Knives, Dishware, Plastic Food? Find it all in Kappabashi

In a neighborhood of Tokyo, there's a street called Kappabashi-Dori. It's located between Ueno and Asakusa, and the entire street is essentially wall to wall stores related to the food and restaurant trade.
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You'll see the start of the area landmarked by the store above, with the man with the chef's hat and moustache staring down at you! 


There are signs of the "foodie/restaurant" nature of the area all around! The detail on this building with the mugs along the side was pretty unique, I thought.


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You don't need to run a business or be in the restaurant trade to stock up on goodies here. There are stores with lovely dishwares, from ornate bowls to patterned plates, to chopstick rests - you name it, if it's related to eating and food you'll probably find it here!
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One of the things that Kappabashi-Dori is most well known for is the number of stores that sell the fake, plastic food that you will  encounter on your travels in Japan. Basically every restaurant in Japan has a display out the front of their premises, with plastic replica models of the food they sell. These plastic replicas are incredibly helpful for people like me who don't read a ton of Japanese - it means I can work out what I'm ordering and what will be in a dish based on what the model looks like! Getting to see those plastic models and how much they sell for is fascinating - they really are just so detailed, and it still amazes me that there is an entire industry behind it.
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And whilst I don't think anyone really needs to return home from vacation with a life size plastic bowl of ramen or curry (unless that really floats your boat - they do get expensive though!), you can get some small replicas of foods at those stores too, made into refrigerator magnets and other small ornamental souvenirs.
It's a great place to visit too if you have family or friends who might enjoy cooking items or dishware as gifts. The best part is, these stores will wrap up whatever you buy with such precision, so it has minimal chance of breaking during transit.
The easiest way to get to Kappabashi Dori if you're in Tokyo is to catch the Tokyo Metro Ginza line to Tawaramachi Station. Get out at Exit 3, and follow the street signs from there - it's about a 10 minute walk!

[all pictures are my own except the plastic food which is courtesy of the Japan Times].

this is japan