TOKYO (AP) _ The busiest spot in the 10-story Takashimaya Department Store was a tiny stand hawking items that Tokyo residents are most interested in today: disaster supplies.

Offering everything from bottled water to preparedness kits costing hundreds of dollars, the stand drew a steady stream of customers, intently scrutinizing each product.

The earthquake that devastated the Kobe area on Tuesday sent a powerful message to the capital, which has been told to expect a major quake sometime down the road.

Kyoko Omura, a 37-year-old housewife, spent about $250 for two cases of water, two cases of canned breads and an emergency bag for her family and parents.

``Something I thought would never happen happened, so I came here,'' she said. ``You can only count on your neighbors, not those officials, in case of emergency.''

The display was set up following a series of strong quakes that began in the final days of last year. Most of them were centered in northern Japan.

Sales were slow until Tuesday. Since then, business has been non-stop, with an average of 500 customers each day and more than $100,000 in sales.

For sale are combination flashlight-radios, emergency candles, rope ladders and fire extinguishers. Emergency kits, which contain everything from food and water to a flashlight and first-aid kit loaded into a backpack, are out of stock, and the store is taking 300 orders per day.

The most expensive item is a can of freeze-dried Mountain House backpacker-style stew from the United States at $340. With 17 half-cup servings, it works out to about $20 per meal.

The cost didn't seem to bother shoppers.

``We need to stock up on things that would last at least a couple of days to be on our own,'' said Junko Tsuda, a 31-year-old housewife. ``After I saw TV, my idea of what I need to stock up has changed.''