The first IKEA Touchpoint Store Opens in Kumamoto!

  • KUMAMOTO
  • SHOPPING
  • The Japanese love global phenomena just as much as any other nation. Over the past few years, IKEA has increased in popularity across the archipelago. Starting in Tokyo in 2007, and opening more mega stores in Kobe, Osaka, Miyagi, Fukuoka, etc.

    Finally, the Swedish giant has decided to Bless Kumamoto with their presence! They opened the first Touchpoint store of the company, and to also test the market for smaller stores in other areas and countries. Similar plans are underway for Canada as well.

    Features

    ikea-touchpoint

    There are a few room displays in the store, to show you an example bedroom, living room, etc. Some items such as chairs and flat pack furniture can be purchased directly. A small kids play area is in the middle of the store.

    There is also a snack bar, and small food section. And by small, I mean small. I saw two jam options, 3 chocolate selections, and one potato chip option. Oh, and there was also Coca-Cola. So Swedish!

    System

    cafe-ikea

    You can order items you want from the larger IKEA in-store, but you need the item number from the catalogue, website, or app. There are computers for research in store, as well as catalogues, and staff will assist you.
    Orders can contain up to 20 items, but must be less than 150 KGs, and there is a 500 yen order charge. Delivery time depends on the order itself and the season. I tried to wrangle more detailed limits and exceptions out of the staff, but no go. Busy day at IKEA!
    Items bought in-store don’t need an order charge, so grab, pay and go. If you find something you want out of the available 100 or so items.

    As for cafe food, including packaged food, you have to prepay using the vending machine in the area.
    They also deliver in Kumamoto, with rates varying depending on area.

    Overall Impression
    Pros:
    • No more highway to Fukuoka just for a decent pizza cutter!
    • No more lugging a car full of junk home from Fukuoka.
    • Pretty sign outside.

    That’s it.
    Oh, wait, there was one other thing. There were pretty signs inside too!

    Cons:

    Sadly, this list is incredibly longer.

    • In the end, it was rather like opening a Christmas present. You are excited, and rip off the paper. After screaming with delight upon seeing a box labeled ‘iPad’ you open it to find an actual eye pad. You know, the ones you use for eye injuries.
    • The food section was small, with overly complicated payment procedures.
    • The children area is smack dab in the middle of the store, but with very few children friendly direct purchase options, so the little monsters are running wild.
    • Very few items available for direct purchase.
    • Overwhelmed staff, who had difficulty explaining the concept.
    • Parking was nuts. Small. Filled with cranky parking staff. I went an hour before closing and was directed to the second parking lot, and still waited 20 minutes for a spot.
    • The worst? The atrocious, utterly unfathomable washroom. It is outside of the store, unisex, and forces you to pee in the urinal, while women and children shuffle behind you in the narrow isle.
    Access

    IKEA_KumamotoMap_1006

    The store is located close to the Kumamoto entrance of the Kyushu Expressway. It is easily accessible by car or bus. Just copy paste the following address into your navigation or phone: 〒861-8035 熊本県熊本市東区御領8-4-83
    The store is open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
    Parking is available, but is shared with other shops and restaurants in the complex.
    Unlike the main IKEA website, which can be switched to English, the Kumamoto store has no such option. The website is quite simple, explaining the concept and style of the store.

    In the end, treat it like a take out pizza shop. Order want you want, pick it up, get out. Don’t get excited over going for the actual IKEA experience, you will still need to go to a real IKEA for that.

    Website

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