IKEA's Port Island store in Kobe is a massive 293,000-square feet.
From its size to the experience to the way you shop--you are no longer in Japan.
The staff is Japanese and Swedish, and hard to find. No "irrashaimase," no 5 women waiting on you in the necktie section, no excessive wrapping, and no inflated prices: IKEA's business model is, like its design, clean and spare.
The store sells beds, sofas, kitchen items, furniture, etc. In addition, there is a play area for children, a small Swedish super market, and a restaurant on the second floor.
After arriving on the shuttle bus from Sannomiya Station, you wander through the show rooms. Prices are so low you will begin to sense a powerful need for cutlery and glassware.
The smaller items you can place in the over sized shopping cart; larger items you must pick up in the warehouse next door. In the show rooms are small note pads and pencils on which you write down the product name and number. In the warehouse, you then pick them up. This often requires a massive dolly.
All of this "shopping" must be managed on your own. Not surprisingly, most of the shoppers were young couples.
The final step is checking out and then arranging shipping. Like its US stores, IKEA assumes that most of its customers will come by car. For those who take public transportation and the shuttle, it's home delivery, which is the only aspect of the experience that is priced to the local market.
Weekdays: 2 buses per hour. Weekends and public holidays: 3 buses per hour. It takes around 15-20 minutes to get to the store.
8 chome 7-1, Minatojima
Nakamachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe City
7 days a week: 10:00am-10:00pm
Closed on January 1st every year.
Småland: 7:30 PM yet closes when it's full
Restaurant (2F): 9:30 PM
Parking area: 9:30 PM
Showroom: 9:45 PM
Sweden Food Market: 10:00 PM
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Saturday, November 15, 2008