Echizen Knives Is Unique For Its outstanding Sharpness


Echizen knives (Uchihamono) has outstanding Sharpness

Echizen knives, also called “Echizen Uchihamono” refers to cutlery made mainly in Echizen City, Fukui Prefecture. In 1979, it became the first cutlery production area in Japan to be designated as a traditional craft. Echizen Uchihamono, like other traditional cutlery, is characterized by the use of ancient Japanese blacksmithing methods as well as unique construction methods. In particular, “Nimai-jime” used in the production of kitchen knives and “Mawashi Kohari” used in the production of sickles are symbolic methods unique to Echizen Uchihamono.

Nimai-jime is a process used in the production of kitchen knives, in which two heated blades are placed on top of each other and struck, with the blades sometimes turned over to strike both sides evenly. Also, by striking two blades on top of each other, the temperature does not drop so easily, which has the advantage of preventing unevenness in the blade material.

Kaishi Koukou-dori is a method used to manufacture sickles. It is a technique to crush the steel to be used for the cutting edge of the sickle into a diamond shape and stretch the steel to a thin and uniform thickness. The finished blade is easy to sharpen. The technique of wearing the turning steel also realizes sharpness and high durability, resulting in a sickle with a light and thin blade that can be used for a long time.

Echizen hammered blades are made from steel and base metal, and although it is a simple combination, many processes are required to improve the purity of the blade and make it uniformly structured. Echizen Uchihamono is also characterized by the use of a forging machine called a belt hammer, while making full use of ancient Japanese forging techniques.

Echizen knife
Source: Dear Fukui

700 Years of Echizen Knives History

700 years of tradition. It all started with a single swordsmith. Echizen Uchihamono is said to have started in 1337 (Nanbokucho Era) when a Kyoto swordsmith, Chiyotsuru Kuniyasu, came to Fuchu (now Echizen City) in search of a suitable place for sword making and while there made sickles for the farmers in his hometown. It is said that the craft began when he made sickles for the farmers in his hometown.

Later, during the Edo period (1603-1867), under the protection policy of the Fukui han (feudal domain), the craft was organized by stockbrokers, and the technique was passed down and developed. Sales channels for Echizen hammered blades started with the sales of blades by lacquer shovel craftsmen who went around the country to shovel lacquer, and then expanded nationwide.

In the Meiji period (1868-1912), the protection of the Fukui han (domain) was removed and the stockbrokers disbanded. However, Echizen’s sickle production in 1874 was 970,000, accounting for nearly 30% of the nation’s sickle production, and its kitchen knives were also so widespread throughout the country that it boasted an approximately 25% share. Today, Echizen Uchihamono continues to manufacture kitchen knives for cooking, sickles for agriculture and gardening, hatchets, scissors for trimming, and hoes, while maintaining the traditional Japanese fire forging technique and hand finishing.

Japanese traditional knife
Source: Dear Fukui

Representative Works of Echizen Knives

Ryusen Cutlery

Founded in 1948, Ryusen Cutlery has been developing high value-added products by focusing on the traditional techniques of Echizen hammered blades that have been used for 700 years and handcrafting that does not rely on machines.

The appeal of their products is that they pursue not only sharpness but also beauty and ease of use. Blades with beautiful ripples and elegant natural wood handles have earned high praise from overseas as well. They also provide maintenance services such as resharpening, so you can use them with peace of mind.

Echizen knife

Kaji Kobo Iwai

Founded in 961, Kaji Kobo Iiwa has been developing cutlery and cutlery that apply the skills of three generations of father and son, pouring all the techniques they have honed into their products. Traditional craftsmen use their skills to hand-hammered each knife one by one, taking time and effort.

The knives are made with the utmost care and attention to detail, with the user in mind, and are very comfortable to use. We recommend this product to those who want a knife that they will love to use.



Echizen Uchihamono – Production Process

1. Steel and iron making

The steel used for the cutting edge is heated to approximately 800 degrees Celsius and forged to the required size. Forging is the process of beating metal with a hammer to form a shape and at the same time strengthen the metallic structure.

2. Interrupting and boiling

A groove is made in the middle of the base metal, steel is inserted into the groove, and the steel and base metal are joined by hammering.

3. Tipping and Cutting Off

The flat part of the knife is shaped and cut down to the size required for one knife.

4.Nakago (core) removal

The handle (the part that holds the knife. The root part that goes into the handle is forged.


Ni-Ha-Ha-Ha” is a technique in which two blades are placed on top of each other and hammered from the back and front with a belt hammer (a belt-type high-speed mechanical hammer). The two blades are stacked on top of each other so that they are twice as thick, and the compressive force of the belt hammer works well. In addition, the temperature is less likely to drop, eliminating the need for repeated heating, and thus reducing unevenness in the product. This “two-ply spreading” is a technique unique to Echizen Uchihamono.

6. Annealing

After being heated to approximately 800 degrees Celsius, the metal is allowed to cool naturally in the air to stabilize the metallic structure.

7. Mud Removal and Rough Nurashi

The blade is cleaned of any adhering material, and the surface is smoothed with a belt hammer.

8. Finish Nurring

The blade is lightly hammered to straighten and shape the blade.

9. TurningTurning the blade to the desired shape

Cut off the excess to fit the desired shape.

10. Quenching

After coating the blade with mud and heating it to approximately 800°C, the blade is quickly cooled in water and quenched. The steel is hardened by cooling it rapidly in water.

11. Tempering

To make the steel more elastic, the blade is heated at a low temperature of 150°C to 220°C for about 30 minutes and then cooled slowly at room temperature. Since hard steel alone will break when force is applied to the blade, tempering gives the steel more elasticity.

12. Rough and medium sharpening

The rough sharpening stone is used to form the rough shape of the blade, and the fine sharpening stone is used to sharpen the cutting edge horizontally to make the edge sharp.

13. Edging

The cutting edge is carefully sharpened.

14.Finishing sharpening

After the entire knife is polished until it is shiny, the sharpening width is blurred using a blurring machine to complete the “Koba-Awase” process. The “small blade” is a slight step added to the edge of the blade to prevent it from losing its sharpness, and attaching a small blade is called “Koba-Awase.

Wakasa agate work

 1        2        3        4

Let's share this post !