Tsukiji fish market may be the first destination for foodies visiting Tokyo, and a department store basement food floor is also an essential stop, but one often-neglected attraction is the restaurant-supply district of Kappabashi.
Famous for its plastic food models, Kappabashi offers much more - it's the place where chefs and restauranteurs go when they set up shop, and a playground for anyone who likes to cook. If something is found in the kitchen or dining room, there's likely to be a shop in Kappabashi that sells it.
Rick Bayless, the owner/chef of Topolobampo and Frontera Grill in Chicago, took in Kappabashi while visiting Japan to explore the food culture. He says: "When I travel to other cultures, I want to get as close to real life as possible. Which usually means anything connected to food - groceries and markets, housewares stores and places that sell restaurant goods. Kappabashi was mecca for me ... the perfect peephole through which to view the wonderfully evocative details of Tokyo's everyday life."