Top 15 Kappabashi souvenirs

What to bring back from Tokyo's fun 'Kitchen Town'

Top 15 Kappabashi souvenirs

Asakusa's Kappabashi, better known to English-speakers as 'Kitchen Town', is heaven for cooking enthusiasts, professional chefs, and tourists shopping for interesting gifts to bring back from Tokyo. The hundreds of shops here cater primarily to restaurateurs, as is evident from the unbelievably diverse selection of pots, pans, cutlery, decorative items and so on. Prices are also comparatively low, so the area is well worth a visit every time you need kitchen-related tools and equipment. For the casual traveller, however, it may not be very practical to choose cast-iron frying pans or sword-like kitchen knives as souvenirs, so we've put together this list of 15 fun and easy-to-carry items that also make perfect gifts for your folks back home.

Bird-shaped branding iron

Shop: Majimaya Kashidouguten
Decorate your pancakes with this cool branding iron that comes in a variety of different shapes – how about a bird or a pine tree? Order-made designs are also available, although you'll have to wait for three to four weeks for delivery. ¥2,850.
Shop details

Japanese prefectures cookie cutter set

Shop: Asai Shoten
Combine geography studies and cookie baking with this set, which contains forms for all of Japan's 47 prefectures. Make an entire batch and try putting it together to form a complete map of Japan! ¥2,047.
Shop details

Cat series nerikiri mold

Shop: Majimaya Kashidouguten
This three-piece set makes baking nerikiri, the beautifully shaped wagashi sweets that are often filled with red bean paste, fun and easy. Successfully forming a cute, cat-shaped nerikiri is a sure way to impress friends. ¥1,785.
Shop details

Shinkansen lunch plate

Shop: Niimi
Can't find a useful souvenir for the kids? Try this train-shaped plate that's fun to play with, prevents spilling and is easy to clean. If the shinkansen doesn't feel too appealing, choices like steam engines and airplanes are also available. ¥3,300.
Shop details

Takoyaki pan

Shop: Miki Shoten
If heavy-duty gifts are what you're after, this nanbu-tekki ironware pan is the perfect choice. Making pro-grade takoyaki will be surprisingly easy, and cooking perfectly round meatballs should also be possible. ¥3,300.
Shop details

Crane-shaped copper grater

Shop: Kamaasa Shoten
Grating carrots has never been easier, or more stylish for that matter – this crane-inspired oroshigane (grater) is light, efficient and comfortable to use. If you prefer turtles to cranes, there's a version to suit you too. ¥1,420.
Shop details

Sushi keyrings

Shop: Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya
Hang your keys on some delicious-looking shrimp or ikura (salmon roe) sushi. Asakusa's famed food sample makers Ganso Shokuhin put a lot of effort into creating realistic but plastic food, and this popular item is one of their best. ¥630.
Shop details

Wrapping paper

Shop: Propack Kappabashi
The wrapping paper selection on the fifth floor of this huge shop is something to marvel at. The amount of choices is impressive in itself, but the true attraction is the price level: some packs of 200 papers go for as low as ¥315.
Shop details

Arita-yaki rice bowl set

Shop: Dengama
Dengama deals in some of the finest Japanese tableware, and most items are sold at around 20% off the retail price. This two-piece rice bowl set is made of Arita porcelain (also known as Imari), and is sure to beautify your dining table. ¥1,180.
Shop details

Lacquered chopsticks

Shop: Mikura
Chopsticks are a common souvenir, but these wooden, exquisitely lacquered babies will give off a far better impression than any old standard set of sticks. The curved surface makes holding these chopsticks a breeze, even for first-timers. ¥840.
Shop details

Chopstick rest

Shop: Kappabashi Maeda
The simple chopstick rest isn't exactly what you'd call an exciting item, at least not before discovering the huge variety of shapes, styles and colours available at this shop. How about a sausage- or Mount Fuji-shaped specimen? ¥520.
Shop details

Japanese tea cup

Shop: Utsuwa no Tousho
Regularly found at sushi restaurants, these tea cups are usually decorated with Chinese characters for various kinds of fish. The selection here, however, is far broader: why not pick up a cup adorned with the faces of the Tokugawa shoguns? ¥380–¥550.
Shop details

'Ice cream' flag

Shop: Niimi Soushoku
Want to start up your very own ice cream stand? You'll need this nobori flag to attract customers and mark your territory. More ambitious restaurateurs can opt for the oden flags or ramen chochin lanterns. ¥700.
Shop details

'Yakitori' lantern

Shop: Ginzaya
Ginzaya's chochin lanterns come in several shapes and sizes – the most popular ones are the medium-sized 'sushi', 'izakaya' and 'yakitori' lanterns. Try hanging one of these outside your door on a party night. ¥1,575.
Shop details

A kitchen knife for life

Shop: Kamaasa Shoten
If you're looking for a professional-grade kitchen knife, Kamaasa Shoten is your stop. More than 80 kinds of blades are available here, and the staff will even engrave your knife for you. Just remember not to store it in the carry-on.
Shop details

By Masako Matsuzaki
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


Add your comment

Copyright © 2014 Time Out Tokyo