Japan Centre Group to launch Europe’s largest Japanese Food Hall this July

Japan Centre Group is to launch Europe’s largest Japanese Food Hall – Ichiba, which is set to open in Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush on 14 July. Located just off the new Westfield Square on the lower ground floor, Ichiba will be part of the centre’s new leisure and dining experience.

The 17,400 sq. ft. flagship store will feature food stations dedicated to freshly prepared and cooked food including ramen, curries and sushi. The main food hall will offer a large range of Japanese staples and kitchen essentials, from rice, miso and tea, to a wide selection of sake and confectionery, alongside books, beauty products and handpicked ceramics from the leading craft prefectures.

Ichiba is the first joint venture between the Japan Centre Group and Cool Japan Fund, which helps support businesses to promote Japanese food and culture overseas. The fund’s partnerships with local and artisan suppliers across Japan will allow Ichiba to offer authentic products and rare regional produce from some of the best producers and farmers exclusively to the UK.

Other partners include Gekkeikan sake and Kikkoman who will be able to offer shoppers a unique opportunity to sample and try new products while gaining advice and confidence to cook Japanese ingredients at home.

In-store experiences are also a key part of the new format concept. Theatrical kitchens will be set around seating for over 200 covers with a changing schedule of weekly cooking demonstrations and workshops, events, regional food and drink festivals and sake tasting seminars. Guests will also be able to dine in the outdoor terrace.

Tak Tokumine, CEO of Japan Centre, says: “I’m delighted to announce this new concept for people to experience Japanese food culture at Westfield London. Ichiba will be a dynamic and inspiring addition to the expanded centre and retail landscape in the Capital.”

Keith Mabbett, Director of Leasing, Westfield UK and Europe, added: “We’re thrilled to welcome Europe’s largest Japanese food hall, Ichiba, to our £600m Westfield London expansion. As well as introducing new retailers and enhancing growing categories such as homewares and beauty, the expansion has also enabled us to bring more new and exciting dining concepts to the centre. The arrival of Ichiba this summer will give our visitors the opportunity to get a taste of Japanese cuisine and culture in a unique way.”

Ichiba will offer a contemporary twist on traditional Japanese elements with in-store surroundings to support the quality of the food. Japanese style paper structures, flags and traditional fabrics will break up the space, while lights inspired by chopsticks, lanterns and traditional wooden elements will help customers navigate the zones of the store. Food stations will offer everything from katsu curries to sushi and sashimi and authentic street food including takoyaki, tempura and noodles made fresh to order.

There will also be a traditional Japanese bakery and café serving items such as dorayaki pancakes with teas including hot or iced matcha lattes. Alongside, this there will be a dedicated demo station for sake tastings and cooking demonstrations and a noodle bar where visitors can sample freshly prepared noodles and tonkotsu ramen.

Ichiba is a fantastic concept that will offer visitors the opportunity to dine, shop and experience Japanese cuisine and culture with an element of theatre.