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Spelunking for gourmet foods in Tokyu’s depachika

Spelunking for gourmet foods in Tokyu’s depachika

Almost any kind of food can be found in the basement of Shibuya's Tokyu department store -- if you are willing to pay premium prices
Piles of baked goods fail to attract much attention at Tokyu Food Show Shibuya.

Japan's department stores have seen plummeting sales over the last decade, but one area of constant popularity and consistent profit is the basement food hall -- nicknamed depachika in Japanese. The food courts are a critical resource for busy commuters picking up a late dinner, and during non-rush hours, a fun place to wander around and try different dishes.

Here are some our favorite products on sale at Tokyu Food Show in the basement of Shibuya station.

The tea retailer Lupicia is home to Japan's most distinctive tea, Sakurambo Vert (green tea with a Japanese cherry flavor), which makes an elegant and classy gift. The immaculate tea tin alone would make an amazing present. Other notable teas include black tea with strawberry, champagne, Earl Grey-and-cocoa, and Darjeeling-and-orange-biscuits.

For a sweet after-lunch dessert, choose from dozens of heavenly pastries from Andersen Bakery.

When looking for a cholesterol boost that can be easily transported home, go for the world-famous Maisen tonkatsu sandwich. Those wanting the usual suspects -- sushi, sashimi, yakitori and tempura -- will have plenty to choose from.

The foods' preparation can also keep you entertained for hours. When picking up some imagawa-yaki -- a sweet griddle cake filled with a sweet red bean paste or custard -- watch the chef work, for reasons perhaps only he knows, with his eyes half closed. Or when waiting for Osaka-favorite takoyaki (octopus balls), take notice of how quickly the chef flips the dumplings with the chopsticks.

Tokyu Food Show Shibuya: Beneath Shibuya station, 2-24-1 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, tel. 03 3477 3111