Departmental basement floor may quite likely be valet parking in other countries, but in Japan, they are simply food heaven! Departmental stores in Japan usually typically cater to middle to high- end shops, but the basement is a democracy of good food at affordable prices for everyone.
Departmental basement floors are typically organized into fresh foods and cooked food areas. In the fresh foods area, you get food a little more high end than your regular supermarket: special marinates, good wine, exotic sauces, and also- famously- the crazy expensive fruits. It is here you get to see the vanity fruits selling at vanity prices: those perfectly formed peaches, or white strawberries, or square-shaped rock melons. They often attract a small crowd of mostly tourists, on their rare encounter with the pinnacle of the fruit world, if there were such a thing.
The cooked food area is a fun cacophony of beautiful food and beautiful counter girls doing their welcoming greetings to prospective customers. Some must-have stores include the bento corner, where they lay out delicious food like potato salad and Japanese fried chicken and marinated fish, and customers pick their ingredients to bring home for dinner. Other stores include the fried food counter, and the sandwich counter, and the bakery. They are typically 1.5 to 2 times more expensive than their convenience food counterparts, but the taste is easily 2 to 3 times better, so that makes for a great foodie investment.
Nearby the cooked food area, there is the highlight of the basement- the pastry and dessert corner. Here, you find absolutely top-notch desserts and pastry for that price point. Japanese desserts are well known for its delicate flavors and even more delicate presentation; many cakes earn the badge of honor of being a bit too pretty to be eaten.
Moreover, there is the omiyage corner- or souvenir snack corner, where tourists and locals come to get their slightly insincere gifts for office colleagues: affordable as they are, the taste of the biscuits and chocolates are sure to delight even the strictest bosses.