Neighbourhood crawl: Kappabashi Dori, Tokyo

Kappabashi is popularly known as Tokyo’s ‘kitchen-town’ and is truly a place with shitamachi (old-school downtown) flavour. There are dozens of shops lined along Kappabashi Dori selling kitchenware and anything and everything you need to start up a restaurant – think specialty shops offering plastic food, blackboards and menus, chef knives, yakitori grills, chef uniforms and large ice cream cone fixtures, to name a few. Even if you just love to cook, this street will drive you wild – this is, by a mile, my favourite place in Tokyo and I can spend as much as half a day here each visit.

A day after last Friday’s earthquake, I hurried down to Kappabashi Street, concerned how the store owners and their wares were keeping. I had just been to Mashiko the day before the earthquake stuck and read that many of the stores and museums had suffered substantial damage.

At Kappabashi, business was as usual on Saturday for most stores. While some reported minimal damage to goods, thankfully, most had escaped unscathed. I highly recommend this wonderful stretch of shops just one station away from Asakusa if you are thinking of setting up a restaurant or cafe, love cooking or simply want to marvel at the many offerings on display – one of the most meaningful and fulfilling ways spend an afternoon, in my opinion!

Nearest train station: Tarawamachi Station on the Ginza Line, exit 3.

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