Japanese Knives 和包丁 Wabouchou
There is no better place to invest in a knife than Japan. Although they are not inexpensive, if cared for properly, Japanese knives will last a lifetime. A good knife shop will also carry Western-style knives made in Japan that are sharpened on both sides.
Traditional Japanese knives are sharpened only on one side, and Westerners will find that cutting with them can take a bit of getting used to (be sure to let the shopkeeper know if you are right- or left-handed). Although most knives sold in the West do not rust, Japanese knives made from standard carbon steel rust easily. You may want to ask for a rust-resistant carbon steel that is easier to care for.
If this is your first time to purchase Japanese knives, you may want to start with three basic knives:
Deba bocho 出刃包丁 knife with a thick, wide surface, primarily used to prepare fish (to filet, to gut, to cut through bones, and to remove the head)
Usuba bocho 薄刃包丁 knife with a broad, thin blade, used to peel and cut vegetables
Yanagiba bocho 柳刃包丁 Long and slender knife with a pointed tip primarily used for cutting sashimi
Other kitchen tools you may find at knife shops:
Benriner mandorin: Japanese-made mandolin, less bulky than French ones
Honenuki: tweezers used for pulling bones out of fish filets
Manaita: cutting board
Nukikata: an implement in the shape of a seasonal motif, much like a cookie cutter, used to cut vegetables
Oroshigane: a grater, ideal for grating ginger, daikon, and other vegetables (Note: graters for wasabi, made from sharkskin, are different from the ones for vegetables)
Otoshibuta: small, round, wooden lids that allow steam to escape while evenly distributing heat and gently cooking ingredients; they should be a bit smaller than the diameter of the pot
Tamagoyaki ki: pan used to make Japanese-style omelet
Toishi: water stone used for sharpening knives
Uroko hiki: fish de-scaler
Where to get your knives in Tokyo?