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Thread: Where to get a Kamisori in Japan

  1. #1
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    Default Where to get a Kamisori in Japan

    Hello,

    I am new to this place so I hope I posted in the right sub-forum.

    In a few days I will leave for a 3 week trip to Japan and see cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Kamikochi, Kawaguchi-go, Yufuin, Beppu, Kagoshima, Yakushima and Osaka. It will be my second trip to Japan. On my first trip I managed to get myself two 2 nice Aritsugu kitchen knives.

    This time I would really love to buy myself a good Kamisori. I am new to this but I love the japanese culture so its not just about finding the best way to shve myself but having a good blade and following this beautifull tradition.

    Eventhough it is a little expensive I would like to ask you if anyone knows a shop in any of those cities above where I can get a good kamisori. I heard those of Iwasaki seem to be among the best.

    It would even be a greater pleasure if it was made of Tamahagane steel. But in the end it will be a question of the price. Anyone can help?

    Thanks a lot and best wishes,
    Andy
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  2. #2
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    Hi Andy.
    Some kitchen knife stores in Japan are also selling kamisori. Usually you will not find it on display, as it's somewhat esoteric product in nowadays Japan, but if you ask them - and you already know how to say it in Japanese - they'll bring it to you.
    I was there about a year ago, and I only saw modern production - no Iwasaki Tamahagane, not that I was ready to pay for one
    I have bought one in this place in Tokyo: https://goo.gl/maps/nQjbsq3SApF2 They had good prices.
    There were some other nice knife stores in or near the fish market: https://goo.gl/maps/UrZ5YEgWT1w https://goo.gl/maps/D89nViKKCUs https://goo.gl/maps/D89nViKKCUs
    In Kyoto the prices are higher, but you can find a nice JNat there. Some of the shops I've found:
    https://goo.gl/maps/r91RLbzn1Br https://goo.gl/maps/EX7YoWvw4A82 https://goo.gl/maps/rRPbywrYhLQ2 https://goo.gl/maps/g4puQQpvXPC2
    They may or may not have kamisori available, but anyway you'll probably enjoy visiting there if you have some time to spare.
    Good luck, and post here your findings upon return.
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  3. #3
    The Hurdy Gurdy Man thebigspendur's Avatar
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    Also check out hardware stores especially the higher end ones in and around Tokyo. Most will have some kamisori.
    No matter how many men you kill you can't kill your successor-Emperor Nero

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the great help!!!


    So the Tamahagane Kamisori is out of reach while beeing in Japan it seems.


    It might be too expensive as well.

    Maybe one more question, what kamisori should I look for? Anything special to I should know?
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    Junior Tinkerer Srdjan's Avatar
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    Iwasaki tamahagane will set you back significantly, depending on the age, size and condition. Then again, you could find a used one for a lot less... which then brings us to your question of what it is you need to know, in order to judge the quality and value of a used kamisori, so you know you're getting your money's worth.

    I only know the basics, so let's start with that: The back side (Omote). It will tell how worn a kamisori is, and how it's been honed. Check the hone wear.

    Something like this is acceptable (Henkotsu made, well regarded maker), honed I guess several times, and not much wear at all:


    Something like this is ideal (Tosuke made, well regarded too), but this is unused, NOS:


    Something like this, you should probably stay well away from (boy is it easy to find junk on the Bay!):



    The front side (Ura, with maker's mark and other stamps) is similar.. if significantly worn, it can be an issue. Ura should never be worn a lot, especially not more than Omote. To me that would be a sign of poor previous honing, or perhaps corrective honing due to a less ideal geometry.

    Other than wear itself, you may or may not be concerned with the blade shape, profile, and polish. In order to judge these traits, you need to know what the blade looked like when it was new. This to me has less importance, if the blade geometry is fine and I like the razor. Some kamisori may be reground. Some may be repolished. These things matter to folks who are after razors, as close to the original as possible. I personally like a well finished (polished) kamisori. Whether that is a factory finish, or a polishing job, I am not too concerned about, as long as I like it. Search for some NOS kamisori on ebay to get the idea of what the factory finish looks like, but here is an example.

    Ura is usually finished with lengthwise strokes:


    Omote is usually finished with a grinder, so perpendicular marks will be left on the blade, like on some western razors:


    Hopefully others can chime in with some pro tips, too.
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  7. #6
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    Wow, thats great info!


    I wouldnt have known that! Its good to have these infos!
    Thanks again!

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    Hello!
    I visited Tokyo last month. I saw Kamisori only in knife shops, price from 20K to 35K JPY. For example, here: 1 Chome-5 Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0032, Japan
    Name:  камисори токио.jpg
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    And another good place is a knife shop-workshop, in the undegraund level of an office building, Ginza district:

    Name:  камисори в подв&#1.jpg
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    Last edited by ShaveAndTravel; 08-29-2017 at 08:37 PM.
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