If you thought your kitchen could be complete without a knife, you couldn’t be more wrong. Over time, knives have become more complex, with attention paid to nitty-gritty details such as the blade cut and blade type. One of the world’s most famous types of these culinary tools is Japanese knives. They are well-reputed for their stellar looks, unmatched craftsmanship, precision, and accuracy to slice through a chunk of meat like butter.
Japanese kitchen knives have taken the culinary world by storm and have gained much popularity in recent years. They are not uncommon in restaurant kitchens and are now making a more mainstream appearance even in the kitchens of home cooks and those with a keen interest in cooking. Are you looking to add a Japanese knife to your collection of knives? Well then, you’re in the right place. Here is our list of the 15 best Japanese kitchen knives.
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15 Best Japanese Kitchen Knives
The Dalstrong Shogun 7-inch knife will inspire any chef to cook delicious meals with its cutting-edge performance and a sharp blade. The mirror polish finish with an outstanding 8-12° angle offers unrivaled performance. This highly-versatile Japanese kitchen knife is sharpened under the traditional 3-step Honbazuke method. Its tapered bolster allows for a perfect fit in the hand while also protecting your finger. All praise isn’t for the blade alone, as the ergonomically designed handle deserves praises as well. Its non-slip grip handle with an engraved cap is highly impervious to extreme temperatures of hot and cold. If you’re looking to stand out, this is one of the best Japanese kitchen knives to have.
- Durable design
- Premium G-10 handle
- Made of high-carbon stainless steel
- Some may find it a little heavy
This 14-piece knife set from Marco Almond consists of a chef knife, slicing knife, Santoku knife, 6 steak knives, 2 utility knives, and a pair of kitchen shears. The knives are suitable for effortlessly chopping different kinds of vegetables. This knife set is made specifically to meet the chopping needs of professional chefs. One of the highlights of this knife set is that while it meets all the requirements for professionals, it boasts a user-friendly design and operation that makes it suitable for beginners as well. The knife block included in this package features a built-in sharpener to ensure that your knives slice through vegetables effortlessly.
- Triple rivet handle
- Ergonomic design
- VErsatile set
- Made of high-carbon Japanese steel
- Might be prone to rust
Shun keeps it simple and traditional with its 8-inch classic Japanese kitchen knife. Its secret VG-MAX steel formula ensures an extra sharp edge and a durable design. The knife looks stylish, and its silver finish is visually appealing and will give your culinary skills a breath of fresh air. The handle is long enough to fit in large hands and is infused with resin for added durability. To top it off, the handle is also water-resistant. To ensure no chipping, the company recommends that its knife be used for cutting in a locomotive motion.
- All-purpose blade
- Pakkawood handle
- 68-layered steel knife
- Resistant to corrosion
- May not be best suited to cutting meat
Are you looking to buy the best Japanese kitchen knife that serves all your culinary needs? If so, take a look at this 12-piece all-in-one Japanese knife set. This set includes a utility knife, serrated utility knife, paring knife, chef’s knife, santoku knife, several steak knives, a honing rod, and kitchen scissors. These knives are forged, keeping in mind effortless cutting not only through meats but also through vegetables. The blades are well known for their resistance to stains and rust. Its versatility of use is what has made it popular among chefs.
- Sharp blade
- Low maintenance
- Comfortable handle
- Premium Japanese Steel
- May need frequent sharpening
This professional knife by Mac Mighty is more than appropriately named as this mighty beast can slice its way through numerous fruits and vegetables without any difficulty. One of the most striking features of this Japanese kitchen knife is its ingenious dimple design on the face of the knife. This allows it to cut through sticky food such as potatoes and squash easily. The blade is 8 inches long, and the entire knife is a little over 12 inches. This is a standard seen on most Japanese kitchen knives, qualifying them for professional use.
- Pakkawood handle
- Well-placed bolster
- Thin and sharp blade
- Knife tip may be prone to chipping
This 8-piece set of Japanese kitchen knives is ideal if you want to go slow with your culinary experiments without hoarding too many knives at once. This set consists of 2 utility knives, a paring knife, a santoku knife, a chef’s knife, a honing rod, and even kitchen shears. Their premium build quality makes them resistant to rust and corrosion. All the knives in this set have traditional Japanese style handles that provide a good and easy grip. The knives are packaged along with a hardwood block. Do bear in mind that these knives must be hand washed gently.
- Razor-sharp blades
- Premium Japanese steel
- The handle may not be too comfortable to hold for prolonged periods.
This 9-piece Japanese Kitchen knife set is an all-in-one set, offering different knives, from slicing knives to bread and paring knives. The highlight of this set is the standard 8-inch Chef knife. The company ensures sharp blades that are durable and easy to store. Its thin and space-saving design will fit in the smallest of spaces in the kitchen. The blades slice through fruits and vegetables with ease and have an attractive finish. Thanks to the company’s use of HRC 60-62 hardness— the blades can be used for accurate and precise cutting. Last but not least is the ergonomically designed handle that sits well in almost every hand.
- Non-stick blades
- 67-layers of Damascus steel
- May rust if not dried soon after being hand-washed
With a blade angle of 13-15°, these knives will slice through vegetables and meat like a dream. These knives maintain a balance between maximum resilience and seamless chopping to offer both professionals and beginners an extraordinary cooking experience. This set of 5 knives consist of a chef knife, slicer knife, santoku knife, utility serrated knife, and a paring knife. Its cutting-edge and modern design makes it highly desirable. However, it is designed not just for it to appear visually attractive but also for smooth operation. These knives can be easily cleaned with a soft cloth and some warm water.
- Ultra-sharp edge
- 53+ Rockwell hardness
- Non-stick blade coating
- Some may find the handle a little underwhelming as they are made of plastic.
If you’re on the hunt for a well-made Japanese chef knife, this is one of the most popular options available both at online and offline stores. Courtesy of its superior construction and razor-sharp edges, this knife is ideal for situations that require precise and accurate cuts. This makes it suitable for slicing fruits and even firm vegetables. The Pakkawood handle features a non-slip design that reduces hand pressure and wrist tension. The handle fits well in hand and allows for impeccable operation with minimum effort.
- Ergonomic handle
- Provides perfect balance
- German high-carbon stainless steel
- Might not be ideal for left-handed users
The Oxford CHEF Japanese knife is forged from a single solid steel slab for added durability. It features ingenious wave patterns engraved on the blade of the knife that make it look incredibly sharp. The solid and durable blade measures an outstanding 62+ on the Rockwell hardness scale. This 6-inch long blade is suitable for slicing fruits, peeling, paring, and even cutting vegetables. The G-10 handle is easy to grip and resistant to extreme cold and heat temperatures. The rounded handle provides a perfect balance and allows for natural handling.
- VG-10 Super Steel
- Military-grade handle
- 66-layers of high carbon Damascus steel
- May require frequent sharpening
This hand-finished Japanese chef knife by LEVINCHY is a work of beauty. Allowing for smooth operation, its blade has an ideal thickness of 2mm. Like most other knives forged from Damascus steel, this one, too, bears its classic symbol of water ripples. The blade is designed using a traditional-step Honbazuk process. This knife is good for daily chopping of vegetables, slicing fruits, and cutting bread and meats. It features an ergonomic handle allowing professional chefs to hold the knife for prolonged periods with minimum hand strain.
- Mirror polish finish
- Premium G10 handle
- 67-layers of Japanese Damascus steel
- Might get rusted over a period of time
At first glance, it’s easy to see why this Japanese kitchen knife by ANVIL & HAMMER made it to our list of the 15 best Japanese kitchen knives. It has a sleek and stylish design, and the single bevel blade is both attractive and highly functional. The knife is well-balanced, and this gyuto chef knife will offer an unparalleled slicing experience. The handle is made of African rosewood and is durable. The sharp blade edges give you an easy-to-chop feel as you slice through every fruit and vegetable seamlessly.
- Ergonomic handle
- Rust and stain resistant
- Features a wooden sheath
- Stainless-steel construction
- May require a lot of maintenance
The sheer brilliance of these 9-piece Japanese kitchen knives can be noticed through their superior and durable construction. Apart from looking good, these knives are sharp enough to glide through vegetables. This set includes a meat fork and a sharpening tool in addition to a range of thoughtfully designed knives. The handles have been carefully designed to aid in a smooth and efficient usage of these razor-sharp beasts. The set also features protective sheaths to keep your hands safe when not using the knives. The knives are placed together in a neat roll-up case.
- Hand sharpened
- Ergonomic handle
- High-carbon stainless steel
- Rust and corrosion-resistant
- May not be the best for professional use.
The brown handle with the silver wave pattern on the blade for each of the knives goes hand-in-hand. It’s not only appealing aesthetics that best represent the Yatoshi Japanese 5-piece kitchen knife set. Thankfully, the knives are as good as they look. Included in the set are a chef knife, utility knife, paring knife, and 2 santoku knives. The blades are made out of high-carbon stainless steel to boost durability. Each blade is 2.5mm thick and boasts a 57-58 rating on the Rockwell hardness scale. The knives are easy to maneuver, allowing one to chop their way through vegetables.
- Ergonomic grip
- Ultra-sharp edge
- Pakkawood handle
- Unique sloped bolster
- May get rusted if not dried properly after being washed
BGT has done a good job in forging these knives from a single piece of Damascus steel. The shape of the knives is uniform and the knives are of standard sizes. This pack is inclusive of a paring knife, utility knife, santoku knife, bread knife, chef’s knife, and a honing rod. The knives are stylish and versatile, and this set of knives will be appreciated by home cooks as well as by chefs for its versatility. The blades are sharp enough to slice meat for steaks and various other dishes.
- Triple-riveted construction
- Easy to pack and carry
- 67-layers of VG10 Damascus steel
- Natural teak handle
- May look worn out after several months
Now that you’ve had a look at a wide range of Japanese kitchen knives, have you decided which one to purchase? Before you go ahead and invest in one of these culinary tools, there are a few important things to know, which are as follows.
Key Features To Consider When Purchasing The Best Japanese Kitchen Knives
1. Type of steel
When it comes to Japanese kitchen knives, the type of steel used for the construction of the blade matters to a great extent. 2 of the most common materials used to make the blades include high carbon steel and stainless steel. While there’s no winner or loser among the 2 materials, they are ideal for different situations. High carbon steel blades tend to last longer and are used mainly by professionals. However, blades made of stainless steel may not be as durable but are rust-resistant.
2. Type of blade
There are 2 blade styles to consider when purchasing a Japanese kitchen knife. One has a double bevel and is often referred to as the western style blade, and the other has a single bevel and is called the traditional Japanese style blade. While single bevel knives tend to be more precise and accurate when clipping or chopping vegetables, they require a lot of practice to use. Single bevel knives are better wielded by professionals than beginners. A western-style Japanese knife is meant for a beginner or a home cook.
3. Type of knife
While there are many types of Japanese knives depending upon blade type, there are 2 that are intended for general use. These include the Gyuto and Santoku knife. Both are double bevel knives and serve as all-purpose knives for cutting various food items. Other types intended for specific purposes include the Yanagi, Takohiki, Deba, Usuba, Paring, and Nakiri. These are geared to specific purposes and are best used by chefs.
4. Type of handle
Last but not least, the handle of the Japanese knife is an essential element to consider when purchasing one. There are mainly 2 types of handles, a western and a traditional Japanese handle. One of the easiest ways to spot the difference between the 2 is to see if the blade is secured with rivets. If you see rivets, you’ll know that your Japanese kitchen knife has a western handle. Ones with western handles tend to be sturdier and better for tasks that involve a great deal of force. Traditional Japanese knives are lighter, cylindrical, and always constructed from wood. The choice lies entirely upon your preference and the kind of work you intend to subject the knife to.
The culinary world is incomplete without Japanese kitchen knives. You can now add more meaning to your kitchen by purchasing one. In terms of versatility, these knives can chop, slice, and cut through various food items. Did you know that Japanese knives are used not only by professionals but beginners as well? It’s true, and many Japanese knives are specially crafted to make it easy for first-time users. Apart from their looks, Japanese kitchen knives are kings in terms of functionality, and if you don’t own one, take a look at our list of the 15 best Japanese kitchen knives and choose the one you like the best.