In Kyoto, should I buy an Aritsugu knife

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Phknife

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Hi,

I am currently in kyoto and I have some questions that I have not been able to get answers to. I am quite new to professional knives but got a good rough lecture before I traveled here and I have been doing some reading over the last days. The one giving me the rough lecture was a japanese man that has a professional knife shop in my country and he recommended me to buy an Aogami or Shirgami carbon steel knife from Aritsugu if I traveled to Kyoto. I have done some research on stainless stell vs carbon steel and I think I want to a VG10 or an Aogami or Shirogami Carbon steel. From what I understand Aritsugu does not produce any VG10 steels my question below is regarding carbon steel. They are very polite and kind here in Kyoto but unfortunately not so proficient in English so I get answers that don't line up with what I read.

Apparently the 100% Blue steel (Aogami) is sold out and they have two Sontuko models available in the store. One model with SK95 carbon steel (what I understand is SK4?) and one model with the inside/middle part being blue steel (aogami) and surrounded on both sides by stainless steel (which makes it heavier and the handle is not equally as nice in my opinion). The SK4 knife costs ~18k Yen for 21cm and the other model costs ~16k Yen for 19/20cm.

Is it worth it to buy a SK4 knife from Aritsugu or should I look for pure aogami knives from other brands (and if so, what should I look for here in Kyoto). I was recommended to buy aogami or shirogami and I got very insecure when they only had SK4 carbon steel and they can't really explain the difference in the store and all I can read about it is that it is quite low quality of carbon steel?

Unfortunately I will travel from Kyoto on Sunday and therefore have limited time...

Thanks in advance for all help that I can get!
 

J.C

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I have one aritsugu yanagiba (blue steel) very good quality and craftsmanship. Very easy to sharpen and cuts like dream!
 

ojisan

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I'm not sure if the information I have is up to date, but anyway try to drop some info.

Kyoto Aritsugu should have Jousei(上製)/Tokusei(特製)/Tsubanashi(ツバ無し)lines for mono steel gyutos and santoku-gyutos. Jousei and Tokusei should have bolsters and Tsubanashi doesn't. However, they discontinued Jousei and Tsubanashi gyutos (and santoku-gyuto) yeas ago so what available now is only Tokusei 18cm and 21cm. I was believing Jousei was made of Aogami 2, and Tokusei was Shirogami 2, but if you were told that it was made of SK95, my understanding was incorrect.
For steel/stainless cladding knives, they have Heijo-Ippin (western handle) and Wagokoro (japanese handle) lines.

I don't know which models you tried. If the one with SK95 didn't have a bolster, it could be one in the Tsubanashi line (if they still have stock). However, I'm not pretty sure if the price you got was correct. Tokusei 21 cm costed around 14k yen when I checked (maybe price up?). I assume the one with cladding is in Heijo-Ippin line.

If you mean Honyaki by 100%. It sounds hard to find one at Aritsugu. They might accept a special order, but hard to believe they have one in stock.

Stainless steel cladding is not bad at all IMO, especially the core steel is aogami. It's easy to maintain and gets sharp easily. I would choose stainless steel cladding over SK95.
 

ojisan

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It seems Jousei: Aogami 2 and Tokusei: Shirogami 2 applies only to their single beveled knives? Tokusei Gyuto could be SK95 mono steel... but in that case, 18k yen sounds a bit pricy. You can buy a Shirogami 2 mono steel gyuto from Ashi-hamono for that price...
 

riba

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You're buying a memory for your journey.
You bought either a great knife or the first knife in a long knife journey. Just pick what looks at you.

(Fwiw, I personally don't care too much about the actual steel. I got some great yellow steel knives)
 

Mute-on

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Firstly, as @riba said, it is a memory from your journey, so I would certainly buy something. I have bought many knives in Japan for this reason, even though some are available online, outside Japan.

Secondly, in your shoes, I would buy the “model with the inside/middle part being blue steel (aogami) and surrounded on both sides by stainless steel“. This translates to a San-mai construction (carbon steel core with stainless cladding) blade.

Aogami is generally more wear resistant than Shirogami, so the edge will stay sharp a little longer. The stainless cladding will not rust or patina. The aogami core will patina (turn darker) with use but will not rust unless you leave it wet. It is a very common construction and an excellent combination of materials that gives you the benefits of a high carbon core, and a rust resistant cladding.

Enjoy your trip!
 

osakajoe

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That seems quite expensive for an SK steel knife. You visiting other places while in Japan. A quick search online and here will bring up other places to look at.
 

vk2109

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Ditto with Osakajoe. it's expensive for an SK4. Honestly I went to Aritsugu in May to have a look and it's heavily marked up for what they sell. a lots of tourists around.
If you are traveling to Tokyo give a try to Masamato Tsukiji or the Tsukiji Aritsutgu as well. better prices and they open from 6am.
if you;re only staying in kyoto, try this place as well they have excellent knives : Shigeharu. It's next to the Nijo Castle.
 

khashy

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They did have one honyaki gyuto when I visited them in Feb. It looked nice enough, they couldn’t tell me much about it. I do remember it had a bizarrely small handle
 

Phknife

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Bug thank you for all the input! Impressive of the knowledge here!

I went to the Takashimaya department store in Kyoto as they sell Aritsugu knives as well. I found the knife below which they say is blue steel. However, they don’t have more detail info so that I can confirm what I am buying. Do any of you experts have a clue on this?

I will now go and visit Kikuichimonji as they might have VG10 knives. From what I have read on this forum, Kikuichimonji is a well respected producer (but as Aritsugu, don’t make their knives themselves).
 

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HRC_64

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Keep in mind that the knife that feels good in your hand and has the profile you like is more likely to get used...
and the more you can use your souvinir the more value it ultimatly will have to you as well, especially if its everyday.

That being said, I tend to agree with Osaka joea and others up above, that OP knife seems a bit pricy (18K JPY / SK steel)
the tokyo version of artisugo-shop also has fairly reasonable prices IIRC/if the website is accurate etc

(if you're going there).
 
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ojisan

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The picture shows the knife has a 上 "jou" mark on it, that would mean the knife is in the Jousei line. So it should be one fromthe high-end line of Arirsugu and it's not hard to believe it's made of aogami, if the store staff told so. 15k yen sounds not bad to me.
 
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Moooza

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Their fit and finish can be absolutely awful, almost laughable. Check the knife closely before leaving. I like their stainless clad super aogami knives - great everyday knife.
 

Eric Chevallier

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Come to Sakai knives museum, and buy it directly from the craftman. Its cheaper and more choice ;)

Hi,

I am currently in kyoto and I have some questions that I have not been able to get answers to. I am quite new to professional knives but got a good rough lecture before I traveled here and I have been doing some reading over the last days. The one giving me the rough lecture was a japanese man that has a professional knife shop in my country and he recommended me to buy an Aogami or Shirgami carbon steel knife from Aritsugu if I traveled to Kyoto. I have done some research on stainless stell vs carbon steel and I think I want to a VG10 or an Aogami or Shirogami Carbon steel. From what I understand Aritsugu does not produce any VG10 steels my question below is regarding carbon steel. They are very polite and kind here in Kyoto but unfortunately not so proficient in English so I get answers that don't line up with what I read.

Apparently the 100% Blue steel (Aogami) is sold out and they have two Sontuko models available in the store. One model with SK95 carbon steel (what I understand is SK4?) and one model with the inside/middle part being blue steel (aogami) and surrounded on both sides by stainless steel (which makes it heavier and the handle is not equally as nice in my opinion). The SK4 knife costs ~18k Yen for 21cm and the other model costs ~16k Yen for 19/20cm.

Is it worth it to buy a SK4 knife from Aritsugu or should I look for pure aogami knives from other brands (and if so, what should I look for here in Kyoto). I was recommended to buy aogami or shirogami and I got very insecure when they only had SK4 carbon steel and they can't really explain the difference in the store and all I can read about it is that it is quite low quality of carbon steel?

Unfortunately I will travel from Kyoto on Sunday and therefore have limited time...

Thanks in advance for all help that I can get!
 

Eric Chevallier

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Aogami knives have always the kanji 青
Blue steel 1
青一 Aoichi

Blue steel 2
青紙 Aogami
青鋼Aoko
青二Aoni

White steel 1
白一Shiroichi

Ginsan
銀三Ginsan

If nothing or other kanji for carbon knife it mean its shirogami 2, white steel 2.
 

Eric Chevallier

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All are seller or grossist, not makers. If you want real knife for a good price, visit the Sakai knife museum ;)

Bug thank you for all the input! Impressive of the knowledge here!

I went to the Takashimaya department store in Kyoto as they sell Aritsugu knives as well. I found the knife below which they say is blue steel. However, they don’t have more detail info so that I can confirm what I am buying. Do any of you experts have a clue on this?

I will now go and visit Kikuichimonji as they might have VG10 knives. From what I have read on this forum, Kikuichimonji is a well respected producer (but as Aritsugu, don’t make their knives themselves).
 

Eric Chevallier

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Strange to hear they cant tell more about a knife, for a knife specialist...


They did have one honyaki gyuto when I visited them in Feb. It looked nice enough, they couldn’t tell me much about it. I do remember it had a bizarrely small handle
 

ojisan

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Assuming the op doesn't have time to visit Sakai, I'd say buying a knife from a reseller is not a bad thing at all and resellers do have real knives (with some extra), so don't worry.
 

adam92

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Strange to hear they cant tell more about a knife, for a knife specialist...
I went to kyoto aritsugu about a month ago, to be honestly, they knife fit & finish not worth it .

at least not for the medium or low end.

I'll say sakai knife blacksmitch will much better than that.

sakai Takayuki 界孝行
Address :1-chōme-2-28 Zaimokuchōnishi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0941, Japan

鄉右马允义宏
Address :1-chōme-2-21 Shukuyachōnishi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0937, Japan

一杆子忠钢 ickansi tatadsuna ?
永田刃物
address 1-chōme-1-4 Kainochōhigashi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0953, Japan

Sakai Jikko

Address: 1-chōme-1-9 Nishikinochōnishi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0931, Japan

these knife much better than kyoto aritsugu .

I found out sakai jikko have very good fit & finish, but also much more expensive than other.
 

Eric Chevallier

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Aritsugu have good stuff, the same that you have in Sakai but more expensive.
Jikko or other brand are seller too, so its same to buy to Aritsugu.
If somebody want a traditional knife from the craftman there is just three place in Sakai, Sasuke, Mizuno (for may be 1/3 of his products) and Sakai knife museum.

I went to kyoto aritsugu about a month ago, to be honestly, they knife fit & finish not worth it .

at least not for the medium or low end.

I'll say sakai knife blacksmitch will much better than that.

sakai Takayuki 界孝行
Address :1-chōme-2-28 Zaimokuchōnishi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0941, Japan

鄉右马允义宏
Address :1-chōme-2-21 Shukuyachōnishi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0937, Japan

一杆子忠钢 ickansi tatadsuna ?
永田刃物
address 1-chōme-1-4 Kainochōhigashi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0953, Japan

Sakai Jikko

Address: 1-chōme-1-9 Nishikinochōnishi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0931, Japan

these knife much better than kyoto aritsugu .

I found out sakai jikko have very good fit & finish, but also much more expensive than other.
 

adam92

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Aritsugu have good stuff, the same that you have in Sakai but more expensive.
Jikko or other brand are seller too, so its same to buy to Aritsugu.
If somebody want a traditional knife from the craftman there is just three place in Sakai, Sasuke, Mizuno (for may be 1/3 of his products) and Sakai knife museum.
Do you know the,kanji of sasuke?

i only know mizuno tanrenjo
 

Eric Chevallier

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He is my former master
佐助 but the real kanji have a _ under the 助. Its the old kanji but actual japanese keyboard cant type it
For the museum its 伝統産業会館。
You have the son of sharpener Yauchi八内 too, he will begin to sell his knife begining of next year

Do you know the,kanji of sasuke?

i only know mizuno tanrenjo
 

ojisan

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That comparison might be unfair. For example, if you want a 150mm White 2 deba, prices would look like (all catalogue prices):

Sakai Takayuki (堺孝行): 26,800 (Tokujou, maybe forged by Togashi-san)
Sakai Jikko(堺實光): 28,728 (Jousaku)
Ikkanshi-Tadatsuna(一竿子忠綱): 2,9160
Kyoto Aritsugu: 1,9440 (Tokusei)

As Eric mentioned in another thread, finishing is not so important especially when you choose a traditional Japanese knife. (construction is much much more important otherwise your knife will warp or you cannot get a proper uraoshi, etc. etc.). So I 'd say, given these prices, Kyoto Aritsugu is doing a good job with (minor) trade off on cosmetic points.

Wondering if Nagata-san (son) does heat (re?)treatment himself...

I went to kyoto aritsugu about a month ago, to be honestly, they knife fit & finish not worth it .

at least not for the medium or low end.

I'll say sakai knife blacksmitch will much better than that.

sakai Takayuki 界孝行
Address :1-chōme-2-28 Zaimokuchōnishi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0941, Japan

鄉右马允义宏
Address :1-chōme-2-21 Shukuyachōnishi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0937, Japan

一杆子忠钢 ickansi tatadsuna ?
永田刃物
address 1-chōme-1-4 Kainochōhigashi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0953, Japan

Sakai Jikko

Address: 1-chōme-1-9 Nishikinochōnishi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0931, Japan

these knife much better than kyoto aritsugu .

I found out sakai jikko have very good fit & finish, but also much more expensive than other.
 

daddy yo yo

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Will go to Sakai tomorrow or the day after. So excited, as I found the stores in Tokyo and Kyoto rather disappointing.

Does Ashi let people in and/or have a showroom? I know they stopped selling to end consumers...

Mizuno Tanrenjo is from Sakai, right?
 
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vk2109

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Will go to Sakai tomorrow or the day after. So excited, as I found the stores in Tokyo and Kyoto rather disappointing.

Does Ashi let people in and/or have a showroom? I know they stopped selling to end consumers...

Mizuno Tanrenjo is from Sakai, right?
Yes Mizuno is from Sakai https://goo.gl/maps/m5fiDm1tnP9zV3BZA . Very good knife. I have got a BS#2 santoku to my parent and it cuts like a charm.
Surprised that you mention the stores in Tokyo are disappointing. Tsukiji Masamato and Aritsugu Tsukiji have good stuff.
 

Echotraveler

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I got 2 knifes from the S line on Aritsugu Tokyo, which are stores named the same, but carrying different lines. My knifes are western handle gyuto and petty. They say the steel on the S line is Gokinko (golden alloy).

The finish on my knifes is good to excelent, the steel can get very very sharp for quite some time, this is a reactive blade.

Id say Aritsugu Kyoto or Tokyo are great buys as they have a great history. I recommend Tokyo, because the prices are fair, much better than masamoto.
 
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ACHiPo

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I was in Kyoto in February. I visited Shigeharu--he showed me some fantastic honyaki knives, but none were for sale (at least not to me). His English was as good as my Japanese (pretty much nonexistent). That being said I would highly recommend stopping there. As others said, Nijo castle is right across the street so it's win-win if you're traveling with someone not-so-interested in knives.

I bought a mono-steel honesuki boning knife at Aritsugu. It was a fair price I felt, and I love the knife. It is definitely a tourist place, but the market is fun in itself and worth a trip.
 

parbaked

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I had a great time at Shigeharu in 2017. I recommend it to anyone visiting Kyoto.
The business is over 600 years old and Shigeharu-san explained that he's the 24th, and last, generation blacksmith.
He was forging in back when I was perusing knives.
His wife, who runs the shop, went back to get him to help me select something.

I picked up a sweet little 210mm single bevel petty yanagiba, and he burned on an old growth ho wood handle.
P1040805.JPG


Also scratched both our names on the blade...
IMG_2673.jpeg

I like.
 

CiderBear

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I had a great time at Shigeharu in 2017. I recommend it to anyone visiting Kyoto.
The business is over 600 years old and Shigeharu-san explained that he's the 24th, and last, generation blacksmith.
He was forging in back when I was perusing knives.
His wife, who runs the shop, went back to get him to help me select something.

I picked up a sweet little 210mm single bevel petty yanagiba, and he burned on an old growth ho wood handle.
View attachment 63814

Also scratched both our names on the blade...
View attachment 63815
I like.
Last? :(
 
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