$200 is not doable for a quality, wa-gyuto plus quality sharpening kit. For the knife alone, no problem.
The deal with wa handles is that -- if you have a decent grip -- they're no big deal. It doesn't take any time to get comfortable, nor is it difficult to go back and forth. If you don't have a good grip, it's easy enough to develop one even though that will take a few days to lean and a couple of weeks to master and make habit. Everything else being equal, wa-handled knives are lighter than yo, and consequently tend to be less fatiguing if you do a lot of prep. Wa may be more conducive to speed if you've got extreme knife skills, or maybe not. I've heard both sides argued by great cutters.
If you're interested in a wa-gyuto and can afford a good one don't stress too much about the move from yo. Nearly everyone likes wa. If you buy from a retailer with a good exchange policy there's no reason to worry at all.
The Tojiro ITKs have a LOT of issues. I don't recommend it as a first, quality knife. They get very sharp, but quality control at every level, including the kurouchi finish, is very spotty. I'd say it's more in the line of a novelty for someone who already has a few knives he likes; or perhaps someone who's really not sure whether he'll like a wa handle or not.
CCK Chinese knives are also crudely made. Fine, if that's what you're looking for. But not only would I not recommend it as a quality knife, I wouldn't recommend a Chinese knife to someone looking for a gyuto/chef's.
I don't think many stores in the US carry reasonably-priced wa-gyuto at all, much less a selection; certainly no more than 10 nationwide. Furthermore, in-store knife trials which don't involve several minutes worth of cutting are worthless. Consequently, I can't agree with Ed.
You have a lot of choices for an excellent quality, 240mm, wa-gyuto at under $200, here are a few:
- Gesshin Uraku (stainless)
- Kagayaki KV-10 (VG-10 stainless);
- Konosuke HH (stainless)
- Konosuke White #2 (carbon)
- Richmond Addict (stainless)
- Richmond Addict 52100 (carbon);
- Sakai Ichimonji Kichikuni(white #2 carbon san-mai); and
- Sakai Yusuke White #2.
Both Addicts, the Kagayaki and the Gesshin Uraku are good, thin knives. The Sakai Kichikuni borders on stout. Both Konosukes and the Sakai Yusuke are "lasers." The Gesshin Uraku is the least expensive at $155, a good all-around and tremendous bang for the buck. The Kagayaki is nice, but too chip prone. I think Gesshin, both Konosukes and both Richmonds are equally good choices and suggest choosing from those five. I prefer lasers and carbons, but that's my taste. What's best for you depends on yours.
A good, three stone sharpening kit, plus flattener will run in the neighborhood of $150. CKtG's three stone ("Five Piece") kit is a very good deal, add their very inexpensive diamond flattener and you're looking at $160. You can keep the price down by buying two stones, with the idea of adding a coarse stone later. You can keep it farther down by buying a "temporary" kit like a King 800/6000 combi stone ($45, not including flattener).
I'm assuming this post will raise as many questions as it answers. Feel free to keep asking.