Kappabashi Street


I can’t let you leave Tokyo without going to Kappabashi Street. Even if you’re not a big foodie, the kitchenware district is filled with all kinds of entertaining things, including stores that sell those amazingly realistic food models you see outside Japanese restaurants.

The stores lining Kappabashi Street sell everything from super-realistic food models (including the best refrigerator magnets and clocks of all time) to gigantic rice cookers, branding irons for little traditional cakes, rice molds that look like bullet trains, vases, iron kettles shaped like cats, banners advertising food shops, and more.

Fridge magnets, keychains, clocks and smaller food models make great gifts

With a little advance planning you can go to a workshop and make some plastic food. Or you can buy kits to take home and DIY.

Making lettuce at the plastic food workshop
At the Ganso Shop they sell kits to make everything from beer to bowls of ramen

Here are some of the things we’ll see on Kappabashi-dori as we walk from Tawara-machi station

On the right hand side of the street:

•Handmade ceramic dishes and serving plates

A thousand kinds of rice bowls

•Monster bales of chopsticks and other disposables

•Super-realistic plastic food model shops

Everything from mugs of beer to ice cream cones
Knife stores, selling those ultra-sharp Japanese knives made by former swordsmiths.

Let’s cross over and walk back on the other side of the street:

Shops specializing in handmade ceramic dishes, serving plates, teapots and more
Lacquer soup bowls, of every shape and color

•Specialized Japanese cooking pots, pans, and bakeware stores

These are festival-size rice steamers. Stacks of them sit on kerosene stoves at festivals and serve up Costco-size portions of steamed rice.
Wooden food molds, handcarved the old-fashioned way.
Noren stores sell dyed cloth door curtains and advertising banners, perfect for dorm room walls
You can find iron teapots of all sizes, including these nyantasic models.
You can find iron teapots of all sizes, including these nyantasic models.

Most stores open from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Some stores are closed on the weekends


As we turn the corner and go back the way we came, let’s cross over to the other side of the street. We’ll pass a few funeral goods stores filled with wooden Shinto shrines, Buddhist home altars, gold temple chandeliers, Buddhist rosaries, incense, and religious statues.

Everything for the home altar

But before we get back to Tawara-machi Station, let’s stop and see the Rakugo Shrine. Rakugo is traditional Japanese comic storytelling, with a long history of wandering actors entertaining the townsfolk of yore. But during WWI, fifty-three of the most famous rakugo stories were entombed at this shrine forever.

The names carved in red on the wall outside the rakugo shrine are the stage names of famous rakugo performers from yesteryear. Let’s go in and read about why the 53 stories have never been performed since.


While you’re in Japan, read a novel set in Tokyo!

The #1 hostboy at Club Nova makes a handsome living, whispering sweet nothings in the ears of women who pay him a fortune for the privilege. But the party’s over when Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura is assigned to investigate the death of…read more