asakusa: kappabashi-dori plastic foods & another buddhist temple {walking tour 8: part 3}   12 comments

Sunday, June 11: After leaving Senso-ji, I continue my walk toward Kappabashi-dori, a street full of shops supplying the restaurant trade. These shops sell everything from knives and other kitchen utensils to mass-produced crockery, restaurant furniture, ovens and decor, such as lanterns and signs. The street also has some shops that sell plastic display foods (sampuru, derived from English sample) found outside Japanese restaurants.

“Shop Planing & Antique” on Kappabashi-dori

I drop into one shop that actually sells the plastic food items to tourists.

plastic foods on Kappabashi-dori

plastic foods on Kappabashi-dori

desserts: plastic foods on Kappabashi-dori

ice cream: plastic foods on Kappabashi-dori

plastic foods on Kappabashi-dori

plastic foods on Kappabashi-dori

pizza: plastic foods on Kappabashi-dori

sushi: plastic foods on Kappabashi-dori

snacks: plastic foods on Kappabashi-dori

plastic foods on Kappabashi-dori

plastic foods on Kappabashi-dori

plastic foods on Kappabashi-dori

I don’t buy any of these enticing but oddly unsatisfying plastic foods, although in retrospect, they might have made for some interesting gifts. 🙂

I continue my walk to the train station, stopping in briefly at Honzan Higashi Hongan-ji along the way.

Approximately 400 years ago, in 1651, the Tokyo Hongan-ji Temple was established in the city of Edo (modern Tokyo) under the patronage of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu by Kyonyo Shonin (1558-1614). It was then known as the Edo Gobo Kozuiji Temple. After a fire in 1657, Higashi-Hongan-ji Temple was moved to its current site in Asakusa and was called Asakusa Hongan-ji Temple. Then in 1965, Higashi-Hongan-ji Temple changed its name again to Tokyo Higashi-Hongan-ji Temple.

It is presently the headquarters of the Jodo Shinshu Higashi Honganji Sect with a following of some 400 temples.  The door to this living Buddhist temple is open to all races, nationalities and people of the world.

Higashi Hongan-ji

Higashi Hongan-ji

I continue my walk to the train station, admiring all the offerings of plates and crockery along the way.

dishes for sale

Total steps: 11,834 (5.02 miles) 🙂

12 responses to “asakusa: kappabashi-dori plastic foods & another buddhist temple {walking tour 8: part 3}

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  1. Wow! These last two posts brought back many memories! I was on a Japanese tv show shortly after my arrival in 1989 and it took place on Asakusa’s little shopping street, with students having to find things using English to get their clues. We cheated like mad to help the students and it was really exciting!

    The Kappabashi street of plastic foods also brought back memories though back then you could not buy any of the food there. It was there all the restaurants bought all their dishes and I bought a ton of stuff there I remember.

    So much of my time in Tokyo I feel really I wasted as I did not sightsee much at all, and the walking tour books I recommended before you left actually took you out of Tokyo to small towns where a single shop or a bamboo forest or a single restaurant may have been the main event. There was much more physical hiking in nature I seem to remember, but thank God you are having so much fun with the book you chose as there were many to choose from. I am quite homesick for Tokyo though I hated it every minute I was there apart from my trips to the Kabuki theatre a few times a years thanks to a generous and very wealthy student who bought me a ticket now and again, which was enormously expensive!

    Looking forward to the July cocktail hour!! So glad you are having such a rich experience there. Sad you have no one to share these wonderful trips with, though at least you have a drinking buddy in Graeme it seems!

    Lisa

    • I mean, you could not buy any of the plastic foods in Kappabashi back then, but you could buy dishes and other ceramics, etc.

      • Yes, you can certainly buy the kitchen dishes and ceramics, Mona Lisa, although because it was a Sunday, only some of the shops were open. The plastic foods are a crack-up to me! 🙂

  2. How funny to sell plastic food. It does look quite inticing though. 🙂

    • I know, it’s crazy! People in this shop were actually buying the food, but I just took pictures. It looks more enticing than real food; that’s probably why shopkeepers buy it to display it in front of their restaurants. 🙂

      • What do they do with the food though? Put it out on their table at home to admire while they are just eating a plain bowl of noodles. 🙂

      • Haha! That’s funny. Maybe they give the food to people as gifts, joke gifts. Who knows? I couldn’t imagine what I would do with it or who I would give it to, so I passed. The pictures of it were most interesting to me. 🙂

      • You may never know what the purpose is!

      • That’s for sure, Elaine. I’m usually pretty clueless about what the story is here in Japan. It seems I’m always finding some new bit of information that turns my original ideas upside down. 🙂

      • I was amazed by all the pretty china and I’ve never seen so many chopsticks. I loved visiting this street and we spent several hours wandering along. The plastic food is meant for restaurants to display as an example of their meals. Originally the models were made of wax and were made by skilled craftspeople.

      • Yes, as I mention in the blog, the plastic food is sold to restaurants to display as samples of their dishes. This particular shop sold the food to tourists. It would have been nice to see the originals made of wax. I’m glad you enjoyed wandering down this street. Did you buy anything?

  3. I was amazed by all the pretty china and I’ve never seen so many chopsticks. I loved visiting this street and we spent several hours wandering along.

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