Last month, we introduced the plan to bring Costco to Hiroshima and now the pre-open registration for membership and the CostcoMasterCard is open, the massive Costco warehouse building is almost built (competes in size with Hiroshima’s baseball stadium next door), fans of the store are starting to clear their shelves in expectation- I may have even heard suggestions of a “Costco Grand Opening Party”! People getting very excited indeed. Here is some more information about membership, credit cards and other details.
Sign-up for a Costco Members Card
Although it is possible to sign up at any Costco location in Japan (with proof of Hiroshima residence) to get the pre-opening discount, there is also a temporary office set up to register new members. This office is located just a few blocks from the Shinkansen exit of Hiroshima station, heading toward Aeon Mall Fuchu, opposite 7-11 and next to Family Mart.
There are over 20 staff manning computers to help you pre-register quickly and easily (they have a few staff who speak English fluently too). For individuals or family membership, sign-up as “kojin” 公人 to get the regular (Gold Star member). You can get an extra card for another family member aged 18 or older at the same residence (they also need to show ID and get their picture taken to receive their card, but it is free of charge). The process requires either a foreign residence card (gaijin-card) or a Japanese driver’s license.
The form says you can also register for membership with a passport, but then you will also need to show proof of address. Your picture is taken and your card is given to you (complete with picture) in just a few minutes. After the discount ends, the Gold Star Membership is ￥4,200 per year.
If you want to use Costco for your company, there is also a business Costco account. You will need to show proof of your business name and address. The annual membership fee is ￥3,675 per year and you can get up to 6 additional cards for staff. As an added service for businesses, apparently you can make orders by fax to have bulk deliveries made to your business.
* The ¥1000 yen off discount is only available to new Costco members who are 18 and older with proof of address and discount applies only until the shop’s grand opening which is tentatively set for March 20th, 2013.
Temporary Office Address: 1st F Sankyo Wakakusa Bldg., 9-7 Wakakusa-cho, Higashi-ku, Hiroshima-city 732-0053 Tel: 082-890-0877 Open: Mon. – Sun. : 9:00am-6:00pm
Sign-up for a CostcoMasterCard Credit Card
If you don’t have an AMEX credit card and are not keen on using cash when shopping at Costco, you can sign up for a CostcoMasterCard.
There are two types of CostcoMasterCard options, both of which have no annual fees and both cards keep track of your shopping points at Costco; which then add up to cash-back savings once you reach certain accumulated amounts. The standard type is a typical Japanese style debit card that must be completely paid off at the end of each month. The other is a “revolving loan” credit card type in which case you can choose to set the minimum amount you can charge per shopping trip or cash advance as well as the minimum payment you will pay. For example, if I charge up 50,000 yen at Costco (and other places) in a month, I can choose to pay only the “minimum charge” I set and pay the rest off another time. This is how many credit cards work in other countries, but is quite a new concept in Japan.
To register for either card, you need a reasonable ability in Japanese as the staff here are very helpful, but do not speak English and there are some difficult terms used in the process. You should also bring a Japanese bank card (to be scanned on site) and information about your work address, yearly income, work address and members in your household. You can sign the documents or use your personal seal inkan. The application process can be completed in about 5-10 minutes and you will receive the credit card within a month.
If you drive to the rear of the Mazda Zoom Zoom stadium, you will find the parking structure and main Costco building. There are rumors that the Costco parking will be quite expensive, but when buying bulk you don’t want to have to travel far from the store to your car, we will update this more when details come in. However, a new Renaissance sports club is also being built next door to Costco which might be of interest to some people. You could work out at the gym before or after having a Costco shop and use whichever parking fee offers a better deal.
Address: 2-3-4 Minami-Kaniya, Minami-ku, Hiroshima City 732-0803