Department stores in Japan

An 1856 ukiyo-e depicting Echigoya, the current Mitsukoshi.

Department stores in Japan are referred to as hyakkaten () or depāto (デパート), an alteration of the English term.


The first "modern-style" department store in Japan was Mitsukoshi, founded in 1904, which has its root as a kimono store called Echigoya from 1673. When the roots are considered, however, Matsuzakaya has an even longer history, dated from 1611. The kimono store changed to a department store in 1910. In 1924, Matsuzakaya store in Ginza allowed street shoes to be worn indoors, something innovative at the time.[1] These former kimono shop department stores dominated the market in its earlier history. They sold, or rather displayed, luxurious products, which contributed to their sophisticated atmospheres. Another origin of the Japanese department store is from railway companies. There have been many private railway operators in the nation and, from the 1920s, they started to build department stores directly linked to their lines' termini. Seibu and Hankyu are the typical examples of this type.


Since the 1980s Japanese department stores have been facing fierce competition from supermarkets and convenience stores, gradually losing their presence. Still, depāto are bastions of several aspects of cultural conservatism in the country. Gift certificates for prestigious department stores are frequently given as formal presents in Japan.

Department stores in Japan generally offer a wide range of services and can include foreign exchange, travel reservations, ticket sales for local concerts and other events.

Due to their roots, many Japanese department stores have sections devoted to kimono and Japanese traditional crafts, including pottery and lacquerware. The basement level usually has a grocery and food court, and on the roof may be garden and aquatic supplies, pets, and a children's play area.

Operating hours are usually from 10am to 8pm. Some close one day a week, often a weekday.

Famous department stores in Japan

Some stores also have branches outside Japan.



Kantō region

Chūbu region

Kansai region

Chūgoku, Shikoku region

Kyūshū region

Defunct in Japan

See also

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