On a recent trip to Japan, I combined my newfound obsession with cooking with a not-so-common touristic destination.
Kappabashi or “Kitchen town” is a street lined with cooking-related stores. It is said that if you can’t find it in Kappabashi, you can’t find it anywhere.
You can basically start a restaurant with what you can buy there. No kidding – it’s not just knives and pots and pans – it’s racks, machines, signs, menus and just about everything you can think of.
When I came to Kappabashi I first went for a sushi lunch in nearby Asakusa. This touristy neighborhood is probably the first place that many people to go in Tokyo because of Senso-Ji.
The place was quite expensive but it was also pretty great in terms of quality. You know you’re in the right spot if you think there is a God right after eating a piece of chūtoro (中とろ) [medium fatty tuna].
Now, on to Kappabashi itself.
Looking through the pictures of my visit, I don’t actually have a lot of good ones, since most of the time there was spent looking through small shops with limited room to move (and thus to photograph).
I knew I wanted to buy a lot of stuff so I put a big backpack in a coin locker, and went exploring.
One of my goals was to find a sharp Japanese common chef knife (referred to as houchou in Japanese – kanji: 包丁). I had no clue what to buy so I just went for a reasonably-priced, good looking one.
I did test it with a piece of paper to see if it was actually sharp – Alex-style.
After looking through 50%+ of Kappabashi I found a store smart enough to hire an English-speaking person to assist me – which is where I bought some additional utility knives.
Next to my knife mission I was looking to buy a pot strainer (after seeing this genius object in cooking class), a Japanese pan meant for eggs, and a few other miscellaneous kitchen items.
After an afternooon of shopping I returned to my AirBnB with a bag full of stuff. To transport it carefully back to Belgium I got some duct tape, boxes etc. from Tokyu Hands.
Oh, and a sidenote – Checking in knives on an airplane was no problem – just make sure they are in your checked luggage.
I made plans to buy a rice cooker but ultimately decided that I should buy it at the airport. To then discover that the airport only sold poor, overpriced rice cookers.
Kitchen Town is awesome. I loved my visit and I am sure I will be back for more.
Here are some more photos.
To get to Kappabashi, take the Ginza line and stop at G18 – Tawaramachi. It is also a close walk from the central touristy part of Asakusa.