Buying high-quality kitchen knives in Japan is intimidating, we get it. But it’s also just about the nicest souvenir you could get for yourself or a loved one. Canadian transplant Björn Heiberg understands the obstacles that stand between travelers and their dream knife, including language barriers, budget, and not knowing what they really want or need. That’s why he opened Tower Knives in Shinsekai, Osaka and, most recently, Tokyo’s Sky Tree Town—to preach the gospel of Japanese knives (arguably the finest in the world) and help folks from overseas make informed buying decisions.
The shop’s hand-forged blades from the historic knife-making district of Sakai are beautiful to behold, but they’re not for everyone. Heiberg can walk you through the options: usuba for vegetables, deba for fish, gyuto for meat, or an ultra-versatile santoku for all of the above. There’s even a left-handled model for leftie cooks. Email email@example.com ahead of your arrival to make sure Heiberg or another English-speaking staffer is working. Consultations are free and you can test out the knives before you commit. Just don’t forget your passport if you want the purchase to be duty-free.
1-4-1, Ebisuhigashi, Naniwaku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, Japan; 06-4395-5218.
Tokyo Sky Tree Town, Soramachi, 4F-East Yard-33, Tokyo, Japan; 03-5637-7702.