For the longest time, there has been a dearth of cutlery stores specializing in Japanese knives around the LA metro area. Options were limited to industry wholesale suppliers like LA Mutual Trading, IMP or mail order via Korin in NYC, JapaneseChefKnife etc. I finally got a chance to check out two recent additions Yoshihiro Cutlery and Japanese Knife Imports; happy to report these are two legit knife retailers for knife geeks to gawk and shop in LA!! Also worth noting, both retailers do a great job educating their clientele on the products, very retail consumer friendly.
I stumbled upon Yoshihiro Cutlery in the most unlikely location - right smack in the heart of Beverly Hills on Santa Monica and Wilshire. They carry their in house brand Yoshihiro; from regular VG cladded Damascus to super expensive mirror finished honyaki knives. Great selection of traditional Japanese knives displayed in glass cases like a jewelry store as one would expect in this 'hood. I love all the natural light through the all glass facade. Be sure to check out the honyaki guytou with the ebony western handle and MOP inlays.
Japanese Knife Imports is a little more under the radar, located on Main Street in Venice. The storefront is more discreet compared to Yoshihiro, easily missed from the car. The store display leans more towards a traditional Japanese setting, think wood lacquer cabinetry. Wider selection of brands, an in-house brand Gesshin and also more common Suisin. Also a great selection with a few more unique one off designs like a huge tuna knife. They also carry more accessories - sharpening stones and equipment and traditional Japanese pottery. Towards the back of the store there is a large knife sharpening setup - clearly sees a lot of use. Be sure to check out a very nice one-off yanagi made by a sword maker - located in a glass case by the cash register.
Awesome retail additions to LA!!! Bad news for my wallet :(
P.S. special mention to Sur La Table, I think they carry the best selection of more main stream western knives Henkel, Shun etc. the Cramer carbon knives are almost identical to my custom version for a lot less $$$