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Shared kitchen space opens in Tokyo in hopes of revitalizing shopping district

A new shared kitchen space with a nostalgic feel is seen in Tokyo's Itabashi Ward on Sept. 28, 2020. (Mainichi/Shohei Kawamura)

TOKYO -- A shared kitchen space accessible to all -- including young cooks who wish to put their skills to the test before opening their own establishments, and resident groups interested in opening their own stores -- has emerged in Tokyo.

    A footwear shop which closed last year was converted into the shared kitchen space located in the "Happy Road Oyama" shopping district in the capital's Itabashi Ward. Related parties expressed their hope that the shared space will contribute to vitalization of the area.

    The facility, located near Oyama Station on the Tobu Tojo Line, consists of a kitchen space equipped with a large refrigerator with a freezer, as well as professional cooking utensils, and an eating space containing 16 seats. A display case for showing products is also at the site. The shared kitchen space can be rented starting from half a day. Related parties are hoping to launch an online school on how to start businesses, and promote local efforts to open new establishments.

    The owner of Kameya, a footwear shop that shuttered its doors after having been in business for over 80 years, approached the association working to promote the commercial district last summer and asked it to make use of the space to help invigorate the community.

    Ject One Co., a Shibuya Ward-based real estate agency that reuses abandoned houses, and a company comprising the commercial district promotion association collaborated to renovate the shop into a shared kitchen space, while also considering requests made by residents. The space was named "Kameya Kitchen," after the old store.

    Related parties pose for a picture outside a shared kitchen space in the capital's Itabashi Ward on Sept. 28, 2020. (Mainichi/Shohei Kawamura)

    The ceiling boards were removed so that the wooden parts of the surface lay bare, allowing "a nostalgic atmosphere and freshness to coexist in the space." The arrangement of the seats is aimed to leave enough space to allow air to pass through easily, as a measure against the novel coronavirus.

    Ward mayor Takeshi Sakamoto said at an event in late September celebrating the shared kitchen's opening, "This is an effort that will be considered the Japan model in the future. It will bring about great achievements for creating a town where people want to live."

    The minimal rental period for the kitchen space is for three months as a general rule, and users must consult with representatives in advance. The rental fee varies depending on the day of the week and time of day. Renting the space for half a day costs between 18,000 yen (about $170) and 25,000 yen (about $237), and visitors can use the entire space inside the facility, including the area besides the kitchen, for an additional hourly fee of 1,000 (about $9.50) to 1,500 yen (about $14). To find more specific information, please visit the website at

    (Japanese original by Shohei Kawamura, Tokyo Bureau)

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