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Tokyo's Best Knife Shops: Where to Buy Quality Japanese Knives

Published on
June 7, 2024
Tokyo's Best Knife Shops: Where to Buy Quality Japanese Knives
Author
Shopping Malls in California

California, the most populous state in the United States, is famed for its diverse landscapes, ranging from sunny beaches to towering redwoods and rugged mountains. It is home to iconic cities such as Los Angeles, known for its entertainment industry and cultural landmarks, and San Francisco, renowned for its historic Golden Gate Bridge and tech innovation. The state's economy is a global powerhouse, driven by sectors like technology, entertainment, agriculture, and tourism. California's rich cultural tapestry is reflected in its vibrant arts scene, diverse cuisine, and multicultural communities. With its mild climate and abundant natural beauty, California offers a dynamic and captivating experience for residents and visitors alike.

1. The Grove - Los Angeles

The Grove - Los Angeles
Image Source: The Grove - Los Angeles

Address: 189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Nearest Landmark: Adjacent to the Original Farmers Market

Accessibility: Fully accessible with ample parking and elevator access. Approximately 15 miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Transportation: Accessible via the Metro Bus 14/37, 16/17/316, and 218.

Operating Days and Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM - 9 PM, Sun 11 AM - 8 PM

Contact Info: (323) 900-8080

Target Market: Tourists, locals, and upscale shoppers.

Best Things to Do/See/Buy: Enjoy outdoor concerts and the dancing fountain. Shop at flagship stores like Nordstrom and Apple. Dine at renowned eateries like The Cheesecake Factory.

Ideal Budget: $50 - $200

2. Westfield San Francisco Centre - San Francisco

Westfield San Francisco Centre - San Francisco
Image Source: Westfield San Francisco Centre - San Francisco

Address: 865 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Nearest Landmark: Near Powell Street BART station

Accessibility: Fully accessible with parking and public transportation options. Approximately 14 miles from San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Transportation: Accessible via BART, Muni Metro, and multiple bus lines.

Operating Days and Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM - 8:30 PM, Sun 11 AM - 7 PM

Contact Info: (415) 512-6776

Target Market: Tourists, tech professionals, and fashion enthusiasts.

Best Things to Do/See/Buy: Explore high-end brands like Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom. Visit the food court for diverse culinary options. Enjoy the architecture of the historic dome.

Ideal Budget: $50 - $250

3. South Coast Plaza - Costa Mesa

South Coast Plaza - Costa Mesa
Image Source: South Coast Plaza - Costa Mesa

Address: 3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Nearest Landmark: Near Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Accessibility: Fully accessible with extensive parking and valet services. Approximately 3 miles from John Wayne Airport (SNA).

Transportation: Accessible via OCTA bus routes.

Operating Days and Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM - 9 PM, Sun 11 AM - 6:30 PM

Contact Info: (800) 782-8888

Target Market: High-end shoppers, art enthusiasts, and tourists.

Best Things to Do/See/Buy: Shop luxury brands like Chanel and Gucci. Dine at upscale restaurants such as Din Tai Fung. Enjoy art installations throughout the mall.

Ideal Budget: $100 - $500

4. Fashion Valley - San Diego

Fashion Valley - San Diego
Image Source: Fashion Valley

Address: 7007 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92108

Nearest Landmark: Near Riverwalk Golf Club

Accessibility: Fully accessible with parking and public transit options. Approximately 6 miles from San Diego International Airport (SAN).

Transportation: Accessible via the Green Line trolley and several bus routes.

Operating Days and Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM - 9 PM, Sun 11 AM - 7 PM

Contact Info: (619) 688-9113

Target Market: Shoppers, tourists, and families.

Best Things to Do/See/Buy: Visit major retailers like Macy’s and Nordstrom. Enjoy the variety of dining options from casual to fine dining. Take advantage of the open-air shopping experience.

Ideal Budget: $50 - $200

5. Stanford Shopping Center - Palo Alto

Stanford Shopping Center - Palo Alto
Image Source: Stanford Shopping Center - Palo Alto

Address: 660 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304

Nearest Landmark: Adjacent to Stanford University

Accessibility: Fully accessible with ample parking and valet services. Approximately 17 miles from San Jose International Airport (SJC).

Transportation: Accessible via Caltrain and VTA bus routes.

Operating Days and Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM - 9 PM, Sun 11 AM - 6 PM

Contact Info: (650) 617-8200

Target Market: University students, professors, and high-end shoppers.

Best Things to Do/See/Buy: Shop luxury brands like Neiman Marcus and Tiffany & Co. Dine at local favorites such as P.F. Chang’s. Enjoy the beautifully landscaped outdoor spaces.

Ideal Budget: $100 - $300

6. Westfield Century City - Los Angeles

Westfield Century City - Los Angeles
Image Source: Westfield Century City - Los Angeles

Address: 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067

Nearest Landmark: Near Fox Studios

Accessibility: Fully accessible with parking and valet services. Approximately 10 miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Transportation: Accessible via Metro Bus and near Expo Line.

Operating Days and Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM - 9 PM, Sun 11 AM - 8 PM

Contact Info: (310) 277-3898

Target Market: Upscale shoppers, tourists, and entertainment professionals.

Best Things to Do/See/Buy: Shop designer brands like Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors. Enjoy gourmet dining at Eataly. Experience the state-of-the-art AMC theater.

Ideal Budget: $100 - $400

7. Westfield Valley Fair - Santa Clara

. Westfield Valley Fair - Santa Clara
Image Source: Westfield Valley Fair - Santa Clara

Address: 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95050

Nearest Landmark: Near Santana Row

Accessibility: Fully accessible with extensive parking. Approximately 5 miles from San Jose International Airport (SJC).

Transportation: Accessible via VTA bus routes and close to I-880.

Operating Days and Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM - 9 PM, Sun 11 AM - 7 PM

Contact Info: (408) 248-4450

Target Market: Silicon Valley professionals, tech enthusiasts, and families.

Best Things to Do/See/Buy: Explore high-tech stores like Apple and Tesla. Dine at upscale restaurants such as Maggiano’s. Enjoy seasonal events and activities.

Ideal Budget: $75 - $300

8. Santa Monica Place - Santa Monica

Santa Monica Place - Santa Monica
Image Source: Santa Monica Place - Santa Monica

Address: 395 Santa Monica Pl, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Nearest Landmark: Near Santa Monica Pier

Accessibility: Fully accessible with parking and public transit options. Approximately 9 miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Transportation: Accessible via Metro Expo Line and Big Blue Bus.

Operating Days and Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM - 9 PM, Sun 11 AM - 8 PM

Contact Info: (310) 260-8333

Target Market: Beachgoers, tourists, and locals.

Best Things to Do/See/Buy: Shop brands like Nordstrom and Nike. Dine with ocean views at rooftop restaurants. Visit the nearby Santa Monica Pier and beach.

Ideal Budget: $50 - $200

9. Fashion Island - Newport Beach

Fashion Island - Newport Beach
Image Source: Fashion Island - Newport Beach

Address: 401 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Nearest Landmark: Near Newport Beach Country Club

Accessibility: Fully accessible with ample parking and valet services. Approximately 5 miles from John Wayne Airport (SNA).

Transportation: Accessible via OCTA bus routes.

Operating Days and Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM - 9 PM, Sun 11 AM - 7 PM

Contact Info: (949) 721-2000

Target Market: Upscale shoppers, tourists, and beachgoers.

Best Things to Do/See/Buy: Shop at high-end stores like Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's. Dine at renowned restaurants like Fig & Olive. Enjoy the scenic outdoor environment and water features.

Ideal Budget: $75 - $300

10.Westfield UTC - San Diego

Westfield UTC - San Diego
Image Source: Westfield UTC - San Diego

Address: 4545 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92122

Nearest Landmark: Near UC San Diego

Accessibility: Fully accessible with parking and public transit options. Approximately 14 miles from San Diego International Airport (SAN).

Transportation: Accessible via San Diego Trolley’s Blue Line and several bus routes.

Operating Days and Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM - 9 PM, Sun 11 AM - 7 PM

Contact Info: (858) 546-8858

Target Market: University students, tech professionals, and families.

Best Things to Do/See/Buy: Shop at retailers like Nordstrom and Zara. Dine at diverse eateries from casual to fine dining. Enjoy family-friendly amenities and entertainment options.

Ideal Budget: $50 - $200

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Ready to ditch the usual souvenir shops and experience the thrill of buying a knife in Tokyo? Japan is famous for its quality knives, and the city bursts with shops dedicated to these culinary tools. Whether you're a professional chef seeking a masterpiece from Sakai or simply want a cool souvenir, Tokyo has something for everyone.

Forget generic stores! Think browsing through a world of gyuto knives, traditional Japanese blades, and patterns that catch your eye. From the bustling Kappabashi Kitchen Town (a must-visit!) to hidden workshops, the hunt for the perfect knife is half the fun. Many shops have English-speaking staff, so feel free to ask questions and learn about different styles.

Word of advice: prices for quality knives can be higher than in the states, but it's worth it if you're interested in Japanese knives. Rumor has it you can find blades for 203,000+ yen for 1 knife! If you're visiting at the end of July or end of August, factor in time for knife shopping. Even if you don't end up buying, browsing Kappabashi street is worth a visit for the unique kitchenware.

Search online (Japan Forum, TripAdvisor) for recommended knife stores like Tsubaya or Gesshin. Look for the best selection when planning your visit. And definitely remember your passport for tax-free benefits!

So, are you ready to find a knife and a story in Tokyo?

The Art of Japanese Knives: History and Types

Japanese knives are a testament to centuries of steelworking expertise, a legacy of meticulous craftsmanship deeply entwined with the nation's rich culinary and cultural tradition. From their origins in the forges of legendary Samurai swordsmiths to today's state-of-the-art kitchens, Japanese knives stand out as objects of both function and beauty.

Over time, distinct knife-making centers emerged across Japan, each developing their particular styles and techniques. Some of the most renowned regions include:

  • Sakai (Osaka Prefecture): A historic center specializing in single-bevel knives favored by professional chefs.
  • Tosa (Kochi Prefecture): Known for its robust deba knives designed for butchering fish.
  • Echizen (Fukui Prefecture): Famous for its versatile, multi-purpose knives built for everyday use.

Japanese knives boast a wide array of specialized shapes and sizes, each tailored to a specific culinary purpose. Let's explore some of the most common types:

  • Gyuto: The Japanese equivalent of the Western chef's knife. This multipurpose blade excels at chopping, slicing, and dicing.
  • Santoku: Another all-rounder with a slightly shorter and wider blade, ideal for vegetables. Its name translates to "three virtues": slicing, chopping, and dicing.
  • Deba: A heavy-duty knife for butchering fish, poultry, and small bones. It exists in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.
  • Nakiri: Designed for thinly and precisely slicing vegetables, its rectangular blade features a straight edge.
  • Yanagiba: A long, thin blade used by sushi chefs for preparing sashimi slices. It allows for single, smooth cuts.

Tokuzo

Tokuzo Tokyo Japan
Location: 1 Chome-5-16 Nishiasakusa, Taito City | Store Hours: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Getting There:
• Board the Keikyu Airport Line at Haneda Airport International Terminal Station and ride to Daimon Station
• At Daimon Station, transfer to the Toei Subway Oedo Line and disembark at Ueno Station• From Ueno Station, walk to Kappabashi Dougu Street
Contact information: +81 3-5830-3903

What's Their Vibe?

Walking into Tokuzo, I wasn't sure what to expect. I wanted a special knife to commemorate my trip to Japan and had heard about their Tosa-style knives. The staff were incredibly helpful, explaining the history behind the hammered blades and helping me understand what might suit my needs. They even let me hold a few different ones to get a feel for the weight and balance. I left with a stunning handcrafted knife, and even got it engraved with my name in Japanese as a unique touch. Tokuzo made finding the perfect souvenir a truly special experience.

Hidden Gems & Statement Pieces

Their main specialty lies in robust Tosa hammered knives, renowned for lasting sharpness and durability. But the hidden gems lie in their curated selection, which includes sought-after brands like Myojin and Takodoro, offering exceptional craftsmanship for the discerning collector. Want to make your purchase truly unique? Tokuzo's engraving service lets you personalize your knife, adding a special touch for yourself or creating a thoughtful gift. If you're seeking specific regional styles, you might even find rare gems from smaller, lesser-known workshops throughout Japan.

Price Guide

  • Price range: Around $150 USD up to thousands of yen for premium knives.
  • Tax-free benefits: Foreign visitors can save money using the tax-free option.
💡 Pro Tip: If you're unsure which knife to choose, don't hesitate to ask the staff for recommendations. They're passionate about knives and will gladly help you find the perfect one for your needs.

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Seisuke Knife - Tsukiji

Seisuke Knife - Tsukiji Tokyo
Location: 4 Chome-14-17 Tsukiji, Chuo City Store Hours: Monday to Sunday: 8 AM to 3 PM
Getting There
• Take the Narita Express from Narita Airport Terminal 2 Station to Tokyo Station
• Transfer to the Toei Subway Hibiya Line at Tokyo Station and take the train to Tsukiji Station
• Walk from Tsukiji Station to Tsukiji Outer Market
Contact information: +81 80-2956-1943

What's Their Vibe?

After exploring the Tsukiji market, I stumbled upon Seisuke Knife. I was immediately drawn in by the friendly faces and the beautiful selection of knives. One staff member, fluent in English, patiently explained the differences between various styles and even let me try a few. It felt more like chatting with a fellow enthusiast than making a purchase. I ended up leaving with a gorgeous petty knife and a newfound appreciation for the care that goes into each blade. Even though the shop was busy, I never felt rushed. It's a must-visit for any knife lover in Tokyo!

Hidden Gems & Statement Pieces

If you're a knife enthusiast, then Seisuke Knife will have you drooling. They boast an impressive selection spanning both Eastern and Western styles, catering to a diverse range of cooking needs. Seekers of unique finds will be intrigued by hints of specialty steels, like those sourced from Osaka. Budget-conscious shoppers will appreciate the occasional discounted knives, offering great value without sacrificing quality. Alongside practical tools, Seisuke stocks handcrafted beauties that are as much functional as they are works of art, making them statement pieces that will elevate any kitchen.

Price Guide

  • Souvenir indication: Their lower-end starts around $50-$100 USD.
  • Based on type:
    • Small paring/petty knife: $50-$150+
    • Mid-range chef's knife: $150-$300+
    • High-end, special steel: $300+
💡 Pro Tip: To fully appreciate the selection and knowledgeable service, consider visiting Seisuke Knife during a less-crowded time, like mornings or weekdays.

KAMATA Hakensha

KAMATA Hakensha Tokyo
Location: 2 Chome-12-6 Matsugaya, Taito City Store Hours: Monday to Sunday: 10 AM to 6 PM
Getting There
• Take the Keikyu Airport Line from Haneda Airport International Terminal Station to Daimon Station
• Transfer to the Toei Subway Oedo Line at Daimon Station and take the train to Ueno Station
• Walk from Ueno Station to Kappabashi Dougu Street
Contact information: +81 3-3841-4205

What's Their Vibe?

My visit to KAMATA Hakensha was overwhelming in the best way. I'm no chef, but I'd been longing for a quality Japanese knife as a souvenir. The staff immediately put me at ease.  We talked about my cooking style, and they explained differences in blade shapes and materials. Since I'm left-handed, they even found me a beautiful gyuto that felt comfortable in my hand. Their English was fantastic, and I left feeling like I'd bought both a useful tool and a piece of their passion for knives.

Hidden Gems & Statement Pieces

If you're a blade enthusiast, this place is a treasure trove. With over 800 knife styles from a wide array of brands, it's the perfect place to delve into the fascinating world of Japanese knives. But their true magic lies beyond the sheer variety. They take pride in their own handcrafted knives, renowned as much for their cutting performance as their stunning aesthetics. To make your purchase extra special, they offer free engraving. This thoughtful touch lets you personalize your knives as meaningful gifts or treasured keepsakes that carry a piece of your Tokyo experience.

Price Guide

  • Lower end: Souvenirs and smaller knives start around 7000+ yen or $50 USD
  • Mid-range: A decent chef's knife from reputable brands fall in the 15,000 to 46,000 yen or $100-$300+ range
  • Higher-end: Specialty steel, craftsmanship, and brand recognition push prices significantly higher at around 46,000 yen or $300+
💡 Pro Tip: To beat the crowds and enjoy the best guidance from the knowledgeable staff, visit the store in the morning or on weekdays.

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Shop Like a Pro

  • Do Your Research: Dive into online reviews, social media, and blogs to get a sense of each shop's vibe, focus, and price range. Sites like the ones you've used to find information for this blog are a great start!
  • Embrace the Variety: Tokyo's knife scene is incredibly diverse. Some stores focus on traditional styles, others on affordability. Knowing what excites you helps narrow the search.
  • Be Prepared for the Language Barrier: While major shops generally have English-speaking staff, smaller stores might not. Learning a few basic Japanese phrases related to knives can make your adventure even more immersive.
  • Timing is Key: Many famous stores get crowded quickly. Consider visiting during less busy weekday hours or mornings to enjoy a more relaxed, personalized experience.
  • Trust Your Intuition: Knives are personal! Don't get caught up with what's famous or trendy. The best knife is the one that feels good in your hand and sparks a desire to use it in the kitchen.

Takeaways

Tokyo offers a treasure trove of knife shops for passionate cooks and those seeking unique Japanese souvenirs. Whether you're a seasoned chef searching for hand-forged masterpieces or a curious visitor looking for a quality keepsake, there's a perfect store waiting for you. Ditch the generic department store experience and immerse yourself in the personalized world of Japanese knives. Browse carefully curated selections, get expert guidance from knowledgeable staff, and discover the excitement of finding that perfect blade.

A little online sleuthing will help you uncover shops catering to your specific tastes and budget. Popular choices like Tokuzo, Seisuke Knife, and KAMATA Hakensha each offer a distinct experience. If you're like me and appreciate tradition and personalized touches, Tokuzo might become your favorite. Their focus on Tosa-style knives and engraving service make their blades extra-special souvenirs. Remember, investing in a quality Japanese knife isn't just about owning an object; it's about taking home a piece of culinary artistry and tradition.

Don't limit yourself to the big names! Tokyo's backstreets hide countless smaller workshops and shops specializing in regional styles, rare finds, and maybe even a hidden blacksmith crafting one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Embrace the adventure of exploration, and you might just stumble upon your own culinary treasure.