Japan is home to several traditional knife producing regions. In recent years, Japanese cooking knives have become increasingly popular around the world, and more and more people are visiting production centers. Echizen knife is one of them. Unfortunately, it is not as well known as Japan’s three major knife-producing regions, Sakai City in Osaka Prefecture, Sanjo City in Niigata Prefecture, and Seki City in Gifu Prefecture, but Echizen cutlery is also growing in popularity.
So where is Echizen? Echizen is a city in Fukui Prefecture. If you take a train between Kanazawa and Kyoto, then the train stops at Takefu Station. To visit Echizen Knife factory, you need to take a taxi from Takefu Station.
In 1337, a swordsmith from Kyoto moved to what is now Echizen City in search of a suitable location for sword making. In addition to making swords, he also made sickles for the farmers in his hometown. This is the origin of Echizen cutlery, which has a history of nearly 700 years.
Tools of daily life such as sickles, kitchen knives, and hatchets became popularly manufactured. The quality of Echizen cutlery soon gained a reputation for excellence. During the Edo period, the Fukui Domain’s policy of protection led to the development of a blacksmith town and wholesale district, and Echizen cutlery became a local industry.
Since then, its main products have changed, such as kitchen knives for vegetable cutting and stainless steel knives, etc. In 2013, Japanese food was recognized as a World Heritage, and at the same time, the excellence of kitchen knives was also recognized.
Echizen Knife factory tour
However, it is difficult for individual travelers to visit a knife factory out of the blue. This is because factories in Echizen do not usually accept tourists. Then we recommend the Private Echizen Knife Making Factory and Walking Tour.
This tour is offered only on weekdays when the factory is open. Morning and afternoon tours are available. Visitors must get to the site by themselves. We recommend taking the train to Takefu Station and then taking a taxi from there. For more information, ask the tour operator when you register for the tour. They will be able to suggest the best means of transportation for your itinerary.