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The distinctive climate of Japan’s four seasons means that there are many delicious foods that can only be savoured for a short time.


The prime season for these foods is known as Shun and the spring season brings delicious food such as bamboo shoots, Asari clams and the very well known and expensive red snapper fish. Just as Malaysia has a season for when the durian fruit is at its best, in Japan, the seasonal fruit for spring is strawberries.


The basement floor of department stores, referred to as Depa-chika, are dedicated to vast food halls of seasonal foods. There are stalls selling dishes made from seasonal produce where visitors can enjoy tasting the delicious flavours of the season. Seasonal flavours and produce are used not only in Japanese cuisine, they are also creatively incorporated into international dishes as well as sweets and desserts. A Bento (lunch box) is a great way to experience a variety of these flavours all in one neat little box.





The Depa-Chika


Depa-chika refers to the department store basement food hall. The word is comprised of the words Depa (department store) and Chika (basement).


This is a hall of numerous food stores selling items such as Bento (lunch boxes) and sweets. Many famous restaurants also have stalls here. Visitors can buy a variety of foods and enjoy them back at their hotel.





Bento (Lunch Boxes) 


Numerous kinds of Bento boxes are sold in the Depa-chika. Some bentos are rice dishes similar to Nasi lemak, they contain rice rice balls or Japanese Maku no uchi (variety boxes). Other Bentos include international foods such as curry, pasta and hamburger patties.


Bentos will often include the seasonal flavours and symbols of spring such as bamboo shoots, canola flowers and cherry blossoms.







Among the Bento box stores numerous sweet shops can also be found. During spring, many stalls will be selling strawberry flavoured sweets and desserts. Visitors don’t even need to go as far as the Depa-chika to find these delights, as most convenience stores will have a ‘Sweets Corner’, devoted to the delicious flavours of spring.




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