How to Tokyo: Costco Kawasaki by Public Transit

ByJason Gatewood
Feb 11, 2013

How to Tokyo: Costco Kawasaki by Public Transit

Costco is one of America’s big warehouse shopping clubs where you pay an annual membership fee to be able to buy 24 rolls of toilet paper at a time or a 10 liter jug of olive oil. All the bulk buy jokes aside, Costco is a very convenient place to buy American goods not sold elsewhere in Japan as well, like cases of Dr. Pepper, dress shirts that have arm lengths that fit grown American men, or the laundry detergent that’s packaged by the load so you have the right amount. Seriously, that’s good stuff, and you should try it. And of course–the cheap hot dogs, pizza, and bottomless colas from the snack shop! Costco Japan has all this in spades.

But unless you have a car, it’s almost impossible to get there without some help. Unlike IKEA’s store in Yokohama, there’s no free shuttle to get you the last few miles from the train station. Sure, you could take a taxi, but your intrepid author likes to stretch his yen until it cries for its mama, so I’m going to show you how to get there on the BUS.

Things you’ll need:
Remember Costco doesn’t give you shopping bags–you’re lucky if they put smaller stuff in empty leftover boxes for you! American warehouse shopping is made for the automobile, so you’re gonna have to improvise a bit.

  • Used shopping bags — I keep these from other stores all the time for use as trash bags. Here’s another way to use ’em!
  • Eco-bag/”My bag” — these are actual reusable bags you buy made out of vinyl. Costco has these for sale at 100yen each, so just get one when you check out.
  • Big backpack — I usually use this as well. Remember, you’ll be on the train too, and stairs and turnstiles suck when carrying lots of stuff.
  • Handcart/dolly/roller suitcase — the veterans use these, and recently I bought too much for my backpack and eco-bag method to handle… Good thing Costco has these too, and they’re CHEAP!

OK, so now let’s head to the warehouse!
If you live around central Tokyo and Yokohama, then the Kawasaki location is the closest store. Just take whatever train you can get and head to Kawasaki station. It’s a major JR and Keikyu stop, so if you’re lucky, it can be reached with minimal fuss.

Once there, you’ll need to head to the main gates, exit the turnstile and make a right to get to the east gate bus terminal. At the bus terminal, things get really hairy because even if you know what number bus to take, the bus berths all have their own numbers that have NOTHING to do with the route departing from it. So I’ll give you a quick list. Please remember this list may change and you should do a quick check with the bus terminal’s information desk if you’re still unsure.

There are actually 4 different buses that leave from Kawasaki station and put you within a block of Costco Kawasaki. 川10, 川21, 川23, and 川40. The problem is that they leave in random order from completely different spots in the terminal.

My advice is to just head to bus stop #4 and catch the 川10. It has the most frequent departures and seems to go the straightest way. The others take a slightly serpentine route to get there. You’ll want to get off at the Rinkou Police Station stop. (臨港警察署) If you’re worried about missing it, just ask the driver in simple English “What stop is for Costco” and he/she will let you know; they’re quite used to it. Once off the bus, walk towards the intersection, and you’ll see a pedestrian bridge. Head up the stairs, over the bridge, down again, and walk past the firehouse to Costco next door.

Getting back is the reverse of this process; the bus stop you want is opposite the one you got off at.

So that should have you sorted for your Costco trip. If you’ve bought more than you can handle, you can arrange home delivery via Yamato Takkyubin at the customer service desk. Happy shopping!

Here’s an alternative method for those of you with a smartphone. Just click this link and a Google Map will open up with the latest buses from Kawasaki station to Costco.


About the author

Jason Gatewood editor

Our Tokyo based collaborator is a tech nerd, Japanophile, train nut, and a veritable fountain of information on Japan. His current goal is to watch Evangelion and actually "get it", sing every permutation of "Hotel California" at any karaoke gathering, ride every bullet train line, and sample all varieties of ramen throughout Japan. Catch more of his musings at ·