Home Places To Go in TokyoAsakusa Tokyo Knife Stores – The Best Blades in Japan

Tokyo Knife Stores – The Best Blades in Japan

by Gloria Russo

Japan is famous for the quality of their blades. Tokyo knife stores stock cooking knives, high-end barbering scissors, clippers, and much more. So if you work with a blade, you will want to consider visiting one of the places on our list of Top Tokyo Knife Stores.

 

Tokyo Knife Stores: Aritsugu

Aritsugu Tokyo Knife Stores

Founded in 1560, Aritsugu is one of the oldest knife-makers in Japan. Though their main store is in Kyoto’s Nishiki Market, they have two Tokyo locations in the  Tsukiji and Toyosu Fish Markets.Aritsugu Tokyo Knife Stores

Aritsugu’s excellent blades attract chefs from all over the world, but they haven’t forgotten about beginners and households. They are proud of their multipurpose knives, such as their santoku and sashimi knives. Their vegetable cutters are very popular with locals and tourists alike. You can also find a variety of other kitchen tools at Aritsugu and everything you need to keep your knives sharp. 

Aritsugu Tokyo Knife Stores

The staff can help you with all of your knife-related needs, and they have no problems explaining their products in English. They also offer sharpening and engraving services directly in the store.

Aritsugu Tokyo Knife Stores

Website (Japanese) ||| Online Store (Japanese) ||| #aritsugu on Instagram

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Shijō-mae Station (plan your route at the link and click on the Google Map below for walking directions)

 

Azuma Minamoto–no Masahisa

Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa makes their knives on-site. This Tokyo knife store is really crowded in the morning, but the staff is skilled at getting down to business with their customers in English or Japanese. They get to know you right away and can help you select the right blade for your needs.

Founded in 1872, Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa has a long history. They take the knife-sharpening process very seriously, and the shop is extensively equipped with sharpening machinery. All the knives on display are blunt, but they can swiftly put a razor edge or on your purchase.  Hand-made engraving service is also available.

Their wood-handled Japanese knives are their best-sellers, but they have much more to offer. Their Damascus knives are gorgeous yet functional works of art. And be sure to look for their sharkskin oroshigane (おろし金) graters, perfect for fine grating wasabi, ginger, and other vegetables.

Website (English)

Nearest Station: 8-minute walk from Tsukijishijou Station (plan your route at the link and click on the Google Map below for walking directions)

 

Koshi no Itto

Koshi no Itto Tokyo knife stores Koshi no Itto Tokyo knife stores

Located on Kappabashi Street in Asakusa, Koshi no Itto offers a variety of goods made of stainless steel – nail cutters, tweezers, carving tools, knives and even gardening tools! It is the only knife shop in Kappabashi where you can find bonsai scissors and kenzan for ikebana.

Koshi no Itto Tokyo knife stores

Koshi no Itto specializes in kagami knives and their own handmade knifes. They also offer a selection of knives from other knife stores across the country

Koshi no Itto Tokyo knife stores

Koshi no Itto offers personalized engraving services for any knives you purchase, and can inscribe your name in Japanese ideograms or Roman letters. It only takes 5 minutes to create the perfect souvenir for yourself or a friend.

Koshi no Itto Tokyo knife stores

Koshi no Ittou staff can sharpen your new knife for you or show you how to do it at home. They can speak English and they know how to entertain the customers!

Website and Online Store (Japanese)

Nearest Station: 10-minute walk from Asakusa Station (plan your route at the link and click on the Google Map below for walking directions)

 

Tsubaya

Tsubaya Tokyo knife stores

Tsubaya is one of the oldest knife stores on Kappabashi – a very small place with a whole lot of history. Their knives are works of art, with unique designs and customized engraving.  They know that their customers want not just good knives, but good-looking ones as well!

Tsubaya Tokyo knife stores

If you are looking for an unusual gift, Tsubaya’s nail clippers are very popular. They are so sharp that you do not need a nail file after using them.Tsubaya Tokyo knife stores

Tsubaya also offers knife repair, sharpening, and engraving services in the store.

Website (English/Japanese) ||| Facebook (English/Japanese) ||| Instagram

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Asakusa Station (plan your route at the link and click on the Google Map below for walking directions)

 

Wa no Kokoro

Wa no Kokoro Tokyo knife stores

Wa no Kokoro is located next to the tax free counter in Kappabashi. They have an excellent selection of carbon steel and stainless steel knives, and can provide a helpful written English guide if you aren’t sure what you are looking for.  Their friendly staff is the key to this new store–they can assist you in Japanese, English, or Chinese.

Wa no Kokoro Tokyo knife stores

Wa no Kokoro also has a variety of Japanese tea pots and tea cups.

Wa no Kokoro Tokyo knife stores

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Asakusa Station (plan your route at the link and click on the Google Map below for walking directions)

 

Choosing a Japanese Knife…

Having the opportunity to buy a genuine Japanese knife from one of the many Tokyo knife stores is all well and good, but what are you going to use it for? It’s no good as a conversational piece if you just leave it in a drawer.

Universal knives (万能) are the most popular and come highly recommended. Even a novice chef can easily use and maintain one of these beauties.  Some universal knives’ names are: Santoku, Gyuto, Petty and Deba.

Deba knives (出刃) are for filleting fish.

Gyuto knives (牛刀) are used for meat and vegetables. They are great for chopping and shredding, but aren’t as suitable for peeling and skinning.

Petty knives (ペティナイフ) are suitable for peeling and shaping fruit and vegetables.

Santoku knives (三徳) are excellent multipurpose knives. Santoku means “three uses,” as they are suitable for slicing, dicing, and mincing.

Japanese knives

Gyuto knives from Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa

Single-Purpose knives are specialized blades. They are only used for specific tasks, but they are outstanding tools when used for their intended purpose. Generally, single-purpose knives are divided by what they cut–fish (魚) , sashimi (刺身), meat (肉), vegetables (野菜),  or fruit (果物). Examples include–

Honesuki knives (骨すき) are used to slice chicken/beef meat from bones.

Sujihiki knives (筋引) are used for slicing meat. They are longer and thinner than gyuto knives.

Usuba knives(薄刃) have thin blades and are used to slice vegetables.

Yanagiba knives (柳刃) are used for slicing fish for sashimi.

Japanese knives

A variety of knives from Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa

…And Getting It Home

Bringing a knife on an airplane sounds like just the sort of thing that will get you put on a watch list. We know that you don’t have any nefarious purposes, but officials in your home country might have a problem with finding a razor-sharp blade in your luggage.

Is there any procedure for transporting your knife when you arrive at the airport? Not in Japan. Of course, you need to put your knife in your check-in luggage. You should also check your country’s laws–for instance, you may not be able to bring a kitchen knife on subways and trains.

You can mail your knife from most of the shops listed above. Even if they can’t ship it for you, they can pack it. After that, it’s just a matter of finding a post office.

 

Sharpening Your Japanese Knife

When we were gathering information for this article, every single shop owner and employee emphasized the importance of a sharp knife, some with near-religious fervor. A sharp blade not only prevents forcing a cut (and the injuries from consequent slips), but also keeps your knife in good repair. A well-maintained knife can last decades–there are experienced chefs in Tokyo who are still using the knives they acquired as novices!

What you need–

-Your knife

-A whetstone, which you can easily find in any knife shop

-A container of water

-Towel

Tsubaya whetstones

Whetstones from Tsubaya

Procedure–

  1. Soak your whetstone in the water (5 to 10 minutes).
  2. Dampen your towel and lay the whetstone on it.
  3. Position the knife on the stone and sharpen it at a 45° angle.
  4. Remember to count the number of strokes against the whetstone while sharpening. They must me the same on both sides!
  5. Wash away the shavings.

Sharpening at Koshi no ittou

If you want to know more about how to sharpen a knife, check out this video!

Did we miss your favorite knife store? Send us an email and let us know!

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