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The World's Largest Cookware Market - Kappabashi-Dori in Tokyo

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Easily the largest place on earth to buy cookware and restaurant equipment, this huge street in the Asakusa district of Toyko got me busy for an entire day.

There are over 80,000 restaurants in Tokyo and they all buy most of their cookware and kitchen equipment from this alley in Asakusa, one of the capital's neighborhoods.

A short walk from Asakusa's subway, train and boat station, the market is well marked on the many neighborhood maps. It is not really a market but rather a shopping street devoted exclusively, but really exclusively, to cookware and restaurant equipment.

You can spend a day roaming through the more than 150 shops on either side of the street. Paris' many cookware shops are provincial and diminutive compared to Kappabashi-Dori, where some individual shops are twice the size of Dehillerin.

All shops sell to individuals, including passionate foreign home chefs like me. Prices are fixed although you can ask for a discount. Click to enlarge.

This shop sells restaurant stationery in Japanese.

Some shops are specialized in single-dish-restaurants equipments, like this shop above selling all you need to make soba noodles from scratch and by hand. They don't sell anything else.

Japanese china is sold in several shops on this street. Click to enlarge!

A curious combination - premium charcoal for Yakitori joints and a rather impressive wooden mortar and pestle for pounding cooked rice to make mochi cakes. Not very airplane-friendly.

A shop selling Japanese cutlery with an English-speaking owner. I bought him a huge soba noodles knife.

All sorts of signs for restaurateurs of all tastes.

I could not be certain of the sort of dishes many of the cookware I saw turned out. But the Japanese are keen on European culinary culture and I saw some of the highest-quality equipment used in European kitchens:

A very comprehensive range of high-quality professional cookware for French pastry. Check out the copper bowls for beaten egg whites and the Swiss-made chocolate tempering machine (top right)!

This particular shop even had a wall full of alsatian clay kougelhopf molds which I couldn't find anywhere in Paris.

Another shop sold hundreds of cookie cutter - those Japanese sure like European pastry. Click on the image to enlarge - quite impressive.

One of several shops offering the ubiquitous plastic model of japanese dishes usually displayed in restaurant windows. A real favorite with tourists this one. I bought a fried noodle plastic dish to use as a stand-in in food photography.



  • #1
  • Comment by bm
Bonnes photos, interessant, mme en anglais bravo  bm
  • #2
  • Comment by Erita
I love the photos!!!!
  • #3
  • Comment by megumi
Wow, I really love your site! And I was just looking for takoyaki pan... Do you know how to get it? I miss so much takoyaki, living in Spain...big hug megumi
  • #4
  • Comment by suresh krishnan
I want to know where I can buy a TAKOYAKI PAN with different sizes.Is it available in singapore or a representative for distributor.
  • #5
  • Comment by alex  tran
  • #6
  • Comment by Mary
I have read some of your articles today and I have to say they are great!!! I specially liked this one,and I loved the pictures (an image says more than 1000 words!). Coming from such a different culture than the Japanese, I find it fascinating.
  • #7
  • Answered by fx
Indeed pictures of a market give a much better idea of what's there than words. The light was quite good on that day and it helped! Hope you get to visit this intriguing market one day.
  • #8
  • Comment by scott
I was there today and bought the three basic knives for my daughter (I'm a lefty and have to stick with my 40yr. old Wusthof's). Love your site.
  • #9
  • Answered by fx
Thanks a lot Scott, I am sure your daughter will keep the knives you have brought her back from Tokyo for many years!
  • #10
  • Comment by pratibha Singh
Hey, I am planning to visit the kappabashi district on tuesday and I will have only that day to browse. Could you let me know the name of the knife shop and how to get there as well as the shop with all the cookie cutters. I am currently in India and would appreciate this help. Thanks
  • #11
  • Comment by Shannon
Hi, I love the photos and info I am planning to visit kappabashi street next week and I will have only one day to browse which is monday. Could you let me know the name of the knife shop and how to get there also any other knife shops I am looking for damascus steel chef's knives. I would appreciate your help. Thanks
  • #12
  • Answered by fx
Shannon, I don't remember the name of the knife shop, but when you come from the river, stay on the side of the Kappabashi Dori street closest to the river and turn right, after a couple blocks you'll see a sign in English that says 'Knives', then turn right and the shop is right around the corner.
  • #13
  • Comment by karin
wow ! I can't wait to go shopping there !!!! great site , thank you !
  • #14
  • Answered by fx
Karin, I hope you make it to Kappabashi Dori, it's a thrilling place for the food enthusiast!
  • #15
  • Comment by Aditio
For me this is really helps. Thank you I like very much your article. If you make another article about the office supplies center in japan or japan fish center for hobbiest ot other .... center in japan. Would yuo let me know thank you
  • #16
  • Comment by JoAnna Douglas
I am about to open a Japanese Restaraunt and need to ask you to please send me a catalog with all info possibly needed. Looking forward to doing business with you. Please contact me.
Thank you.
  • #17
  • Comment by CkFusionist
wah , the mecca of cookwares man....would love to spend a day or so around there hehehe
  • FX's answer→ I just spent two days roaming this market last month and it is really as gorgeous as it looks!

  • #19
  • Comment by Bruce
Bonjour,  Francois-Xavier!  Firstly, a huge CONGRATULATIONS on your website, I'm truly impressed!! (and it takes a lot to impress me..). I feel so lucky to have discovered it, and am really looking forward to exploring it further, it's genuinely inspiring!  You should be very proud!

like your website, I discovered Kappabashi essentially by good luck when in Tokyo a few months ago, and was SO pleased I did -  a Boulevarde of Heaven for Cooks!!  I only had an hour or two to explore,  and your photos have made me determined to go back there and explore more thoroughly. Good job, thanks for these!

Did you visit Kyoto? If you ever go there, you MUST visit Nishiki food market in central Kyoto. It almost makes me cry (with joy!) to remember it, such a range of fresh, superb quality produce, all so beautifully presented. My partner loved it so much she rated it one of our "Top Five Best" food experiences in Japan -  given the Japanese peoples' respect and skill in all matters culinary, that's a high compliment indeed!  And a compliment I echo!!

Kindest regards    
  • FX's answer→ Bruce, thanks for your kind words! Yes of course I visited Nishik market three times, you can see my long article about it by clicking on Japan in the keywords list of this here article. Great place too, I actually slept in a ryokan in the market!

  • #21
  • Comment by VIRIDIANA
  • #22
  • Comment by lorena
agradeceria si por favor podes ayudarme a encontrar un contacto para poder comprar la comida plastica desde argentina, muchas garcias! saludos! lorena
  • #23
  • Comment by bwitt
Thank you for posting the pictures.  I have been to Tokyo numerous times and heard of the street but never had the opportunity to visit.  Next time I go I will.
  • #24
  • Comment by em
Thank you for your site. The pictures give me lovely memories. We spent an afternoon truly amazed at the variety of culinary items but did not allow enough time to see more than one-quarter of what was there. It is so easy to spend so much. Thanks you again.
Great article and photos. I had been to Kappabashi a couple of years ago, but was not alone and rushed through. I will be in Tokyo next week, and intend to repeat my visit at leisure. Your article has encouraged me to do so.

I was so impressed by the Swiss chocolate tempering machine. I have found tempering chocolate a difficult, time consuming task. So naturally the Swiss have a solution...
  • FX's answer→ This is the best place to buy cookware in the whole world bar none!

  • #27
  • Comment by tracey
I can't wait to go there in April. Do u remember the name of the shop that has the copper bowls for egg whtes and french pastry equipment or where it is on kappabashi dori?
  • FX's answer→ Ah no the shop names escape me sorry. Hope you went and had a good time!

  • #29
  • Comment by Bernadette
Love your article and big help for me.
But would you know or remember a shop/s that sells Takoyaki pan?
  • FX's answer→ No worry Bernadette, every other shop in Kappabashi-Dori sells all sorts of Takoyaki pans. Finding one there is about as hard as locating a Starbucks Coffee in Brooklyn!

  • #31
  • Comment by Tom
Can I buy Japanese china bowls from Kappabashi-Dori over the internet and have them shipped to the UK?

Text-only version printed from http://FXcuisine.com/default.asp?Display=33 - visit the online version to see many gorgeous pictures of this recipe!
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