#3331

Tourist Tip #4: The Underground World of Food and DEPACHIKA!

Japanese department stores are famous for many things: elevator girls, first-class customer service, and unparalleled gift wrapping. But venture underneath one (on the basement floor) and you'll discover something else they have to offer: the world of "depachika".

"Depachika" is a portmanteau on "depato" (department store) and "chika" (basement). It's essentially a foodstuff market area where you'll find an array of delicatessen-style shops and items from everyday essentials to regional specialties and more. And not just Japanese edibles, either. Western, Korean, italian, French, and Chinese foods are also common finds.

For many who live in Japan, depachika are a part of everyday life, as they are nearly all connected directly to subway and train stations - making them the perfect place to shop for on-the-way-home meals. I almost always visit them when picnicking or wanting to buy a foodgift for a friend.

Almost every major department store has one; they're fun to stroll around in even if you're not shopping for anything (and a perfect place to kill time during heavy rain storms). Some of the most famous are in Tokyo, here's a quick list:

Nihombashi Mitsukoshi (Main Store)
1-4-1 Nihombashi Muro-machi Chuo-ku Tokyo
http://www.mitsukoshi.co.jp/store/fcs/

ISETAN (Shinjuku Store)
3-14-1 Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo
http://www.isetan.co.jp/

Daimaru Tokyo
1-9-1 Marunouchi Chiyoda-ku Tokyo
http://www.daimaru.co.jp/tokyo/
http://www.daimaru.co.jp/english/tokyo.html (English)

Matsuya Ginza
3-6-1 Ginza Chuo-ku Tokyo
http://www.matsuya.com/foreign/index.html (English)

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer

United Kingdom

Former Deep Japan Writer's other advice

Let's Go Swimming in Yokohama! images

Let's Go Swimming in Yokohama!

In my last post, I talked about swimming at Yokohama's International Swimming Pool: http://www.deepjapan.org/a/4437But, of course, there are plenty of other pools in Yokohama where you can go to …

Quick and easy things to do in Yokohama #14 images

Quick and easy things to do in Yokohama #14

Summer time means trips to the beaches and swims in the ocean, but the Yokohama International Swimming Pool is open all year long. It's also one of the the biggest and most beautiful pool facilities …

Best book-browsing, electronic-buying, time-killing spot in Tokyo images

Best book-browsing, electronic-buying, time-killing spot in Tokyo

Tsutaya Electric store opened its doors on Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 in the Futako-Tamagawa Rise building. Dubbed as a "lifestyle shop", its layout gives a whole new experience to purchasing products suc…

Once Only Space and Survival Foods Now Convenience Store Snacks images

Once Only Space and Survival Foods Now Convenience Store Snacks

According to a well-written article on the subject, "freeze-drying technology was originally developed for the production of medicine and is probably best-known among consumers for its use in instant…

Experience the Edo Period at the Edo-Tokyo Museum images

Experience the Edo Period at the Edo-Tokyo Museum

The Edo-Tokyo Museum was established in 1993, and remains one of Tokyo's most interesting musems, featuring the history of Tokyo during the Edo periodAmong its main permanent exhibition features …

Another Easy and Affordable Way to Beat Tsuyu (the Rainy Season) images

Another Easy and Affordable Way to Beat Tsuyu (the Rainy Season)

Two years ago I wrote about one of my favourite summer dishes: "Hiyashi Chuka" - chilled Chinese noodles. It's a summer staple in Japan because it's tasty, light, and refreshing - a perfect meal to b…

You might also like

How to be Polite in a Restaurant in Japan? images

How to be Polite in a Restaurant in Japan?

These are not just little finger towels placed neatly next to your plate for conveniently wiping stray food off of hands and fingers...these Oshibori are almost like an appetizer to the meal itself. …

 image

Agemanju - Sweet Deep-fried Cakes in Asakusa images

Agemanju - Sweet Deep-fried Cakes in Asakusa

There are many good reasons for a visit to Asakusa: Senso-ji temple’s gates and pagoda, tiny Hanayashiki amusement park, Japanese kabuki theaters, old restaurants, and shops selling kimonos and festi…

David image

David

Casual Shojin Ryori in Tokyo images

Casual Shojin Ryori in Tokyo

Shojin Ryori, or shojin cuisine, is the form of Buddhist cuisine that is popular with the vegetarian/vegan foreigner crowd here in Japan. Traditionally the food that Buddhist monks make for themselve…

Nico image

Nico

A Pepper By Any Other Name Would Taste As Sweet images

A Pepper By Any Other Name Would Taste As Sweet

Someone asked me a question recently; one, that if you’ve lived in Japan long enough, have surely asked yourself: “Why do the Japanese call green bell peppers ‘piman’ and the red and yellow and orang…

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer

Food Delivery Systems of Japan images

Food Delivery Systems of Japan

With the engaged city life that many may find while living here in Japan, city problems are to arise. One of these problems that may occur may well be food; how to get it, pre-cooked and prepared, or…

Alex image

Alex

"Jibie" Cuisine in Okayama images

"Jibie" Cuisine in Okayama

A trend utilizing wild game, specifically wild boar meat, is sweeping Okayama Prefecture. Known as "jibie" (ジビエ)in Japanese, the word is derived from the French "gibier" and simply means "wild g…

Andrea Miyata image

Andrea Miyata