A Guide to Hand-made Japanese Knives in Toronto

Japanese kitchen knives are renowned for its quality and craftsmanship. Modern high quality Japanese kitchen knives are forged using the same techniques developed for making Japanese swords, in the Sakai region of Japan, which is also known as the Capital of Samurai Swords. It is no wonder that these knives are finding their way into the tool kits of professional chefs and home cooks all over.

There are many different types and styles of knives designed for specific types of cutting. For the home cook, the most common and useful are the gyuto which is similar to a French Chef’s knife and the Santoku (“three virtues”) knife designed for 1) slicing, 2) dicing and 3) mincing of meat, vegetables and fish. Professional chefs may opt for more specialized tools for cutting fish (yanagiba bocho), vegetables (usuba or nakiri bocho) or boning meat (honesuki boho).

If any of the above seems clear as mud, do not fret because Toronto has specialty shops that can guide knife enthusiasts with finding and selecting a Japanese knife that suits their cooking needs.

Happy place. Getting sayas fitted for my nakiri and sujihiki. #dayoff

A photo posted by pokeh (@pokehbar) on

First up is Tosho Knife Arts located in the Annex near Bathurst and Bloor. The shop has been open since 2009 and stocks a large variety of hand-forged knives from Japan, sharpening stones and wooden sayas (wooden sheathes for the blade). There are also classes available to allow participants to learn new knife skills, how to sharpen and care for their fancy hand-forged knife.

Next is Knife Toronto, located on Dundas St. W. near Crawford in the Trinity Bellwoods area. It also carries a large selection of Japanese hand-forged knives and accessories. Knife Toronto also offers knife sharpening and repair services.

There’s yet another cutlery shop called Hacker & Krain on Dupont St. (near Spadina Ave.) which sells a wide variety of knife and knife-related items (sharpening tools, and cutting boards) with a good selection of Japanese kitchen knives. 

Sexy beast

A photo posted by Hacher & Krain (@hacherandkrain) on


For knife sheaths, there is a carftsperson by the name Mokuzo who produces hand-made sayas (knife sheathes) for japanese and western knives and knife handles for Japanese knifes. The artisan also offers custom sayas with custom artwork.

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