I did Kappanbashi today as the GF arrives tomorrow. some stores were closed for a holiday alas.
The plastic food is amazing but not cheap, i am still pondering if I am a plastic hamburger, fruit or ice cream sundae kind of guy!
One thing I noticed was that many of these shops really like European branded stuff: I was astonished at how many shops sold Henkels or Debuyer or Le Creuset. There was even a store that sold only Henkels and Staub. Speaking of Henkels, was amusing seeing Kramer in a Japanese knife store but both they and the Miyabi line are cheaper in the US than in Japan! also was funny seeing Forchner knives for sale at a fancy japanese knife shop.
I had fun walking around but didn't buy all that much.
I thought the knife stores in Kappanbashi were OK but I think Kiya in Nihonbashi has much more interesting stuff - although I suspect it is much more expensive when they are selling the same things. You aren't going to find a Shig in Kappanbashi but you sometimes can at Kiya for example. Of the knife stores in Kappanabshi, I enjoyed Tsubaya's knife store the most, and they had a guy who spoke quite good English but I didn't see any Guytos there that really caught my eye - they like every other shop had their own Swedish Steel private line for example but do I really need one of those?
(I asked the guy who spoke English and he said they were 58-59 HRC. For medium price knives I think my Hattori FH eats all the comparably priced knives I saw in Kappanbashi and in the 400-800 range, which was as high as the Guytos seemed to go in non damascas, I'm willing to bet my Devin ITK in AEB-L rules them all..)
Of course, I'm not into single bevel knives so a lot of what they had for sale passed me by of course..
One thing did catch my eye and so I bought it at Tsubaya today was an amazing bread knife/slicer by Misono which was a real bargain, as it cost 8800 yen or about $85, it's a 360!
I think it could eat the famed Gude bread knife for lunch: it's bigger, insanely sharp, made out of a 57-58 HRC steel and not the X50CrMo15 of the Gude - and cost a fraction of the Gude's price.
I'm going to be going crazy at CCK in Hong Kong in a week or so and will report!