Tokyo Strolls: Kitchenware Town

Like many of you, I’ve been more or less glued to my laptop all day, checking news stories and social media regarding the most recent illegal and immoral actions by the Trump administration. I debated with myself about writing a post on a fairly frivolous topic, but decided in the end that a little diversion would not be a bad thing.


So. You may know that the windows of Japanese restaurants typically have highly realistic plastic models of their menu offerings. Where do they get these objects that combine the edible and the synthetic, you may wonder.


Kappabashi Street, that’s where. This is a part of Tokyo also known as Kitchenware Town.


Here you will find several dozen small restaurant supply stores within a stretch of just a few blocks.


Prominent among these are stores selling models of food that look almost identical to the real thing, at least if you ignore the plastic wrapping. We bought one for each of our sons: a plate of spaghetti and meatballs for Danny, and a plate of stir-fried noodles for David.


Also available as fresh fruit and desserts.


The stores were selling more than just plastic food, however.


They had all the pots and pans you could ask for.


Also many varieties of cookie cutters. I would have bought a kitty or rabbit, but for some reason Judy wasn’t interested.


Here’s a nearby residential side street. Odd to find two-story buildings almost anywhere in Tokyo, a city of incredible density. I would dearly like to know the story behind that “mucho gracias” sign.


And a little alleyway.


Like the coffee cup balconies. The architect was really getting into the spirit of the place.

You can’t spend all your time in gardens, and Kitchenware Town was a fun change of pace. One thing that impressed me was that the area seemed to be dominated by independent merchants – not a big box to be seen. I’ll post a couple more Tokyo strolls before we move on to other cities.


52 Comments on “Tokyo Strolls: Kitchenware Town

  1. P.s….omg….Trump??? I find myself on the verge of a cardiac arrest every time I see his face, his actions have me in a state of total despair! The world seems to be moving backwards!xxx

  2. Oh thank you for the diversion! It was delightful. It is also delightful to be back, I don’t know how I got stranded from your blog or why your last comment went into my spam folder which was a project to find. Plastic food will stump the archeologists… “Mucho” gracias. 🙂

    • That must have been a really fascinating experience for him. Japan is certainly a modern, developed country – but still so different.

  3. I had no idea you could buy those food models! Interesting stroll, with something curious around every corner.

  4. It was lovely to see the ‘real’ Tokyo. Markets are always a favourite followed very closely by kitchen shops!! One of the things I really enjoyed during our time in Charleston two years ago was the kitchen shop!

  5. Lovely to see Kitchenware Town … Not sure how I would feel sipping my coffee on a cup balcony … but it looks like there is something for everyone in Tokyo…. Anything is a nice distraction from the gloomy Trump news…

  6. Wowsa! That plastic food is incredible. And so good to read about something else after the dispiriting events not only of the weekend but also of the past week.

  7. The dishes look so realistic. I had no idea these existed. I know space is at a premium in Japan. Do people grow any plants on their balconies? Are there tiny backyards or no backyards at all for residences on the ground? Are there little pockets of green on the sides of the city streets? While it would seem there would be no room to plant anything there, I’m guessing the vertical green I see to either side in the alleyway photo is intentional…Is it bamboo?

    • They do seem to grow plants in containers both on their balconies and on the streets in front of their houses. I’ll have some pictures of that in future posts.

  8. I would love to be there some time. I am enjoying all that you post about your trip. Judy must not like to bake cookies. ha… It seems to me that although the Japanese seem to be very reserved in many ways they enjoy whimsy as in the kitty and rabbit cookie cutters. I too would like to know what the Grasias sign is all about.
    I have read about an exclusive needle shop in Tokyo. I almost asked you to seek it out and purchase me some needles from there. I knew that would be presumptous but I also know you enjoy fine arts and things other than gardens. They MAKE all the needles there. It is a tiny shop and I wouldn’t have been able to tell you exactly where. I don’t sew all that much but their needles are much sought after in the sewing world. You can order them online but it just wouldn’t be the same as getting them in person even if that person wasn’t me. 😉

  9. Thank you…so many interesting places. I would love to go to the kitchen store!

  10. Huh. Coffee cup balconies–I’ve never seen anything like that before. The fake food brings back memories of working in restaurants and learning about photography of food for home and garden magazines. The fake stuff looks so real.

  11. Between you and Mark&Gaz it has been fun to tour Tokyo virtually this winter. Oh, and the Patient Gardener blog went to Japan in 2016 as well, Funny, I’ve lived here on the west coast all my life and have never felt the urge to visit there, but I think I would do so now if I had the opportunity.

  12. Whatever you do, don’t stop with the “fairly frivolous” topics. They will keep us going in these dire times of depressing news overload. “Mucho gracias.”

  13. Hello Jason, I love kitchen shops and the building with the teacup balconies is so funny! The plastic food in the window of restaurants is typical Japanese and we see it here too. The first time I saw something like that, we came away still wondering whether they were real or not.

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