Recommendations of places to go in Japan and Taiwan for knives
I will be heading to Taiwan and Japan in a few months time.
I would like to ask for recommendations of where should I go to visit knife shops and smiths in these 2 countries.
I didn't do too well with the shops when I was in Japan but the sakai knife museum is super cool for sure. Japan is just so awesome to me pretty much everywhere we went including Lawson's convenience store was cool.
Shigharu in Kyoto is interesting but ensure you only look at house made knives and check condition carefully. Owner speaks very little english and knives are not readily available outside of Kyoto. Some of the finish is a little rough but you can select one that speaks to you.
Google 重春刃物店 http://goo.gl/maps/oTkTH or click link for map
Osaka try Tower knives they apparently have a good range (did not visit). Otherwise try the kitchenware arcade but be aware prices can vary a lot between stores.
If you go to Kinmen you can always visit Master Wu shop.
I was in Taiwan a few weeks ago and wanted to go to this shop in Tainan
but did not have time. If you do go there please report...
Well the fish market is worth a trip both for the knife stores and the sushi and the experience
+1 on the fishmarket. dont get confused: both masamoto and aritsugo have two stores there. smaller ones at rhe inner market and the main store at the outer market.
another good thing is kappabashi. there you have a lot of good knife stores (kama asa, kamata etc in a row)
You're going to be in freakin' Japan! Don't waste your time at knife shops, see an awesome temple or something. Seriously. It used to be different, when you could only find the most special and elusive stuff in Japan. But the internet has changed all that. Now you can find the exact same junk online for probably a better price than in a Japanese retail store. If you can navigate Japanese websites and get stuff shipped to you, that's another story... but then you probably wouldn't be asking here.
That said, if you're in Osaka, stop by the Ichimonji store. Their display is awesome, they're friendly to non-Japanese speaking tourists, and you can handle any knife you want. It's very close to the Namba train station, so you'll likely be passing through anyways.
Sorry to JCHine, but don't go to that place in Kyoto, unless you're a single bevel hipster who needs a brand no one has ever heard of before. Aritsugu is overpriced but the Nishiki market makes it an overall awesome experience. The knife museum in Osaka is cool if you're reeaaaaalllly into knives, but not worth the trip to Sakai (for a US analogy, NYC : Newark :: Osaka : Sakai)
No idea about the Tokyo stores... Where are you going to be in Japan exactly?
I was hoping someone would answer him on Taiwan. That would be of a lot more interest to me than one more "what to buy in Japan" thread. The world of Asian culinary cutlery is a lot larger than that one country.