Japanese knives are well-known around the globe for being the finest. Its stunning and intricate design, lightweight and ultra-thin construction, and razor-sharp blades are just a few of the reasons why professional chefs and home cooks alike like them.
If you like experimenting with various cuisines in the kitchen, you must have pondered purchasing one of the greatest Japanese knives at some point in your life. If that once in a lifetime moment has arrived, we have some exciting news for you.
We recognize that there are so many brands and variations of Japanese knives on the market that it might be difficult to choose one. So, to make things easier for you, we’ve listed some possibilities for you to start cooking with.
Thus, whether you’re looking for the greatest Japanese knife to slice your meat, veggies, or seafood, this list of incredible Japanese cutleries is guaranteed to satisfy.
- 7 Best Japanese Knives Review
- 1. Shun Cutlery Premier 7-inch Santoku Knife – Best Overall
- 2. Miyabi Birchwood SG2 Chef’s Knife – Best Premium Choice
- 3. Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series Utility Knife – Best Budget Choice
- 4. Zelite Infinity Alpha-Royal Series Santoku Knife 7 Inch – Best for Beginners
- 5. Yoshihiro VG-10 16 Layer Hammered Damascus Stainless Steel Nakiri Vegetable Knife – Best for Vegetables
- 6. Yoshihiro 240mm Inox Sujihiki Japanese Chef Knife – Best Stain-Resistant Knife
- 7. Enso Large Chef’s Knife – Best Large Japanese Knife
- Why Buy a Japanese Knife?
- What Should You Consider While Buying a Japanese Knife?
- Blade Construction and Finishes
- Conclusion + Our Top Pick
- What is the best Japanese knife for a present?
- What is the most useful Japanese kitchen knife?
- What are the top 5 best knives?
- What knife does Gordon Ramsay recommend?
- What knife does the Japanese military use?
- What brand of knife do Japanese chefs use?
- Is Shun the best Japanese knife brand?
- What is the most used knife by chefs?
- What knife do chefs prefer?
- What knife do Navy SEALs prefer?
7 Best Japanese Knives Review
1. Shun Cutlery Premier 7-inch Santoku Knife – Best Overall
When you purchase this knife, you will have a choice between two blade sizes: 5.5 and 7. Select the one you believe you will be most at ease with. You may also choose a knife that comes with a sharpener or one that can be personalized.
The blade is made of 34 layers of VG-Max steel, which ensures its longevity. Nonetheless, it is always suggested to utilize softwood cutting boards to make it last longer. Another intriguing aspect of this knife is the walnut-colored PakkaWood handle.
Apart from its utility, it also ranks well in terms of looks. Finally, it is low in weight, which means less tiredness when working with it.
- razor-sharp blade
- High-quality building
- Beautiful in appearance
- Lightweight in comparison
- There are two size choices available.
- Using a knife on glass or granite cutting boards may cause damage.
- You may need the sharpening steel to maintain the knife in good operating order.
2. Miyabi Birchwood SG2 Chef’s Knife – Best Premium Choice
While it is more costly, this premium knife provides excellent value. Secondly, it comes in three sizes: 6, 8, and 9, giving you lots of choices. Because of its razor-sharp point, this Gyuto-style knife is great for chopping meat.
The handle, which is constructed of Karelian birch, is another intriguing element. Not only that, but the blade has a lovely polish. Moreover, it is constructed of only high-quality materials, such as SG2 micro-carbide powder steel.
If you are not worried about its weight, this is the ideal option. Yeah, it is about twice as heavy as a Santoku knife.
- Knife made of high-quality, long-lasting steel
- Good for meat chopping
- Beautiful blade polish with an attractive handle
- There are three sizes to pick from.
- It’s rather pricey.
- Regular maintenance is required.
3. Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series Utility Knife – Best Budget Choice
Do you need a knife for your kitchen? The Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series Utility Knife is the way to go. The blade length is 4.5, which is enough for most household cooking purposes.
Ceramic blades aren’t recognized for their longevity, but if you follow the manufacturer’s directions, such as avoiding using them on frozen or hard foods, you’ll be able to extend their shelf life. The affordability of this knife is an appealing aspect. It is affordable and ideal for usage at home.
- Dishwasher friendly
- Available in a variety of colors
- The blades are fragile.
- Not suitable for commercial usage.
4. Zelite Infinity Alpha-Royal Series Santoku Knife 7 Inch – Best for Beginners
Santoku knives are distinguished from regular chefs knives for a purpose. The blade of this Santoku knife is pleasantly curved, with a distinctive tip, Granton edge, and Damascus pattern.
The design on the blade is created using 67 layers of imported Japanese steel. The handle is triple-riveted and designed to be comfortable to grasp no matter how much chopping and cutting you do.
In summary, this knife bears true to its claim as a general-purpose blade, cutting vegetables for salads, herbs, tomatoes, greens, and even nuts.
- Beautiful 67-layer blade
- Excellent performance in common kitchen applications.
- Presentable packaging
- Some chefs may find it too heavy.
- The Zelite Infinity knife, unlike traditional Santoku knives, features a curved blade.
5. Yoshihiro VG-10 16 Layer Hammered Damascus Stainless Steel Nakiri Vegetable Knife – Best for Vegetables
This knife may not be well-known among chefs, but it is known as the Nakiri knife in Japan and is used for cutting vegetables. It is comprised of 16 layers of steel, and the hammered surface over the core metal adds a beautiful touch while also preventing foods from adhering to the blade.
Another outstanding characteristic is the flat cutting edge. The whole blade makes touch with the surface as a result of this design. As a result, cutting the veggies more equally becomes easy.
While being handcrafted in Japan, the handle is constructed of gorgeous mahogany and has a western-style design. After using it, be sure to hand wash it and properly dry it, particularly if you used it with acidic chemicals.
Overall, it’s a fantastic knife to have in your kitchen since it’s sharp, comfy, and balanced.
- razor-sharp edge
- Damascus steel in its purest form
- blade with a flat cutting edge
- Wonderfully crafted
- Handle that is easy to hold
- There is no blade cover included.
6. Yoshihiro 240mm Inox Sujihiki Japanese Chef Knife – Best Stain-Resistant Knife
There is no reason why you shouldn’t consider purchasing this knife if you are comfortable dealing with its lengthy blade, which measures between 9.5 and 10.5. The blade is comprised of dependable steel components, making it very robust.
PakkaWood is used to make the handle, which has a simple design. The design of this Japanese knife makes it more visually beautiful. It also resists stains.
- Elegant style
- Blades that are long
- There is no choice for little blades.
- If used continually for business purposes, the blades must be sharpened on a regular basis.
7. Enso Large Chef’s Knife – Best Large Japanese Knife
This is the greatest choice if you want longer knives in the kitchen. Just two sizes are available: an 8-inch blade and a 10-inch blade. The blade is very sharp, making it great for cutting many varieties of meat.
The Enso Big Chefs Knife is comprised of 37 layers of VG10 hammered Damascus stainless steel and has a triple rivet black micarta handle for a more secure grip.
It scores a strong 61 on the Rockwell hardness meter. Isn’t it wonderful? But hold on. The benefits don’t stop there. If you need another incentive to buy this knife, consider that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
- It looks nice because of the hammered finish.
- It is quite tough and durable, with a Rockwell hardness of 61.
- Long, sharp blade
- A lifetime warranty is included.
- Several customers dislike the hammered finish.
Let us now look at some variables to consider while looking for the greatest Japanese knives for our kitchen.
Why Buy a Japanese Knife?
There are several compelling reasons to purchase a Japanese knife. Among them are the following:
Japanese knives Are the Sharpest
Since the blades are constructed of strong steel, they do not need to be sharpened on a regular basis. They are sharp and retain their edge for a long time, enabling you to use your knife for extended periods of time.
They Are Thin and Lightweight
Heavy knives make cutting more difficult. If you use a Japanese knife, you will not have this difficulty. It enables you to enjoy cooking without using all of your energy when chopping veggies or meat with a heavier knife. The blades are also narrower, allowing you to make cuts with less effort.
They Are Made from the Best-Quality Steel
Handcrafted steel knives are the greatest to have, and Japanese knives meet this condition. Carbon steel, high carbon steel, stainless steel, and Damascus steel are among the steels used to make these knives.
They Have an Unparalleled Hardness
The Rockwell hardness scale may be used to determine the hardness level of each knife’s steel material. Japanese knives have a hardness range of 61 to 67 HRC, which allows for long-lasting sharpness and renowned edge retention.
They Are Made to Serve a Specific Purpose
Japanese knives are often designed to perform a certain function. The Nakiri knife, for example, is designed for chopping vegetables. Slicing knives such as Sujihiki or Yanagiba are ideal. The Deba knife is ideal for cutting fish bones, but the Honesuki knife is ideal for boning.
They Are Aesthetically Pleasing
Japanese knives are beautiful and may enhance to the elegance of your kitchen, whether it’s the blade edge, the handle, the steel representation, or the box.
What Should You Consider While Buying a Japanese Knife?
It is critical to choose which sort of knife will best suit your requirements.
When comparing Japanese blades to Western knives, one notable distinction is the use of high-quality steel with a high carbon content.
The more difficult it is to sharpen the knife to a more acute angle, the harder the steel. As a result, slicing becomes more effective. The strong steel has the capacity to keep a shaped edge for a longer period of time. As a result, you won’t have to sharpen it as regularly.
Hardness may be measured using the Rockwell Scale, which is an industry standard. A higher number indicates that the steel is tough and of high grade. As previously stated, Japanese blades seldom test less than 60 HRC, indicating their hardness.
Types of steel
Metals with a higher Rockwell scale obviously offer benefits, but there may be some drawbacks as well.
Brittleness is often associated with very hard metals, for example. This implies that when used against stronger materials like gourds or bones, the edges of certain Japanese blades might crack or shatter.
- White steel is noted for its sharpening abilities and greatest degree of purity.
- Blue steel has the same amount of carbon as white steel. It also contains metals like as molybdenum and tungsten, which are noted for their toughness and edge retention.
- Powdered steel has a diverse chemical makeup that includes vanadium, molybdenum, and chromium. When compared to powdered steel knives, you may anticipate a harder cutting edge, better rust resistance, and better performance.
If you are searching for an entry-level Japanese knife, you will most likely choose stainless steel. The stainless-steel knives are long-lasting and will not rust.
Stainless Steel vs. Carbon Steel
High-performance steel alloys are used in Japanese blades to avoid brittleness. The following are some of the more usual additions to these high-quality steel alloys:
- Molybdenum (Mo) (Mo) Its toughening capabilities boost toughness while enhancing the overall hardness and strength of the knife. It also improves machinability and corrosion resistance.
- Vanadium (Va) (Va) It not only increases strength but also improves wear resistance. Its presence also facilitates sharpening.
- Tungsten (W) (W) It increases hardening qualities while also increasing strength and toughness.
- Copper (Cu) (Cu) It boosts corrosion resistance. It is also utilized as a brazing agent in composite blades.
- Chromium (Cr) (Cr) It is one of the most important additives given to stainless steel to increase stain resistance.
If you want to buy stainless steel Japanese knives, look for brands like VG-Max, VG-10, inox, SG2, and molybdenum. All of them are made of stainless steel and have shown to be fairly robust.
If sharpness is your main priority, stick with knives made from purer kinds of carbon steel.
Blade Construction and Finishes
Eastern knives are often forged using the same techniques as their western counterparts. Hot forging, stock removal procedures, and stamping are all examples of this. Methods are used by manufacturers to generate composite, clad, or laminated blades.
Japanese knives are often composed of high-carbon steel. Then, it is coated with additional layers of one or more steel kinds. The clad blades’ outer layers are ductile enough to protect the inner core. This method of cladding produces a crisper edge.
The technique of coating hard carbon steel with two layers of stainless steel is known as laminating. They are afterwards fused together under intense heat and pressure. The stainless-steel outside laminate, like cladding, is exceedingly durable. It also contributes to lower maintenance by adding stain resistance characteristics.
Brazing is used to combine two distinct steel alloys in composite blades. Brazing is a four-step procedure that permanently binds steel with a brazing agent such as copper and a carbide such as tungsten. As a result, the producer is able to employ high-carbon steel for the core, resulting in exceptional cutting-edge.
Japanese knives are appreciated not just for their utility, but also for their beauty. These basic kitchen implements are transformed into some attractive art by using various techniques such as graffiti-etching, hand-hammering, flowing grain, or generating a wave-like pattern.
Have you seen the lovely wavy patterns on certain Japanese knives? These knives are made of Damascus steel, which is made up of at least two separate high carbon steels. These steels are then forged and formed into lovely wavy or water-like patterns.
Kurouchi is a style of polish that adds individuality to the knife. It is a byproduct of the forging process. It is sometimes referred to as a blacksmith finish. Applying this finish avoids the final polishing process, which reduces manufacturing costs.
If you want a nice and more handmade appearance for a knife blade, go with the hammered finish knife. Its hammered finish has a utilitarian purpose in addition to being visually pleasing. It generates a little amount of air, allowing for a quick release of food from the blade.
Yo and Wa are the two sorts of handle forms. The design of the wa handles is antique and classic. They are fashioned of Japanese magnolia, a low-maintenance wood that does not get slick when wet.
Yo handles, on the other hand, are comparable to western handles in terms of attributes and form. They have a complete tang with stainless steel rivets connecting the handle.
Since Japanese blades are made of hardened steel, their sharpening technique differs from that of western knives. You must use caution during sharpening and ensure that the knife blade is not damaged.
For some useful tips and techniques, watch this video on how to sharpen a knife using a Water Stone.
Conclusion + Our Top Pick
Selecting the appropriate Japanese knife can make your cooking more enjoyable and will help you become a better chef. Considering the aforementioned considerations while purchasing a Japanese knife might be really beneficial. If you are a beginner, it is best to start with an all-purpose knife, such as a Santoku.
What is the best Japanese knife for a present?
If you are presenting a home chef or someone who is unfamiliar with Japanese kitchen knives, a multifunctional kitchen knife such as a gyuto or santoku is advised. For those who are new to Japanese kitchen knives, a bunka or nakiri might be excellent choices.
What is the most useful Japanese kitchen knife?
The santoku knife is our pick for the most helpful of these Japanese knives. It’s a great all-purpose knife that’s the consequence of cultural mingling and can fit into any kitchen.
What are the top 5 best knives?
Chef’s Knife by Hedley & Bennett.
Material for the Kitchen Introducing the 8-Inch Knife…
Wüsthof Traditional Hollow-Edge 5-Inch Victorinox 10-Inch Chef’s Knife with Rosewood Handle (Santoku).
Minato Santoku Knife Series Knife Nakiri…
Zwilling created Bob Kramer. Euroline Stainless Damascus 8-Inch Chef’s Knife by J.A. Henckels.
Knife Opinel Le Petit Chef.
Additional details…•February 27, 2023
What knife does Gordon Ramsay recommend?
Ramsay favors Henckels knives, a German-style brand, according to MasterClass. According to Acit Group, German-style chef’s knives are known for their hefty blades that are robust enough to handle chicken bones due to their added mass.
What knife does the Japanese military use?
During WWII, the Japanese Army was issued regular military grade pen knives. The knife is simple in design, with a hawkbill, Wharncliff, and saw blade. The handle is OD green aluminum with a lanyard hole carved out.
What brand of knife do Japanese chefs use?
Usuba – Vegetable Knife for Skilled Cooks
The usuba is the most traditional Japanese vegetable knife, found in professional kitchens more than private residences. Usuba knives are single-edged and are recognized for being very sharp when properly cared for.
Is Shun the best Japanese knife brand?
Because of its mix of elegance, balance, and adaptability, the Shun Cutlery Premier 8-Inch Chef’s Knife gets the top rank on our list. Moreover, its handle is meant to give comfort and simplicity of usage. Try the Zelite Infinity 7-Inch Santoku Knife if you’re new to utilizing Japanese knives.
What is the most used knife by chefs?
8-Inch Global G-2 Chef’s Knife
The Global G-2 8-inch chef’s knife is popular among professional cooks—it was the most prevalent knife in every kitchen I’ve worked in. It’s lightweight, simple to use, and holds an edge effectively.
What knife do chefs prefer?
This Global G-2 8″ Chef’s Knife is the greatest knife for beginners and pros, according to the chef and documentary producer. Global knives are created using an unique steel composition that is hard enough to keep the blades sharp while being soft enough to sharpen with a whetstone.
The Ontario 497 Mark 3 Navy Fixed Blade Knife was particularly built to withstand the weather. During missions, Navy SEALs must depend on their equipment to do their tasks. The Mark 3 is suited for unique operations due to a number of characteristics.