Tojiro Knives

Tojiro Knives


2018.07.17

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Tojiro Knives
  • The production of Japanese kitchen knives dates back to the 8th century, at which time the handy blades resembled small swords. Though this might sound a bit excessive by today’s standards, Japanese knife manufacturer Tojiro takes its modern incarnations just as seriously. Far from frightening, their expertly crafted kitchen tools have earned them an international reputation, equally well known and loved by top chefs and domestic amateurs. For an up close and personal look at how these products get made, take a bullet train two hours northwest of Tokyo to Niigata for a visit to the Tojiro Knife Factory.

    Tojiro Knives

    Tojiro Knives

    What makes a Tojiro knife so special? Ordinary kitchen knives lose their edge due to a process called decarburization, which depletes steel of its carbon and results in a poorer-quality blade. Tojiro uses a patented process called DP (“decarburization prevention”) which means the initial integrity of the knife remains intact. It’s craftsmanship like this that has earned Tojiro such accolades as the Good Design award and the distinction of being one of the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s top five manufacturers in Japan.

    Tojiro Knives

    Tojiro Knives

    Take a closer look at just what it takes to produce a Tojiro blade with one of their factories tours, on offer since mid-2017. Making a premium kitchen knife takes between between one and one and a half months and requires a surprising amount of hands-on labor. Forget full automation: Tojiro’s manufacturing process combines modern technology with traditional techniques, bestowing the blades with equal parts classic quality and modern refinement. The region has been known since Edo period for its sword production, and this local knowledge of metalwork has helped Tojiro manufacture innovative and resilient blades since its debut in 1955.

    Tojiro Knives

    Tojiro Knives

    Japan is known for its meticulous craftsmanship, and Tojiro’s production line is no exception. Sparks fly as workers carefully file blades, examine them for any imperfections, then reapply them to large abrasive wheels to make the finished product. Varied materials and techniques result in a diverse set of knives, including their Flash series, which requires five separate manufacturing processes to create its distinct edge. All told, their different collections and additional kitchen products such as peelers, cutting boards, and aprons total over 800 products.

    Tojiro Knives

    Tojiro Knives

    Taking the factory tour provides a rare chance to learn more about knife craftsmanship, but it also results in a new appreciation for this everyday tool. Seeing how much care goes into the creation of each product makes the 7,000-yen price tag of the Tojiro Pro, their most popular model, seem completely justified–even though you could likely find a similarly sized kitchen knife at your local discount store. If you’re a professional or a serious hobbyist, you might consider saving up for some of their most premium knives, with correspondingly premium price tags of almost 100,000 yen.

    Tojiro Knives

    Tojiro Knives

    In addition to their tours, the Tojiro Knife Factory offers workshops to see their knives in action and has an impressive–albeit slightly foreboding–gallery showcasing their full line of products. They’re open Monday to Saturday (with reduced programming on Saturdays) and closed Sundays and holidays. If you’re planning on making a trip, it’s best to check their website (http://www.tojiro-japan.com/) or Facebook page to confirm their schedule.

    TOJIRO KNIFE GALLERY
    place
    Nigata Pref. Tsubameshi Yoshidahigashisakaechou 55-18
    phone
    0256934195

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