Translated by Briony Dunbar
Hunt For Cookware in Kappabashi Dougu Street®, Asakusa's Chef District
Buy your cookware here! Check out Kappabashi Dougu Street if you haven't already fully stocked your kitchen!
Written by Ito Kentaro
Let’s walk a little away from near Asakusa, along the Sumida River, past the front of the Kaminarimon Gate and towards Ueno. Right between the areas of Asakusa and Ueno is a shopping district called Kappabashi Dougu Street.
A Street You’ve Seen Before that You Stumble Upon By Chance
When you look at this shopping district, at a glance it looks just like any old shopping district. But if you look around at the rows of shops, you will notice that it’s a bit different from your typical shopping districts. Lined up at the store fronts are…
wooden bowls for serving soba…
…and you can also find mini charcoal grills called shichirin (七輪) that look like something that would be used to serve food at a Japanese inn.
You’ve already realized it, right? This shopping district’s rows of shops mostly deal with tools related to food preparation and cooking!
“I just saw them yesterday during lunch, but to be selling them here…” - it’s kind of a fateful reunion.
Items that Will Broaden Your Imagination
You’ll feel that even the instant ramen you can buy at convenience stores will become more delicious if you eat it from this bowl.
Buying meat and fish from the nearby supermarket and grilling it over this is also cool.
Even the sharpness of Japanese cutlery is fine. It seems that great knives can make cooking even more enjoyable.
There are also many small dishes of various colors and shapes lined up. “Sesame tofu on a pale-blue small plate… I wonder what color plate will make a side dish of spinach look its best?”
Just as people cannot live without clothing, food cannot support itself without tableware. On that note, you can say that tableware is the clothing of food
-Kinsaku hachi no kai ni hitokoto
So said Rosanjin Kitaouji. Which clothing will you put on what kind of food?
Is This Real Sushi? Is it Fake? Kappabashi’s Fake Foods
Even in Kappabashi, which has lots of interesting cookware, what will especially draw your attention is the fake food. Fake food is a sample of a restaurant's dishes, etc., that are made from resin. You’ve probably seen them in the glass fronts of Japanese restaurants. In Kappabashi Dougu Street there are also lots of shops where you can buy fake food.
The level of detail is so high that it could be mistaken for the real thing.
How about saying “I bought home sushi from Japan!” while giving these fake foods to people? Searching for souvenirs while picturing the delighted face of the recipient is fun!
Just Walk. That's Also Enjoyable in Kappabashi
There are lots of things in Kappabashi that you may not have a practical use for, but that you'll want anyway.
Even if you just take a look around not fussing over the stores, it’s still an enjoyable area. If you think something like “I wonder what’s in the next store…” while walking around, before you know it you’ll finally arrive at the end of the avenue.
However, be careful; if your attention is caught by the exquisiteness of the fake food, and your eyes are darting from one thing to another, you’ll find that you get hungry faster than usual!
Kappabashi Dougu Street
Address: Matsugaya Vicinity, Taito-ku, Tokyo,
Opening hours: Varies shop to shop
Regular holidays: Varies shop to shop
Language assistance: Depends on the shop. There are also shops with shop assistants who assist tourists.
Access: JR Yamanote Line・Keihin-tohoku Line Ueno Station, Uguisidani Station, 15 minutes on foot
Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Tawaramachi Station, 5 minutes on foot
Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Iriya Station, 6 minutes on foot/Tsukuba Express "Asakusa Station", 5 minutes on foot
Official Homepage: http://www.kappabashi.or.jp/en/index.html