All About Japan

Slice & Dice with a Personally Engraved Knife

| Souvenirs , Asakusa

Kama Asa Shoten, a kitchen supply shop that's been around over 100 years, has seen a massive influx of foreigners. The shop, located on Tokyo's Kappabashi-dori, specializes in crafting specialty cooking knives and it's this luxury item that has foreigners in Japan shelling out several hundreds of dollars for a single souvenir.

Kappabashi-dori, also known as Kitchen Town, is located between Ueno and Asakusa in Tokyo. The street gets its name from the large number of shops solely selling kitchen utensils, crockery and even plastic display food! And on this street you'll find Kama Asa Shoten.

The shop sees so many foreign visitors on a daily basis, they even provide information on each of their knives in English and have an English version of their official webpage. Although kitchen knives can be purchased in any country, the ones from Japan are prized for their high quality and durability. The knives from Kama Asa are no exception, made with skill and knowledge that has been passed down for four generations.

According to the Kama Asa philosophy, “Good tools are shaped to make food better... as a tribute to every independent crafts-person, the knives at Kama Asa are shown and supplied in their completed, unadorned form—un-branded.”

The shop will, however, engrave your blade, making Kama Asa knives a very useful and personal gift. No wonder so many foreigners have been purchasing them for friends who weren’t lucky enough to make it to Japan.

The shop also offers ironware pots and teakettles from Nanbu, a region in Iwate Prefecture that is renowned for its iron production.

The cast-iron pot can be used in either the oven or on the stove top, making it an incredibly versatile kitchen appliance. Furthermore, since it's made out of iron, which heats up slowly, your dishes will be cooked evenly and have a burst of flavor in each bite.

As for the kettle, each one is handmade. It's said that because each one is made of iron, the boiled water becomes “smooth and mellow,” good for making a very delicious cup of tea. The kettle also adds trace amounts of iron that can be easily absorbed by the body.

Although Kama Asa isn’t the only shop in Kappabashi-dori that specializes in selling Japanese knives or Nambu iron kettles, the quality and care they take to create each piece is very impressive. If you’re going to take a trip to Japan, why not stop by this little 105-year-old shop and pick up one of these trending souvenirs?

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