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May 10, 2013 10:57 AM

Food-related destinations in Tokyo?

Hello again, I would love to be pointed in the direction of must-visit places other than Tsukiji...other markets? Specialized food stores? Kitchenwares, knife vendors, etc? Thanks for your patience and forbearing with this TYO newb, have only been there once overnight on the way to Kyoto.

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  1. Kappabashi for kitchenware, as well as a few specialty shops in Nihonbashi. Department-store basement food halls. Tonya Kokubu is a museum of Japanese food package design, located next to Tokyo Skytree. The Cupnoodles Museum in Yokohama, and the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum.

    1. -Kappabashi area for sure for kitchenware, plastic replica, and very finely crafted drinking and eating vessels
      -Various depachika
      -Food "amusement parks" like ramen museum, gyoza stadium, new yakitori one, etc.
      -Prefectural antenna shops
      -Meishu Center for sake sampling
      -Shochu Authority

      6 Replies
      1. re: Silverjay

        What is a "prefectural antenna shop" ?

        1. re: bytepusher

          It is shops that sell goods from a specific prefecture in Japan, i.e. Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Aomori, Akita, Fukushima, etc. The different prefectures set up a shop in order to promote/sell regional goods/specialty products. The following link has a list of shops with their locations.

          1. re: killersmile

            I've been to many of them. They kind of blur together at this point, but I do recall the Kagoshima one in Yurakucho had fresh, warm satsuma age for sale. Most of the other have various packaged and chilled goods. Usually free samples of stuff available. They are really interesting. Only potential downside I can see is that if you can't read Japanese, it might be tough to understand what is what. But they are definitely worth exploring if you've got the time and are so inclined. There are a bunch (Hokkaido and a few others) gathered in one building east of Yurakucho Station. There's also a tourist information/travel office in the same building.

            Edit: ahh, I see that linked article mentions the satsuma-age as well as some shops now having eateries.

            1. re: Silverjay

              The place that Silverjay references is Murakara Machikara Kan, in the Kotsu Kaikan building. It's a very cool shop, but I don't read Japanese too well, so I did have a hard time there.

              There is also a nice Hokkaido Antenna shop right across the street from Tokyo station (Yaesu side).

              Yukari-san has a lot of info on Antenna shops. In fact, her book, Food Sake Tokyo, is perfect for what the OP is looking for.

              1. re: angler

                The prefecture stores look VERY interesting and I'm ordering Food Sake Tokyo right now. Thank you enormously.

                1. re: buttertart

                  That is SOME BOOK, I am so glad it was recommended here. Checking out the blog too. Thanks again.

      2. Here are a few more food destinations:

        Ota-ku is good for its wholesale market and nori museum (good for kids, but by reservation only). The wholesale market is the Tokyo area’s biggest for produce and fruit. Unfortunately, I am afraid our current Tokyo Central Wholesale Market in Tsukiji may soon resemble the one in Ota-Ku after it moves to its proposed new location in Toyosumi.

        Outside of Tokyo; Kikkoman in Noda, Chiba. Interesting tour of how shōyu is made, including the facilities where pre-WWII Imperial shōyu was made.

        Kirin Brewery, Yokohama. Good tour, with free beer afterward.

        In Tokyo:
        Tobacco Salt Museum. Not much English, but if you have ever read Kurlansky’s book this might make you question his scholarship.

        Ajinomoto Library. In my opinion the best library for material on Japanese food in the region, and now open to the public.

        As for antenna shops, I like the Okinawa shop on the north end of Ginza, just a few blocks south of the Hokkaido antenna shop. If you like awamori this is the place to go; the basement has free samples.

        As for knives, Kiya in Nihonbashi has a good selection as well as staff that speak English. They also accept credit cards.

        Toraya’s main shop in Akasaka has a wagashi museum and a large collection of books on wagashi and okashi in general.

        For Edo-style ingredients (miso, tsuyu, etc.) as well as cookbooks of Edo period recipes there is Mikawaya in Ginza.