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When we lived in the U.S., we had one set of dishes for every day, and then our china for special occasions. Sure, we had the odd one or two other dishes, but for the most part, it was our regular round dishes for everything except holidays and dinner parties. Now that I’ve discovered Kappa-boshi dori, I have come up with a whole list of other dishes that I clearly need!

Kappa-boshi, also known as “Kitchen Town,” is the district full of shops that sell all things kitchen-related. Whether you need baking supplies or glassware, bamboo steamers or paella pans, chopsticks or silverware, and even commercial products such as cash registers and neon signs - they can all be found in Kappa-boshi. And, of course, thousands of dishes - big plates, small plates, sushi plates, rice bowls, noodle bowls, tea cups, serving trays… Shelves and shelves full of reasonably priced pieces - all shapes, styles, colors and sizes.

A discussion about Kappa-boshi would not be complete without mention of plastic food. You know those display cases you see outside of restaurants all over Japan with realistic models of the items served? Well, now you can see where they come from. Plastic sushi, plastic beer, plastic spaghetti…some of the plastic fish look so real, you almost expect to see them in a fish tank!

So, the next time you have a few free hours, go ahead and find the perfect summer dessert plates. (My neighbor and I have given serious consideration to buying “summer” plates and “winter” plates because there are just so many beautiful patterns and shapes that we covet!) Or, simply enjoy wandering from shop to shop and taking it all in…

To get there: Take the Ginza line to Tawaramachi station. Exit the station, and follow signs to “Kitchen Town.” You’ll know you’re in the right neighborhood when you see the store with the GIANT chef over the front door.

Hint: Many shops will deliver via takkyubin for a very small fee. If you purchase more than you can comfortably carry, this can be a lifesaver.

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