Kappabashi Kitchen Town, Tokyo, is a cook’s shopping paradise. There are over 180 cooking, kitchen, and restaurant supply stores extended over six blocks. Here even the kitchen sink is for sale – every pot and pan, serving dish, utensil, kitchen appliance that a cook can imagine. Kappabashi is located between Ueno and Asakusa, so you can combine it with a temple or museum visit and have an exhausting but wonderful day!.
Our other favorite Tokyo Area Dish Stores include;
Tenpos Buster (Shinjuku) – a 2nd hand wholesaler of dishes and kitchen items from restaurants that have closed. If you are looking for volume, this is the place.
Dirty Dish (Kanagawa) – A dish wholesaler in Kanagawa-ken with a 40% discount and a vast variety. About a 30 min drive from downtown Tokyo via car.
Takumi (Ginza) – a beautiful store which lovely ceramics from all over Japan
The History of Kappabashi
Kappabashi is relatively quiet during the week, and you can navigate and take time viewing all the items from 9:00 – 17:00. Saturday is very busy and crowded; about 90% of the stores are open. Try not to go on Sunday when very few stores are open.
Merchants started gathering in Kappabashi around 1912, selling tools and hardware items. Wikipedia notes: The street’s name is believed to come from either the kappa (raincoats) of nearby residents which were hung out to dry on the bridge, or from a merchant named Kihachi Kappaya, who funded the project to build Shinhorikawa River for water management. However, due to the homophone with the popular mythical creature, Kappa, the shops along the street have officially adopted the kappa as their mascot. Images of Kappa frequently appear in the area, from merchandise to displays, even on websites about the district.
To 10 Items to Buy in Kappabashi Kitchen Town
My top 10 items to buy and things to do in Kappabashi Kitchen Town are:
- Knives – get them engraved in 1-2 hours and give as gifts
- Japanese pottery – ideal for everyday eating or gifts
- Bamboo baskets and trays
- Cake decoration in bulk size – sprinkles and food coloring
- Cookie cutters – every shape imaginable in Japanese and foreign themes
- Chopsticks – simple or engraved
- Branding irons with cute motifs – fun to make designs on tofu or other food
- Japanese iron pots and pans – they last forever!
- Sample food making at Ganso
- Break at the Bridge Coffee and Ice-cream Shop (3-1-12 Matsugaya, Taito-ku) – a great stop when you are waiting for your knives to be engraved.