Kappabashi (Kitchen Town)


Kappabashi (or Kitchen Town as some people call it) is a place in Tokyo near Asakusa that is about 8 city blocks of nothing but restaurant supply stores.  It might sound kind of silly but it's actually kind of cool.  I mean basically if you are running a restaurant it then you can find EVERYTHING you need in Kappabashi.  This is by no means a list of everything that's there but just to give you some idea here are a few pictures I took when I brought my Mom and Grandmother there in April 2001

Bowls, cups, plates and other ceramics. There were probably at least 20 stores of this stuff.  More than you could reasonably look through.

This stores are packed too.  I'd be surprised if they didn't have lots of accidents of people knocking things over once in a while.

Here are containers for dinners and bento and stuff like that.

You need display cases?  4 or 5 stores of them including the real big fancy ones like you'd find in a high class deli (or the ones you find at a Vons or Ralph's or Bristol Farms Deli.

Gotta have chairs to run a restaurant.  Well I guess you don't have to but most restaurants use chairs.

Packages for food.  I wonder if they special order different designs or if you have to use those ones.

More bowls.  I think you can buy them in bulk too although they are fine with buying just one also.

Dorayaki molds (Doraemon's favorite food).  Anko (sweet beans) inside pancakes.  You eat it like you'd eat a Ding Dong except they are usually best hot.

All kinds of Hashi (chopsticks) including places where you can order custom sleeves with your logo or whatever on them.

There were at least a couple of interior design companies as well as exterior design companies

Here's the finished result
Pretty cool

Kushiyaki grills (I think).  Yakitori is a kind of Kushiyaki.  Kind of like small shish kabobs except different foods and different spices and I think it's important to have certain kinds of wood burning below for Kushiyaki to flavor the food.

Gotta have knives.  I'd hate to be in this place during an earthquake.

Lacquerware.  Very important for Japanese style meals.  Rice, miso soup are often served in lacquer bowls and many many foods are delivered on lacquer trays as is home delivered sushi and bento.

If you want a lamp hanging in front of your restaurant there were 3 or 4 stores carrying all kinds

Oden is this *stuff*.  It sits in the things you see in this picture in very hot broth soaking up the flavor.  Mmmm Mmmm Good

Could you really use all those pots and pans?  How do you decide which one to buy?  Should I get the 50 cm pot or the 51 cm pot?

Of course for real Japanese style dining you need pillows since you sit on the floor.  I don't mind that but I prefer when the floor is raised and there's a hole under the table so you can sit up in a more normal position

Okay I thought we covered the pots and pans in the last 3 pots and pans stores but I guess there's always room for more.

Ribbons.  I'm not sure exactly how this relates to restaurants.  I guess it's for wrapping cake boxes for take home and stuff like that.

Uniforms of every shape and embarrassing design.  Yes, I did see some uniforms like the Hot Dog on a Stick uniforms.

Yep, uniforms.  At least 4 stores of them

Need a sign?  There where 3 or 4 sign stores.  Spinning signs, lit signs, neon signs, digital programmable L.E.D. signs with animated ads.

This is a rack for delivering soups and noodles.  It mounts on the back of a scooter and keeps the soup from spilling (or at least mostly)

Menu racks to put your menu out in front of your restaurant for passersby to check out.

Running a bar? I suspect you are going to need bar stools.

A store of industrial stoves of various sizes including specialized ones for special kinds of pots. There was also an industrial sink store. 

Here's a store that sells nothing but strainers. I had no idea there were so many kinds.  This strikes me as kind of like the Scotch tape store on SNL but at least you might go out of your way for a special kind of strainer.

Running a sushi restaurant?  You need one of these cases to store your fish for everyone to see.

Takoyaki molds.  Takoyaki is small dumpings with chucks of Octopus.  It's good stuff.  You pour the batter into this mold and then poke around at it with a toothpick turning each dumping over and over till it cooks.

Towels in bulk.  I never really thought about buying 50 towels but I guess if you are running a restaurant you might need this.

There's a lot of stuff I should have taken pictures of but I didn't.  For example, Pots large enough to climb into. Industrial candy making machines.  Giant bakery sized mixers for making lots of dough.  There are even a few stores of food supplies.  Mostly spices and other things you buy in bulk and use over a longer period.

If you want to go it's a ten minute walk from Asakusa.  Just ask a policeman or somebody at the subway station for direction. 😉


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