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Mitsukoshi in Tokyo

Depāto ( Japanese デ パ ー ト ; from English depart ment store ) is the Japanese name for a department store.

Japanese department stores are characterized by extensive service and a wide range of goods. The service includes, for example, welcoming ladies in neat uniforms who bow to each new customer with the formula irasshaimase ( い ら っ し ゃ い ま せ , dt. "Welcome"), and so-called elevator girls who operate the buttons in the elevators.

The range of a typical Depāto is not in the low-price sector, but rather in the high-price segment of premium brands. That is why a souvenir ( omiyage ) from a renowned Depāto , wrapped in its paper, is highly regarded.

Japanese department stores are also involved in the arts and display domestic and foreign works of art on their premises. The Mona Lisa exhibition in Japan in 1974 was organized by a department store.

Shopping mile in Morioka

Many Depāto are operated by railway lines on the site of their terminal stations in the large metropolises, which can be recognized in part by the characters for railway ( , tetsu ) or express ( , kyū ) in the name. The trend goes so far that in the typical street scene of a Japanese city no train stations are recognizable anymore - train station and department store have merged. The largest complex of this type is Shinjuku Station in Tokyo , which houses the lines of three railway companies ( JR , Odakyū and Keiō ), their department stores and several subway lines.

The large Japanese Depāto chains also operate branches overseas, on the one hand to serve Japanese people abroad (including three German Mitsukoshi branches, which have since closed again), but also to open up new markets, especially in Taiwan and the People's Republic of China .

Significant depatos

Depātos represented nationwide are the following, after several mergers of regionally acting Depātos under joint holding companies in the first decade of the 21st century: