*Are you new to buying Japanese Natural Stones and unsure what to look for when purchasing? Check out this page first then!*
*If you have someone to add to the list who you have experience with and should be here, please Contact Me*
Verified by Community – Recommended
*This list is in no particular order outside of Togiten being placed at the top due to him being the origin source of a certain type of product the others sell. Otherwise, the listing order is alphabetical and should not be taken as endorsement of one vendor over another.*
*The list is compiled from my own experience and the experience of others. If a vendor is outside of the “Unverified” list, it means at least 3+ customers outside of myself who are knowledgeable enough on whetstones to draw proper conclusions has provided correlative feedback to me from purchasing experience. *
*ALWAYS SHOP AROUND BEFORE COMMITTING TO A PURCHASE*
Togiten (Sakamoto Morio / Sakamoto Kouji) – https://buyee.jp/item/search/seller/togiten
- This is the Yahoo Auction user for Sakamoto Morio and Sakamoto Kouji themselves, the direct source and evaluator for the Mikawa Asano Nagura. Though the Buyee site can be a little strange for first time users, this should be the first place to shop for Mikawa Nagura. Prices are spectacularly better than anything else on the list and you are getting your nagura directly from the source. If the store doesn’t have what you are looking for, it can be beneficial to keep checking back as they put up new nagura frequently.
Aframes Tokyo (Takeshi Aoki) – https://aframestokyo.com/
- Offers a decent selection of Awasedo stones. The stones he does have in stock are priced average to above average depending on the stone. He will communicate over email very well and give you additional pictures, information, etc. The website contains a lot of great information on each of the stones to help you make a wise decision. He has a lot of Shoubudani stones.
Bernal Cutlery (Josh Donald) – https://bernalcutlery.com/
- Tends to have good prices but a very low selection of options. The options they do usually have in stock are barely bench sized and mostly koppa. Stones not sold as a random selected koppa are used by Josh personally before listing for sale so he can rate the stone. His stone ratings are accurate if tending a little on the low side, and he not only rates hardness but also fineness as well (rare amongst the vendors). This is a great first consideration for beginner stone buyers. Prices do not scale as well into larger or thicker stones, which at that point, worthwhile to compare your options. He tends to be more knife-oriented with how he grades stones.
Carbon Knife Co. (Craig Field) – https://carbonknifeco.com/
- Small selection of stones with decent prices on most of them. Will give you further information if you ask. Only notable exception is their Nakayama tend to be priced very high. Reasonably communicative if you have follow-up questions.
Damian Kordic – https://www.facebook.com/damian.kordic
- A personal seller who isn’t a full-time vendor like many others on the list but may have stones available for sale. He has an incredibly large collection of stones he uses for polishing swords and knives. Often, he is getting new stones in and moving old ones out for newer ones – these older ones he makes available for sale. When available, he is a reliable source of high-quality stones for sword and knife polishing. The more expensive price comes with an increased level of scrutiny and vetting on the stones. It is up to the buyer to determine the worth of that service.
Fine-Tools (Ingo Kelling) – https://www.fine-tools.com/
- Carries well priced Amakusa stones which are a great entrance point for lower grit JNATs. Carries a very small selection of Awasedo as well but doesn’t have the best pictures/information on them. Reasonably communicative if you have follow-up questions. The only source of affordable Gujō nagura that I am currently aware of.
Ikkyu Japan Avenue (Yasuko Okumura) – https://ikkyu-japanavenue.online/
- Tends to have good prices, but she does not typically evaluate the stones herself and forwards along information from the wholesalers she sources from. If you contact her directly, she will test the stone and give you more information or pry more information from the wholesalers. She will also go to great lengths to find you a stone that suits your needs/wants, but you will need to know what you are looking for before contact. She is more willing than others to list stones which may have minor flaws (cracks/inclusions/etc.) in them, this can be a pro or a con. It can offer a type of stone for cheaper than anywhere else, but it is important you understand the issues the stone has before buying it and how to mitigate its impact on your use.
Japan-Tool – http://japan-tool.com/
- Slower to respond than some others, but when he finally does respond extremely informative and will talk you off of higher priced items if they are not right for you. One of the most knowledgeable people in the game, but kept very busy. He has many items not on his storefront if you ask him directly. His storefront tends to have very nice stones which are more expensive, so be prepared to fork over more than others for his products but they will be exceptional stones.
JapanStone (Alex Gilmore) – https://www.japanstones.com/
- One of the most reputable sellers in the JNAT community “back in the day”. He doesn’t sell openly to the public anymore and you must have a connection to him directly/be able to drive to him to still buy from him. He typically wants to do it in person as well so he can ensure you like the stone you are getting. If he decides to open back up to the public, or you reach out to him and he decides to sell to you, absolutely recommended. As of 05/22 he is still not open to the public, but I keep him on here in case he eventually does, or you live local to him.
JNS (Maksim Enevoldsen) – https://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/
- Some items are well priced, others are very expensive. His Nakatoishi, small and hard Aiiwatani razor-oriented stones as well as some of his nagura are very well priced. A great place for razor users to consider for a first stone purchase at. The Awasedo range greatly in price, with many being rather expensive. Check around before you commit to purchasing an item to ensure that you are happy with the price. Whatever you do buy though will perform as one would expect. Another notable topic with JNS is he does not list weight for each stone, only their dimensions. You can email Maksim and he will give you some additional pictures and stone weight, but it can take a long time to hear back from him.
Kabuki Knives (Shinji Onodera) – https://www.kabukiknives.com/
- Very reasonable prices for the majority of stones on the site. A bit slow to talk with you if you email them directly, but ultimately gets around to it. Only caveats are that their Nagura prices are higher than average, and they could provide more written information on the stones to make a wise choice. They tend to offer a lot of pictures for the stone though such as slurry, polish, and surface wet picture which is nice.
La Casa de Toishi (Jonathan Gwee) – https://www.instagram.com/lacasadetoishi/
- A personal seller who isn’t a full-time vendor like many others on the list but usually has stones for sale. He has a variety of stones and specializes in premium stones, usually larger in size and with a focus on beautiful aesthetics balanced with performance. Often has a lot of Shoubudani and Ohira Suita available. The price tends to range from average to expensive depending on the stone you are looking at, but this pays for an increased level of scrutiny during the initial vetting of the stones being sold when compared to volume vendors. Jonathan has always demonstrated a willingness to spend time with each person who messages him and explores the specific needs and stone requirements for their goals. It is up to the buyer to determine the worth of that service.
Namikawa (Takehiko Namikawa) – https://www.namikawa-ltd.com/
- Very reasonable priced good quality Omura and Binsui and other stones are about average for the price. A huge selection of Mizukihara Uchigumori, with the site being focused more on sword polishing than anything else. Consequently, has some really cool harder to find items for that practice. Will eventually reply back to you if you email him, but the responses do not always have a quick turnaround.
Real Sharp Knife (Dustin Swaciak) – https://realsharpknife.com/
- Carries a variety of stones, along with some cheap starter stones. Most of the stones are fairly well priced, but a generally low selection from a few of the mines (primarily Ohira) which are still active. Communicative and will give additional pictures and information should you need them. The website contains a decent amount of information on each of the stones to help you make a wise decision.
StrataPortland – https://strataportland.com/
- Lower stock overall compared to other stores and expensive for most of their offerings. The store does give a lot of great information per stone which is really nice. The more expensive price comes with an increased level of scrutiny and vetting on the stones. It is up to the buyer to determine the worth of that service.
Toishigram (Otto Gebhard) – https://www.instagram.com/toishigram/
- A personal seller who isn’t a full-time vendor like many others on the list but usually has stones available for sale. He is responsive, will offer you feedback on different stones he has as well as polishing samples. Due to it not being a primary focus, response times can take a little bit for him to get back to you. Carries both Nakatoishi and Awasedo with prices ranging average to above average, and some harder-to-find items as well.
TomoNagura (Keith Johnson) – https://www.etsy.com/shop/TomoNagura
- Items are reliably what he says they are but can be more expensive. If you cannot use Buyee to source Mikawa Nagura from Sakamoto due to location or otherwise, this is a viable and more readily available alternative. The more expensive price comes with an increased level of scrutiny and vetting on the stones. It is up to the buyer to determine the worth of that service.
Totoriya (Youzou Tsuchihashi / Hideaki Tsuchihashi) – https://toishi.jp/
- Good prices for what you get. It is a father/son operation, and the son is the one who will speak to you via email in English. Their website will not take orders outside of Japan, but it can be handled through email and PayPal just fine. They will also mine something to your specifications and within your price range, though depending on what you ask for it may take a while.
Watanabe (Shinichi Watanabe) – https://www.kitchen-knife.jp/
- A lot of items, many hard to find. He is easy to work with (though it can take a bit to hear back from him) and will send you more information and pictures if requested, as well as steer you towards better options for your needs even if it results in a lower priced product. His prices range from average to above average, with some expensive options for exceptional stones. The website contains a lot of great information on each of the stones to help you make a wise decision.
ZenRazorJapan (Florin Pincotan) – https://zenrazorjapan.com/
- A store more known amongst Europeans, it is a more expensive store with a semi-limited Awasedo selection focused on razors. The break down per stone is nice, with a lot of information about both hardness, fineness, and cutting speed. The more expensive price comes with an increased level of scrutiny and vetting on the stones. It is up to the buyer to determine the worth of that service.
Verified by Community – Difficult to Recommend
Tosho Knife Arts – https://www.toshoknifearts.com/
- This store has an interesting amount of moderately priced Hideriyama stones with very expensive other ones. Besides the very expensive stones, the listings miss the basic items like weight, dimensions, and performance, though it does have individual pictures. If you want to roll the dice on a random Hideriyama just by visual analysis, this is as good a place to do it as any but otherwise, this vendor is harder to recommend.
Yoshihiro – https://www.echefknife.com/
- They have a large stock of easy to find Ohira stones, and you will at least get what you order in the picture. The price is average to high, but the main issue is that the seller does not provide any real information on the stone performance outside of dimensions and will not accept returns. This means you have no idea the stone characteristics you are getting such as hardness or fineness. Given that other vendors will give you specific information per stone, this vendor is harder to recommend.
Japan Tool-Iida – https://japantool-iida.com
- A very small selection of stones with very sparce information on them. Stones are quite obviously an afterthought to what they offer. Feedback will be slow and not super informative. Given that other vendors will give you specific information, this vendor is harder to recommend.
Unverified but Known in Community
JKI – https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/
Hitohira – https://hitohira-japan.com/
Verified Poor Experience – Avoid
Chubo – https://www.chuboknives.com/
- Similar problem as Yoshihiro but worse. Their selection is small, the picture on the website is not the stone you will receive, and they do not give any per-stone information. It is a roll of the dice, and I would rather roll the dice with Yoshihiro if anyone because at least you get to see the exact stone you will be purchasing. I would avoid and buy from a reputable seller instead even if the price is a bit higher to ensure you are getting a stone that works for you.
Alambika – https://alambika.ca/
- Slow to respond and will not necessarily give accurate information. At least one report of product switches, where they will send a picture of one stone to you via email and send you a different one which may not be of equal quality. They sell no stones which are particularly rare or hard to find at the reputable retailers above.
Japanese-Whetstone – https://japanese-whetstones.com/
- Ordered stone which was never shipped. Communication non-existent despite multiple attempts. I had to explore recourse through bank. No other positive feedback received.
330mate – https://www.330mate.com/
- Has been caught by the community multiple times restamping stones or mislabeling them for more profitable sales.
Ebay Seller: kossy_1123/kossy_123/togiya180/japanese_natural_whetstones.
- These accounts all belong to the same person and are not to be confused with the Yahoo Auctions seller Kossy1123, which the similarities are likely intention to lend credence to the sales. Has been proven multiple times on KKF to be selling falsely stamped stones, mislabeling to better names for higher prices. Will claim it ships out of Japan but actually comes from Russia. Avoid.
Ebay Seller: tcmc14641
- This account has been known to list false stones, often marked as Nakayama or Uchigumori which are neither. These stones are commonly Aiiwatani stones, and while they may perform fine a vendor intentionally mislabeling product is never okay. Not all listings are mislabeled, and some items can be identified as being listed properly but it takes a pretty experienced eye to sift through the incorrect and correct listings. Avoid without experience.