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In Japan For Holiday Looking For Some Knife Recommendations

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


I am on Holiday at the moment in Tokyo and would like to take home a few good Cheif knifes Gyutou style. My wife is a very good cook and does the majority of the cooking she is veterinarian but i do eat fish and chicken so would like a knife that could cut through small bones and Pumpkin, onions e.t.c. We both have average knife skills but do want two very good sharp knifes. We both don't have sharpening skills either but are willing to learn perhaps on are old cheap ones to start with. I did like the look of the Miyabi knifes but have hesitation about celebrity endorsement are they a gimmick ?.Kiya is a brand which seems to have a good reputation in  Japan. Hattori HD looks good as well but to be honest i would not have a clue which would be the best knives for us I do realize that it would be good to try them in our hands and see what feels best. We were thinking a 8 as our go to knife and perhaps a smaller one for fruit e.t.c we would like something that looks nice as well as i will be at home . any advice for two keen novices would be appreciated.


Kind Regards,



post #2 of 3
Kiya has a carbon line made by Misono. They are the rebranded Misono Swedish Carbons. All you need are a gyuto -- 240 or 270mm -- and a 150mm petty. Get sharpening stones as well.
post #3 of 3

First, the disclaimer - I have never been to Japan, and would be one of the first persons to advise you to take my suggestions with a large boulder of sodium chloride of caution.


Now for the fast recommendation: read this post:  http://www.cheftalk.com/t/58437/japanese-knives


The recommended length Benuser is giving you is 240 millimeters (24 centimeters) to 270 millimeters (27 centimeters).  That translates out to 9-1/2  to 10-1/2 inches for the blade portion of the knife.  That's useful for a commercial chef or cook, but, especially for the home cook, the 270 might be overkill.  A 210 mm knife (8-1/3 inches) or a 240 mm knife (9-1/2 inches) could also work well for you.


When you are asking about any knife, as a foreigner in Japan, you will ask about them in metric lengths - but forget about discussing them in Japan in inches - that's just too Anglocentric for anyone outside of the United States, the UK or Canada.  The rest of the world uses metric.


But you might also need to know the local lengths in Japan.  The unit of length for the Japanese is the sun.  It works out to 30.30 millimeters per sun.  For a 210 mm gyuto, that would be 7 sun.  For a 240 mm, 8 sun, and for 270 mm, you would be looking at a blade 9 sun long.


Many of the better commercial quality knives are not particularly sharp out of the box.  That's traditional in Japan, where the expectation is that the customer will want to sharpen his knife himself, to the edge bevel he individually wants.  If so, you should politely ask them to sharpen the knife for you.


Many Japanese knives (including many gyutos) are sharpened with an asymmetric bevel, so that the knife is intended to be used specifically for a right-handed person or for a left-handed person.  Be sure when you buy the knife or you have it sharpened, that you choose a bevel pattern that will work for you.


If you want a stainless steel blade, you might ask if the steel is "stain-resistant" or "Inox".  Both are pretty generic terms, but it can help you avoid getting a reactive carbon steel blade when you wanted something less likely to react with your food.  Or it might be that you DO want a carbon steel blade, so you can get it blazing sharp - and hang the reactiveness.  Up to you, but you should know what you are getting.


Recognize that there are two basic types of handles - the traditional Japanese "wa" handle (round or oval), and the western ('ho" or "yo") handle.


With all of that out of the way, the two suggestions I might make would be for you to visit two locations: the Tsukiji Wholesale Fish Market and Kappabashi Dori.


The Tsukiji Market is home to several knife shops. Tsukiji Masamoto and Aritsugu Tokyo.  Both are covered in the post linked above.


Kappabashi Dori (Metro: Tawaramachi) is a commercial restaurant supply district.


Hope that helps



Galley Swiller

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