Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware

Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網店)

Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)
Scoop soft tofu from boiling water, strain tea, roast sesame seeds, grill vegetables and fish over an open flame — all with beautiful, handmade traditional Kyoto metal utensils.

Tsujiwa Kana-ami is a shinise and workshop just south of the Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) that offers metal implements. As the store and workshop are one, customers can see both the store shelves and the products being made by the third generation owner.

In Japanese kana means metal and ami means to weave, mesh or net. Kana-ami utensils are used for a variety of cooking techniques as well as some serving and presentation.

Tsujiwa Kana-ami is a popular store for Kyoto residents and restaurant and ryokan owners and in recent years has become a popular destination for Japanese tourists that want to pick up some kana-ami that have the quality and tradition of the old capital. Of course anywhere in Japan mass produced, machine-made kana-ami are available but increasingly people really desire authenticity, tradition and handcrafted ‘shokunin’ products.

For the English speaking foodie visiting Kyoto there are a lot of foodie related items that you will probably want to pickup, Tsujiwa Kana-ami is one shop that you will probably not want to miss. Tsujiwa Kana-ami also has products that make nice omiyage, or souvenirs.

Prices are reasonable; there are a lot of products in the 10-$20 price range and about the most expensive item in the store is around $100.

Tsujiwa Kana-ami Store and Workshop
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

Tsujiwa Kana-ami Store and Workshop
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

Strainer Related Products
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

Yaki-ami
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)
These are great for roasting nuts as the ami closes.

Yaki-ami
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)
Japanese often cook dried fish over an open flame on a stove top using this kind of ami.

Fruit Bowls and Baskets
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)
These incorporate bamboo and woven vines as handles.

Yudofu Shakushi (ゆどうふ杓子)
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)
The ‘shakushi’ is a combination of a ladle and strainer. It is used to lift boiled tofu (yudofu) out of hot water. Japanese prefer tofu to be very soft.

The Tools of the Trade: Decidedly Lowtech

Simple wooden forms are used to make many of the ‘ami’ products. These well-worn tools at Tsujiwa Kana-ami have been in use for more than 80 years.

Wooden Forms
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

Wooden Form – detail
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

Wooden Forms and Finished Product
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

The Tools of the Trade: Weaving Metal
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

The Tools of the Trade
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

The Tools of the Trade
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

The Finished Product: Yaki-ami
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)
These are great for grilling vegetables and fish.

Yaki-ami in Demonstration

We got a demonstration from Mrs Tsujiwa on how to use the yaki-ami on a conventional gas range top. She told us that this can also be done on an electric range.

The yaki-ami has a sheet of heavy mess under the ‘ami’ that diffuses and radiates the heat. More importantly after it turns red hot, it emits infrared radiation which cooks like charcoal.

Grilling Eggplant
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

Grilling Eggplant – almost done!
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

Add Peppers
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

Grilling Eggplant and Peppers – done
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)
The red ones are Kyoto’s famous manganji togaraishi.

Yaki-ami Even Makes Toast
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

Tsujiwa Kana-ami Service and Location

Tsujiwa Kana-ami Storefront
Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware (京の金網細工 辻和金網)

English brochure: none
English website: none (Japanese language website)
Service/Staff: very friendly and helpful
Hours: 9am-6pm, closed Sundays and public holidays
Location and Access: Ten minutes on foot from Karasuma Oike Station (Subway Tozai and Karasuma lines), Marutamachi Station (Subway Karasuma line) and Kyoto Shiyakushomae Station (Subway Tozai line).
Address
: Kyoto-shi Nakagyo-ku Sakaimachi-dori Ebisugawa-sagaru Kameya-cho 175 (京都市中京区堺町通夷川下ル亀屋町175)
Telephone: 075-231-7368

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14 Responses to “Kana-ami: Traditional Japanese Handmade Metal Cooking Utensils and Kitchenware”

  1. Nate says:

    Boy, I’d really like a couple yaki-ami. Never saw it here in Okinawa. Anyway I can buy on-line? Really want them!

  2. What a fantastic shop – I love hand made tools. I especially love the ’shakushi’ – perfect for lifting out silken tofu.

    I’ll definitely try and get to this shop when I eventually visit Kyoto.

  3. Wonderful post – loved seeing how it was handmade.

  4. kat says:

    love all the handmade items!! great post!

  5. I totally need to get one of those screens with a diffuser for roasting eggplant. I usually do it in the broiler but it just doesn’t get that same smokey flavour.

  6. Greetings!
    Robert-Gilles from Shizuoka City!
    Great to discover another like-minded blogger in Kyoto (my second favourite city after Shizuoka City!)!
    Moreover, it is really useful. A lot of people should thank you for that service!
    Coming back soon!
    Take care,
    Robert-Gilles

  7. etsuko says:

    This yakiami solves my problems, I think. I have been looking for one that does not drip oil or juice all over the stove top. Heck, even if it does, I can put the hole thing in the broiler to roast fish and should get better result! Thank you for this post! I am kitchen gadget otaku.

  8. Rose says:

    This was a really fun place to visit, thanks a lot for the recommendation!

    I’d be excited if you wrote about shops selling other types of hand-made kitchen tools as well (not just metal-work, but anything to use in the kitchen.) I’d definitely never have come across this place if I hadn’t read about it on your blog. Thanks again!

  9. david says:

    I contacted them with the help of a Japanese speaking friend and they said they would not ship directly to US..I would have to have someone there ship out of the country. Luckily my father lives in Kamakura!

  10. Marc P says:

    I got mine while I was in Kyoto, and I’m going to grill some eggplants right now! It would be great if you did a segment on what other recipes and food you’ve tried grilling on these handmade grills!

  11. Karla says:

    Hi Peko Peko, Cool! I love this post! That’s the one, the Yaki Ami! I had friends in Japan who used to grill fish with one of those over their little propane burner. When I asked here in California, and even looking on-line, I got “looks”! Now I know what it looks like… now where to find one. That little store is my kind of place! I’m getting an idea here….hmmmmm

  12. Mora says:

    I love this store. One of items I wanted to get this trip to Kyoto was a handmade iri goma sesame roaster. Sure, I could’ve bought one that was half the price at any department store, but the fact that I met the man who made it was worth it all. Now to return for some of the small ladles/lifts for tofu. Please continue posting about exactly these kinds of businesses. I want to support such exceptional craftspeople.

  13. The most vital thing i think when preparing a meal is to make sure you have reputable pans. It’s well worth spending extra to have excellent suacepans and knives.

  14. armorica says:

    This shop looks incredible. I love how everything is handmade and you can see it being created right in front of you. The prices seem very reasonable as well.

    I can’t wait to visit!

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