One of the interesting things you’ll notice when feeling hungry in Japan is that many restaurants display plastic samples of their dishes in their windows in order to lure you in – especially helpful if you don’t speak Japanese. The fake food is incredibly realistic and has become an art form as well as a massive industry in Japan.
Kappabashi (合羽橋) or Kitchen Town, is a street in Tokyo between Ueno and Asakusa where you can buy all manner of kitchen ware including a number of shops that specialise in the display food, known as sampuru (サンプル), which is derived from the English word “sample”.
Here you can browse and buy every conceivable dish immortalised in vinyl chloride and painted to look exactly like the real thing.
From soba to spaghetti with forks and chopsticks suspended in mid-air, they have it all.
These fried udon noodles look almost good enough to eat!
How about an ice cream?
Or some grilled yakatori?
Some restaurants commission factories to create custom display food tailored to the exact dishes or produce they serve.
At a glance much of it is indistinguishable from the real thing.
If all of this has made you hungry then it’s probably time to try the real thing – I ventured to nearby Asakusa for some simple soba noodles with shrimp tempura.
Followed later by a matcha (抹茶) or green tea latte which I have become a bit addicted too!