For those who love both cooking and shopping, a visit to Tokyo’s Kappabashi Dori aka Kitchen Town is a must.
Located between Ueno and Asakusa – just 10 minutes’ walk west from Senso-ji (temple) – this stretch of road is lined with dozens of shops selling everything a restaurant could need, except for the food!
Alongside a huge array of stoves, rice cookers, grills, pots, pans and cooking utensils you’ll find plenty of covetable tableware, including beautiful pottery, lacquerware and bamboo items, and a great choice of chop sticks and chop stick rests.
You’ll also be able to browse for decorative items such as lanterns, noren (the fabric dividers hung in doorways throughout Japan) and table linen. There’s even an Americana store for themed bars and diners!
A few shops specialise in sampuru, the surprisingly realistic plastic models of food that many restaurants display in the window to showcase their menu, but be warned, these are surprisingly expensive! Restaurants buy sampuru to represent their best dishes, but as a tourists you will probably opt for an individual piece of sushi, or one of the other small items that are more affordable.
You can purchase practical items such as high quality Japanese knives, or more quirky objects such as unusually shaped vegetable and cookie cutters or wagashi (sweet) moulds.
Coffee fanatics are catered for by a large corner store stocking everything from large and very expensive barista machines to individual roasters, grinders and pour over devices – the indie coffee scene is huge in Tokyo.
At less than a kilometre long, you’ll be surprised at how much time (and money) some of us can while away browsing Tokyo’s Kitchen Town!