Best Japanese Chef Knives for Cooking

japanese kitchen knivesWant the ultimate sharpest knife to have in your home? Searching for a lot better choice than a regular knife you come across department stores?

A Japanese chef knife is an excellent solution for you. It is the best way to become a samurai in your kitchen at home!

The percentage of Japanese style knives users is increasing considerably in recent years. So, would not you like to be one of them?

No wonder the nation of Samurai swords makes the best kitchen knives in the world. In our article, we check out some of these best Japanese kitchen knives to help you choose the right model for your requirements.

Let’s Get Started!

Top 6 Japanese Kitchen Knives Reviews


If you are searching for an excellent cooking knife in the tradition of Japanese, consider the below list of the top 5 products. These will help you achieve precision slices, and quick routines in your cooking area.

ZELITE INFINITY Chef Knife – Best Value for Money

ZELITE INFINITY Chef Knife 8 inch - Alpha-Royal SeriesThe ZELITE INFINITY knife is not short of beautiful, in style alone. This tsunami rose Damascus pattern along the knife will make you look like a pro chef even if you are just getting started.

The attractive design on the knife is not only there to appear nicely. It helps reduce your food items sticking to the knife – making for smooth cutting movement.

This model’s beauty is it combines the exquisite sharpness from a Japanese knife and solid Japanese steel with the strength and sturdiness of a Western-based knife.

ZELITE is created with your ease at heart. The handle has been rounded and also the tapered bolster is entirely a unique layout, offering an excellent balance and super convenient gripping experience.

It has a remarkable 12-degree razor sharp finish on either part of the knife, and the chopping edge is mirror polished.

Check Best Price ZELITE INFINITY on Amazon

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Shun DM0706 – Professional and Sharpest Blade

Shun DM0706 Classic 8-Inch Chef's KnifeThe edge has been sharpened to match up with the precision slicing that you might expect from a pro solution. That too, with no need to press or push down too hard on anything.

When you grab this blade, you will sense that it is quite good, easy to use, exhibits the high-quality layered steel which features Japanese craftsmanship.

It has a practical handle and a cook’s knife overall expert design. The handlebar is laminated to Pakka Wood, and also the knife is made from Damascus steel.

Also, the company has added a rust-resistant coating. So, you do not have to stress about this getting rusty or going dull over time.

It is dishwasher friendly and is reviewed authentically by many home chefs. This is a pretty decent starting point should you have never used Japanese kitchen knives.

Check Best Price Shun DM0706 on Amazon

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Shun Premier – Tough and Most Reliable Knife

Shun Premier Chef's Knife, 8-InchThis model is crafted in the precise style that you would expect to have from Japanese knife manufacturers. The steel is covered with a dazzling element.

The hand-hammered finishing creates an easy cutting tool, and helps you go from chopping, or cutting vegetables to meats, and more.

The pakkawood handle is secure and light. It is designed to fit into your hand ergonomically as planned, and comfortable overall.

It carries on a long time, and Shun has offered a limited lifetime manufacturer warranty on the blade, so you understand you are getting precision.

The Shun’s Premier Chef Knife is well reviewed, thus remains among the most popular items from the brand.

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Yoshihiro VG10 – Super Efficient and Long Lasting

Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layer Hammered Damascus Gyuto Japanese Chefs Knife (8.25'' (210mm))You will find 16 tiers of hammered metal over the top. It is pre-sharpened, so once you get it, you can pick it and get to work.

Many chefs opt for the full tang heft – highlighted in this blade – as it has extra steel in the handle that makes the blade heavier and includes a balanced point further from the tip.

It has an attractive Damascus pattern incorporated into the knife. This is practical and stylish, reducing the possibilities of food staying on the knife as you chop, dice, and slice.

The handle is made from Mahogany and designed to be simple to grasp in your fingers. That itself makes this probably the most beautiful knives you could buy.

You will need to manually wash this product and ensure you do not hone it with anything but whetstones. Provided that you take good care of it correctly, you will have a lifetime, razor sharp, good cutlery.

Check Best Price Yoshihiro VG10 on Amazon

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Okami Knives Chef Knife – Super Handy and Super Cheap

Okami Knives CHEF KNIFE 8 Japanese Damascus Stainless Steel, High Carbon Sharp Kitchen Cutlery, Light & Ergonomic GyutoThe Okami chef knife is built to last; it is lightweight but robust, well-balanced, and so easy to use you could cut all day without missing a beat.

The main difference among the Okami chef knife versus the other models listed is it comes with a half tang. It means the metal section of the tool stops about midway down the handle.

It is included with a specialized washing cloth, plastic cover, and edge guard. Not only this, it is for sale at a reasonable price that you can afford.

It is an excellent all-rounder, and except if you are a devoted hunter or fisherman looking for a specialized knife, will efficiently manage all your household tasks.

The Okami knife may have some striping; however, it does not have the lavish shapes and whirls you find in alternate models.

Check Best Price Okami Knife on Amazon

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Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series – Best Budget Japanese Knife Set

Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Forged 12-Piece Japanese Steel Knife Set – Cutlery Set with 420J Stainless Steel Kitchen Knives – Bamboo Finish Block, 07112DSIf you require a cheaper Japanese kitchen knives set, then you ought to check out the Chikara knife set by Ginsu. The overall quality is not bad considering the low price point.

This set has 4 steak knives which are 4.5-inches long each, and shears, a sharpening rod, and 5 other knives. Those are a serrated utility knife, utility blade, a chef’s blade, paring knife, and a santoku.

We found these have good heft and balance to them. It will help you more precisely control every single cut you make.

It has a beautiful bamboo block which will highlight your kitchen space with a little extra class.

This set includes a sharpening rod. In case, you clean over the knives with the honing rod at minimum sometimes weekly; you will only have to sharpen these maybe once every year.

Check Best Price Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Set on Amazon


Types of Japanese Knives

Once you know their different styles of knives, you rest assured that you will be armed with the information to find out the right one to you. So, let us have a closer look at such types to see what are the differences between them.

Bread Knife

Since typical Japanese knives got smooth edges to sharpen easily, this means you will want a separate bread knife.

Japanese bread blades are not too different compared to western counterparts, but they stick to the general concept of being somewhat sharper and thinner.

It is a perfect knife to slash bread with since it saws instead of slicing. Sawing will apply pressure and cut the bread. A correctly sliced bread loaf maintains fresher longer.

Not just for bread, this surprisingly flexible tool is excellent for squishy foods, sponge cakes, and slicing tomatoes.

Bunka

The Bunka is an all-purpose knife that could handle various kitchen duties. It is particularly good at making perfect slices of little items including shallots, garlic, carrots, herbs, celery, found in your kitchen.

It is not common even in Japan and is usually made in modest batches using elite steel by small craft stores and independent smiths. These are very pricey.

Butcher Knife

If you need the absolute razor sharpness in chopping chores, a Japanese butcher knife may be to you. Although you will have to avoid hard cutting floors like granite and bones – these blades get super sharp.

These knives shape mirrors their Western and Chinese counterparts. They are rectangular, created to make complete contact together with your slicing area at the chop’s bottom.

Chef Knife

Japanese chef knife is versatile and long. You can use it for almost all kitchen task whether it is slicing, disjointing, chopping, or mincing. For this reason, it is a perfect place to start when improving your ceramic knives.

Funayuki

The funayuki initially was used on angling boats. Mainly as a light fillet blade to test standard of the find, for filleting and cleaning fish, and to do meal preparation.

It comes with a thin, delicate blade that demands a skilled person to work with it without damaging the edge.

Gyuto

The gyuto got several characteristics common along with a Western-based chef’s knife.

It is an all-purpose, lightweight knife that shines at a precision job like mincing, plus finer prep of both light proteins and vegetables.

However, this category will not perform well if you are cutting through thick materials like cartilage or bone, or cutting through larger items, for example, Hubbard squash.

Honesuki

The Honesuki is a boning knife though this type is made for the particular task of cutting through joints and breaking down poultry – but not to cleave bones.

However, more lately, honesukis with the same 50/50 bevel on either side are getting available, making such models an excellent choice for left-handed people.

Hankotsu

The hankotsu type is a sturdy little knife that is used for lighter butchery purposes. It is perfect for tasks like breaking down poultry, trimming meat, Frenching a rack, boning, and getting between bones.

If you are left-handed, it might not be the ideal option. It will be uncomfortable for vertical side boning unless you custom order one to left-handed usage. Also, Hankotsus call for special care while honing and sharpening.

Kiritsuke

Lean and long, it boasts a sword-like striking appearance along with a sheep’s foot tip. Also, is among just some multipurpose blades which are found in Japanese cutlery.

Kiritsuke is best used to push cuts and slicing. These perform well on your cooked proteins, raw fish, and vegetables.

Knife Set

If you would like to shell all out and advance all your kitchen knives in one shot, knife sets are the go-to choice.

These sets usually have a chef knife and a range of other blades for different kitchen tasks like boning, slicing bread, paring, and chopping.

Also, they often come with a stylish display rack or knife block, letting you keep your cooking area tidy while displaying your knives.

Paring

Again, they are very much like their Western ones and usually have Western-type handles. They are tiny little knives designed to get used for delicate function, for instance peeling your veggies and fruits.

Petty

A petty style of knife comes with the same fundamental application of a Western utility or paring knife, along with an extended blade. As the utility one, a petty knife is handy and agile for your smaller chopping duties that need some agility.

Santoku

The Santoku type is another general-purpose knife having a similar look of a chef’s knife. However, it is more agile, thinner, and shorter, combining the functions of a nakiri and a gyuto.

Easy to move around, graceful, and lightweight, they are excellent for your cutting and chopping tasks, but short of the blade size for jobs such as slicing up meat or fish.

Sujihiki

The sujihiki features a narrow, long blade having a shorter height that is designed for cutting fish, game, boneless meat, and poultry.

The shorter height means a lesser surface area that reduces friction – which makes it perfect for cutting thin pieces of your preferred protein.

Steak Knife

If you wish to upgrade your cutlery, a Japanese steak knives set can make sure that your guests, housemates, and family all see a glimpse of the Japanese knife design’s sharpness.

You might be familiar with using a steak knife with a serrated knife edge. With Japanese metal, these are so sharp it is not needed. And because these are free of serration, you can easily sharpen these at any moment.

These sets differ from inexpensive, simple sets to artisan forged handmade collections. Nevertheless, the main contrast among steak knives in our view is the price.

Vegetable Cleaver

If you end up doing lots of chopping, think about getting a specialized vegetable cleaver.

Called Nakiri bocho in Japan, these cleavers are thinner, with a straight blade edge letting you make more touch with the chopping board without slanting your knife.

These knives will get sharper because they are so slim. While you do not want to rely on them to slice animal bones, they will make the short task of most veggies.

Western Deba

The Western style deba is one more general-purpose knife that is very identical to a cook’s knife but made for more heavy-duty performance compared to a gyuto.

Sharp and big with substantial heft, Western debas can effortlessly deal with splitting your favorite seafood like a lobster, shrimp, and crab, and will easily tackle large veggies and fruits such as pineapples, squash, or gourds.

They are still crafted from hard carbon steel, hence should not be used for butchering thick and hard bones or on frozen meals.

Not to get confused along with a classic deba, which got one bevel edge and it is dedicated for cutting through fish, Western debas have a two-bevel edge.

Yanagiba

The yanagiba type is a sashimi blade, typically used to portion and slice seafood, sashimi, boneless fish, and sushi.

Slender, thin, and long, sashimi knife is a handy tool designed to slice in just one pulling stroke which creates sharp, clean edges.

Traditionally used with sushi chefs, these fine blades are gaining recognition with Western chefs for use as a carving blade.

How Do I Choose the Right Japanese Style Knife?

Types of Steel

When you are shopping stain resistant and stainless knives, search for names like VG-Max, SG2, inox, VG-10, and Molybdenum. All these symbolize a stainless form.

And to the die-heart users and professionals whose primary goal is the sharpness, a Japanese knife is also built in the old fashioned way, with authentic carbon steel forms.

Most of our best picks in this article are stainless while some unique steel types being exclusions. Stainless is the best option for most consumers – home cooks and professional chefs alike.

Hardness

Why is it important? A harder metal can get honed to a more acute angle that makes cutting more powerful. Also, hard steel will hold a razor-sharp edge longer. Therefore these will not need you to hone or sharpen as frequently.

The industry benchmark for hardness measuring is the Rockwell scale. The bigger the score, the harder the steel you get. A rise of a single degree in the scales means about a 10% increase on hardness.

The grade is determined depending on scales varying from A to G, with C and B being the commonly used ones. This measurement could be up to 58 to the Euro edition. In comparison, a Japanese blade rarely measures below 60 HRC.

Transportation

Some Japanese knives you will find come with a wooden sheath or a Saya for transportation.

Although not required for the casual cook, a professional cook may find owning one of those helpful for from and going to work. Even though it is only to retain these incredibly razor-sharp cutting tools from making an opening in their knife roll.

These are generally only available to those knives which have Wa type traditional handles. However, you might occasionally come across a Western type knife that includes a Saya as an optional add-on or supplied with the package.

Handle Shapes

Wa handle is the typical Japanese variation and is often made from Japanese magnolia – wood that does not require plenty of upkeep and does not get slippery while wet.

Yo handle is a Western handles adaptation, and they possess the same qualities, shaped to provide an ergonomic grasp and fixed to the tang both without or with a bolster.

Most Western or yo handles are ideal for both right and left hands. Wa handle is designed for right-handers – although many left-handers find the Wa form to be comfortable to use and perfectly acceptable.

Sharpening

Due to the steel’s hardness used, Japanese kitchen knives need a sharpening program somewhat unique from their European counterparts.

To prevent removing a lot of material or chipping, care needs to be taken while sharpening your blade. Using a Japanese-made Waterstone is the best method.

Over time, you can include to your honing arsenal with rough and finer grits to possibly put more polishing on the knife or to fix broken tips and chips.

FAQ’s About Japanese Chef and Cooking Knives

What is the Difference Between Western and Japanese Knives?

The main contrast between Japanese and Western knives relate to the components used in the build and specialized styles for specific reasons.

European knife is a culinary workhorse and multipurpose masterpiece. They are used for anything from the hard job of hacking chickens to delicate tasks, for example, mincing herbs plus all the things in between.

On the flip side, Japanese knife is more delicate, relatively counter-intuitive because of the steel’s hardness, and they got more specialized uses. They require a bit of patience to handle, but once you get hold of it, they perform flawlessly.

What are the Main Pros and Cons of a Japanese Kitchen Knife?

Japanese kitchen knife is designed with sharpness at heart, usually somewhat thinner compared to your best kitchen knives from the Western, and they are made from steel that keeps a sharper edge.

They are more fragile because the steel could be more fragile and the tinier cross-section makes these easier to crack.

Not all Japanese knives are produced in Japan. Many knives for sale in the Western industry are manufactured in other regions of the globe such as China, Germany, and Taiwan. However, all use Japan style metal for their build.

Why Are Japanese Knives Sharpened on One Side?

Unlike western blades, Japanese blades are often just single ground, which means they are honed, so only one area holds the slicing edge.

History of Japanese Knife

Conclusion

If you select one of the models in our top-rated Japanese knives guide, you will never be let down, all they are great blades in their rights.

Did you find this guide useful? Would you look at buying one of those best Japanese kitchen knives? Share your opinions with us in the comment box below.

Hi there, I am the chief editor and creator of this website. I am ex-professional cook with more than 5 years of experience preparing food for a few of the best restaurants worldwide. If there is something, I know much about its definitely cooking.

1 Comment
  1. Just a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding style. “Better by far you should forget and smile than that you should remember and be sad.” by Christina Georgina Rossetti.

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