Depachika: Japan’s Underground Gourmet Wonderland



Depachika: Japan’s Underground
Gourmet Wonderland


Any true foodie knows where to go for good eats in Japan: a depachika. A depachika is a collection of high-end grocery stores and food vendors located below ground (chika) beneath a department store (depaato), hence the name depachika. And because these places are a part of department stores which carry name brands, you can expect the foods they sell to be just as luxurious. Let’s take a look at what they have down there. 

First Stop, Fruits!

Depachika shopping fruit

The first place to check out when visiting a depachika should be the fruit corner, but try to contain your shock as you check out the price tags. It’s not uncommon to see relatively rare fruits selling for anywhere from a few thousand to over ten thousand yen for a single piece. Why? One reason is that this fruit is typically meant to be given as a gift. Fruit plays a huge role in the gift-giving culture of Japan and is a popular choice for year end gifts or get-well presents. For that reason, the fruit sold here is much prettier than what you find at a regular grocery store-- and way more expensive as a result.

Perfectly Packed Veggies

Depachika shopping tomato omotenashi

You’re not going to find a single bruised tomato here. Each and every single tomato and other delicate produce is individually wrapped with a little woven cushion so it stays nice and safe your your dining enjoyment. This is an example of Japan’s famous attention to detail (although it’s probably not the most environmentally friendly practice on the planet...). 

Find Staple Seasonings 

Depachika shopping seasonings and sauces

The traditional Japanese diet is generally considered abroad to be pretty healthy, so a lot of people are starting to make Japanese foods at home. However it can be difficult to find staple ingredients like dashi and mirin outside of Japan. So if you’re into making Japanese food back at home or know someone who is, a visit to the seasonings aisle is a must. Besides the basics, you can find some fancy stuff like sakura-flavored salt and other goodies that make for great souvenirs.  

Get a Great Meal To Go

Depachika shopping pre-made meals

Explore the various tastes of Japan in the prepared foods section. Here you’ll find various counters and stalls selling all sorts of delicious goodies. Many of these little shops give free samples, so you can try foods you've never had before. Stop by this section to grab everything you need before heading to a park for a picnic lunch or back to your hotel room for a relaxing night in. 

So Many Snacks!

Depachika shopping senbei omiyake souvenirs

If you want to pick up some classy snacks as souvenirs, then this is the place to do it. Not only are the snacks delicious, but their packaging game is on point. One great option are senbei rice crackers. Sadly many of the fresh wagashi (Japanese sweets) they sell here have a limited shelf life and won’t survive the trip home, but that just means you have even more reason to treat yourself while you’re here! 

Have you ever been to a depachika? If so, share your experience in the comments! 

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