Peter had the Monday after the 4th of July off, so we decided to drag ourselves out into the rain and check out Kappabashi, the kitchen district of Tokyo! I was a little apprehensive about taking our kids shopping for dishes (breakable!) on a super rainy day (wet and miserable!), but in the end, I was really glad we went! Most of the sidewalks on Kappabashi Street are actually covered with awnings, so we stayed dry and we didn't even break anything!!!
We went right after the US Women's soccer team won the World Cup (they played Japan!), which is why we're all decked out in our USA (and Japan; Will was rooting for both teams) gear.
Kappabashi Street is awesome. I'm sure all big cities have a kitchen district, or a restaurant supply area, but never have I heard of them being a tourist attraction, or even relevant for everyday people. I think that's why Tokyo's kitchen district is so unique and fun. While they sell everything from wholesale plastic take-out containers to shop flags and signs, to industrial sized snow cone machines, they also have aprons and dishes and chopsticks and more knives than you can imagine! They have things that can be used in your kitchen at home, as well as all kinds of items that can be sent home as souvenirs.
Our favorite shops by far, though, were the fake display food shops!!! Everywhere you go here in Japan, restaurants advertise what they serve by displaying dishes of fake food in their windows. At first I found it really strange and unappetizing, but now I love it! It makes choosing a restaurant so much easier! Anyway, it was really fun to peruse the stores that sell all of this fake food. We went in thinking we'd buy a bunch of fake food that the kids could play with, but once we got in the stores and saw that a bowl of katsu curry was about $50 we quickly changed our minds! So, we settled on a few magnets and keychains instead: Will chose a squid, I picked a sushi handroll for my car, and then we got shrimp sushi, onigiri, and gyoza magnets as well.
The stores had some other really fun things as well; I finally got a big lucky cat that I'd been wanting since we moved here and Peter found a really cool half apron that a lot of the restaurant owners in small mom and pop shops wear. And then of course, mostly because Peter can't resist Japanese dishes, we came home with 5 big soup bowls and matching dipping dishes. So, even though it ended up being an expensive day, it was definitely fun!
GPS Coordinates for Kappabashi Street: 35.710596, 139.788272