When searching for unique souvenirs in Japan, your options extend beyond traditional trinkets. This time, consider delving into the world of Japanese kitchenware. Tucked away in Tokyo near places like Senso-ji and Sky Tree, Kappabashi stands out with its array of tableware, kitchen utensils, restaurant supplies, and culinary treasures. In this article, we’ll explore what makes Kappabashi a must-visit for culinary enthusiasts. Don’t miss the epic array of plastic display foods!
1. What is Kappabashi?
Stretching nearly a kilometer from north to south between Asakusa and Ueno in Tokyo, Kappabashi is a bustling shopping street housing around 170 stores specializing in various kitchenware genres. Renowned for its high-quality knives, pans, pots, and cooking utensils used by professional chefs, Kappabashi also boasts a captivating selection of incredibly realistic plastic food models (for display cases) and stylish tableware. For international visitors, exploring Kappabashi provides a great starting point to dive into authentic Japanese food culture.
Official Website: Kappabashi
2. History of Kappabashi
“Kappabashi” has intriguing origins, with two theories adding to its mystique. The “raincoat” theory suggests that small samurai and foot soldiers used to make raincoats near a nearby elementary school, drying them on a bridge. Another theory involves “kappa”, or “water sprites.” While the exact origin remains uncertain, Kappabashi’s roots trace back to the early Taisho period when antique tools and kitchen utensils stores flourished along the Shinbori River. Today, Kappabashi stands at the intersection of Japanese history and culture, offering a unique experience for foreign visitors.
What to Buy in Kappabashi and Recommended Stores
Let’s delve into the treasures waiting to be discovered in Kappabashi.
- Pottery: Essential in daily life, Japanese pottery at Kappabashi ranges from small plates for individual servings to large plates ideal for sharing. Your chosen tableware will become an indispensable companion for savoring and enjoying Japanese cuisine. Not to mention, these make incredibly good gifts or souvenirs. Pro tip: some of the dishes you may see can be found at various stores in the area, so try and scout for some that are truly unique to each shop!
Recommended shop: Dengama
- Chopsticks: Deeply rooted in Japanese food culture, chopsticks (hashi) made from various materials, especially wood, are a necessity for enjoying meals. Each pair, crafted from different woods, offers a unique texture, combining beauty and functionality. They also make for popular souvenirs.
Recommended shop: Mikura
- Knives: Japanese kitchen knives were Influenced by Japanese sword culture, Kappabashi’s kitchen knives are revered for their sharpness. In fact, some knife manufacturers have been around for centuries and used to craft Katana for samurai (threres one in Tsukiji!). Indispensable tools for cooking come in various materials like stainless steel, ceramic, and titanium. The knowledgeable staff at speciality stores assist in selecting the perfect knife for your needs.
Recommended shop: Kama-Asa
- Food samples: Kappabashi is home to food samples so realistic that they could be mistaken for the real thing. These intricate samples, found in front of many Japanese restaurant entrances, are available for purchase. You can also explore food sample-themed goods as delightful mementoes of Japan’s culinary culture.
Recommended shop: Ganso Shokuhin Sample-Ya
- Kitchen Stuff/Accessories: Enhance your cooking life with a diverse selection of kitchen goods at Kappabashi. From bowls and plates to coffee mugs, find cute designs and stylish kitchen essentials to showcase your cooking style and make perfect gifts for family and friends.
Recommended shop: Fuwari
The incredibly intricate work put in to craft both utensils and dishes is something you need to be there to see; some of the specialty stores have some profound items fro sale. Adjacent to Asakusa, Kappabashi invites you to enjoy sightseeing in Asakusa and a unique shopping experience for kitchenware. Peruse the official website to discover the variety of stores awaiting exploration. Make your cooking more convenient and authentic by bringing home Japanese kitchenware from Kappabashi!
Japan Wonder Travel Food Tours
Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan.
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are traveling in, our knowledgeable and friendly guides will happily take you to the best spots!
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some help!
▶Tokyo Fish Market Tour @Tsukiji – Enjoy Local Food and Drink
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo where you will have the chance to try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake along with your friendly English speaking guide!
▶Shinjuku Bar Hopping Tour: Experience Tokyo’s Nightlife in Izakaya
Check out the best spots in Shinjuku while bar hopping through the lively and vibrant area. Try some delicious local food and drink as you explore the narrow yet photogenic alleys that the town has to offer. Experience Japanese izakaya culture and drink in Shinjuku like the locals!
▶Kyoto Food and Drink Tour @Nishiki Street
If you’re looking to learn more about the culture and the local cuisine of Kyoto, this is the perfect tour for you! Take part in this Kyoto food and drink tour and explore the 400-year-old market and the surrounding areas.
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