Uri-ba is a native Japanese word, from uru 'to sell' and -ba 'a place'. It refers to a sales counter or sales window.
Based on the derivation, uri-ba could be written or . In public signs appears to be a preferred form, based admittedly on a rather small and biased sample (most are from Odakyu Department Store at Shinjuku):
In some cases, uriba can be found in hiragana, as in the example below:
A Google search in August 2003 revealed the following distribution for uri-ba on the Internet, with figures for the similar construction nori-ba (see noriba) shown at right:
Compared to nori-ba, uri-ba shows a much higher proportion of kanji only (), and a much lower proportion of hiragana only ().