Gotta Go – Utsuwa Kenshin

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Asato Ikeda-san’s gorgeous pottery. I first came across these at Den in Jimbocho.

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Saké tastes better when served in something this beautiful.

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Bob Tobin and Hitoshi Ohashi of the Tobin Ohashi Gallery first introduced me to Kenshin Sato-san of Kenshin Utsuwa. When I asked chef Zaiyu Hasegawa-san of Den about these cups he too said that Kenshin Utsuwa would have these. I have been following Kenshin Utsuwa on Facebook as he  hosts many special events around the city. I contacted Sato-san and placed an order for the cups. Here I am picking up the cups and pourer. What I am holding is not what I bought, but a piece he had in his gallery.Image

Kenshin Utsuwa is a small, but well-stocked gallery in between Shibuya and Omotesando. I got lost finding it, so be sure to have a good map. This day there were several gorgeous pieces from a potter in Hokkaido.

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If you want to invest in some handcrafted pottery, be sure to visit Kenshin Utsuwa while in Tokyo. First though, call ahead and make sure the shop is open. As he hosts special showings throughout the city he often closes the gallery. The Kenshin Utsuwa Facebook page always is updated with his current shows.

Utsuwa Kenshin

http://www.utsuwa-kenshin.com

Shibuya-ku, Shibuya 2-3-4, Star Building 2F

Phone and Fax: 03-6427-9782

Facebook page

Art on the Table by Asato Ikeda

Den29

It was the first time in my life that I held a cup in my hand and immediately fell in love with it. The light sky blue color, the rough and smooth texture that my fingers fell into, and the taste of the saké while holding something so beautiful. I couldn’t put it down.

I first held Asato Ikeda’s ceramic cup at Den in Jimbocho, chef Zaiyu Hasegawa’s brilliant restaurant. I thought someday I would invest in some of Ikeda-san’s pieces for myself. Even took a picture of the cup (photo above) so that I could remember it. And then, a few months later, Ikeda-san and his works were on television. Once more my heartstrings were pulled and my motivation to bring his craftsmanship into our home became a priority.

I did some searching online in Japanese and quickly lost hope. What few sites that did come up with his pieces were all sold out. I then reached out to Kenshin Sato of Kenshin Utsuwa. Bob Tobin and Hitoshi Ohashi of the Tobin Ohashi Gallery first introduced me to Sato-san last spring. I went to one of his special events at Ginza Mitsukoshi and we exchanged business cards.

This summer, while at Den, chef Hasegawa told me that Kenshin Utsuwa sells many pieces that are used at his restaurant, including Ikeda-san’s. I follow Kenshin Utsuwa on Facebook and reached out to him in Japanese in December. I sent him the photo of the cup from Den and asked him if he could find me some pieces. Just last week I got the e-mail telling me that I could stop by his shop this week. It’s a beautiful shop that is worth visiting if you are in Shibuya or Omotesando as it is just between the two. Just call ahead as he closes the shop if does special events around the city.

Ikeda

Welcome home! My birthday present from me to me.

Two small guinomi and a tokkuri with a lip for pouring sake or shochu.

Ikeda1We christened the cups with Shichihonyari which we bought at our new favorite sake shop in town, Oboro Saketen in Shinbashi.

The owner of Oboro Saketen, Okuma-san, studied at university for two years in Minnesota and speaks English.

Ikeda2

We love these nori cups for bite-size sushi that we picked up at Tsukiji Market. A small celebration to welcome these pieces to our home. I am already looking forward to using these tomorrow. I have enjoyed the journey. Holding something and wanting it, thinking of someday owning a piece of Ikeda-san’s artwork, and the help of friends to help make my little dream come true.

Kenshin Utsuwa

Shibuya-ku, Shibuya 2-3-4

Ginza Takumi 銀座たくみ

Ginza Takumi

Ginza Takumi

 

Takumi たくみ

Chuo-ku, Ginza 8-4-2

03-3571-2017

11:00 – 19:00 (closed Sunday & holidays)

www.ginza-takumi.co.jp/ (Japanese)

Pottery and other crafts are showcased in this two-story shop on the outskirts of Ginza. There is daily use pottery with reasonable prices starting at 1,000 JPY. The shop features a wide variety of pottery including Mashiko, Tanba, and Onta from the small village in Oita. The second floor has textiles including noren. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable about their products.

Japanese Knife Shops in Tokyo

Tsukiji Masamoto

Tsukiji Masamoto

There are several knife shops in the market. Some of them are friendlier than others. Fifth generation Tsukiji Masamoto (opened in 1891) has always been on the friendly side and has an English speaking staff on some days. This is where my husband and I have purchased knives in the past and we love the service here. It’s a very busy shop with not only tourists, but also with the fishmongers from Tsukiji. Presdient Hirano-san in the photo below is there most days. The staff that work there are very knowledgeable about knives. Hirano-san has said that when the market moves to its new location at Toyosu that his shop will remain in place in the outer market.

Tsukiji Masamoto

Hirano-san of Tsukiji Masamoto putting initials on a knife

Tsukiji Masamoto 築地正本

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-9-9 中央区築地4-9-9

Tel. 03-3541-7155

www.tukijimasamoto.co.jp/ (Japanese)

Kiya Knife Shop 木屋 *Note – this is the NEW address for Kiya Nihonbashi

Nihonbashi-Muromachi 2-2-1 中央区日本橋室町 2-2-1

Chuo-Ku Tokyo Coredo-Muromachi. 1F

Tel 03-3241-0110

STORE HOURS
10am – 8pm seven days a week
Closed only on New Year’s Day.

www.kiya-hamono.co.jp/english/index.html (English)

The corner shop, opened in 1792, has a sign in English, “World’s Finest Cutlery” over the door. The compact shop displays a shining collection of knives, pots, pans, and many things for the kitchen. Here you will find graters, pepper grinders, tweezers for pulling bones out of fish, as well as scissors and gardening tools. The friendly staff is patient and will help you to find exactly what you are looking for.

Kamata in Kappabashi

Kamata in Kappabashi

Kamata Knives かまた

Taito-ku, Matsugaya 2-12-6 台東区松が谷2-12-6

Tel. 03-3841-4205

www.kap-kam.com/english/ (English)

Kamata has a large selection of Western and Japanese knives, Japanese wet stones for keeping your knives sharp, and other kitchen gadgets. They will also sharpen your knives here if you live in Tokyo.

Aritsugu 有次

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-13-6 中央区築地4-13-6

Tel. 03-3541-6890

www.aritsugu.jp (Japanese)

Aritsugu has a much larger shop in Kyoto’s Nishiki Market. If you are going to Kyoto then you do not want to miss this store.

Be sure to read this short primer on Japanese knives:

Japanese Knives 101

Kappabashi Gotta Gets

Shochu Cups

Shochu Cups

I love these shochu cups in the winter when I drink shochu with hot water. These have the type of base ingredient written on the cup 芋 for imo jochu (sweet potato shochu) or 黒糖 for kokuto jochu (brown sugar shochu).

Teacups

Teacups

These teacups will get lots of use in any home. The cup on the far right has different types of sushi drawn on the cup. The second from the write, the white cup with blue calligraphy, has the popular types of fish written on it, as could be found at sushi restaurants.

Lacquer Bowls

Lacquer Bowls

These lacquer bowls are most often used for miso soup but we also love them for serving ice cream.

Natto Bowl and Chopsticks

Natto Bowl and Chopsticks

For natto (fermented soybean) lovers this bowl and chopsticks are indispensable. Natto is put into the bowl and stirred up with special chopsticks that bring out the slippery and slimy texture of the natto.

Kappabashi Gotta Gets

Refrigerator Magnets

Refrigerator Sushi Magnets

 

Kappabashi is filled with treasures, gadgets, and tools for anyone passionate about cooking. These refrigerator sushi magnets are always fun gifts.

Iron Tea Pots

Iron Tea Pots

Iron tea pots are said to soften the water that result in tea that is round on the palate. These sturdy pots retain heat and are gorgeous on any table. Some do rust easily so they are a little bit high maintenance but worth it for anyone who drinks a lot of tea.

Ceramic Rice Cookers - Donabe

Ceramic Rice Cookers - Donabe

I love the results of my ceramic rice cooker. The aroma of the rice is better than rice cooked in electric rice cookers. And, the best part is that if cooked properly, there is a lovely “okoge” or charred crust that develops on the bottom of each pot. Before you purchase ask about the sizes. The smallest ones cook two cups of rice which is good for one or two people, but if you are cooking for a larger group you will want to invest in a larger size pot.

Chopstick Rests - Hashioki

Chopstick Rests - Hashioki

These lovely chopstick rests (hashioki) brighten up any table. Sizes and shapes run the spectrum. Best of all, there are seasonal varieties which keep me coming back to see what I can add to my collection.

Kappabashi – Okuda Lacquer Shop 合羽橋のオクダ

Okuda

Okuda

Okuda

Okuda

Okuda Lacquer 漆器のオクダ商店

Taito-ku, Matsugaya 3-17-11 台東区松が谷3-17-11

Phone: 03-3844-1606

www.kappabashi.or.jp/shops/31.html (Japanese)

Lacquer shop including miso soup bowls, chopsticks and more as well as a nice selection of wooden products including manaita, wooden cutting boards that are very gentle on knives, steamers, and otoshibuta (drop lids) that are essential in any Japanese kitchen.

Kappabashi – Nishiyama for Lacquer

Nishiyama Lacquer

Nishiyama Lacquer

Nishiyama in Kappabashi has a wide array of lacquer dishes as well as affordable vessels for daily use. These red and black bowls in the left box are advertised as something that you can put in the microwave.

Nishiyama Lacquer

Nishiyama Lacquer

These wooden bowls are good for miso soup, but also great for ice cream.

Nishiyama Lacquer

Nishiyama Lacquer

Nishiyama also has a selection of bento boxes, trays, and much more.

Nishiyama Shikki 西山漆器

Nishi-Asakusa 3-24-3

03-3841-8831

www.shikki.jp/ (Japanese)

Kappabashi – Komatsuya for Pottery 合羽橋の小松屋

Komatsuya

Komatsuya

Komatsuya

Komatsuya

Komatsuya

Komatsuya

Komatsuya 小松屋

Nishi-Asakusa 2-21-6

03-3841-2368

www.tctv.ne.jp/members/moto/ (Japanese)

This may be the most photographed shop on the street. There is a wide selection of pottery, ramen bowls, teapots, serving dishes, nabe, sake cups, tokkuri. These are all durable and sturdy.

Kappabashi – Hashitou for Chopsticks 合羽橋のはしとう

Disposable Chopsticks at Hashitou

Disposable Chopsticks at Hashitou

Hashitou in Kappabashi

Hashitou in Kappabashi

Hashitou はし藤

Taito-ku, Nishi-Asakusa 2-6-2  台東区西浅草2-6-2

03-3844-0723

www.hashitou.co.jp/ (Japanese)

Hashitou specializes in chopsticks, including the disposable type if you entertain a lot at home. Naturally there is a selection of hashioki (chopstick rests). There is a nice selection of skewers and long picks that would brighten up any appetizer plate, as well as toothpicks.