Mexico City, Mexico
March 25, 2002
Kappabashi dori is where you head to in Tokyo if you are planning to open a
restaurant. In this street you can literally buy anything you may ever need to
set up a restaurant or an advanced kitchen.
From a tourist’s perspective, the most interesting stores are those selling
the plastic models of food that are often displayed outside restaurants in Tokyo.
These models resemble the food available in restaurants to the finest detail -
it is hard to work out whether the restaurants first buy the display and then
decide how to present the food or the other way round. Both methods are
used but to have a special model made of your presentation of course
demands a premium. In such a case a restaurant has its dishes prepared and
photographed and exact plastic replicas are made for the display window. These
plastic food displays make cute souvenirs but are not cheap - the quality of
craftsmanship is high and so is the quality of the materials, as some will be
displayed in the sun behind glass for years to come.
Apart from the plastic food several shops here also sell real food and
especially sauces and condiments. It is also possible to buy cooking instruments
of a wide variety and obscure purpose of all sizes and qualities. Larger items
such as cookers, display cases, fridges and even restaurant furniture are also
on sale. Many stores have odds and ends of sets of plates and other porcelain
and ceramic wares on sale at knockdown prices - wares displayed outside the shop
on makeshift tables are a good indication that a bargain is to be had should you
be willing to settle for 5 plates in stead of 6, etc. (In Japan 4 and its
multiples (8 & 12) are associated with death so it is rare to see sets of 4
or 12 of anything. Giving someone a gift of 4 items is an easy way to end the
Kappabashi Dori is close to Asakusa and is often done as a side trip to Asakusa Kannon / Sensoji
Temple. The closest subway station on the Ginza line is Tawaramachi,
but walking from Asakusa would probably be faster than taking the train. It is
two stops from Ueno and again walking wouldn’t be much slower but the road is
fairly boring. Several Tokyo guidebooks erroneously describe Kappabashi as the
road in which the Asakusa View Hotel and Rox building are located - this is in
fact Kokusai dori and if you follow this advice you’ll go home disappointed!
Kappabashi dori is the next major road about 200 m further away from Asakusa.
From journal Tokyo - bargain shopping and dining