3 Amazing Facts about Plastic Food Samples | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

3 Amazing Facts about Plastic Food Samples

By Yae Oct 26, 2018

When you’re wondering what to eat for your lunch or dinner at the restaurants in Japan, have you ever seen many dishes on the menu at the restaurants are showcased in a glass box? Many of you may wonder “Is it real?”

For those who find it difficult to imagine what each food on the menu looks like, these dishes displayed in the glass box would help you to know how it looks. However, if you look at those dishes more carefully, you can see that they’re “FAKE” and not real?

These are special piece of arts that we call “fake food samples”. Why did the Japanese people create such things? Allow me to open your mind to the mystery below.

1. Where in the World did the idea of Plastic Food Samples come from??

The very first plastic food sample was created in Kyoto, Japan in 1917 during the Taisho Period. The individual named Sojiro Nishio, who used to work at Shimadzu Corporation, made dummy (fake) food for health food. Japanese people who usually asked him to make plastic food samples were addicted to his outstanding work.

During the year 1923, after the Great Kanto Earthquake, the Shirokiya department store at Nihonbashi opened several kinds of restaurants in the department building. At that time, people put real dishes in the glass box to let customers see from outside what type of food was on the menu, but since the food were real, it caused some serious sanitation issues. Meanwhile, a person called Tsutomu Sudo was working as a wax-worker. He offered wax food sample and  this triggered the need to make plastic food sample to be a part of the Japanese culture.

2. 5 Roles that Plastic Food Samples Offer People


Today, many people see plastic food samples has one of the great pieces of arts in Japan. Plastic food samples are used for and very effective in the following areas:

1. Plastic food samples attracts and draw customers’ attention.

2. Plastic food samples portray a realness that makes customers get hungry and feel the need to enter that restaurant.

3. Plastic food samples are made based on the actual size so customers can see the size of each food on the menu compared to the price.

4. With Plastic food samples, everyone has an understanding of what the food on the menu is like, especially for those that have language barriers and are unable to read the menu.

5. It helps customers to remember what the food is like clearly and be able to associate it with the restaurant, therefore making the customers come back to the restaurant.

3. Want to Buy Plastic Food Sample? Find it at Asakusa

If you’re interested in plastic food samples, walking around Asakusa area is a great way to find these gems. There are some famous and popular plastic food sample shops in this area. Here are 4 major and popular plastic food sample shops you can find in the Asakusa area:

1. Shop name: Tokyo Biken

Address: 1-5-14, Nishi Asakusa,Taito-ku,Tokyo,111-0035

Open Hour: Weekday 9:00am-5:20pm Weekend 10:30am-5:00pm

Access: From Asakusa Station exit at Exit A1-2, walk about 7 minutes


2. Shop name: Maiduru

Address: 1-5-17, Nishi Asakusa,Taito-ku,Tokyo,111-0032

Open Hour: Weekday & weekday 9:00am-6:00pm

Access: From Tawaramachi Station, walk about 5 minutes


3. Shop name: Sato Sample

Address: 3-7-4, Nishi Asakusa,Taito-ku,Tokyo,111-0035

Open Hour: Weekday 9:00am-6:00pm Weekend 10:00am-5:00pm

Access: From Asakusa Station exit at Exit A2,  walk about 4 minutes


4. Shop name: Ganso Shokuhin Sample Shop

Address: 3-7-6, Nishi Asakusa,Taito-ku,Tokyo,111-0035

Open Hour: Weekday & weekday 10:00am-5:30pm

Access: From Asakusa Station exit at Exit A2, walk about 5 minutes.


At these stores, you can find many kinds of plastic food samples such as beer, hamburger, breads, even iPhone case cover with plastic food sample attached. Looking around these Plastic food sample stores, you will be amazed at the many type of items that have been created! In addition, these would make a great souvenir to take back home for family and friends!

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