Japanese food models and kitchen supplies at Kappabashi
Every district in Tokyo has its unique charm.
Kappabashi is known to be the playground for chefs, restaurant owners and hobby cooks, delivering various kitchen utensils, masses of tableware and cooking apparatus one can only imagine.
Here, you can find many shops with sampuru, the Japanese term for replica display food, actually derived from the English word sample.
Some shops feel like a huge supermarket full of fake food. I always thought they were made of plastic but many are actually made of wax!
So many dishes, from tiny soy sauce bowls to huge platters. A great place for souvenirs, to have a peek at Japanese home cooking gadgets and professional restaurant equipment.
The main Kappabashi street is full of shops with crockery, pots, pans, beautiful tableware, lacquerware, bamboo cooking items, chopsticks, knifes, trays, bowls, bento box equipment… all the gear that makes Japan the leading culinary country in the world.
There are many shops with food models in Kappabashi but Maiduru is an institution and the most popular shop for replicas. They have two branches on Kappabashi street.
Japanese trendsetter, singer and model Kyaru Pamyu Pamyu has been shopping for a gigantic lobster model here. Or so it seems.
Ganso is the other great place to shop for food models. This is the hidden location, where we made some cool Japanese food models! And they sell some fantastic DIY kits, to create some yummy dishes at home.
Here is our hands-on experience at Ganso.
How to get to Kappabashi
To get the most out of the mecca of food models and kitchen utensils, look out for its landmark and start discovering from here. The genormous chef head!
Take exit 3 at Tawaramachi Station on the Ginza Line. On the corner of Asakusa Dori and Kokusai Dori, turn around and walk west along Asakusa Dori (away from Asakusa, towards Ueno). At the second traffic lights, turn right onto the main street of Kappabashi Dori. You should be able to spot the chef’s head on top of a building at the end of the street.
The giant chef’s head and tea cup balconies, adorning the opposite building, form a sort of entrance and make for a good starting point to explore Kappabashi.
What is Kappa
Kappa is a part of Shinto folklore and translates to river child. It generally describes a mischievous water creature.
Kappa take the appearance of a reptilian humanoid and are believed to pull harmless to deadly pranks on people, however, when befriended they can be a person’s faithful helper.
Adopted by the merchants of Kappabashi as their street mascot, images of kappa appear frequently in the area.
I still can’t really believe it, but I am actually treasuring this sweet ice cream model we spotted in Kappabashi. After a long and crazy Halloween night in Tokyo, the cool plastic treat magically came into my possession.
There are more surprises. Who would have thought, even spooky Munch made it to Kappabashi!
Whatever you do – no eating, just looking! Tempting but fake – the shabu shabu hot pot plate.
If you like to know, this is how we ate shabu shabu in Taiwan!