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Japanese Kitchen Knife Store - Brick and Mortar Appreciated


Ferhat Yalcin
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I am looking for a knife store whose specialty is Japanese style knives. Sur la Table and Williams Sonoma are not enough. Usually limited selections and brands. Online stores are not really helpful.

I need a store with its walls full of knives. I want to touch and experience the knife.

Help is much appreciated.

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There's a tiny but interesting selection now at DC Sharp in Union Market, but only a handful of yanagis and a few more debas/pettys, and only a few makers represented...Tojiro and Kikuichi showing on their web shop.

A day trip to Korin's showroom in NYC (whose walls ARE full of knives) is probably the way to go if you want to see a broad selection.

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A day trip to Korin's showroom in NYC (whose walls ARE full of knives) is probably the way to go if you want to see a broad selection.

And it may be worth it, too.

Blessed are the shoppers who test, and then buy, these knives at an actual store, as opposed to running home and internet shopping after finding a knife they like. The stores deserve the extra money for carrying inventory for people to try out.

Ferhat, I would also get in touch with people like Kaz, Koji, and Hiroshi. They've been around the block so many times that they know quality. I'm happy to make the connections - just let me know what you need. (This goes for everyone here.)

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Korin would be the dream trip to shop for knives in person (I have Togiharu & their own label, purchased from their site) but once you've handled a few different sizes & makers, you can do as well shopping online- my favorite online sources are JapaneseChefsknife.com & Chefsknivestogo.com but I've also purchased from other retailers, private sellers, & eBay.

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There's a tiny but interesting selection now at DC Sharp in Union Market, but only a handful of yanagis and a few more debas/pettys, and only a few makers represented...Tojiro and Kikuichi showing on their web shop.

A day trip to Korin's showroom in NYC (whose walls ARE full of knives) is probably the way to go if you want to see a broad selection.

I`ve been to DC Sharp, You are right they have a unique selection but very limited. I had a trip planned to NYC few weeks ago. Only to have dinner at a restaurant and to go to Korin but I had to cancel it. Now I have no time until November. It looks like I will wait few more months.

Don, it is a great idea to get advise from Kaz or Koji. I hope they will let me try their knives :)  I will be in touch with you.

Thanks for the suggestions.

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If you can make it to the picnic (I know you're pretty busy w/ your restaurant), I can bring an assortment of knives for you to try (& everyone else, of course, I love sharing my knives w/ people) -Takeda, Watanabe, Tanaka, Moritaka , all purchased awhile ago-honestly, most of my knife needs can be met by the Hiromotos (probably my favorite commercial Japanese brand) & Spydercos (because I like serrated knives, but Spyderco has discontinued their kitchen knives). I guess I should also bring some stuff to cut up, & cook...

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If you can make it to the picnic (I know you're pretty busy w/ your restaurant), I can bring an assortment of knives for you to try (& everyone else, of course, I love sharing my knives w/ people) -Takeda, Watanabe, Tanaka, Moritaka , all purchased awhile ago-honestly, most of my knife needs can be met by the Hiromotos (probably my favorite commercial Japanese brand) & Spydercos (because I like serrated knives, but Spyderco has discontinued their kitchen knives). I guess I should also bring some stuff to cut up, & cook...

Thank you very much, that is a great offer. I would love to learn from your expertise with the knives. However I will be in Turkey until late October.

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OK, I'd trade the picnic for the chance to be in Turkey. When you're back, just drop me a line, the knives are available. As much as I love to use a one off, craftsman made knife, I am not a knife snob, they're just tools, I also have Tiger knives & IKEA knives, inexpensive Chinese cleavers from the grocery store-but knives are something that can combine craft & art & utility (& you can get great food at the end). Hope you have a wonderful trip....

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Korin is definitely worth a stop in NYC. What you will get there is a chance to talk to someone about what you are looking for and they can help guide you to the right knife. Though I didn't get a knife at Korin, made my purchase in Japan, where this was particularly helpful for me was to discourage me from getting a longer blade than I needed, and therefore a cheaper knife.

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There is a great knife store in the open but covered street market in Kyoto. They even stamp the character for "Power" on to my purchases. I am not sure if they have a "Yalcin" stamp.

Aritsugu?  I had read up on it and planned a trip to the market just for that shop, but my jaw about dropped when I got in the store.  They spent a half hour with me trying out different debas, and eventually talked me into a smaller and less expensive knife than I had originally budgeted for!  Even if your last name doesn't translate into a cool symbol :D , they will stamp a phonetic translation in katakana.  Korin carries a small selection of their blades.

Have you been to DC Sharp recently?  Compared to Korin, etc. their selection is "small", but it's easily the best in the metro area.  Only about half of the knives seem to be Japanese made, but there are some incredible blades from American bladesmiths (some Japanese-trained) that I wouldn't overlook.

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For what it's worth, I buy my knives here, located in the Kappabashi district in Tokyo: Kamata Kappabashi

and it looks like their website can be translated into English so there might be information on how to reach them directly to inquire about specific knives and options.

It's a lovely store and they are SUPER friendly.

Korin is helpful to check out the sizes and styles but personally, i think they're wildly overpriced.

Another option is to reach out to the the big japanese import exporters in the area.

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DC Sharp is great, they'll offer a lot of extras (hard blade cover, stropping right after purchasing), and they'll let you try out any knife they've got. That's where I've gotten a few of my knives and I'd definitely get more from there in the future.

If you're looking for a huge selection, good reviews, and great pricing, http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ is a great place.

Those two are my go-to knife places.

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