Discover Japanese cutlery in Sakai
The knife, a chef's best ally. Japan has perfected the art of cutlery for centuries, and now it is sought after around the world.
Japanese kitchen knives, or "hocho", are not only used by Japanese chefs, but by professional and amateur cooks all over the world. And with good reason: the sharpness of the blades, the shapes which have been designed to perform optimally for each of the specific uses in the kitchen (slicing, chopping, boning or mincing), make them objects of great practical quality. Everything has been studied: the thickness of the blade, its weight, curvature, etc... and there is a knife for fish, one for beef, one for vegetables, one for sashimi...
Sakai, the cradle of cutlery in Japan
The town of Sakai, some 20 minutes from Osaka, has been the birthplace of Japanese cutlery for centuries. 80% of the knives available in Japan come from Sakai. In Sakai, knifemakers who have perfected their craft, often over several generations, make knives in the traditional way. It should be noted that the manufacture of a knife is the result of the work of three or four craftsmen: a blacksmith, a handle maker, a sharpener and finally a seller.
Visit the forges with an expert
We invite you to visit the famous Sakai forges and see the craftsmen at work. You will be in the company of Eric Chevallier, a Frenchman with a passion for Japan, himself a blacksmith in Japanese cutlery, and a representative for the town of Sakai. He has made Sakai his adopted home and has been an apprentice in Sasuke's forge, one of the oldest in Japan, for 5 years. So neither the cutlery nor the history of Sakai holds any secrets for him.
Thanks to his experience, he can take you to the most renowned and authentic Sakai forges and guide you through the knife-making process. And if, after the visit, you wish to take a knife home with you, Eric can advise you on your purchase. A dive into the world of age-old craftsmanship in the company of an expert, a unique and unforgettable experience.
A city rich in history
Sakai is a city with a rich history. Its privileged geographical position in terms of trading aided its development and led it to prosperity. It is known for its kofun (burial mounds), the largest of which is that of Emperor Nintoku, built in the 5th century and considered to be the largest tomb in the world. During the Muromachi period (1338-1573), when it was ruled by wealthy merchants, the city was dubbed the "Venice of Asia" by European missionaries.
The introduction of firearms by the Portuguese in the 15th century allowed the metallurgy industry to develop. It was the first city to manufacture firearms.
Nowadays, as the political and economic power has moved to Osaka under Toyotomi Hideyoshi, it is mainly its big sister Osaka that has taken over, but Sakai remains a popular city for travellers, famous for its incense, its yukatas and of course, its knives.