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Jul 17, 2008 10:16 AM

Knives - a small tragedy

So we went to Kappabashi Dori and I bought some wonderful, beautiful knives at a place called, I think, Proshop. It's right on Kappabashi, with a little swinging door opening into a fairly large shop with knives and other cooking equipment. I got two lovely knives for myself, one for my younger son, and two really beautiful knives for my older son who is a fantastic cook (and it was also his birthday). I arrived home and gave younger son his knife and courier-ed the knives to my older son because he lives on the other side of the country.

The frigging courier lost the package. I was (am) livid.

Not only did I really want to give him those knives, but the place engraved all the knives with our names in Japanese characters, so they're pretty special. Does anyone know of a knife shop in Japan that I might be able to contact (by email) with a photo of the knives I would like? I'd love to have them replaced with something similar. There's one particular style that was especially beautiful I've never seen anywhere else - it has a gorgeous wooden grip, with a hammered blade that shows layers of steel.

Thanks to anyone who might be able to help with this.

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  1. A favourite knife shop is Kiya in Nihonbashi. They have an English website with an email address. They speak English and are very helpful. Kiya knives, along with the knives from Sugimoto at the Tsukiji Fish Market are very popular. Lots of luck, always miserable to have things go astray!

    1 Reply
    1. re: truro

      I'll second Sugimoto knives, I used them when I was a pro chef and still use them at home. They are not flashy souvenirs just real working knives.

    2. Thanks for both those replies. I'm still working on having the courier find the package - but frankly, I'm not optimistic. They swear it's not stolen, just misplaced. But if they don't find it, I'll get in touch with Kiya and see what I can get. Grrr.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Nyleve

        i bought my knives from Union Commerce and am in love with them

        i had difficulty contacting them by email, but after talking with them on a phone and sending a fax, we've begun an email exchange. do consider sending them a fax with your email address and i'm sure they'll respond. i generally have not been able to get anyone in japan to answer requests by email.

        is the shop that you went to framed in bright green with lots of windows? there's a staircase to your left a few feet from the entrance and the room is odd shaped with an expanse of space showing cooking tools like pots and tea pots and charcoal grills to the right? and then the space narrows towards the back where the knife displays are? the sales counter is to the left wall in the middle with one in the back crevice? metal chopsticks lining the the right wall in the back along shelves?

        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          Thank you for that link. It was one of those days in Tokyo - I was shopping with my husband and he was losing interest. We'd walked into Union Commerce, then walked out. I filed the place in my head to go back, but by the time I was ready to do that, I could see my husband melting down so bought the knives from the place you describe in your post. Yes - it was that one. It has a little swinging door in front and pots and there's a work bench at the back where they bash your name into the knife blade if you want it. I have no complaints about either the knives I bought or the service, but I have heard very good things about Union Commerce.

          I am still mad about the courier.

          1. re: Nyleve

            definitely not knocking the shop, i really couldn't tell one way or another about any of them. it's just that i spent 3 DAYS in the knife shops because of an indecisive co-traveler. would have actually bought a knife from the same shop if they weren't cash only.

            i know the frustrations so hopefully this helps... i found the kappabashi business association or such website and through a little google translating heres a couple other options:

            i think this is the place right across from union commerce

            and here is a sort of website for your store ;) !
            unfortunately phone number only, but i recall reasonable amounts of english. just call at about 11pm and i've had people pick up.

            for others, the kappabashi website is here:

      2. Just came across this so with any luck couriers have found your package.
        A little closer to home try this (out of NY
        or this (Que. based I think).
        Obviously the names engraved would be an issue, but hope this helps.
        I went to Union Commerce when I was there a couple of months ago and came back with some beautiful knives, I feel your pain.

        1 Reply
        1. re: damonster

          Thanks folks. I've emailed Union Commerce with a photo of the knives and measurements, but have not heard a peep. You're right - they don't respond to email. I have a nephew in Japan and I'm considering sending him on a mission. He lives in Osaka but I gather there are good knife shops there as well.

        2. hi, im not sure where you life but in nyc theres a knife shop called korin and i go there to get my japanese knifes there hand crafted have damascas steel if you want so you can see all the layers some very cool knives and have a master japanese knife sharpener there who hand sharpens knifes for a small fee. but i just got a knife there and going to be getting a slicer there soon. you can check and order them online if you wish or stop by to see them.

          Edit: ahh i didnt read down to the last comment i see u have korin as well. its a very good choice the bes choice for a japanese knife in the U.S.

          1. A really useful website that I have used before is . They have an office in Japan and US and offer a really prompt & professional service. I bought a knife from them last year and it arrived within the week and is fantastic.

            Good luck with your knife shopping & happy slicing.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Moid

              Fantastic site - thank you Moid! I've found an identical knife to one that went missing and a very similar one to the other. The prices are good, too. I've been in some contact with Union Commerce but I suspect the purchase will be a long and arduous process, involving a direct bank transfer and some fairly convoluted communication. So I suspect I will end up buying from your link - thank you so much for that!

              I'm still mad at DHL but I guess I'll have to get over that.