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"kappabashi" knife shop

pinstripeprincess Apr 27, 2008 07:42 PM

need a bit of help.... did some shopping in kappabashi but ended up getting most of my gear from a shop on a side street JUST off of kappabashi-dori that had 3 shops right next to or across the street from each other. it was by a corner with an amazing coffee paraphenalia store.

the shop was "kappabashi ... something" and i got a card from them with an email address, but now... no card! can anyone help me figure out their full name, a website or an email?? i need to get some things from them and wasn't careful enough to keep the card safe.

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    KuCake RE: pinstripeprincess Apr 27, 2008 08:19 PM

    I think the store in question is called Union Commerce. The corner store (the main HQ) carries all kinds of coffee and tea related gadgets. The store next to it carries array of knives. Every time I visit Tokyo I make sure to stop by at the Kappabashi Street. The knife shop is my favorite. The company website is:


    It says to e-mail your inquiry. I hope this is the one you're looking for...good luck!

    1. a
      AndyP RE: pinstripeprincess Apr 27, 2008 08:31 PM

      Hey pinstripeprincess-san,

      Agree with KuCake that it sounds like Union Commerce. Did it have a suit of armor out front?

      During my 7 years in Tokyo, I purchased all of my knives from them. And, when I was leaving Tokyo to embark on a culinary career, I totally stocked up on Japanese steel from their shop. (Global-Pro, MAC, etc.)

      You have email address, and I've pulled out one of the THREE business cards from them that I carry around in my wallet. Phone number is 011-81-3-3845-4040. If you have questions, the owners do speak English.


      2 Replies
      1. re: AndyP
        lost squirrel RE: AndyP Apr 27, 2008 10:59 PM

        Is the consensus that Union Commerce is the best? I recently put a few chips in my Kyocera ceramic and I need to head back and get something new. I'm going back to steel this time... oops!

        1. re: AndyP
          rookcook1 RE: AndyP May 30, 2008 10:30 AM

          Upon my visit to the district of Kappabashi in Tokyo, I visited Union Commerce as well. I purchased an amazing Japanese knife that had been folded too many times to count and was as thin and light as paper. The owner personally inscribed my name into the knife in Katakana. I would most def. go back there again to purchase a knife.

        2. pinstripeprincess RE: pinstripeprincess Apr 28, 2008 05:00 AM

          thank you all, that was amazing!

          it was indeed union commerce. i finally found a second pile of receipts and lo and behold three of them had "union commerce" splashed all over them.

          just from my few wandering experiences in kappabashi, i really loved their attentive and helpful service with absolutely wonderful suggestions. it certainly helped that they took credit card since i lost my debit card! i noted that except for the store right across that took cash only, they were the best deal on kyoceras.

          i got a beautiful 30+ damascus knife and wanted something to replace my chef's knife and was suggested an awesome $6700Y knife that was light, had a few folds, but no full tang. still very well balanced and works amazingly, it's handling is almost preferred to my damascus and i wouldn't have considered it at all if the clerk hadn't showed it to me.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pinstripeprincess
            Wandering Foodie RE: pinstripeprincess May 8, 2008 08:55 AM

            Hey pinstripeprincess, did you ship your knife back or check in it with your luggage? I didn't buy any knives when I was there a few weeks ago because I was going to stop over in Australia which has a rather strict customs.

            1. re: Wandering Foodie
              pinstripeprincess RE: Wandering Foodie May 8, 2008 09:14 AM

              i packed it into my checked luggage and had no issues.... in the end we were carrying about 11 knives (mostly kyoceras for gifts).

          2. pinstripeprincess RE: pinstripeprincess May 8, 2008 09:15 AM

            has anyone ever communicated with union commerce via email? i've emailed twice with NO response..... i'd rather not call because of the awkward time difference... but if it's gotta be done...

            2 Replies
            1. re: pinstripeprincess
              AndyP RE: pinstripeprincess May 11, 2008 09:59 PM

              Hi pinstripeprincess,

              Upon my return to the U.S.A., I emailed Union Commerce regarding purchasing another knife to be shipped here...no response. Called, and found out that they most adamantly will not ship knives to the U.S.

              I don't know that this was the subject of your inquiry, but this was thier policy as of 2 years ago.


              1. re: AndyP
                pinstripeprincess RE: AndyP May 12, 2008 07:17 AM

                i was hoping to get a knife rack and in person they seemed to not have any issue with this. they actually told me that they hoped i would keep up a relationship with them and order knives through them.... i shall have to call.

                thanks for the update though. perhaps it's just a breakdown in communication lines.

            2. g
              giraffez RE: pinstripeprincess May 10, 2008 04:34 AM

              I recall reading there is a culinary district in tokyo /osaka that sells kitchen stuff. I can't recall where.... does anyone know?

              9 Replies
              1. re: giraffez
                Robb S RE: giraffez May 10, 2008 06:40 AM

                The district in Tokyo is called Kappabashi.

                1. re: Robb S
                  giraffez RE: Robb S May 12, 2008 03:24 AM

                  Do i get off ueno for this?

                  1. re: giraffez
                    prasantrin RE: giraffez May 12, 2008 04:36 AM

                    I would suggest doing a simple search on the internet--you'll be able to find all the info you could possibly need or want. Just enter kappabashi, and the very first link will not only give you a great list of highlights, but directions on how to get there.

                    You might also want to pick up a Japanese-English dictionary to help you with the translations for things like "lean meat" etc. You never know when and what you might need to say, so a dictionary would come in handy.

                    1. re: giraffez
                      lost squirrel RE: giraffez May 12, 2008 08:08 PM

                      A google search of "kappabashi" brings up Robb S's site :

                      Pics and directions

                      1. re: lost squirrel
                        Robb S RE: lost squirrel May 12, 2008 11:21 PM

                        And that article was written by our very own Yukari.

                        1. re: lost squirrel
                          giraffez RE: lost squirrel May 13, 2008 04:48 AM

                          Thanks great directions.

                          I have brought the JR pass and was wondering whether this is walkable from Ueno or Asakusa? If so how long of a walk?

                          1. re: giraffez
                            lost squirrel RE: giraffez May 13, 2008 09:36 PM

                            Don't know about Ueno, but I think it's doable from Asakusa station. I distinctly remember seeing signs stating that it was 480meters away. Easy walking distance

                            1. re: giraffez
                              prasantrin RE: giraffez May 14, 2008 12:52 AM

                              If not, would the Y160 or so for train fare really kill your budget?

                              1. re: prasantrin
                                lost squirrel RE: prasantrin May 14, 2008 07:56 PM


                                Side note, anyone know a good shop in the Kappabashi area for pots/pans?

                    2. beetlehead RE: pinstripeprincess Nov 7, 2008 11:29 AM

                      Hi - I'm headed to Japan with my foodie hubby (and little baby) later this month and he is very interested in seeing a knife being MADE. Anyone know if there is a place that MAKES knives in Tokyo or Yokohama, or do I have to go all the way out to Niigata? Knife tour anyone?


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: beetlehead
                        tokyofoodcast RE: beetlehead Nov 26, 2008 04:06 AM

                        I do not know any particular artists who actually make knives in TOkyo or Yokoyama.
                        I thought Japan Traditional Craft Center may know a place near tokyo.

                        Also, Kiya at Nihonbashi may be able to guide you to the right place.
                        Good luck!

                        1. re: tokyofoodcast
                          sanchez17 RE: tokyofoodcast Nov 26, 2008 05:41 PM

                          does anybody know the average price of a western style knife in union commerce? with the aussie dollar the way it is i would like to know how many i can purchase :) looking at a chefs knife, fish knife and boning knife.. dont know what they called in japanese

                          1. re: sanchez17
                            lost squirrel RE: sanchez17 Nov 26, 2008 06:22 PM

                            I don't think there is an 'average price' for knives really, it all depends on the quality, style and markup.

                            I bought an 8in Kyocera ceramic chef's knife for around 8,000 yen a few months ago.

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