The famous Kappabashi Dougu Street in Tokyo is world famous for restaurant supplies and food-related tools. The knife shop called Tsubaya is one of the smallest and oldest kitchen knife shops on this street.
Tsubaya was a normal cutlery store when they began in 1952 until 1981 when the first owner returned from traveling the world. During his travels, he recognized how great the Japanese knife is, so he built Tsubaya as a specialized Japanese kitchen knife shop in Kappabashi. In recent years, Kappabashi street has become famous for Japanese knife shops, but at the time, Tsubaya was the only one of it's kind.
Tsubaya in 1980'sThe cozy shop Tsubaya may be crowded when 5 to 6 customers are inside, but they have over 1500 uncovered knives on display. For ten years, they designed their store in this way because they believed that the knives needed to be held and felt by the end user.
They carry a variety of knives with different shapes, steel and type based on their diverse and eclectic clientele. Customers range from professional to home users, collectors from all over the world, as well as knife makers. There are only a few blacksmith/sharpeners around the Tokyo area, so to bridge the gap between “customers” and “makers”, the owner and staff communicate very often with craftsman. Tsubaya knives are made from this kind of direct communication within the industry community.
Inside of shop
The priorities at Tsubaya are evident in-store: they stress the importance of knife-aftercare. All knives can be used for over 10 years if you care for the knife. Sometimes, a craftsman, or shop will start to sell knives primarily online, without giving any attention to aftercare. The motto of “Tsubaya (つば屋)” says that they will be responsible until the knife gets small and cannot be used any longer.
The craftsmen and makers who have partnered with Tsubaya have been loyal, based on their unique care policy. This is the root of Tsubaya and what makes them different from the rest.
Their partner master crafts people represent specialty areas of Japan such as Sakai, Sanjo, Seki, Tanegashima, and Tosa. They create for Tsubaya the best quality knives for people who seek them. Outside of Japan, you can also purchase these knives at Tosho Knife Arts (Toronto, Canada) and Ai & Om Kknives (Vancouver, Canada), official carriers of Tsubaya products.
We hope that everyone can learn to use and care for quality knives someday.
3-7-2, Nishi-Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 111-0035, JAPAN
Email firstname.lastname@example.org WEB http://tsubaya.co.jp/
AM 9:00 〜 PM 5:45
AM 9:00 〜 PM 4:45 (Sunday・Holiday)
Photographed, documented and written by：Hokuto Aizawa（Hitohira）
Edited by Olivia Go (Tosho Knife Arts)