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Members only warehouse for foreign produce and bulk buying savings
Price: 1000 yen
The Iruma branch of this American wholesalers is always busy and often packed, but if you can visit weekdays you can avoid queuing to get a parking spot. On weekends it is not unusual for there to be a long tail back on the highway exit due to people waiting to get into Costco, especially during holidays and / or around seasonal celebrations particularly Christmas. No matter how packed the parking is, the tills operate quite efficiently. The majority of the staff are English speakers; either native or fluent.
Not everything in Costco is cheap or reasonably priced, but the selection of bargains makes the annual membership fee worth the investment. Buying in bulk certainly has its advantages, but its not always cost savings. I had the interesting experience to shop there with a pricing expert and discover that quite a lot of their goods, particularly Japanese goods, are actually the same price and sometimes even more expensive than in local shops. On the otherhand, there is a good selection of foreign produce that is considerably cheaper than in Japanese supermarkets. The other attraction of Costco is the wide range and selection of foreign produce they sell, particularly seasonal goods. Right now, they already have their Halloween produce in for 2016. It has been in the shops since mid August. They have Halloween costumes as well as Halloween decorations and Trick-or-Treat goods.
Costco in Iruma is open from 10 am to 8 pm seven days a week. They have extended hours around Christmas and New Years. The Costco parking is free, but often crowded. You can park in the Mitsui Outlet car parks next door, but that parking is charged by the hour. If you purchase something in the Mitsui Outlets they will validate your parking, but purchases in Costco do not count. Costco Iruma is very close to the Ken-o Expressway Iruma exit. There are wheelchair accessible parking spots and entrances and I have seen one wheelchair user friendly shopping trolley in use. You can see Mt Fuji from the rooftop parking of this branch.