super late just b4 closing on sat/sun

    we are in fact going this week! need to restock our freezer w/tons of chedda cheese and moreeeee

    nice entry, as always donald. btw, do people call you don? i think u prefer donald?

    take care

  • Jess says:

    Did they rough you up for taking pictures inside???

  • Donald Ash says:

    No, not at all, Mr. Dillard. When they approached me, I used the smoke-bomb technique you taught me…just vanished into thin air. Being a ninja is so much fun sometimes.

  • Kurt says:

    Funny, you have Costco in Japan and I don’t in Arkansas….oop, home of Wal-Mart aka Sam’s. Bugger.

    You need to get your pizza’s here; 1500 yen for a whole? Compared to Pizza Hut, what a deal!

  • gun says:

    just a word of advice dont instantly believe of there delivery service of purchased items from their store. Ask first before purchasing items from them.

  • Tony says:

    They do take credit cards, but only AMEX, and if your AMEX is from overseas and not a platinum, you’ll be paying a hefty FX fee of about 3%. If you have a Japan-based AMEX then there is no fee of course.

  • Kevin says:

    Is an American Costco membership card good in Japan? Do we have to buy another membership for Japan?

  • studiozuzi says:

    Be clever shoppers. Many of the items they have are far less at YAMAYA CAVE!!! Oils, Pasta, Sauces, Spice… When Costco first started in Japan many years ago..It was a BARGAIN. Then after it became totally popular…They gradually jacked up the prices. The only good deals at Costco Japan today are certain wines and liquor… The famous baked chicken, rugs, towels…sheets (sometimes)… The fake candles that look real… Other than that… YAMAYA is a better deal all around.

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