The VICE Guide to Right Now

IKEA Just Opened a Convenience Store and of Course, it’s in Japan

From sofas to vegan ramen: they’ve got it.
June 10, 2020, 9:08am
ikea-convenience-store-harajuku-tokyo-japan
Photo: Alexander Isreb from Pexels

Japan is known as the land of the konbini (aka combini): 24-hour convenience stores that pretty much have everything from hot meals to books, and even clothes. Virtually the only thing these stores don’t have is furniture, until now.

On Monday, June 8, IKEA opened its first urban location in Harajuku, a Tokyo neighbourhood popular for its unique street art, fashion, and subcultures. According to a report by Nikkei, there are approximately 1,000 items available in the 2-storey store, which are divided into four categories: Sleep, Organise, Relax, and Cook & Eat.

On the first floor is the “Swedish Combini," which sells everything from craft beer to plant-based ramen. They even have a wallet-sized version of the iconic IKEA bag.

There is also a coffee shop inside the konbini, where people can buy cinnamon rolls and vegan ice cream.

Beside the konbini are the Sleep and Organise sections, which include furniture like beds and drawers.

On the second floor is the Relax and Cook & Eat sections, where customers can find products such as kitchenware, sofas, and decor. There’s also a cafe that serves Swedish food like the flatbread tunnbrod. IKEA Harajuku is currently the only IKEA in the world to serve tunnbrods. They come in two variants: sweet and savoury.

In 2017, there were over 57,000 convenience stores in Japan. People waited in long lines when the Harajuku store opened, some for about three hours.

“I went to IKEA and it had a 3-hour waiting time…”

“The line outside IKEA is insane…!”

“Wow. The current waiting time for IKEA.”

Still, many loved the idea of an IKEA konbini.

“I went to Harajuku IKEA yesterday, and I loved it! First of all, everything was so cheap yet so cute. The food was so delicious and of course cheap too. It was so fun, I’ll probably visit again this month.”

“IKEA was great! Shopping was fun and the Swedish konbini was so interesting!”

“Our mission is to provide high-quality products at low prices for people in our generation.” Helene Von Reis, CEO of IKEA Japan, told Nikkei.

IKEA currently has 11 stores in Japan.

Find Miran on Instagram.

This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.