Kappabashi Kitchen and Restaurant Ware Street is about 800 m long and runs north and south through the middle of Asakusa and Ueno. Japan's largest kitchenware street, it's the place where professional chefs and restaurant owners go to find what they need. The more than 170 stores that line the street feature tableware, cooking utensils, ingredients, wrapping, kitchen equipment, show cases, and signboards for Japanese, Western, and Chinese cuisine. This is one of the few shopping streets in the world where you can find everything that has anything to do with food. This street began when dealers handling secondhand articles opened shop here in the Taisho Period (1912-1926). Along with the restoration after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, stores handling confectionary utensils started opening here, expanding their business in response to the growing food service industry in and after the 1940s.
Two stories are told about how this area came to be named Kappabashi. Some say that samurai hung their rainwear (kappa) to dry on a bridge in the area, and others say that water sprites (also kappa) lived here. About 180 years ago, Kawataro Kappa (real name: Kihachi Kappaya) paid to have ditches put in to improve the drainage in this area. The water sprites, so it is said, were moved by Kawataro's efforts and appeared at night to help with the construction. It is also said that the fortunes of people who saw the water sprites working at night changed for the better and their businesses flourished.
Retaining the flavor of old downtown Tokyo, Kappabashi Kitchen and Restaurant Ware Street has supported fine dining for over 100 years. To commemorate its 90th anniversary in 2003, a statue of Kappa Kawataro was erected as a symbol of the street's thriving business. Overseas guidebooks have also written about Kappbashi, and many tourists from overseas visit to get a firsthand look at this show of unique Japanese culture, including handmade Japanese-style knives by master craftsmen, and model foods for restaurant showcases that are hard to distinguish from the real foods they are modeled after. This unique Tokyo attraction is a popular sightseeing spot where even people who don't like cooking find themselves unable to tear themselves away.
- 3-18-2 Matsugaya, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 111-0036
- Different for each store *9:00 AM - 5:00 PM except some stores
- Different for each store *Most stores are open on weekdays.
About 90% stores are open on Saturdays.
About 30% stores are open on Sundays and national holidays.
Information accurate as of November 29, 2016.