Food Japan Tokyo Travel

A Week in Tokyo Part 3 – Plastic Food

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.

Plastic Food Samples

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”.

Sampuru Fake Food

Here you can browse and buy every conceivable dish immortalised in vinyl chloride and painted to look exactly like the real thing.

Plastic Pasta

From soba to spaghetti with forks and chopsticks suspended in mid-air, they have it all.

Plastic Noodles

These fried udon noodles look almost good enough to eat!

Ice Cream Samples

How about an ice cream?

Plasic Yakitori Skewers

Or some grilled yakatori?

Fake Vegetables

Some restaurants commission factories to create custom display food tailored to the exact dishes or produce they serve.

Fake Cheese

At a glance much of it is indistinguishable from the real thing.

Soba & Tempura Lunch

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.

Matcha Latte

Followed later by a matcha (抹茶) or green tea latte which I have become a bit addicted too!

Author

Originally from the UK, David is designer and wanderer currently based in Tokyo. Prior to this, he lived in China and still returns frequently to continue exploring this vast and varied land. He started Randomwire in 2003 to chronicle his travels and occasional musings. Feel free to drop him a line.

3 Comments Add New Comment

  1. emko says:

    Hi,

    you made a really nice trip and the series is awesome… I also wondered about these sampuru stuff when I visited a Japanese restaurant in Dubai (Umami Restaurant) and they are really helpful. I took a good old Chicken Ramen. I just have to get used to the hashi’s. wwww

    Keep it up.

  2. mick says:

    I spent a couple of hours checking out these very shops…art pure and simple .
    Love Japan ,hope I get a third visit.

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