Monday, December 01, 2008

How to save money when you set up house in Japan

Photo: Ikea store in Japan

When you come and live in Japan you will need to get some gear to set up your room or apartment. Ikea is the the best choice for western style products in Japan, beds that accommodate western size bodies, dish racks, sheets, fold up futon beds, towels, cups, bowls, plates,etc. The first thing to do is to find your nearest store, visit the Ikea Japan website and click on store location. Each store has different offerings and specials that they change regularly. Then check the online catalogue (Japanese) and browse the items you need that meet your budget.

Then using Jorudan train software plan your visit. Start by putting in your nearest station and then enter the train station nearest to the Ikea store, pick the day you want to visit and the time you want to arrive or depart. Ikea in Japan gets amazingly crowded particularly on weekends and public holidays, avoid visiting at these times. Our best advice, is to arrive early so that you really enjoy your visit, arrive just as the store opens and leave before lunchtime.

You want to first register with the store as a member of Ikea Family (in Japanese)a discount card that has a number of benefits including 1. Free seminars (in Japanese) , 2. special price discounts, 3. a free magazine four times a year in Japanese, 4. If you buy something or order food you can get a free drink (conditions apply) and 5. You can get a free email magazine in Japanese.

Photo: Ikea Family brochure (2008)

When you get inside the store look for the brochure Ikea Family in Japanese it is at a small booth as you walk in. Take a brochure see picture of brochure below. Step one take out your gaijin card and copy your details from your card to the application form. Here is a quick guide on how to fill in the brochure for Ikea Family, Line 1 of the application form write your name in katakana (family name followed by first name). Line 2 put in your address starting with your postcode. Line 3 add the name of your prefecture, city, town name and street address. Line 4 add your apartment number. Line 5 add your date of birth (full year, month, and day, circle your sex (man or woman). If you need assistance to fill in the form ask the friendly staff. After you complete the form, remove the card attached and put it in your wallet and present it when you buy goods, food or items in store. Put the completed membership form in the drop box located close by and start shopping.

Suggested items to buy to make your time in Japan more comfortable

Things you can carry home on the train

Folding metal dish rack
Wooden soap holder
cups, glasses, plates

Things you need to get delivered

Folding futon frame (saves you having to put your futon out in the sun each day)

Things to try before you leave the store

Pastries & danishes
100 yen hotdog

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Learn more about cheap travel in Japan at Motorcycle Japan