IKEA: How to Make the Most Out of Your Small Flat in Japan | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

IKEA: How to Make the Most Out of Your Small Flat in Japan

By Yae Jun 20, 2019

This post is also available in: Spanish

Sweden, IKEA Sweden


How comfortable do you feel at your home in Japan? If you’re living in Japan temporarily and paying rent, many of you may feel most Japanese flats are just a bit too small to live happily.

As you may all know, the cost of rent in Japan is quite expensive, especially if you prefer to live in the central Tokyo area or even close to Tokyo. If you can bear with the long commute time to your office (let’s say your office is somewhere in the central Tokyo area) it can take about 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours each way, every day, you may be able to find a cheaper flat with a bigger room in the suburbs. However, if this isn’t an option as you need to be closer to your office, a “small flat with expensive rent” can’t be avoided.

But do not fear! Do you know how you can make your small flat more comfortable and the be the coziest place in Japan? The world famous furniture company called “IKEA” has the answer to your plights. This article will show you how IKEA can help create a comfortable environment for people who live in even the smallest flats in Japan. Thinking that your small flat can’t make you or others happy is over! Giving a unique twist on furniture, IKEA products can magically transform a small sad flat into a fashionable and comfortable home.


IKEA: Japans Answer to Our Small Flats


Solution to small apartments in japan


IKEA is the biggest and most well-known Nordic Swedish furniture manufacturer in all the land. Here are the major attractive points about IKEA that make Japanese people choose to shop there over anywhere else:


1. The price for IKEA products is cheap even if they’re imported products.

This is what most people have as a strong image of IKEA products. Even with big furniture pieces such as a table, sofa, bed, etc. it’s quite an affordable price in general.


2. All the IKEA products are fashionable and are bursting full of Swedish taste.

Many Japanese people love Nordic design, so this makes IKEA the perfect shop to fill your flat full of the Nordic atmosphere. Japanese people are attracted to the real Nordic design that actual Swedish people design and produce. Many Japanese people feel like they’re living in Sweden when their home is surrounded by IKEA’s products.


3. IKEA is fun for shopping!

If you have already been shopping at IKEA in Japan or other countries, you know they have a very unique style of shopping. Even just for browsing, you need at least 2 hours to go all the way around the shop. This is a very smart strategy from IKEA, in that, once they make customers see the decorated rooms like the kitchen, dining room, kids room, bedroom; using all IKEA’s products, they make customers decisions easier by showing them exactly where they could place their desired products. And also give them ideas about other products they may not have thought of.

Even if you’re struggling to think about what kind of style would make your small flat even more comfortable and fashionable, IKEA in Japan can help you out to imagine your desirable room by giving you the opportunity to look at the decorated room with all different IKEA products. Therefore, many Japanese people love shopping at IKEA in Japan, as they can look forward to having the same showrooms in their house.


Where Are the IKEAS that You Can Go To?


Where to find IKEA in japan


If you’re living around the Tokyo area, there are 4 IKEA branches you can go to:

1. IKEA Tokyo-Bay


2-3-30, Hamacho, Funabashi city, Chiba prefecture, 273-0012

Opening hours:


Weekend and National holidays:9:00-21:00


2. IKEA Tachikawa

Location: 6, Midoricho, Tachikawa city, Tokyo, 190-0014

Opening hours: Monday-Friday:10:00-21:00

Weekend and National holidays:9:00-21:00


3. IKEA Kohoku

Location: 201-1, Orimotocho, Tsuzuki-ku, Yokohama city, Kanagawa prefecture, 224-0043

Opening hours: Monday-Friday:10:00-21:00

Weekend and National holidays:9:00-21:00


4. IKEA Shin-Misato

Location: 2-2-2, Shin-Misato Lala city, Misato city, Saitama prefecture, 341-0009

Opening hours: Monday-Friday:10:00-21:00

Weekend and National holidays:9:00-21:00


Try to find the IKEA branch which is closest to where you live in Japan. If you prefer to go to IKEA outside of the Tokyo area, there are also IKEA branches in Tohoku, Sendai city, Aichi in Nagakute city, Osaka in Osaka city, Hyogo in Kobe city or Kasuya-gun in Fukuoka as well. If you’re thinking of stopping by those IKEA branches while you’re traveling around Japan, this also could be a good idea.

However, remember one important thing. IKEA in Japan is very popular for all ages but especially for families, so shopping at IKEA on the weekends will be always mean being surrounded by families and their kids, everywhere you go. Therefore, I would recommend visiting IKEA on weekdays, so you can have space to walk around, to really think about things, and to enjoy all the soft couches and beds without the crowds.


3. What Makes IKEA the Best Place to Go To?


Is IKEA the best


If you are wondering more about the reason behind what makes IKEA the best place to go to for Japanese people or foreigners living in Japan? Not only can IKEA offer customers cheap, stylish products, enjoyable showrooms, and the beautiful Swedish taste, but here are a few more strong points that make people feel that IKEA is the best place for shopping for furniture in Japan:


1. People can enjoy the DIY feeling of making their own furniture, meaning theirs is the only ONE like it in the world.

For those who love to do DIY, feeling like they put in the hard work, and if you love making something by yourself, IKEA is the perfect brand for what you’re looking for. The products such as tables, closets, shelves, need to be assembled by yourself, as you get the furniture in one big box. A big burly man does not come with the box, this is all you!  Assembling the furniture makes people excited to see that that furniture exists only in ONE place in the world, in your house! They are not all going to look exactly the same as every other furniture store just comes as it is.


2. Every product has its Swedish name!

This concept is very interesting, that all IKEA’s products have their own names such as “VILBORG” for a green curtain, “STOENSE” for a rug mat, etc. Not just calling them ‘that chair’ but a cute name instead. Don’t you grow fond of your chairs more when you give them a name?


3. Free of charge kids space called “SMALAND”

For those who have adorable kids when you walk in but unruly kids when they get bored of shopping and need attention, IKEA has a free kids space at every branch with the following rules:


* Children aged between 4 years old to 10 years old. (sorry this is not a place for your moody adolescents)

*60 minutes free of charge.

* Children who can take themselves to the bathroom on their own, who are not using diapers.

*Children who don’t have any infectious diseases.

*Your child can only use this space once in a day. EG you can’t keep coming back and leaving them there multiple times a day.

As you can see, IKEA is a very kind place that considers not only adults but also small kids.


What Are the Best Items (prices as well)?


Best items in IKEA


It’s not an easy task to choose the best items at IKEA since there are just too many great items. However, here are some popular items for Japanese customers:


*Kitchen wagon called “RASKOG”

Price: 4,999 yen

Color type: light green, dark green, yellow, white

This product is a wagon with wheels attached so you can use it not only in the kitchen but for every room you would like to use it in.


*Swivel chair called “SKRUVSTA”

Price:18,990 yen

Color type: black

This is a very popular chair for many customers, as this chair has a safety lock function. When you stand up from the chair, the chair locks and won’t move but when you sit back on the chair, it will unlock and relax.


*Square typed shelf called “KALLAX”

Price:8,999 yen

Color type: white, black, light brown

This shelf is a very convenient type of shelf that people can use in any room. Since it’s a square type shelf, you can put it either vertically or sideways whichever way you want. This is one of the most popular items since it can work anywhere.


*Coffee table called “LUNNARP”

Price: 6,999 yen

Color type: white, brown

This is a very simple and compact type of coffee table, so it’s very popular for many people. They can use it in the living room, bedroom or even in a kids’ room. There is an extra shelf under the table so you can put your remote control or magazines inside it, anything you need.


The Best Part. The delivery. Or food.


Food at IKEA


These are the 2 best things you should know about IKEA; 1. They have a delivery service and 2. They have a delicious restaurant & cafe.


1. The delivery service for all customers who have bought IKEA products, who can’t bring them home by themselves, is such a helpful and convenient way to shop.

Price: 3,000 yen with no weight limit


2. Restaurant and cafe service: During shopping or after you have enjoyed shopping, (or even before) IKEA can offer all customers the most delicious food! Some people even visit IKEA mainly for the food! Here are a couple of items from the menu:


*Salmon cheese dak galbi

Price: 799 yen

*Mixed fried plate

Price: 1,290 yen

*Salmon curry

Price: 799 yen


You can also have small appetizers such as hot dogs, nachos, fried chicken, ice cream, etc. Each menu is not too expensive so quite an affordable price for families too.


IKEA is the Best Place to Go to Kit Out Your Flat in Japan!


Plan for your apartment with IKEA


If you’re wondering now how to make your small flat the best it can be in Japan, go to IKEA first and grab some ideas about your desirable home in Japan. If you prefer to go without using a car or you do not have a car, I would suggest going to the IKEA Tachikawa branch, since it’s just right next to the Tachikawa station. It only takes about 5-10 minute’s to walk from the station to the front door so this is the easiest option. If you are concerned about how to bring the things you bought from IKEA home, go ahead and use the delivery service!

IKEA is very popular for Japanese people and people go out shopping at IKEA for many reasons:


* New member has come into the family

* Moving out of their parents’ house and are now living alone

* Got married and have a new place to live

* Need to make some extra changes in life


How much do you like IKEA now? Now, since it’s the rainy season in the Tokyo area, you might be thinking about what you can do on the weekends, being concerned about the unexpected rain, how about going to IKEA? Even if you don’t need anything specific, walking around the IKEA showrooms makes you feel excited and can produce some inspiration for future home projects. Or you can just walk through the Show-rooms pretending they are your living room/kitchen, imagining what it would be like to have all of these beautiful rooms…  If you’re having problems in making your small flat comfortable and stylish, IKEA has all the answers.

However, there is 1 piece of advice I will give you before you decide to buy big furniture at IKEA. If you’re thinking that you might need to throw away that furniture within a few years of living in Japan, please think carefully about it, and think “do I really need this?”. Since IKEA’s furniture is very big, it may be difficult to sell at recycling shops in Japan; especially heavy bookshelves, heavy dining tables or anything that is VERY HEAVY. Many second-hand furniture shops in Japan tend to refuse to buy those heavy IKEA items for recycling as they are way too heavy to manage them at their shops and many customers might think it’s too much work to try to bring that heavy IKEA furniture home.


IKEA’s products are really amazing but make sure to buy big items when you know you will be staying for a long time.

It’s time to redecorate your own flat with prime Swedish taste in Japan!