A visit to Kitchen Town (Kappabashi)

March 24, 2018

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.

If you see the big chef, you know you’re in the right spot.

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.

Medium fatty tuna, fatty tuna, sweet shrimp. Background – red miso soup.

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).

Japan, land of convenience. Lockers around every station.

I knew I wanted to buy a lot of stuff so I put a big backpack in a coin locker, and went exploring.

Looking around for knives

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.

Randomly chosen Japanese chef knife in use in the kitchen – it is very sharp

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.

Knife shop

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.

What I mean by pot strainer – a strainer you can basically rest in your pot. Easy.

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.

<3 Rice cooker. Still have to get my hands on a proper one.

 

Kitchen Town is awesome. I loved my visit and I am sure I will be back for more.

Here are some more photos.

Do you ever wonder where they sell the fake food that you sometimes see in front of Japanese restaurants? It’s right here in Kappabashi.

 

Kitchen Town’s mascot.

 

Coffee break – cute!

 

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.

 

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