Weekend in Japan--Suggested Knife Stops?

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by ACHiPo, Jan 8, 2019.

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  1. Jan 8, 2019 #1

    ACHiPo

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    I'll have Saturday and Sunday next weekend in Japan between legs of a business trip. I'll be staying either near the Shin Yokohama station or Haneda airport in the Tokyo area.

    I'd like to check out knife makers or at least knife shops if possible. The Takefu knife village might be a good choice if I can get there with trains and taxis? Also may hit the Tsukiji Fish Market?

    What suggestions do you have?
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  2. Jan 8, 2019 #2

    Corradobrit1

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    Teruyasu Fujiwara. If this brand has been on your radar picking one up in person is the best way to avoid disappointment and there are many examples eg red handled, lacquered Wa handles, intended for local sale. Contact Gaku ahead of visit and you may even get a tour around the workshop. I don't think its too difficult to get to either. Parbaked and Inzite could give you an honest opinion as they have been recent visitors.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  3. Jan 8, 2019 #3

    ivnj

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    Was in Tokyo a month ago, went to TF, kappanbashi district, masamoto, tower knives, kiya. Pretty dissapointed to be honest since I was hunting for unicorns and most of those shops dont have what I need. But if I were to pick one to revisit, it would be TF.
     
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  4. Jan 8, 2019 #4

    ACHiPo

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    Love the location--looks very easy to get to. Will try to head there after sashimi breakfast at the fish market maybe.

    I question whether I have the discerning skills to tell a good quality knife from TF from a not-so-good quality, however. What fit and finish issues do they typically have?
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  5. Jan 8, 2019 #5

    Corradobrit1

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    Two things to consider. F&F and personal preference. A lot of the criticism centers on inconsistencies, typically thickness which impacts weight. I know what weight for a given length suits me and choose accordingly. For a 210 gyuto its about 170-190g (Yo). As for F&F, check choil and spine and see if there are any sharp areas. Look along blade road under artificial light and check for grind issues, which are easy to see in person (not so easy in photos). Put the blade edge on a flat surface and make sure there are no 'holes' as you rock the blade.
     
  6. Jan 8, 2019 #6

    KenHash

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    If you end up in Yokohama you might want to take a look at Kikuhide.
     
  7. Jan 8, 2019 #7

    parbaked

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    There's also a small Kiya shop inside the Sogo in Yokohama Station.
    Last April they had a Kiya branded Shigefusa Nakiri. but pricy...
     
  8. Jan 8, 2019 #8

    ACHiPo

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    I'm not sure what a Kiya shop is, but I vaguely remember walking through a cutlery shop in a SOGO someplace. I didn't see anything labeled "Kiya" on the floor guide, but it may just be a stall?
     
  9. Jan 8, 2019 #9

    ACHiPo

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    Will definitely be in Shin Yokohama Thurs-Sat, and Yokohama proper Sunday. Planning to visit TF Saturday. Not sure if the fish market is open on the weekends. Still researching.

    Thanks!
     
  10. Jan 8, 2019 #10

    KenHash

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    Nihonbashi Kiya 日本橋 木屋 knives are on the 6th floor of Sogo Dept store Yokohama.
     
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  11. Jan 8, 2019 #11

    Corradobrit1

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    Good call. Have Gaku pull a few blades ahead of your visit that you might be interested seeing. They have a lot of unusual stuff that never makes it to the website. eg Damascus blades, urushi handled knives etc
     
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  12. Jan 8, 2019 #12

    parbaked

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    Kiya is a high end cutlery shop. The knives, including the Shigs, are all branded Kiya, regardless of the maker.
    They also have a beautiful store in Tokyo Midtown if you are in Roppongi (see the pics in the link below)
    http://www.kiya-hamono.co.jp/english/index.html

    I think the Kiya Sogo Yokohama counter located with the Japanese crafts and not with the general kitchenware and knives.

    It's great fun to visit the TF shop especially if TF is there. TF is probably not there on Saturday, but Gaku will take good care of you. The shop is hard to find. Get good directions from the station.

    Tsukiji Fish Market has moved but the retail shops (including knife shops) and restaurants that surrounded the old market are still there and well worth a visit. Just go to the old market and not the new one...
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
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  13. Jan 9, 2019 #13

    ACHiPo

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    This is really helpful. Thanks.
    One thing I'm looking for is moderately priced stainless steak knives--petty knives could work. Would TF have anything like that in the store? The ones I saw online were either really expensive or not really what I'm looking for. I'd like to find forged stainless knives for <$100@.
     
  14. Jan 9, 2019 #14

    Corradobrit1

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    All TF knives have reactive cores with stainless cladding. That may not be what you're looking for. I think you'll find these items without too much difficulty in other recommended stores though.
     
  15. Jan 9, 2019 #15

    toddnmd

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    Where specifically is that? Do you have a link?
     
  16. Jan 9, 2019 #16

    ACHiPo

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    Thanks.
     
  17. Jan 9, 2019 #17

    ACHiPo

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    I found a Kikuhide Cutlery in Yokosuka, south of Yokohama. Maybe there is a store in Yokohama as well?
    http://sukaichi-e.com/search.php?id=40

    I found a map of a Isezaki Mall in Yokohama showing a Kikuhide store on the 2nd floor:
    upload_2019-1-8_18-26-52.png
     
  18. Jan 9, 2019 #18

    parbaked

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    Kikuhide I know is in Yokosuka, not Yokohama.
    It's the only cutlery shop near my in-laws so I've been a bunch of times but not much to buy. They have some Swedish Misono but everything else I've seen is their house brand, made in Sakai, and not that interesting.
    http://www2.tbb.t-com.ne.jp/kikuhide/home.html
     
  19. Jan 9, 2019 #19

    Corradobrit1

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    In business since 1792. Thats some history.
     
  20. Jan 9, 2019 #20

    KenHash

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    Yes Kikuhide have a store in Yokosuka. But the Honten (main store) is in Isezaki Cho, Yokohama.

    2 Chome-11−3 Isezakichō, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken 231-0045, Japan
     
  21. Jan 9, 2019 #21

    ACHiPo

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    Another question: are there deals to be had? I don’t know a lot about Japanese knives, and the prices seem to vary based on maker/foundry more than quality (maybe not, it just seems that Shigs, et al demand a premium). Is there a place for knives similar to Ikihabara is for watches and electronics where you can get good deals on about anything and great deals if you’re lucky?
     
  22. Jan 9, 2019 #22

    JoBone

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    Nice thread. Any other suggestions for a 2-3 week trip?
     
  23. Jan 9, 2019 #23

    ACHiPo

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    I just heard back from Gaku of TF. There is no foundry in Tokyo because of fire regulations--just a small furnace for hands-on demonstrations. The forge is in Ibaraki. Currently, in Tokyo, there are facilities for finishing work. I plan to stop there early Saturday so I will have time for other stops later in the day.

    I'm still intrigued by Takefu Knife Village in Echezin. It is a haul from Tokyo, but seems like it could be worth the trip. Does anyone have experience visiting the workshops there?
    http://takefu-knifevillage.jp/

    Their website offers classes, but there is a note that forging classes are suspended due to remodeling of the forge area. I've messaged them about hopefully getting a sharpening lesson, which would make the trip quite worthwhile.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  24. Jan 9, 2019 #24

    KenHash

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    I can't really say. The only place where I've "haggled" prices are in Kappabashi. Which I think is the nearest equivalent to a kitchen knife Akihabara.
     
  25. Jan 9, 2019 #25

    ACHiPo

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    Not really lookin to negotiate, just someplace that doesn’t gouge a gaijin.
     
  26. Jan 9, 2019 #26

    KenHash

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    There are now about 2,000,000, probably more, "gaijin" living in Japan. In 2017 some 29,000,000 foreign tourists visited Japan. Unless a person knows absolutely nothing about kitchen knives, and doesn't check prices online, I'd say the odds of getting "gouged" are not very high.
    From what I've heard the biggest seller to foreign tourists are mid priced VG10 Damascus knives with their names engraved.
     
  27. Jan 9, 2019 #27

    Corradobrit1

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    Lots of mixed reviews here re the Takefu Village experience. Check them out before making the commitment as its going to take time and money to get there from Tokyo.
     
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  28. Jan 9, 2019 #28

    KenHash

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    It's pretty far from Tokyo to Takefu. And honestly I don't know what's out there besides the cutlery industry.
    https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Tokyo/Takefu
    Sort of the same with Sanjo and Tsubame Cities in Niigata.
    I was in Nagoya once so I visited Seki for a day. If you have anything to do in Osaka, Sakai is there.
     
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  29. Jan 9, 2019 #29

    parbaked

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    Thanks for that! I've been looking for a cutlery shop in Yokohama.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  30. Jan 9, 2019 #30

    parbaked

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    I'd day trip to Kyoto or Osaka over Takefu.
    In Kyoto you can visit the touristy Aritsugu knife shop in Nishiki Market and visit Shigeharu, a 24th generation knife maker near Nijo Castle.
    Chances are you will meet Shigeharu-san and his wife.
    He will help you pick out a knife and engrave it for you.
    He is an incredible character and the experience is well worth the trip.

    Osaka has a fun kitchen supply district with knife shops as well as Tower Knives, which is owned by a Canadian and very much set up to take care of tourists interested in traditional Japanese knives.
     

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