Kappabashi, or “Kitchen Town”, in Tokyo’s Taito district is a haven for anyone looking for kitchenware or anything cooking related with a mind boggling selection of items to purchase across over 170 stores along the 800 metre street (and side streets).
The area is not at all touristy. While the occasional tourist can be spotted wandering about, it’s more common to see people in their chef whites browsing through the aisles. It’s very much an area aimed at locals and those in the restaurant industry, and everything related to cooking can be found here, from cutlery, saucepans and utensils to fake plastic food samples, hand crafted Japanese knives and heavy duty commercial kitchen equipment.
The Kappa is a mythical creature who has been adopted as the mascot for the area. Whether or not the name of the street comes from this creature is unsettled. and there are a few different theories floating about, however it makes for a good story so those in charge or promoting the area have run with it.
Most of Kappabashi’s stores aren’t fancy. It’s all about fitting in as much as possible. While it’s true that there’s repetition amongst what’s available at many of the stores, every store has some things that aren’t found at others and it’s well worth browsing through several of them. The store below was 4 stories tall, with each level packed to the brim.
I didn’t see these kinds of buses anywhere else in Tokyo however they weren’t uncommon in the Taito district. Very unique and full of character.
This shop was quite overpriced compared to others in the area, but I had to have a look, being incited by the robot out front.
This shop was dedicated solely to plates and cutlery.
This was one of my favourite shops in Kappabashi. 6 levels dedicated completely to coffee equipment. They had an amazing range of modern and vintage coffee equipment and it was very well priced. I purchased a Hario Syphon (the TCA-3 if you’re curious) for about a quarter of what it would have cost me in Australia.
The cold drip filter in the centre was over a metre tall. I didn’t even know it was possible to get them that big.
Kappabashi isn’t on the standard Tokyo tourist trail but for anyone with even a passing interest in cooking it’s well worth a visit. A couple of hours can easily be whiled away browsing through all of the shops and it’s unlikely you’ll leave without finding something worth buying.