19 Apr

Do you know IKEA?


IKEA is a chain of stores that look like warehouses and sell furniture, food, toys, and various other items for the home.
IKEA stores are all over the world now, but the company is Swedish (the store’s colors are the same as the Swedish flag).


In the 1970’s, IKEA opened stores in Japan but they weren’t successful in Japan and had to withdraw from the Japanese market in the 1980’s.
But, a few years ago, they decided to try their luck in Japan again…and they seem to be doing much better this time.

There are currently five IKEA stores in Japan.

I had never been inside an IKEA store until yesterday.
I remember, though, when they were building their first store in Japan a few years ago…because it was built on the spot that the “SSAWS Ski Dome” had been for so many years.

The SSAWS Ski Dome was the world’s biggest indoor downhill-skiing arena. It was called “SSAWS” because it offered snow skiing all year round, and the name was an acronym for “Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter Skiing”.

The outside of the "SSAWS Ski Dome".

The outside of the "SSAWS Ski Dome".

Inside the "SSAWS Ski Dome".

Inside the "SSAWS Ski Dome".

I used to see the giant, cool-looking SSAWS Ski Dome all the time and I always thought to myself that I was going to go in there and try it out one day. But that day never came because about five or six years ago, they closed down and it was torn down.

And then IKEA bought the land a few years ago and built their warehouse store. I had never heard of IKEA before then and I wondered what it was.
I was kinda disappointed when I found out. The world’s largest indoor ski-lift was there…and it was replaced with a giant furniture store! How disappointing!

But yesterday, my wife and I decided to look inside the IKEA store.

I had heard that many foreigners shop there because, mainly, they miss food from their home-country and IKEA sells imported food.
I did see many foreigners shopping there, so I guess it’s true.

But, for me personally, I’m more used to Japanese foods…so actually alot of the imported foods that I saw in IKEA looked odd to me.

We enjoyed looking around IKEA…but we didn’t buy anything.

IKEA Japan

IKEA Japan



15 Responses to “IKEA”

  1. tokyo5 August 29, 2009 at 1:35 am #

    I just added three photos I took of IKEA Japan to the end of this post.


  2. sixmats April 21, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

    I actually had a chance to go to that ski area in 1996. It was crowded, and not so great. You are not missing much.


    • tokyo5 April 22, 2009 at 12:24 am #

      I live in Tokyo. I’m used to crowds.

      It looked like it would’ve been fun! Better than a furniture store!


  3. bartman905 April 21, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    > Do you know IKEA?

    Yes. It is quite popular and Canada and we have bought some stuff (ie. bookshelf, lighting, household, etc.). The Ikea store layout in Tokyo is almost the same layout as our store in Toronto – I think this is standard worldwide.

    In Japan, we actually bought most of our furniture from the Ikea Funabashi store. As I said in another comment, Ikea furniture is cheap, but doesn’t last long – which works for us because we are only here for about 2 years or so.


    • tokyo5 April 22, 2009 at 12:22 am #

      >Ikea furniture is cheap, but doesn’t last long

      Usually Japanese people prefer to spend more for quality than save money on something that will need to be replaced soon.
      So, I wonder how well IKEA will succeed on their second try in Japan.


  4. lvironpigs April 21, 2009 at 12:25 pm #

    I have heard of IKEA, but I really have no experience with them myself in Pennsylvania.

    My region has a population of roughly a quarter million people so it’s not like I live in the hicks. My city is fourth largest in PA.


    • tokyo5 April 22, 2009 at 12:20 am #

      I never heard of IKEA until just a few years ago…and I live in the world’s largest city!


  5. Brenda April 20, 2009 at 9:02 pm #

    Wow! The biggest indoor slope in the world! So sad it closed! We have an indoor place not too far from the base, Sayama Ski Area. We’ve never been though, none of us ski.

    I’ve never been in an IKEA, but have been wanting to go. There aren’t any near us (well, near by American standards at least), but the travel agency on base does a trip to one about once a month. Maybe I’ll go with them.


    • tokyo5 April 20, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

      I don’t think IKEA‘s so special.
      There’s a shopping center on the U.S. military base, right? I suppose they sell similar items.

      (And you should try skiing. It’s fun! (I grew up in Florida…so I’ve only snow-skied twice so far. Both times in Japan)).


  6. Chris April 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    Ikea is quite nifty. I plan to buy myself a nice little bed from them next month if all goes well.


    • tokyo5 April 20, 2009 at 9:43 pm #

      Are there many IKEA stores in America? Are they popular?

      I had never heard of that store until the one was built here a few years ago (but, as I wrote, I never went inside until a couple days ago).


      • bartman905 April 21, 2009 at 5:20 pm #

        There are several Ikea stores in Canada and they are quite popular – I would guess, it is the same in the US.

        Tom Arrison describes it quite well as to the reason of their popularity. I would also add that most of the furniture is not very sturdy, or it doesn’t last long – you get what you pay for.


      • tokyo5 April 22, 2009 at 1:05 am #

        >they are quite popular

        When I lived in America, I never saw one of those stores.
        Were they in America less than 19 years?


  7. Tom Arrison April 20, 2009 at 7:26 am #

    Here in the States, the point is that it’s inexpensive, stylish-looking furniture. Putting it together yourself saves you more money, and they way it’s packed makes it possible to fit most pieces into an ordinary car.

    The cliche is the young, single guy/gal going to Ikea to furnish their first apartments out of college.

    Doesn’t seem to be the sort of thing that would go over well in Japan, so I’ll be interested to see how Ikea does on their second foray there.


    • tokyo5 April 20, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

      >Doesn’t seem to be the sort of thing that would go over well in Japan

      Actually, I think their simple designs will help their sales here…but their inconvenient store locations and the fact that almost everything there is “Made in China” will hurt their sales.

      So, we’ll see.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: