Given the short stay that we had in Tokyo I wasn’t able to make it to the world famous Tsukiji market. While that was kind of disappointing, I made sure to visit Kappabashi Market, also known as Kitchen Town, a less well known foodie destination.
Most famous for the enormous chef’s head sitting atop the Niimi building, Kappabashi Market is the restaurant and kitchen supply district in Tokyo. The only window I had to stop at Kappabashi was fairly late in the day which meant that all of the stores were closing just as we began strolling past. We saw many shops selling specialty kitchen and restaurant items ranging from tables and chairs to uniforms, custom knives, and every kind of bowl and spoon or other eating implement that you can imagine. It didn’t take long for us to come across the section of shops that sell what usually catches people’s attention at Kappabasi: plastic food models that Japanese restaurants are famous for.
I considered picking something up as a souvenir, but given that these were very high quality models the prices were not cheap. $50 for a delicious looking plastic fish makes sense when you are drawing patrons into your restaurants. Unfortunately $50 is also a little pricey for something that Mrs A|T probably won’t let me display in our living room.
I was almost convinced to pick up one of these thirst inducing fake beer cans. Something like this would look great on my desk at work but I also realized that it looks real enough to get me in trouble.
I did manage to find a kitchen and restaurant supply shop that was open a bit later than everyone else. I managed to pick up a teeny tiny mandolin that I might use for garlic if I ever need to slice up 20 or 30 cloves. The best stuff, however, was the industrial equipment which was far too large to bring home.
As we made our way back to the subway station we passed this nice couple selling charcoal grilled skewers. While the family stopped at a grocery store up the street I sampled a few items which were quickly devoured. I then pretty much ordered one more of everything, secretly hoping that my family would stay in the grocery store long enough for me to eat it all.
Next time I’m in Tokyo I’ll be sure to try getting there earlier in the day so that I can explore all of the little shops.
Directions to Kappabashi Market
The closest metro station is Tawaramachi on the Ginza Line. When you come out of the station head west on Asakusa-dori for 3 blocks and you’ll see the giant Niimi chef’s head. Turn tight and head North to check out all the stores. Shops are open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Most shops are closed on Sundays and public holidays.
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