Kappabashi Dougu Street, also known as Tokyo’s “Kitchen Town” conveniently sits between crown-magnets of Ueno and Asakusa. Not only is this street valuable for restaurant operators, it’s a great destination for souvenir-hungry tourists!
This time, we head to Kappabashi Dougu Street, which is famously known as Tokyo’s very own “Kitchen Town”. This shopping street runs 800 metres and sells everything that a restaurant needs to operate (except edible food). It is conveniently located between Ueno and Asakusa.
Kappabashi is a very unconventional tourist destination. Arriving to the street early in the morning, the stores have just opened and it’s a fairly peaceful scene.
Shops usually open at 9 o’clock in the morning and close at 5 o’clock in the evening.
There are cutlery, crockery, pans, knives, stoves, lanterns, furniture…
In this 800-metre strip of road, you can find all the equipment and furniture you need to start up your own restaurant.
So how about setting up your own mochi empire? Stores sell traditional Japanese stamp mill and wooden mallet sets for making mochi. Or did you break your red paper lantern? Kappabashi is paper lantern heaven!
Discover perfect gift ideas from Kappabashi’s specialty stores.
Even if you don’t operate a restaurant, there are many bargains for kitchenware in Kappabashi. The prices are much cheaper than big, high-end department stores in places like Ginza and Shinjuku.
However, the cheaper prices of the items are definitely do not indicate bad quality. Many of the things sold here are made to last!
And… “If you can’t find it (kitchenware) in Kappabashi, you probably can’t find it anywhere else in Japan.”
Pick out excellent souvenirs at Kappabashi’s chopstick specialty stores. Some stores are fairly fancy, whereas others are much homier in atmosphere.
Regardless, each of these stores will have their priciest pairs of chopsticks that are priced well over 20,000 yen, but they’ll also stock affordable sets for as low as 200 yen. You can also purchase nifty chopstick rests, with endless selections of shapes and figures to choose from.
There are also a lot of adorable cups and mugs that friends and family are sure to enjoy using.
…but there’s still no food?
Instead, you can admire and drool over all the fake food on display and on sale in this street.
Food sample specialty stores and kitchenware shops dominate Kappabashi Street.
Many stores also have short workshops that allow you to make your own food samples to take home. Using wax and colourants, cook up some flawlessly fried prawn tempura pieces or a plate of exquisite nigiri sushi.
The “Kappa” in Kappabashi
“Kappa” are known to be mythical water demons found in Japanese folklore. They’re usually green in colour and human-like in shape. A plate filled with water sit on their heads. Their favourite food is cucumber.
It is said that kappa are very concerned about politeness. Therefore, if you’re trying to escape from a kappa, bow to them! They’ll undoubtedly bow back to you and the water in the plate on their head will spill out. Once the water spills out of the plate, the kappa will stay paralysed in its bowing position so you can run away. Kappa can move again if the plate is refilled.
This creature is the mascot of Kappabashi, of course!
The Golden Kappa Statue
Kappa are so prized in Kappabashi that in 2003, for the 90th anniversary of the street, a golden Kappa statue dubbed as “Kappa Kotaro” was erected. The peculiar, shiny statue stands around the middle of the street, near Seisuiji Temple.
This gold leaf covered bronze statue offers a fun photo opportunity for visitors too. Check how “Kappa Kotaro” proudly shows off its golden kappa glory behind my friend!
Why not drool over plastic food and embark on the supreme kitchenware shopping spree at Kappabashi? Even though Kappabashi is just minutes away from the tourist-magnets of Ueno, Asakusa and Tokyo Skytree, this place is a great quiet escape from the crowd.
See you next time!
How to get to Kappabashi Street:
Getting to Kappabashi Street is very simple. Take the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and the closest stop will be Tawaramachi Station. It’s a short walk away from the station.
You can use the Tokyo Subway ticket to get to Tawaramachi Station (buy tickets at our Tourist Information Centres or on hisgo here!).
Kappabashi Dougu Street Details:
Opening hours: Depends on store but normally 9:00-17:00
Many stores are closed on Sundays and public holidays
Explore more of Japan’s fake food world!
|Read about our food sample workshop experience in Nagoya: Become a fake food connoisseur|
Book a Food Sample Workshop on hisgo:
Things-to-do in Asakusa:
- Studio Wasabi
- Sushi workshop (Cooking class at Chagohan Tokyo)
- Dressing in Kimono
- Kimono&Jinrikisha combo set