Miki's Favorite Japanese Shops Series - Kappabashi Kitchen Town
One of the reasons I always loved Japan, even before actually going there, is Japanese goods. I have always loved the gracious, stylish and kawaii style of Japanese items. That is also, why whenever I go to Japan I always return home with at least twice the weight of my luggage than starting with.
In the past couple of years I have found some really special places and shops to shop for specific items which have gotten a special place inside my home. Therefore, with this series, which consists of several different article, which I hope will expand over time, I will introduce to you my favorite Japanese shops selling quality items which might be of interest to you as well.
Please let me know if you have any questions about the store, the items or even items which you would like me to cover in these series!
Have fun reading…
Kappabashi Kitchen Town
Even though this article is not about a specific store the Kappabashi Kitchen Town has so much to offer and I love strolling around. Last time I visit Japan I spend the entire afternoon strolling around and I still felt short of time… And I bought soooooo much. I could barely walk with all the bags I carried and I felt eyes staring at me in the subway for being such a gajin with all those shopping bags…
Kappabashi Kitchen Town, called Kappabashi Dougu Gai in Japan is located in the famous Asakusa Area of Tokyo (only a 10 minutes walk from the Sensoji Temple). The Kappabashi is around 800 meters long and has over 170 shops focused on kitchen and restaurant supplies. If you want anything for cooking etc this is the place to go.
How to get there
The Kappabashi can be accessed by the Ginza Line. Get off at Tawaramachi station and depending on the exit you will take, just take a look around for the large head of the chef, which marks the start of the Kappabashi street.
The logo of the Kappabashi, a turtle (Kappa in Japanese) is seen around the entire block and it is easy to navigate your way through the street. When the Kappabashi Kitchen Shops end you will no longer see the Kappa meaning you can turn back because you have reached the end.
This shop is probably most recognizable since the giant Kappabashi Chef Head is located on top of this store. Niimi is also probably my most favourite shop of Kappabashi and that’s why I am telling you about this store first.
This store is proably where I bought most and it is probably because it is very versatile. It has all sorts of kitchen equipment (most of which can also be used pretty well in a European kitchen). The store has a huge selection of pots, pans, knifes, chopsticks etc.
Hashito – Chopsticks Store (はし藤)
Since almost all foreigners love chopsticks, for themselves and as a souvenir. Chopsticks are sold all over Kappabashi, but there is a special store only for chopsticks which everyone will love.
Hashito sells chopsticks - both disposable and non-disposable. The store also sells a lot of accessories which go with chopsticks (like chopstick holders). The chopsticks differ in price range, from very fancy ones to cheap wooden ones.
If you love lacquerware as much as I do you will love Tanaka. Tanaka is a store specialized in Lacquerware and you will be drawn into the store as soon as you pass by. The beauty of the Japanese plates, cups etc will leave you in awe. Be sure to pack a full wallet, since it will be hard resisting buying stuff. (And true Japanese lacquer is a bit pricey)
Plastic Souvenirs – Maizuru
Kappabashi is famous among tourist for their plastic food samples. Japanese restaurants display their food options outside the restaurant, so you can choose what you want to eat before entering. Maizuru is the place to buy these samples and even some cute food sample souvenirs can be bought, like fake food magnets, keychains etc. Just remember these souvenirs, although pretty cute can get pricey, but this store is definitely worth checking out!
Japan is famous for their knives and therefore it isn’t strange Kappabashi is full of stores selling knives. The most famous store of them all features a giant knife above the store entrance.
This store has been around for 4 generations and they are very specialized. You can get high end knives, but also get a decent deal if you go through the sale box.
Opening hours: 9:00-17:00, opened during the week. Weekends shops might be closed.
Closest Station: Tawaramachi station on the Ginza Line.
English?: Easy English is understood, however little English translation is found.
Header picture: Timeout.com
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Sight in Tokyo
Kappabashi Street, or Kitchen Town is lined with shops that sell restaurant supply goods, dishes, pots, pans, cooking utensils and also stores that sell plastic