Real estate and railways

February 2nd, 2010 by Felicity Hughes

Tama Home store on the platform of the Yamanote line in Shibuya

Tama Home store on the platform of the Yamanote line in Shibuya

Last year we reported that cosmetic stores had been popping up on train platforms, allowing busy women to stock up on beauty products while they wait for trains. Now it seems the idea has caught on with real-estate vendors Tama Home, who have installed themselves on the Yamanote Line platform of Shibuya Station.

The shop doubles as a café for busy commuters, offering coffee at the low price of ¥200, or for free if you don’t mind filling out a questionnaire. Visitors can also get advice from shop staff about real estate and probably will hear a lot about the benefits of buying a brand new Tama home.

The marketing concept of having Tama Home on the train platform might be down to the fact that home is pronounced “houmu” in Japanese and the same word means station platform, making it a neat little pun. But why place a real-estate agency in Shibuya, an area renowned attracting footloose youths who are not necessarily potential home buyers?

Tama Home’s advertising used to concentrate on appealing to couples with young children with a typical commercial showing a happy family innocently singing a simple song about the joys of living in a Tama Home: “Happy life, happy home, Tama Home!” Falling birth rates must have put a dent in their staple market because they’ve now recruited the dashing Takuya Kimura to appear in a new series of advertisements. Most decidedly single, he’s depicted struggling with the confines of a tiny bachelor pad and yearning not for a mate but for more space.

While the Tama Home platform store is built to resemble a train carriage, for sheer perfection of product placement, nothing beats the Gatan Goton store located on the platform of Tsuruhashi train station in Osaka. Gatan Goton (the noise trains make when they roll over rails) sells model train sets for enthusiasts both young and old and even has a little model railway set out in the center. Houses purchased at the store go for considerably less than those at Tama Home.

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