Lively food market on the basement floor of departments stores.
The department-store basement is called “depachika” in Japan. “Depachika” is a word combining “depato,” meaning a department store, and “chika, “meaning basement.” For Japanese, depachika doesn’t mean basement, but it means food. It is the place where you can find all kinds of high-quality food both fresh and prepared, sweet and savory.
Although the food sold in depachika are relatively more pricey than those in supermarkets, the place is always crowded especially in the late afternoon. In a maze-like floor, you will see various shops and counters selling fresh food like fish and meat as well as prepared dishes from colorful salad dishes to fresh tempura. You will also see many shops selling bentos (take out meal box) for reasonable prices. It’s interesting enough just to walk around and see the food beautifully displayed in showcases.
The confectionery counters in depachika also keep attracting the crowd. In general, having a counter in depachika means that the shop has a good quality as well as reputation. You will find the top quality sweets from Japanese and overseas brands.
Buy food and liquor tax-free!
Since October 2014, foods and liquor are also listed as duty-free items. Most of the department stores offer tax-free shopping. Beautiful packages of confectionery will make a great souvenir.
Don’t be shy to try the samples!
The store staff may hand you some samples to try. Trying the samples doesn’t mean you will have to buy it.
Fresh food become cheaper before the closing time!
Hit the depachika close to their closing time. That is the time when the prices of bentos and sushi go down.