How to enjoy Kappabashi
There are 170 shops spanning a distance of approximately 800 meters which sell anything having to do with cooking.
The Western tableware store, Niimi, has a huge model of a cook at the entrance to the street which has become a landmark. The store itself has amassed just about everything that has to do with cooking including Western and Japanese tableware, bar utensils, cookware and bakeware. At Kama-Asa Shoten, which deals in knives and Nambu ironware, there are English explanations for the knives, and there is also a name engraving service for purchasers in which their names are converted into kanji. Nambu ironware kettles have the ability to rid water of any chlorides which brings a mellow quality and therefore makes tea taste better.
The famous plastic display foods of Kappabashi
Iwasaki Be-I, the original store for plastic food samples, has a giant rhinoceros beetle as its logo. The store deals in samples that are specific to Japanese culture. You can also create your own samples (reservations necessary). As it has been for ages, the material is wax. Through very fine temperature control, the wax goes from liquid to solid as it gains its final impressive appearance. Keyholders and straps are popular as souvenirs.
The name “Kappabashi” apparently derives from a story about Kappa sprites living in the nearby Sumida River. It was once said that the Kappa were water deities who often saved the commercial area from flooding. In fact, the statue of Kappa Kawataro is the area symbol which is also a marvelous spot for taking a picture. It’s fun to walk around and search for the other Kappa in the neighborhood. Along with the fine quality of the specialized shops geared toward professional chefs, it’s also worthy to note that many of them are closed on weekends and holidays. On Saturdays, 90% of them are closed while that rate is 30% on Sundays. Even on weekdays, most stores are only open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Moreover, since there are few restaurants on Japan’s No. 1 kitchen goods street, it is better to head for either Ueno or Asakusa on foot if you really want to eat.