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Depachika (underground food avenues)

Literally an abbreviated version of the phrase “department store basement”, depachika refers to food markets located on the bottom floor of department stores.
Increasingly spotlighted on television and in magazines starting in around the year 2000, this was the era of the so-called “depachika boom.”
The Umeda district in Osaka is said to have so many department stores that it is Japan’s number one competitive battleground for depachika.

While the Shinjuku district of Tokyo has the top slot in terms of total sales earnings, Umeda—which is just behind, at number two—comes in first place in terms of total depachika floor size.
The basement-level markets feature numerous attractions: the convenience of Japan’s top stores being sold in one collective space together with overseas brands, one-of-a-kind products featuring corporate collaborations, limited- edition goods, and more. Depachika shopping is quite intimate, and customers can easily ask questions of the staff, or nibble on the many available food samples before making purchases.
Each depachika features its own particular specialties—such as wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery), fresh produce, fish, sweets, onsite eating areas, etc. —and Osakans are masterful at targeting specific depachika depending upon their particular needs at any given time.
(Photo provided by Hankyu Hanshin Department Stores,Inc)

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