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Buying Japanese Knives in Japan

163 posts in this topic

looking to pick up a few knives to add to my collection

- Nenox 9.4" Gyutou ($279 is the cheapest I've found here)

http://www.nenohi.co.jp/you/you.sp/nenox.s1.htm

- Masamoto yanagi (30/33 cm) Honyaki - ($700+ here)

http://www.japanese-knife.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?

- Glestain 9.4" Gyutou (about $264 )

http://www.japanese-knife.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?

what are the prices like in Japan? Are we getting gouged here? If they are significantly cheaper I'll probably get someone to ship them over to me. TIA

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I have found some of the Glestain ones:

http://www.z-enomoto.jp/knife.glestain.htm

the prices seem to be a little less then double the price.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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As the the nenox:

http://www.nenohi.co.jp/you/you.htm

the 9.4 inch gyutou is the 10th one down the list (240mm), there are two types, the one you have the picture of is over $300 in Japan while the other is about $160. So depending on which one you are referring to, you either ahve a great deal or it is over priced.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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‚h@‚‚@‚ˆ‚‚–‚‰‚Ž‚‡@‚@‚’‚…‚‚Œ‚Œ‚™@‚ˆ‚…‚‚’‚„@‚”‚‰‚‚…@‚†‚‰‚Ž‚„‚‰‚Ž‚‡@‚‰‚Ž‚†‚‚’‚‚‚”‚‰‚‚Ž@‚‚Ž Masamoto knives, according to the one site I did find they are the #1 Japanese style knives in Japan..............?

I did find this:

http://www.kodawariyasan.com/masamoto_html...moto_yanagi.htm

these are prices for gyokukakuko yanagi, which are about $300 or so in the US, in Japan they seem to be about half of that.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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looking to pick up a few knives to add to my collection

- Nenox 9.4" Gyutou ($279 is the cheapest I've found here)

http://www.nenohi.co.jp/you/you.sp/nenox.s1.htm

- Masamoto yanagi (30/33 cm) Honyaki - ($700+ here)

http://www.japanese-knife.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?

- Glestain 9.4" Gyutou (about $264 )

http://www.japanese-knife.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?

what are the prices like in Japan? Are we getting gouged here? If they are significantly cheaper I'll probably get someone to ship them over to me. TIA

When I was working at Charlies, we spent about $250,000.000 a year on fish directly fed-exed from japan. As luck would have it, Masamoto's factory was located next door to the seafood supplier. Our chef de cuisine asked the fish supplier if he would be willing to purchase some knives from time to time and just place them in the bottom of a seafood box. They still do this today. Because the fish supplier already purchases knives from his neighbor, he gets them at cost. The cost we ended up paying after the fish suppliers mark-up for the Masamoto Honyaki Gyokuhakuko Yanagi Sashimi (33cm) was $245.00. The same exact knife at korin is $871.20. I wouldnt quite call it price gouging, I would label that as rape. But there is nothing chefs can do about it yet.


Edited by inventolux (log)

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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Does seem like it's about half the price in Japan, looks like I should get my clueless friend to get me a stash, hopefully he gets the right ones.!!

Very confusing variety of metals and tempering styles.... :blink:

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When I was working at Charlies, we spent about $250,000.000 a year on fish directly fed-exed from japan. As luck would have it, Masamoto's factory was located next door to the seafood supplier.

Actually there are two Masamoto knifemakers in Tokyo. One located near the fish market at Tsukiji, and the other at Sumida-ward (sold by Korin). I believe they are related family-wise but have split operations.


Edited by JC (log)

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SG,

Yes, Japanese knives in Japan are much cheaper than in USA. You can expect to save 30-50%.

Example:

that Glestain 9.4" knife you mentioned (model 724TK).

Korin = $264

Japan = $150

that Nenox S1 9.4" knife you mentioned

Knife Merchant = $279

Korin = $357

Japan = $289 (this is full retail, street price is about 20% off)


Edited by JC (log)

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I have a question....where would you go to purchase knives in Japan? (sorry, have been to Japan several times but I wasn't shopping for knives those times). Is there specialty kitchen stores? All I remember is that Tokyu Hands carry Global (but I really don't want to buy Global)

thanks!

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You can buy knives almost anywhere in Japan, heck even 100 yen ($1) stores have them! :biggrin:

Anyplace that has a kitchen goods corner will have knives (supermarket, drugstore, discount shop, etc) and usually in a variety of prices from $5 to up to about $100.

For the pricier stuff, Tokyu Hands actually has a decent selection of various knives, not just global. I bought my Kyocera ceramic there when they were having a sale, but in general they are pricey. If you are looking to get the best price possible try a place like Kappabashi (kitchen goods capital of Tokyo) where all te pros shop, or if you know exactly what knife you are looking for try to find out where their shop is.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Thanks Kristin,

I'm heading to Osaka and am hoping that I'll be able to find knives at "Doguyasuji" this kitchen street in Namba. Apparently they sell kitchen wares (e.g. plastic food models) and stuff. I've got really small hands and find European chef knives really difficult to handle, I can't wrap my hand completely around the handle, when I chop the end of the handle hits my wrist. I need a knife with a very slim and short handle. Hoping that I'll find a japanese knife with a smaller handle.

http://www.doguyasuji.or.jp/

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goyatofu,

Where to buy in Japan? About the same places as in the USA, i.e. department stores (kitchen section), specialty knife stores, etc. Oh, you can find Masamoto at Tokyu Hands!

Osaka is the right place to find Japanese knives. It's smack in the middle of the Sakai region, one of the foremost producers of knives in Japan. In Osaka, Doguyasuji is a good choice. I've been there. There are a handful of shops there that carry knives. I can remember one shop called Yamashita and another called Ichimonji.

Nearby, in Namba there is also a large department store (Takashimaya) that has a decent kitchen department.

Before you shop, it's good to have an idea of what kind of knife you want. If you need some ideas, just ask.


Edited by JC (log)

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Kristin,

Just curious, what sort of knives would you typically find in a Japanese kitchen? Are the Japanese more fond of the European imports (like Henckels or Wusthof) or do they stick to the traditional Japanese models like santoku, deba, wabocho, etc.?

What do you use yourself, if you don't mind me asking?

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JC,

Thanks for your help! I really appreciate it. Do those stores at Doguyasuji allow you to try the knives? or are they looked up in a display case?

Any recommendations on which brand to buy? Any brands with skinny and short handles?

thanks!

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Kristin,

Just curious, what sort of knives would you typically find in a Japanese kitchen? Are the Japanese more fond of the European imports (like Henckels or Wusthof) or do they stick to the traditional Japanese models like santoku, deba, wabocho, etc.?

What do you use yourself, if you don't mind me asking?

It is hard to generalize about knife use because it really depends on the person but most houses I have cooked in it seems the Japanese santoku is the most common knife and almost every house seems to have a yanagiba as well.

I prefer Western style knives just because it is what I grew up with and am used to using, some day when I have money I would like to purchase some good Japanese knives though. :biggrin:

One of my favorite knives is my paring knife which no one in in Japan seems to use, they have what they refer to as a fruit knife which is a little bit shorter and wider then a steak knife and is immensely popular for small tasks.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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JC,

Thanks for your help! I really appreciate it. Do those stores at Doguyasuji allow you to try the knives? or are they looked up in a display case?

Any recommendations on which brand to buy? Any brands with skinny and short handles?

thanks!

Japanese knives in general tend to have skinny handles, most likely to fit the smaller Asian hands.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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goyatofu,

The knives are normally in a display case but can be brought out upon request. Like Kristin said you can usually find smaller handles since the knives are "Asian sized".

Recommendations? What sort of knife are you looking for, traditional Japanese or western style (riveted handles with bolster like the German stuff)? Then what type, a santoku, chef's knife, slicer? Lastly, what's your budget?


Edited by JC (log)

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It is hard to generalize about knife use because it really depends on the person but most houses I have cooked in it seems the Japanese santoku is the most common knife and almost every house seems to have a yanagiba as well.

I prefer Western style knives just because it is what I grew up with and am used to using, some day when I have money I would like to purchase some good Japanese knives though. :biggrin:

One of my favorite knives is my paring knife which no one in in Japan seems to use, they have what they refer to as a fruit knife which is a little bit shorter and wider then a steak knife and is immensely popular for small tasks.

Thanks for the insights. Is the paring knife similar to the what the Japanese call the "petty" knife? What's this fruit knife you mentioned? What do the Japanese call it?

I'm sure you'll enjoy the Japanese knives when you get them. The Japanese have quite a different philosophy when it comes to knives and I especially like the fact that there are many craftsmen who still make them the traditional hand-forged way.

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Thanks for the insights. Is the paring knife similar to the what the Japanese call the "petty" knife? What's this fruit knife you mentioned? What do the Japanese call it?

What the Japanese call a petty knife is basically the same as what we would call a paring knife, though usually longer then the ones I am used to. The fruit knife (actually called furutsu naifu or fruit knife in katakana) is also essentially the same thing but they are cheaper (usually the $5 to $10 range) and are almost always sold with a cover so they are quite portable. These are really all purpose knives and are great (I use them for camping) but I doubt you will find them at any of the speciality knife makers, they tend to be the kind of thing you pick up in a supermarket or drugstore.

picture:

click on the picture to see it better

http://dws.warp.co.jp/cgi-bin/db2www.cgi/y...ode=N27&STRTR=1


Edited by torakris (log)

<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I'm looking for a high quality Chinese veggie cleaver. Anybody know where to find them in the U.S. I paid 40 yaun ($5) for one in China and I can't come close to it with any of the cleavers I have seen for sale here. :wacko:


Edited by Sugar Toad (log)

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Thanks JC and Kristin,

I'm looking for a Asian-size Western Style Chef's knife. :biggrin: My budget would be around $150 Canadian (what one would fork over for an 8" Wustof or Henckles Chef knife)

Any suggestions?

SugarToad,

Chinese Cleavers I would suggest you go shopping in Chinatown, and pick up a wetstone there as well, because it's much cheaper also.

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I'm looking for a high quality Chinese veggie cleaver.  Anybody know where to find them in the U.S.  I paid 40 yaun ($5) for one in China and I can't come close to it with any of the cleavers I have seen for sale here.  :wacko:

You'll be hard pressed to buy a "choy dao" (chinese cleaver) for $5 in USA.

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I'm looking for a Asian-size Western Style Chef's knife. :biggrin:  My budget would be around $150 Canadian (what one would fork over for an 8" Wustof or Henckles Chef knife)

Ok, C$150 is about 12,600 yen. A generous budget and will get you a very good Japanese made western style chef's knife (called gyutou).

As I said earlier, Sakai made knives are prevalent in Osaka. You might not find Masamoto there (it's from Tokyo). Also, Sakai emphasizes the traditional Japanese knives but many makers do have a range of gyutou. I can think of two local brands, Sakai Takayuki and Suisin. Web sites below.

http://www.suisin.co.jp/English/yo-knives/index.htm

http://www2.odn.ne.jp/sakai-takayuki/english.html

No doubt there are many more. You can find Sakai Takayuki in Doguyasuji, not sure about Suisin. Also, the Misono UX-10 (from Seki) is very good. The 210mm chef's knife (model 712) runs about 12,000 - 12,500 yen. See here: http://www.oritomo.co.jp/kitchengoods/misono_UX10.html

Remember to ask if the knives are stainless steel or carbon steel (which can rust). Here's an example of carbon steel knives: http://www.ehamono.com/houtyou/gyutou/ao2.html Will need Kristin's help to translate.

Have fun shopping!

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goyatofu,

One more thing just crossed my mind, if you really wanted a knife to suit your hand you could approach a custom knife maker. And guess what, there's one or two of them in Canada that make kitchen knives.

George Tichbourne - http://www.tichbourneknives.com/kitchen.htm

John Freeman - http://www.freemanknives.com/Kitchen%20K8C.htm

And their prices are in the range that you're looking at. The sites will give you some idea of their line up and prices, but you can email to discuss your specific requirements. To fit my hand just right, a custom knife maker once asked me to send him a photocopy of my hand.

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