Kappabashi Street is the largest street devoted to restaurant supplies in Japan and a good place to buy food samples, knives and lacquer ware. While not every store is accessible, many are partly or fully wheelchair accessible.
Located between Ueno and Asakusa, Kappabashi Street (or Kappabashi Dougu Street) is a 800m long street with over 170 shops and is the largest street devoted to restaurant supplies and kitchen implements in Japan. Many of the stores focus on a single item.
The first merchants that began gathering in 1912 sold tools and hardware, but now stores sell store furniture, signs and menus, “fake” food samples, knives, staff uniforms, bakery equipment, and many different types of tableware.
Stores are open 9:00-17:00 on weekdays. While 90% of the stores are open on Saturday, only 30% open on Sundays and public holidays.
If you are already in either Asakusa or Ueno, Kappabashi Street is around 15 minutes by foot. The nearest train station is Tawaramachi Station on the Ginza Line – the station is wheelchair accessible.
Kappabashi Street is a collection of shops, so the accessibility varies with each store.
Many of the stores have no steps.
Unfortunately, many of the stores are also very cramped with wares that getting in with a wheelchair or other mobility aid will be very difficult if not impossible.
Additionally, the shops dealing in pottery explicitly ask that baby strollers be left outside since bumping a shelf may cause items to fall and break. While they do not mention wheelchairs etc, some merchants may be very cautious of wheelchair users entering their stores for the same reason.
Most of the stores are small, so the majority of items can be seen without actually entering.
The nearest accessible toilet is in Tawaramachi Station.
While not a main attraction of Tokyo, Kappabashi Street can be a neat place to explore if you are in the area, or are interested in the sample food seen in store displays, Japanese lacquer ware, and knives. It is unfortunate that not all stores are accessible to wheelchair users, but with over 170 stores, if you cannot get into one store it is easy to find another sharing similar items.
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