Recently we had a visit to one of our favourite cities in the world, Tokyo. One thing that I go out of my way to purchase when visiting Tokyo is hand made knives. I love Japanese knives so much that all my household knives and most of my work knives are now Japanese.
Usually I shop for my knives in the many shops on Kappabashi Dori in Asakusa. Our first stop though when we get to Asakusa is always Senso-Ji.
After walking through the magnificent Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) you get to the 200m Nakamise Dori. Filled with shops selling various snack foods and all sorts of touristy bits and pieces (yukata, fans, knick knacks etc) Nakamise Dori has a history going back several centuries. It is not only foreign tourists buying the mementos, but many Japanese who may only visit once in their lifetime are also buying up bits and pieces to take home. After walking through Nakamise Dori you will reach the Hozomon Gate behind which is the magnificent Temple main Hall, the five story pagoda, gorgeously landscaped gardens and many smaller shrines and temples.
We particularly like to visit during late October/early November when the chrysantemum displays are on. Some of the chrysanthemums are the size of a bread and butter plate in diameter and then nearly 10 cm high. A lot of them need support, which you can see in the photo below.
After our stroll through the temple grounds we have a wander in the backstreets before heading back to Asakusa Dori and over to Kappabashi Dori.
After a short walk you hit kitchen ware heaven!!! A whole street devoted to kitchenware, equipment for commercial kitchens, knife shops, restaurant furnishing shops. Basically anything you can think of that a restaurant might need and then some extras thrown in.
Unfortunately this year the weather was quite incliment so our visit to Kappabashi Dori was quite short.
I did get a new knife surprisingly at Mitsukoshi Department store in Ginza. On the eighth floor amongst the home wares and household goods, Mitsukoshi stocks a range of ceramics, metalware, glass and knives made by skilled artisans. The day we went they had Yusui Nakanishi from Takeda Hamono Blacksmith showing a range of knives and offering sharpening. I ended up buying myself a Deba Bocho. The blade is made with a very high carbon content steel which gives the blade a sexy black colour. It is VERY sharp and as yet I haven’t used it. Still just looking at it.
Also in Ginza we stumbled upon lots of little shops selling artisan made products. One at which we did shop was filled with wooden items, bowls, trays, chopsticks, cups, and much more. We settled on 2 pairs of chopsticks one in red and the other in black. They are even dishwasher safe. This shop was a little treasure house of beautiful pieces to either display or use. We will be going back on our next visit for some of the bowls and cups. They were even beautifully packaged in paper to match the current season.
My final purchase this year I made on my visit to Tsukiji Fish Market. Amongst the shops in the outer market was a small one selling ceramic goods. They stocked mass produced items and some artisanl ones. Some of the tea cups were over $100. After a good 20 minutes trying to decide what to buy, I settled on two of the classic rectangle plates for sushi. These were a bargain at ¥290 (about A$3) each. Just as well I only bought two as I would have needed another suitcase.
Only a little shopping experience this time but next time I will prepare and have a list of things to buy, just wont take too much in the suitcase.
Below is a shot of my knives for home, the ones on each side were bought here in Australia at The Chef’s Armoury in Rosebery and the other 3 in the middle were bought in Tokyo and Kyoto
Thanks for dropping buy to see what I bought in Tokyo this year.