Street of Dreams

Tokyo's Kitchen Town is cookware nirvana.

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Jake Tilson

photo by Jake Tilson

Anyone who likes to cook might be drawn to kitchenware stores gleaming with copper and stainless steel. I seek out such shops when traveling. On some trips, I’ve packed bags so full of new pots and tools that they’ve exceeded the airlines’ weight limit. So imagine my temptation when I found a street dedicated to some of the most striking, varied kitchenware I’d ever seen. I was in Tokyo, researching my cookbook, In at The Deep End: Cooking Fish Venice to Tokyo (Lyons Press, 2011), when I came upon downtown’s Kappabashi-Dori, or Kitchen Town, a strip of more than 100 shops packed with grills, bento boxes, pans, and steamers, in an array of colors and materials. Bliss. I made several visits. One way I got a handle on the dazzling abundance was to take photos for a series of collages, one of which is shown here. The other was to buy things. The gold-colored ladle and the aluminum pan with a mosaic-like pattern that I picked up now hang in my London kitchen. They’re immensely useful when I’m making a broth. And they’re always stunning to look at.

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Jake Tilson

photo by Jake Tilson