Allows commuters to skip the supermarket detour and stay in the straight lane until dinner.
With most people in Japan relying on public transport to get around, between a Monday-Friday commute and weekend leisure outings it is not uncommon to pass by a station almost every day. So if you have to be at the station anyway, why not do your shopping while you’re there?
This is the idea of a new partnership between online grocery Cookpad Mart and East Japan Railway Company (aka JR East). Usually, Cookpad Mart customers pick up their orders from Cookpad lockers (you’ll sometimes see them at convenience stores, for example), but the new service lets you do your shopping at the door of JR Est stations.
It works much like the standard Cookpad Mart purchase process: you log in, select your groceries, then, for your pickup point, choose a station. Then, once you are at the gate, you show the confirmation screen on your phone to the station attendant and you receive your order. Pickup is available until 10 p.m., and with some Japanese supermarkets closing before then, the service is especially convenient for those who work late and can’t get to their local grocer after leaving work.
▼ This woman now has salmon, spinach and tomatoes, all without having to take any detours on the way home.
There is no additional charge for station pick-up, although you will need a pass or ticket for that day going through the station. Since the allure of the service is being able to shop at the station where you were going to be anyway, the ticket requirement doesn’t seem like such a big downside.
The program is currently in its trial period, with grocery pickup offered at Fuchu Honmachi and Inaginaganuma stations in Tokyo, and Isogo and Kozukue in Kanagawa Prefecture, with service expected to expand to Yokohama and Kawasaki in the near future.