Shopping on Kappabashi Street was a highlight of our visit to Tokyo. This Tokyo street is a mandatory destination for anybody who loves food as much as we do and a great spot to shop for Tokyo souvenirs.
A large, mustached chef atop a corner building welcomed us to Kappabashi Street Tokyo – an extraordinary shopping mecca in Tokyo where tourists, home cooks and chefs shop for all kinds of pottery, kitchen tools and gadgets. You name it and it’s here on this famous Japan street, from cutlery to chopsticks to skewers to Japanese kitchen knives. The choices abound with a myriad of colors, shapes and unique Japanese flair.
Kappabashi Street is well known throughout Tokyo. The street even has its own mascot called Kappa which you will see if you visit the Monster Cafe Harajuku. Once we heard about this themed Tokyo kitchen street, a visit was a must. Since we couldn’t take home ramen, soba or even sushi, we needed to buy some souvenirs of our time in Tokyo. After touring nearby Sensoji Temple, we walked straight to Kappabashi Street, or Kappabashi Dori as it is called in Tokyo. (Note, Kappabashi Street is also near popular Asakusa Temple if you’re coming from that direction.)
We loved strolling along the famous street, perusing the 150+ shops filled with everything and anything for the home kitchen and restaurant. The variety and selection are truly overwhelming, making this the best Tokyo shopping district and a great spot to buy Tokyo souvenirs. Seriously, we could have shopped here all day without getting bored.
What to Buy on Kappabashi Street
The selection of Tokyo pottery on Kappabashi Street is overwhelming but in a good way. It would be impossible to walk down this kitchen theme street without finding at least one piece to buy. The only challenge is to decide what to buy because there is so much beautiful pottery available at reasonable prices. In other words, you should plan to buy several pieces of pottery.
As for us, we bought a few special pieces at Tousyougama, a shop that stood out to us for its distinctive style of pottery and its wide selection. This shop is a bit more expensive than many of the Kappabashi ceramics shops scattered along the street, but this is because their pieces are of a higher quality. We especially love the sake set that we bought for ourselves here, and the other pieces made excellent gifts. Be sure to check out this shop if you’re wondering where to buy ceramics in Tokyo.
If you’re wondering where to buy chopsticks in Tokyo, there are lots of chopsticks for sale on Kappabashi Street. They are available in lots of colors, and the prices are very reasonable.
In fact, there are walls of chopsticks. Just walk into any store on Kappabashi Street and you will likely find chopsticks. If you don’t see them, just look up or ask for assistance.
Interestingly, you can buy all types of fake food intended for restaurants to use for enticing customers with visual examples. We were intrigued by the diversity (sushi, spaghetti, sundaes, etc.) of plastic food samples not to mention the high prices for this faux food. Though we almost bought a gag gift for Daryl’s brother Lou, we didn’t pull the trigger because it turns out that Japanese plastic food is surprisingly expensive. Who knew?!
Some Kappabashi stores cater to caterers with all kinds of Japanese utensils and serving pieces. These pieces are lightweight should you want to buy something spruce up your next party.
Other shops specialize in Japanese cookware. We were tempted to buy our very own takoyaki maker, but we passed because we knew that carrying something so heavy halfway around the world didn’t make sense. In retrospect, we wish we bought one so that we could cook fried octopus balls at home in Philadelphia. Now wouldn’t that be fun!
Japanese Knife Shopping on Kappabashi Street
The best part of Kappabashi Street, at least for us, is the street’s excellent Japanese knife selection. Buying a Japanese chef’s knife was a priority for our first trip to Tokyo, and we didn’t want to buy an overpriced knife at a tourist trap store. We looked at some markets and stores first but decided to make the big purchase on Kappabashi Street, the best place to buy knives in Tokyo.
Once we walked through the door, we knew right away that Kappabashi knife shop Kama-Asa was the real deal. Apparently, it’s the oldest Tokyo kitchen utensil store. The store’s service is excellent with an English-speaking sales representative, and the Japanese chef knife selection is both plentiful and reasonably priced. As a bonus, Kama-Asa has a small selection of knives specifically designed for left-handed people which appealed to us since Daryl is left-handed. Though this priority limited our options, we found a stylish ambidextrous knife for a fair price. If you’re wondering what to buy in Tokyo, this is the place to go for Kappabashi knives.
Once we made our Japanese knife purchase, the Kappabashi knife store’s on-site artisan engraved Daryl’s name on the knife. The artisan engraved the name with Japanese letters, making the knife a wonderful Tokyo souvenir in addition to a functional Japanese kitchen knife. Trust us, buying Kappabashi Street knives in Tokyo is a must. This is something that you can’t do at home for the same price.
Our only regret is just buying just one knife. Next time, we will return to this lively Tokyo kitchen district and buy another Japanese chef knife. Maybe we’ll even have it engraved with Mindi’s name.
Hungry for more? Check out our article about Tokyo’s Ramen Street.
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