Business

Where to Buy Japanese Knives Online and Why the Brick-and-Mortar In-Store Experience Matters

During this pandemic to post-pandemic, the way we shop online to the in-store experience has obviously changed. It is the reason I produced this resource on buying Japanese knives, and it is also the first time that I reached out to every vendor.

I did this to support all the cutlery and Japanese knife shop specific businesses, along with the objective of preventing you from being scammed by online Chinese companies selling their fake “Japanese” knives.

knife icon

These are all the specialized knife shops from all around the world with a 1. brick and mortar location or businesses that sell 2. exclusively online.

If you want to avoid buying a questionable product (Chinese made knives implying they are Japanese) with names like Godzilla, Karate, to Ninja, do not buy directly from their website or on Amazon.

My perspective has changed with several of the vendors below because prior to the research, I did not think I could wrap my tiny brain around them all. Aside from just breaking them down into two camps of either the in-store retail shop experience to the online companies, I wanted to go a step further. This time around I reached out to every Japanese knife vendor, and I experienced first-hand what sets them apart.

The Top Japanese Knife Dealers Ranked by Approximate Web Traffic

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The TLDR (“Too Long Did Not Read”) aka Summary
The top 5 dedicated Japanese knife retailers by site traffic are (as of June 17, 2022):

1. JapaneseChefsknife.com 2. Chefknivestogo.com 3. Knifewear.com 4. Hocho-knife.com 5. Bernalcutlery.com

I use site traffic as a metric because it goes to show the popularity of the business (minus paid ads to drive site traffic).
  • The most popular online seller is: Japanese Chef Knife out of Seki City (an epicenter of Japanese knives in Japan).
  • Both Korin and MTC Kitchen are massive restaurant supply operations, so they would also be in the top five although I left them out because they are not strictly knives.
  • Not included are big-box retailers: Sur la table, Williams Sonoma, to Crate & Barrel (they also are not knife-only businesses).
  • The major brick and mortar knife shops in the United States are located in: San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Denver, Portland, and New York City (the largest Canadian knife shop is also listed)

Alphabetical Order (Not a in ranking order)

BUSINESS /
WEBSITE / EST.
APPROX.
WEB TRAFFIC
TYPE
1. BernalCutlery.com
San Francisco, CA
Est. 2005
10,050B&M /
Online
2. CarbonKnifeCo.com
Denver, CO
Est. 2015
3,222B&M /
Online
3. Chefknivestogo.com
Fitchburg, WI
Est. 2002
26,731
#2 (4)
Online
4. Chuboknives.com
West Palm Beach, FL
Est. 2012
4,625Online
5. Cutleryandmore.com
East Dundee, IL
Est. 1923
63,063Online
6. Echefknife.com
Beverly Hills, CA
Est. 2008
5,806B&M /
Online
7. Hocho-knife.com
Hyogo, Japan
Est. 2013?
10,756Online
8. Japanny.com
Ishikawa, Japan
Est. 2014??
8,615Online
9. JapaneseChefsknife.com
Seki City, Japan
Est. 2003
29,667
#1 (2)
Online
10. Japaneseknifeimports.com
Beverly Hills, CA
Est. 2010?
6,240B&M /
Online
11. Japan-knifeshop.com
Japan?
Est. 2019??
1,050Online
12. Knifewear.com
Throughout Canada
Est. March 2008
21,995
(5)
B&M /
Online
13. Korin.com
New York City, NY
Est. 1982
38,846
(1)
B&M /
Online
14. MTCKitchen.com
New York City, NY
Est. 1926
29,210
(3)
B&M /
Online
15. Mygoodknife.com
Helsinki, Finland
Est. August 2014
9,848Online
16. Seisukeknife.com
Portland, OR
Est. November 2016
2,999B&M /
Online
These are guesstimates (the higher the number, the better, because it’s a popularity contest).
Photo Description: Korin in New York showroom and one of their many events that they host. In this shot several chefs are in their chef whites on the right with apron, an long line of people waiting to be served what looks to be a skewered food.
Remember the days when people used to gather indoors? The days we ate and drank together while you side eyed a tray of food and wondered to yourself “hey, if I just run up and take what I want, who’s going to stop me, the dude with the brush,” 2019 where are you. Image courtesy of Korin.

From home cooks to BOH veterans, we all lean on the expertise of knife specialists.

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These specialists include the sellers to the highly skilled individuals who service our knives, which is why I will only promote these specialized businesses (65% of their business is Japanese chef/kitchen knives).

Many of these businesses have been in business for more than two decades.

German to Japanese knives both have their distinctive attributes. Attributes that are likened to a straight, double-edged European knightly swords, to a curved, single-edge Japanese samurai swords. Knowing those differences is what Japanese kitchen knife specialists know all about. While the rest of us debate the important stuff such as who would win, a samurai or knight?, Superman or Thor?, or Star Wars or Star Trek?

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You can skip a lot of the reading (the details) by reading these highlighted areas (summaries), along with scrolling through the iconography below to get a quick overview.

I do this for the types who cannot sit through a movie without checking their phone.
  • The knowledge of the seller: if they did not know their chit, you might as well hit up your local big-box strip-mall retailer although you are here to avoid doing that. That is what motivated you to Google, click, read, skim, and allocate upwards of 63% of your attention while scrolling through this article/post (if it’s closer to 98%, thanks, and I’m glad the Adderall is helping).
  • How easy are they to contact and communicate with: do they respond to emails, do they pick up their phone, and do they have convenient hours of operation? This might come off as a surprise for some, but I am sure many of you have had this issue of not being able to get a hold of a business when you have an issue. On their end, it could be either because they are way too busy to handle the amount inquiries (complaints/issues), they are inept at e-commerce, or they simply have difficulties communicating due to language issues.
  • What products do they carry: some retailers will have a focus on a few knives, while others will carry a large range of products, to even in few cases, the seller will have their own line of products such as with JCK (Japanese Chef Knife), Korin and Seisuke.
  • Product pricing: I personally will pay for a seller that is knowledgeable, along with paying marginally more if they provide attentive and good service although a few of you will just want the cheapest price possible.
  • Where are they located: when I buy something, I want it now. As soon I get a confirmation email, I can not help but be tempted to click on “track my package” immediately. If that is you, you will want to be privy to where the seller is located in relation to your location. Unfortunately, some sellers do not disclose this upfront which I find ridiculously moronic on their part (having been in web development to UX, I place the address and phone number on the index/first page, no clicks necessary).
  • Online (e-commerce specialization): building a website and adding an e-commerce platform may seem like that is how simple it is, but there are a number of companies that can barely process your order. Beyond the processing, can they get your order out in an hour or a week which does not include your shipping times either. So being a specialized online seller not only means being able to respond to emails, but also fast-turnaround times from the time of the order till it is on your doorstep, waiting to be swiped.
  • Offline (brick and mortar retailer): I read a review on Yelp about a Glock and AR-15 specialty store where the Yelper complained about the sellers being “know it all’s.” Well, you can take that as a bad thing, but people who spend all day, every day within their trade deserve some level of respect (as long as they are not in your face with what they know). With that business I’m referring to, from my experience, that was not the case, although I do not flex what I know to the staff/anybody, like the Yelper may have been doing.
  • Authentic Japanese knives: The reputation of Japanese knives globally for their quality and technological qualities has created a lot of “fake” brands. Brands sold under the guise of being Japanese can be similarly priced, but the quality may be questionable and are only sold online, which also does not include the expertise, the support, and decades of experience of the vendors below.

Do Japanese Knife Vendors Respond to Emails and Who Has a Showroom

One of the most basic things I did recently on my end, aside from checking on the physical location of the businesses, is to reach out to the business.

A GREEN verified mark “responded,” and RED for “no response” to to an email/contact form.

Even sites I benefit from didn’t even earn a green verified mark.

Since several of these companies are international, I start with an email inquiry and document the time it takes to get a response. I do that because buying online can be very sketchy, especially if you are not familiar with the seller. It makes not knowing worse when you have an issue, and you are now making a mad scramble to find their phone number, an email address, or even better, a physical address, to at the very least, a P.O. Box.

Photo Description: Yoshihiro knives (2) displayed. Both are Damascus with brown handles. On the right-hand side is a green apple cut in half.
How do you like how dem sliced apples. Image courtesy of Yoshihiro.
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When you have a code brown because of an issue with your order, a website with an email address, a phone number, a physical address, to a P.O. Box will unclench your sphincter.

Relax that sphincter because I have vetted all these dealers and it was not as easy as you think it would be.

Japanese Knife Shops Online and Brick and Mortar Shops From Japan, Canada, the U.S., to Finland

Listed in Alphabetical Order

The vendors listed below are trusted and well-established businesses in the kitchen and chef knife market, which range from E-commerce (online) to brick-and-mortar (offline).

Photo Description: Bernal Cutlery's showroom in the Mission district of San Francisco. The showroom looks huge with several showcases on the wall with what looks like a couple hundred knives displayed. In the center area are a number of books.
I could drop some serious coin here, along with their neighbors Mission Workshop, Betabrand, Stonemill Matcha, Dandelion Chocolates, to Maruya (what a dangerous 5+ block radius).
1-one icon

BERNAL CUTLERY

www.bernalcutlery.com
(415) 355-0773

Some of the Brands Carried
(they do not specialize only in Japanese knives): Ashi Hamono, Gihei, Hitohira, Jikko, Kaji-bei, Sanjo, Kanehide, Konosuke, Masafune, Masakane Mutsumi Hinoura, Nakamura, Sakai, and many, many, many, more.

Photo Description: San Francisco, CA
San Francisco
766 Valencia Street,
San Francisco, CA
94110
Photo Description: the "green check mark" means the vendor responded to the email inquiry.
A couple days,
and no follow-up
response.
Emailed on March 1st, at 2:30pm, and I got a response on the 3rd, except.

No follow-up: I did pose a question to them, but after a week, 3/11, I take it they are not responding even though they said they would be happy to answer any questions. They and my question just dropped off the face of the Earth.
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round dark grey icon.
E-com &
Brick and Mortar Shop
Approximate
Web Traffic: 3.88K
Paid Ads: 0

Photo Description: located on Larimer in the five points neighborhood is Carbon Knife. A very clean contemporary look to it with a clean layout which has a number of knives and books displayed.
After a visit to Shake Shake and Odell Brewing Company, take a walk on down the block and do some buzzed shopping, it’s smarter than swiping on Tinder. Image courtesy of Carbon Knife Co.
two-2 icon

CARBON KNIFE CO

www.carbonknifeco.com
(720) 292-4277

Some of the Brands Carried
Anryu, Ashi Hamono, Bryan Raquin, Fujiwara, Gihei, Halcyon Forge, Hinoura, Hitohira, Jiro, Kato Yoshimi, Kagekiyo, Kitaoka, Kurosaki, Laseur, Makoto Kurosaki, Masakage, and the list goes on.

Photo Description: Denver, CO
Denver
3264 Larimer St. B,
Denver, Colorado 80205
Photo Description: the "green check mark" means the vendor responded to the email inquiry.
Same day and
very engaging

Same day response, responded
to follow-ups, so they have an
attentive staff.
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round dark grey icon.
E-com & Brick and Mortar Shop
Approximate Web Traffic: 1.58k
Paid Ads: 0

3-three icon

CHEF KNIVES TO GO

www.chefknivestogo.com
(608) 232-1137

Some of the Brands Carried
Kohetsu, Konosuke, Kurosaki, Masakage, Moritaka, Richmond, Shibata, Takeda, and Tojiro.

Photo Description: Fitchburg, WI
Fitchburg
5980 Executive Dr., Ste D,
Fitchburg, Wisconsin
53719
Photo Description: the "green check mark" means the vendor responded to the email inquiry.
Same day
Responded in record time, the same day.
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round dark grey icon.
E-commerce
Approximate
Web Traffic:
15.6k-29.7k
Paid Ads: 5

4-four icon

CHUBO KNIVES

www.chuboknives.com
(561) 623-9248

Some of the Brands Carried
Akira-Saku, Chubo, Glestain, Kazan, Karaku, Kagekiyo, Kitaoka, Makoto Kurosaki, Masamoto, Matsubara, Misono, Sakai Takayuki, Shibata Kotetsu, Saji Takeshi, Takamura, Takeda, Tojiro, Fujitora, Masahiro, and more.

Photo Description: Palm Beach, FL
Palm Beach
On the East Coast (EST), West Palm Beach? They finally divulged Florida, and it was like pulling teeth to get this info.
Photo Description: the "green check mark" means the vendor responded to the email inquiry.
Answered, but ignored follow up
Same day response, but ignored follow up question which means I wasn’t able to clarify any additional information on the left (Mon, March 1st, 8:36pm). One such piece of information was where they are located. All I can tell based on the area code is that they are possibly in Palm Beach? They also claimed all “shipments are shipped directly from their warehouse in Japan” (where in Japan, who knows).
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round dark grey icon.
E-commerce
Approximate
Web Traffic: 5.85k
Paid Ads: 29

5-five icon

CUTLERY AND MORE

www.cutleryandmore.com
(800) 650-9866 or (847) 586-0545

Some of the Brands Carried
Enso, Global, Kasumi, Kyocera, Shun, Tojiro.

Photo Description: East Dundee, IL
East Dundee
135 Prairie Lake Road, East Dundee, Illinois
60118
Photo Description: "X" no response, red round icon.
No response.
Used their contact form and submitted an inquiry on Wed, March 3rd at 8:35am.
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round dark grey icon.
E-commerce
Approximate
Web Traffic:
60.4k to 161k
Paid Ads:
4,197

6-six icon

ECHEF KNIFE

www.echefknife.com
They only provide a contact form or email address.

Brands Carried
In their own words: “We are the exclusive Yoshihiro Knives retailer in the US. We ship luxury handcrafted Japanese knives domestically and internationally.”

Photo Description: Beverly Hills, CA
Beverly Hills
9744 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 205, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Photo Description: "X" no response, red round icon.
No response
Emailed at 10:25am on Wed, March, 3rd.
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round dark grey icon.
E-commerce
Approximate
Web Traffic: 3.56k
Paid Ads: 99

Number 7 icon

HOCHO KNIFE

www.hocho-knife.com
Tel: N/A, Email: hocho-knife@import.jpn.com

Some of the brands carried:
Tojiro, Yoshihiro, Yoshimi Kato, Forever, Kasumino, Ryusen, Sakai Jikko, Zanmai, Shapton, Sakai Takayuki, Takeshi Saji, Takayuki Iwa, Masamoto, Shizu, Glestain, Kiya, Sabun, Sugimoto, Hocho knife, Teori, and more.

Photo Description: Miami, FL
Miami
9900 SW 168th Street, Suite 1, Miami, Florida
33157
(is this the offices of Mayumi Ozaki/Todd CPA or Hocho Knife?)
Photo Description: "X" no response, red round icon.
No respone
Emailed on Tue, March 2nd at 11:50am, but they must be busy since it is tax season.

All action and no talk? I have no clue as to what their customer service issue is due to in regards to not responding to emails/inquiries, but when it comes to ordering, I received my order in only 2-1/2 days from Japan to the US. WTF. Thank you FedEX and Hocho (just answer your elf’n emails).
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round dark grey icon.
E-commerce
Approximate
Web Traffic:
6.72k-13k
Paid Ads:
726

Number 8 icon

JAPANNY

www.japanny.com
+81 9013928053

Some of the Brands Carried
Sakai Takayuki, Yu Kurosaki, Takeshi Saji, Yoshimi Kato, Iseya Knives, Shigeki Tanaka, Katsushige Anryu, Seisuke, Takayuki Iwai, Hideo Kitaoka, Misono, Sukenari, Kunihara, Miyako, Takamura, and many more.

Photo Description: Ishikawa, Japan
Ishikawa
86-3 Hanamachi, Nomi, Ishikawa, Japan
Photo Description: "X" no response, red round icon.
No initial, response or over a 2 week period.
The worst of the bunch and why: I initially reached out to Japanny.com because I rank for “Japanny review,” so I wanted to help them out. Unfortunately, they were one of the only companies to ignore and not respond. It took a follow up email just to get them to respond back which was a span of 2 weeks. Initial contact was on Feb 8th and after waiting 10 days with no response, I messaged them again on Feb 18th. 4 days later on the 22nd, I got a response of “anything we need to do?” Well, yea, that should it be obvious, and I asked if I could help communicate some of their frequently asked questions (and yes, I cited “I know you are busy”), but now it’s March 3rd, and I say fuggetaboutit. The worst correspondence out of the bunch, and if they could not come through, why not just simply say “can’t do it,” or “it might take some time to get back to you.” Even when you do things as a resource to all of you, many of these businesses will not go out of their way to help with the community (no wonder they are probably one 1 of the top 3 paid advertisers).
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round grey icon.
E-commerce
Approximate
Web Traffic:
10k-4k
Paid Ads:
600+

Number 9 icon

JAPANESE CHEFS KNIFE

www.japanesechefsknife.com
Seattle, Washington 98118
(858) 204-0197

Photo Description: #1 light grey round icon
For Site Traffic for Japanese knives.

Some of the Brands Carried
Hattori, Fujiwara Kanefusa, Glestain, Hinoura, Hiromoto, Kanetsugu, Masamoto, Misono, Mizuno, Mr. Itou, Shiki, and more.

Photo Description: Seki City, Japan round icon
Seki City
1803-5 Oze, Seki City, Gifu Pref, Japan 501-3265
+81 575-38-3019
Photo Description: the "green check mark" means the vendor responded to the email inquiry.
Same day and very engaging.
For Site Traffic for Japanese knives only.
The most impressive of the bunch with all the details below. Quick and attentive response in broken English, but very engaging! I will also have to say their rep is one of the coolest people I got to interact with from Japan.

In their words: “Over 1,500 kinds of huge selections! JapaneseChefsKnife.Com (JCK, since 2003) ship Japan’s top brand knives worldwide at special price. JapaneseChefsKnife.Com (JCK, Established in 2003) is the direct internet sales division of The Kencrest Corporation. We supply a wide range of top quality Japanese Chef’s knives at lower than Japanese Retail Prices direct from from Seki City; the Japanese cutlery capital where fine knives are produced using over 800 years of Samurai sword-making tradition and history.”
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round grey icon.
E-commerce
Approximate Web Traffic: 24k-61.5k
Paid Ads: 50

Photo Description: a narrow retail space has white walls, a somewhat glossy dark floor with a battleship grey looking display cases. The enclosed cases contain several knives. The rest of the furniture looks the same although there is one wall side table with an antique look to it.
Would you rather spend an hour here, or on the 10 going 1 mile, your choice brah. Image courtesy of Japanese Knife Imports.
Number 10 icon

JAPANESE KNIFE IMPORTS

www.japaneseknifeimports.com
(310) 399-0300

Some of the Brands Carried
En, Gengetsu, Gesshin, Ginrei, Gonbei, Hotaru, Ikazuchi, Jin, JKI, Kintaro, Kochi, Mitsuaki-T, Pomme, Rinkaku, Ryusen, Suien, Tangetsu, Yuri, Zakuri.

Photo Description: Beverly Hills, CA round icon.
Beverly Hills
8642 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, California 90211
Photo Description: the "green check mark" means the vendor responded to the email inquiry.
Next day and very cool.
A day later, but damnnnn son, what a reply.

When I saw the Beverly Hills address, I did not think much, but Jon here loves food and has a passion for it. Not only has he cooked professionally in Japan, but he had also written a thesis on Japanese food.

Also, if you want to know what else I am impressed by, find out for yourself. Check out the Japanese Knife Imports Facebook page page because somebody is a photographer, so they have great pics (well only up till 2016). The pictures are not only of their products, but also from their trips to Japan, to eating out at Sushi Yoshizumi, and other pics of their travels.
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round dark grey icon.
E-com & Brick and Mortar shop
Approximate Web Traffic: 4.27k
Paid Ads: 0

Number 11 icon

JAPAN KNIFE SHOP

www.japan-knifeshop.com
+81-50-5875-4555

Some of the Brands Carried
Sakai Takayuki to Masamoto.

Photo Description: Somewhere in Japan, round icon.
Somewhere in Japan
Your guess is as good as mine.
Photo Description: "X" no response, red round icon.
No response.
The smallest of the bunch, yet not a peep yet (give it some time since I did reach out to them late on Wed, March 3, at 8:59am).

Update: (3/11) a week later, still no word.
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round grey icon.
E-commerce
Approximate
Web Traffic:
240-1.16k
Paid Ads:
95

Photo Description: definitely one of the most distinctive of the knife shops is the Knifewear interior which has a very bold look to it. Dark red walls with massive imagery of various aspects of cutlery are shown on the wall in black and white.
With a set-up like the one they have at Knifewear, it would also make a great bachelor pad. Pic courtesy of Knifewear.
Number 12 icon

KNIFE WEAR

www.knifewear.com

Some of the brands carried:
 Haruyuki, Masakage, Fujimoto, to Tojiro.

Photo Description: Throughout Canada round icon.
Throughout Canada
Multiple Locations Throughout Canada in Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Vancouver
Photo Description: the "green check mark" means the vendor responded to the email inquiry.
Same day and very engaging
Quick same day response and very engaging staff all the way up the CEO.
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round grey icon.
E-com & Brick and Mortar shop
Approximate Web Traffic: 11.5k-14k
Paid Ads: 0

Photo Description: This looks to be a massive amount of knives although Bernal Cutlery had a large display, the Korin display is just packed together in one giant glass case.
If you wound up in a horror flick, Korin has you covered. Image courtesy of Korin.
Number 13 icon

KORIN

www.korin.com
(800) 626-2172

Some of the Brands Carried
 are Korin (their own brand), Togiharu, Suisin, Nenox (Nenohi), Masamoto, Sohonten, Masanobu, Glestain, MAC, Sugimoto, and Kochi.

Photo Description: New York, NY
New York
57 Warren Street, New York New York 10007
Photo Description: the "green check mark" means the vendor responded to the email inquiry.
A couple days, but they were out for 2-days
Wednesday, March 3rd, 8:40am, and they typically respond back the same day with a response because they are very attentive with their service. Unfortunately, I think they were just inundated “There is a 4-7 days delay on tableware/kitchenware orders,” but I expect them to come through as always.

Update: March, 5th, 11:20am, they came through and responded to the question I posed to them (I included it below). Not only that, I found out that their showroom manager was out for 2-days which explains the delayed response!
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round dark grey icon.
E-com & Brick and Mortar
Approximate
Web Traffic: 27.8k-43.9k
Paid Ads: 0

Photo Description: I would say, the MTC Kitchen display or showroom has the most sophisticated look out of the bunch. On two or more sides of the wall there are several glass display cases with the knives displayed vertically in the cabinets. Below are a number of sharpening stones.
These knives would look great next to your Elvis collectible plates. Image courtesy of MTC Kitchen.

MTC KITCHEN

www.mtckitchen.com
(212) 661-3333

Some of the Brands Carried
Takamura, Tsukiji Masamoto, Nenox, Haku, Sukenari, Kintaro, Sakai Takayuki, Aritsugu, Misono, Seki Kanetsugu, Sakon, Shun, Global, Ikkaku Donryu, Caddie, Ajimisaku, and Kyocera.

Photo Description: New York, NY round icon.
New York
711 3rd Ave (on 45th St. between 2nd & 3rd Ave). New York, New York 10017
Photo Description: the "green check mark" means the vendor responded to the email inquiry.
Same day as always
Immediate auto response with quick same day response. MTC has a very attentive staff, and I should go as far as to say friendly (I say that because Japanese companies like to be on the “all business” end of things, not the Chotskies style, with flair).
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round dark grey icon.
E-com & Brick and Mortar shop
Approximate
Web Traffic:
22.2k-24.7k
Paid Ads:
121

MY GOOD KNIFE

www.mygoodknife.com
+35845809900

Some of the Brands Carried
Gihei, Hideo Kitaoka, Ittetsu, Kasumi, Makoto Kurosaki, Masahiro, Mcusta, Seki, Tojiro

Photo Description: FI for Finland, light grey round icon.
Finland
Somewhere in Europe
Photo Description: "X" no response, red round icon.
No response.
Mon, March 1st 9:14am (MST) no response and it could be a language issue although their website uses an extensive amount of English (maybe their support team does not?).
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round grey icon.
E-commerce
Approximate
Web Traffic:
9.78k
Paid Ads:
0

Photo Description: The second most bold interior is Seisuke Knife in Portland, OR. The black walls are offset with a light pine looking boxes bodly display a number of knives vertically in their case.
Those emo black walls are the perfect backdrop for a bunch of display cases full of knives with My Chemical Romance playing in the background. Image courtesy of Seisuke.

SEISUKE KNIFE (JAPANNY)

www.seisukeknife.com
(503) 265-8138

Some of the Brands Carried
Iseya, Katsushige Anryu, Kunihara, Miyako, Sakai Takayuki, Seisuke.

Photo Description: OR for Oregon, round dark grey icon.
Portland
1526 NE Alberta Street, Portland, Oregon
97211
Photo Description: the "green check mark" means the vendor responded to the email inquiry.
Next day and great follow-up
Somewhat quick next day response (March 1 at 8:12am to the 2nd at 1:34pm), along with a very attentive staff. Except like Japanny, they did not respond back to my OPTIONAL follow-up email asking them about the in-store experience.

Update: 3/7/21 (Sunday): they did follow-up to my email, and you can see their response below.
Photo Description: the approximate popularity of the website (stats), round dark grey icon.
E-com & Brick and Mortar shop
Approximate
Web Traffic:
1.05k
Paid Ads:
410

knife icon

Keep in mind many of these vendors get INUNDATED with solicitations, so it is understandably easy to have your email passed over as SPAM.

Although the leading businesses responded and not getting a response to a follow-up was their choice/failing.
Photo Description: How long it takes to receive a knife shipped from Japan.
If you choose not to purchase from a brick and mortar, this is how long it takes to receive a knife purchased online shipped from Japan (along with shipping costs).

Here Are a Few Reasons Why We Cannot Live Without the In-Store Experience

After reaching out to several vendors with showrooms (brick-and-mortars), here is what they said about the value of the in-store experience in the follow-up correspondence.

“I’d say that the biggest benefit for the in store experience is to be able to hold the knives in person. For many of our customers, they end up making their discussion, not based on look or steel type (although that plays a big role) but on how it feels in the hand. Because a Japanese knife is something they will be using for years to come, the weight and feel ends up being the biggest deciding factor for the majority of our customers.

From there I’d say that having a someone to walk you through the process and explain the differences of the knives (however small) tends to be very helpful for our customers. For many of our customers, they may be purchasing their first high-end knife and with so many to choose from it is helpful to have someone help them figure out what would be the best fit for their needs.”

Will, Store Manager, Seisuke, Portland, OR
Photo Description: Kate Koo cutting what looks like a tuna with a very large and long blade.
Seisuke hosts knife technique classes (handling and cutting methods) with @kateyanagikoo at @zillasakepdx. Image courtesy of Seisuke.

In a previous post I mention the stellar “About Us (Meet the Team)” page on Knifewear.com, and that is only further reinforced with their response:

“In-store experience is incredibly helpful if there are educated and engaged staff to tour you through options. Also, it is very comforting when you are able to hold the knife before making a decision. That being said, not everyone is in a city with one of our shops, and for them the only option is online. If that’s the case, ask questions, watch videos, and I’m sure you will make a decision that will make you happy.”

Kevin Kent, Founder and CEO of Knifewear, Canada
Photo Description: a better view of the Knifewear interior which could be the biggest of the knife stores because it looks like they have at least 6 large counter display cases for you to lean up on and drool on.
We have all been this guy pondering life’s decisions from “yea, just like my PS5, I will use it everyday” to thinking “yea, I can do a better poutine. (well, if you’re Canadian).” Knifewear.com has 4 locations/showrooms throughout Canada from Calgary to Vancouver. The pic is courtesy of Knifewear.com

“We believe that the in-store experience is very important. Most of our clients come in for knives. Picking a knife is a really up to personal preference, there is no such thing as one knife for everyone. With the in-store experience the person can hold and feel the handle and weight of each knife before going home with it.”

Wendy Y., Korin Showroom Manager, New York, NY

Conclusion, Nice Guys/Gals Finish First and It Is a Good Idea To Feel the Knife in Your Hand Before Purchasing

The vast majority who did not respond were all online small businesses, and one was a big-box retailer. The ones that did come through were also a few of my favorites from my brief yet revealing correspondence (even parents have favorites).

In no particular order, for friendliness and engagement, they were Japanese Chefs Knife (Japan), Japanese knife imports (Beverly Hills), and Knifewear (Canada). Although Korin (New York) and MTC Kitchen (New York) have always been my MVP’s from previous experiences.

Now, if these people are enjoyable to work with over email, I can bet you, they are just as great in person. Especially if they have Dandelion chocolates down the street, a cool interior, or an open bar (one can only hope it is open bar) and food on skewers.

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