There are more than 80,000 restaurants in Tokyo, and Kappabashi-dori, a street in the Asakusa neighborhood, is where their chefs come when they need cookware and kitchen equipment. There are over 150 shops to choose from, selling everything from lacquer soup bowls to steamers, as well as an amazing variety of utensils and pots and pans. Kappabashi-dori, Nishi-Asakusa, Taito-ku.
Japanese knives are famous around the world for their precision and quality, which is why many chefs head for Aritsugu, a knife shop in Kyoto’s Nishiki Market, founded by Fujiwara Aritsugu in 1560. The elegant little store offers a vast variety of knives, the uses of which are patiently explained by English-speaking staff. Knives can be personalized with your name — in Japanese characters, of course — and come with a brochure in English that details their care. Cash only. 219 Kajiya-cho, Nishikikoji-dori, Nakagyo-ku.