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Best Knives to buy while on trip to Tokyo?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi All;

My husband and son are traveling to Tokyo for almost 3 weeks on business (in less than a month from now)....so I think it is a perfect opportunity to have them pick up a set of Japanese knives but the question is which is the best one for the $$$$?    I can't afford a $1,000 knife and would love to get a great set of knives (or at least a few knives) for use in my home.  I love to cook and have done so for years with my German knives but I am finding them to be heavy to use as I get older.   Are there any knife factory stores that we should have them check out?   I greatly appreciate your inputs and recommendations. 

Thanks much!

post #2 of 14

Welcome to cheftalk Lacelady.  Guess our world travelers are on the move at the moment.  Pulled from another forum:



knives: Aritsugu @ Nishiki market or maybe Shigeharu (more simpler knives but very friendly owner and on the other side of the street there is a great store for antique katanas )
nat. stones: they have some at Aritsugu and Furata (near Fushimi Inari), but the best adress IMHO were some no name tool shops in that region. 


Teruyasu Fujiwara! I bit off center but a great store, great people and ever better knives (if you have the chance to hand select one  )

and of course:
Tsukiji and Kappabashi



As I understand the "no name tool shops" do have the best deals, but not necessarily much English understanding.  Still worth a look.  You'll have fun though.  Be sure to book a visit to  Jiro Sukiyabashi for sushi.




post #3 of 14

OK I see you were really asking what brands to look for.  I have no idea what you will run into, there are many good makers you don't see here in the States too much, so suggest whatever strikes your fancy.  You'll of course have a choice of stainless and carbon.  You'll also have some choice between western (Yo) and Japanese (Wa) handles.


If you stop into Aritsugu their A series knives are very good and not that high priced, their semi-stainless has great edge retention but is difficult to abrade on the stones.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi Rick;   Thanks for the responses.....I am hoping to get the best possible knives for the $...I prefer the Western style handle but am open to either.   All my knives have been stainless....Wustoff and Shuns...I appreciate all the help we can get.  :)  When I was there I looked at Kappabashi but did not purchase any knives on that trip.  My husband will only be in Tokyo this trip so that limits our options.   Any insight we can get before they leave in a couple of weeks is greatly appreciated.

post #5 of 14

The best deals I couldn't say, but the best deals are apparently found at those side street tool shops.  You can get high-end sharpening stones like the Chosera/Niniwa Pro for half what you'd pay here.  It's not hard at all to outdo Shun or Wusthof, a modest Fujiwara FKH or vintage Forgecraft will do that for most instances. The MAC Superior bread knife can be had for about $40 as an example of popular stuff.  You'll find all sorts of knives vastly superior to anything you've yet tried.  Ashi Hamono, Itonomon, Tanaka (the Ironwood in particular, or the Pro), Takamura, Konosuki, Kato, Fujiwara Teruyasu, Rekuten has some great values in their lineup along with Yoshikane, Tojiro HSPS (powdered steel) series would be a good one to pick up there, there's at least a dozen lesser known names I can't think of right now.  You'll get great deals on all of these [you can find] I would think.


Really I am limited here, I'd have you ask the guys on kitchenknifeforums.com and see what they come up with.  You'll do better if you can be a little more specific on what you will consider.  Read some of the posts here to get an Idea of what choices you will have.


Good luck this time around!

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks I greatly appreciate the help and am heading over to check out kitchenknifeforums.com now.  :)

post #7 of 14
Aritsugu Tokyo is now unrelated to Kyoto. Much cheaper, and in my opinion superior. Avoid the A series unless you're VERY good at sharpening: the stuff is brutally tough.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the information ChrisLehrer.....do they have both stainless steel and carbon?   We are thinking of going with stainless steel due to the ease of care and practicality.  Do you have any particular shops to recommend in Tokyo?  Prices in general?   Thanks!

post #9 of 14

There are western handled gyutos at the bottom of this page. Google translate works so-so. 


The A type I believe is semi-stainless. Not sure if their S type Swedish steel is referring to carbon or stainless. And then there's a stainless offering on page 2, but not very much detail on it. Seems like most of what's written about Aritsugu at least in English is from those who have the A type

post #10 of 14
They don't do much stainless. The A series is, but again, I've heard that the stuff is brutally difficult to sharpen.

I believe there is a Suisin store in Tsukiji market. They do quite a bit of stainless, very high quality (and pricey).

Note that the yen is currently irritatingly strong, so you won't get great deals.
post #11 of 14

i found our that One of the most satisfying shopping trips in Tokyo would have to be to the area called Kappabashi, or Kitchen Town. . 

post #12 of 14
Kappabashi is great, but it helps to know what you're looking at. Knives aren't cheap--and if they are, you don't want them.

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post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi Chris;   Any recommendations on brands or stores to look for?   I want to get good knives but don't have a fortune to invest.  :)  I want to stay with stainless as they are much easier to maintain.  :)  Thanks!

post #14 of 14
@LaceLady : Gee, I'm sorry, I don't. I was just in Kappabashi a month ago, but my wife would kill me if I bought more knives! Besides, I use exclusively carbon, so I don't know much about stainless. (No sin in using them, I just got hooked on carbon.)

Anyone else have suggestions?

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