These photos reveal what it's like to shop at Costco in Japan

Cassiohabib / Shutterstock.comCostco has 749 stores in total.
  • The first Costco store opened in the US in 1976.
  • Since then, it has expanded to Europe, Australasia, and Asia.
  • We compared the experience of shopping in its stores in Japan versus the US.

A love of Costco transcends all geographical borders.

While America created the Costco phenomenon, its operations now extend far beyond the confines of this country and into Australasia, Europe, and Asia.

Costco opened its first Japan location in 1999 and since then has grown its presence to 26 stores, which span the breadth of the country.

The Japanese arm of the business is a wholly owned subsidiary of Costco US. While it stocks several US brands and Costco private-label products, there are some big differences between the experiences of shopping in both locations.

Find out how different the two stores are below:


From the outside, the warehouse-style layout of this Costco store in Tokoname, Japan, looks similar to Costco in the US.


One of the biggest bonuses about shopping in Costco Japan is that its stores are open seven days a week, 364 days a year. It closes on January 1. US stores, on the other hand, are closed for major national holidays. Inside, walls of bulk-sized products line the store …


… which is exactly what you might see in the US.

Cassiohabib / Shutterstock.com

The company’s signature Kirkland private-label products are instantly recognisable in shopping carts in Japan.

http://instagr.am/p/BgTcjasBiXZ


In fact, there seem to be lots of imported products.


In some parts of the store, the labelling is in English. In the background, a sign informs customers that the store sells USDA-approved beef from the US.


Just like in the US, there’s camping equipment on offer.


But the biggest differences creep in in the food section.


There is a ton of fresh-looking sushi on offer …


… as well as pre-made raw fish takeaway meals.


They even serve green tea matcha-flavored soft-serve ice cream.


There are lots of delicious-looking desserts, including this strawberry one.

・ ????コストコ☆18.1.27???? ・ 寒いので洗車する気になれず、 コストコへ買い出しへ???????????????? ・ なんですかコレは???? 昼❓おやつ❓から家族5人でつっつきました???? ・ ・ #コストコ #ストロベリートライフル #コスパ良し #e90crew #bmw #bimmer #bmwlove #bmwlife #bmwnation #bmwm3life #bmwfamily #m_bmw_style #bmwm_motor #bimmerowners #m3owners #3er #m3 #s65 #dort #studie #studieag #varis #hamann #laptorr #neez #apracing #photography #ファインダー越しのわたしの世界 #写真好きな人と繋がりたい @m3owners @e90fam @e90crew @_bmw.gang_ @bmwgram @bmwgasm @bmw_mpoweer @bmwm @bmw_club_official @bmwmlifestyle @bmwmgram @bmwblog @bmwm_insta

A post shared by Hiroyuki Ozaki (@ozaoza.e90m3) on


Some of the products are clearly Japanese.


For many US Costco customers, a trip to the store isn’t complete without dropping in at its food court, where you can pick up $US1.50 hot dogs.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

They also have a food court and serve hot dogs in Japan. It seems that red pepper sauce is a popular alternative to ketchup.

http://instagr.am/p/Bf5b3sogJSQ


The pizzas definitely look different in Japan …

Facebook/Michael Gozzard


… and you might end up spending as much as $US200 on its gourmet seafood.

Facebook/Michael Gozzard


In America, Costco charges $US60 annually for a basic membership and $US120 for an executive membership.


In Japan, it costs around $US36 a year to be a basic member (excluding tax), and $US41 to be a gold star member (excluding tax).

ファミリーになりました。

A post shared by Takahito Kurachi (@takahitokurachi) on

Source: Costco Japan

Costco Japan certainly lives up to its US counterpart and with a cheaper membership, longer opening hours, and amazing sushi, it might just be an even better place to shop.

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