6 Best Japanese Kitchen Knives [2024]

This article has links to products that we may make commission from.

We love working with Japanese knives in our kitchen. They provide some of the best quality and value of any kitchen knife on the market, and they come with a tradition of craftsmanship that is second to none.

If you haven’t tried working with them yet, we want to introduce you to the best Japanese kitchen knives that you should be using at home. We’ve previously written about the best Japanese chefs knives, so be sure to check out that article to learn specifically about chef’s knives.

Japanese kitchen knives

In this article, we’re going to introduce you to many more types of knives that are made in Japan, beyond the typical chef’s knife. There is an abundance of great knives that will make your job in the kitchen much easier, but you need to learn which ones to use and when.

One thing you should know is that the Japanese take great pride in the workmanship and quality of the products they manufacture. That is why Japanese knives are considered some of the best in the world. Of course, that level of quality often comes with a high price tag, but you can always be sure you’re getting the very best quality for the money.

Another thing to know about Japanese knives is that they are made with a very a high carbon VG-10 steel that is very hard. The blade is asymmetrical, meaning that the two sides of the blade are not the same, as they are in German knives. Only one side is sharp. Usually they have a 12-15 degree angle.

You have to be especially careful with Japanese knives for these reasons. If you were to drop one, it could break because of the hardness. Additionally, it’s more difficult to sharpen the knife to the appropriate degree at home.

We are going to show you give different styles of Japanese kitchen knives. We’ll give you our top recommended knife, as well a few alternatives so you can choose the one that’s right for you.

Types of Japanese Kitchen Knives

Gyuto (Chef’s knife)

Damascus Chef Knife Gyuto Hajegato Unique One Of Kind Handle Professional 8 Inch Japanese Chefs Kitchen Knife Vg10 67 Layers Damascus Steel Knive with Sheath

The most important Japanese knife to have in your kitchen is the gyuto, or chef’s knife. The Shun 8-inch classic chef’s knife is an all-purpose knife and it can be used for a wide range of cutting tasks.

Due to the quality craftsmanship and extremely sharp edge, this knife is likely to exceed the cutting ability of any other chef’s knife you’ve used.

You’ll love the way it glides through everything you cut with ease. A gyuto blade is double-edged, unlike some of the other single-edged Japanese knives you’ll see below. The handle is almost always wooden and should be heavy in your hand, though well balanced with the rest of the knife. This allows for the smoothest, easiest cutting motion.

Dalstrong Chef Knife - 8 inch Blade - Shogun Series ELITE - Damascus - Japanese AUS-10V Super Steel - G10 Black Handle - Razor Sharp - Professional Full Tang Chef's Knife - Sheath
  • DALSTRONG Chef Knife 8 Inch: Crafted with precision, this professional chef knife from DALSTRONG boasts an 8-inch Damascus blade, ensuring optimal balance and control for culinary excellence.
  • The Ultimate Professional Chef's Knife: A Dalstrong culinary revolution combining outstanding and craftsmanship, cutting-edge breakthrough technology, awe-inspiring design
  • Unrivaled Performance: Ruthlessly sharp kitchen knife blade hand finished to a mirror polish at 8-12° using the traditional 3-step Honbazuke method. Nitrogen cooled for enhanced harness, flexibility and corrosion resistance. Full tang and triple riveted
  • An ultra sharp AUS-10V Japanese kitchen knife boasts of super steel rated at 62+ Rockwell hardness: extraordinary performance and edge retention. Dalstrong's stunning 'tsunami-rose' genuine Damascus: 67 layers of high-carbon stainless steel, cleans easily
  • A Chef Knife Engineered to Perfection: The ultra-G10 handle is military grade with long durability. Carefully hand polished, the ergonomic handle shape is engineered for hand control, agility and comfort. Hand-polished blade spine for smooth handling. A dynamic kitchen utility knife
Sale
Miyabi Kaizen Chef's Knife, Medium, Black with Red Accent
  • TRADITIONAL DESIGN - Authentic thin Japanese blade profile with 65-layer flower Damascus design with katana edge. 8"" chef style blade
  • HAND-HONED - Using the three-step Honbazuke process to a 9.5 to 12 degree edge. VG10 super steel CRYODUR blade, ice-hardened to Rockwell 60
  • MIYABI KAIZEN SERIES - Japanese for "improvement" or "change for the better." This next generation combines the greatest hardening technology with traditional craftsmanship
  • MICARTA HANDLE - Features linen pattern with a mosaic pin, red accent spacers, and steel end cap. D-shape style in elegant black color
  • JAPANESE MADE - In Seki, Japan " The Beauty of Sharpness" reflects values that are particularly highly prized in Japanese culture

Santoku (Utility knife)

MITSUMOTO SAKARI Japanese Damascus Chef Knife 8.5 inch Professional Hand-Forged VG-10, Ultra Sharp Meat Sushi Cleaver, Kitchen Santoku (Nanmu Knife Handle & Gift Box)

If you like using a utility knife for your cutting (this is my preferred knife in the kitchen), you will like the Santoku knife. It is shaped differently than the typical utility knife, but it will make your life even easier in the kitchen. 

Santuko means “three virtues” in Japanese. It is used for mincing, dicing and slicing. The defining feature of a Santuko knife is the Tsuchime technique, which means “hammered”.

It’s a special design reserved only for Santuko knives. it help by creating small pockets of air between the knife and the food, so there is less drag when cutting and food easily releases from it after slicing.

Global G-48-7 inch, 18cm Santoku Hollow Ground Knife, 7", Stainless
  • All-purpose 7-inch hollow-ground Santoku knife for chopping, dicing, and slicing
  • Blade made of high-tech molybdenum/vanadium Stainless steel
  • Face-ground with long taper so edge remains sharp longer
  • Stainless-steel handle molded for Comfort and dimpled for safe grip
  • Measures approximately 11 by 3 inches; wash by hand; Lifetime
Dalstrong Santoku Knife - 7 inch - Shogun Series - Damascus - Japanese AUS-10V Super Steel 67 Layers - Black G10 Handle - Vegetable Knife - Vacuum Treated - Kitchen Knife - Sheath Included
  • The Ultimate Vegetable Knife: A Dalstrong culinary revolution combining outstanding and award-winning craftsmanship, cutting-edge breakthrough technology, awe-inspiring design, and the absolute best materials available. Peak performance never looked so good to you or your wallet.
  • Unrivaled Performance: Ruthlessly sharp scalpel like edge is hand finished to a mirror polish at 8-12° per side using the traditional 3-step Honbazuke method. Nitrogen cooled for enhanced harness, flexibility and corrosion resistance. Full tang for superb robustness and triple riveted for even more resilience. The Shogun Series exquisite hammered tsuchime finish reduces drag and minimizes stuck on food.
  • Dalstrong Power: This vegetable knife features an ultra sharp AUS-10V- Vacuum Treated Japanese super steel cutting core at 62+ Rockwell hardness: extraordinary performance and edge retention. 66 layers of premium high-carbon stainless steel layers ensure exceptional strength, durability and stain resistance. Perfectly balanced. Dalstrong's stunning 'tsunami-rose' genuine Damascus layers.
  • Engineered to Perfection: Ultra-premium G-10 handle is military grade with life-long durability. Hand polished, the ergonomic handle shape is engineered for superior control, agility and comfort while the blade's spine is made smooth for a natural 'pinch grip'. The 55mm blade width allows for improved knuckle clearance. Easily scoop up food onto blade.
  • Dalstrong Trust: Rocksolid 100% SATISFACTION OR MONEY BACK GUARANTEE, try it risk free. LIFETIME WARRANTY against defect. Renowned Dalstrong customer service. See why chef's around the world trust and love, 'The Dalstrong Difference'. Dalstrong luxury packaging. Now you are slicing with POWER. Dalstrong POWER!

Sushi/Sashimi Knives

MITSUMOTO SAKARI 10-inch Japanese Sashimi Knife, Professional Hand Forged Japanese Sushi Knife, Tungsten Alloy Kitchen Chef Knife (Fraxinus Mandshurica Handle & Gift Box)

You may be wondering whether you should be looking for a sushi or a sashimi knife. Which one do you need to make sushi at home? There are many steps to making sushi, from cutting the vegetables and fish that you’ll put in the roll, to cutting the roll itself once you’re finished.

A sushi knife is used for all three of these tasks, but a sashimi knife is used primarily for cutting fish. Since sashimi needs to be cut with only the most precise slices, you will need a special, ultra-sharp knife for cutting it.

A standard sushi/sashimi knife that can do it all is called a Yanagi ba knife. Sushi knife blades can be made with one pieces of steel, called Honyaki, or two pieces, called Kasumi. The Honyaki style is preferred, as the quality and refinement of the knife is incredible, but it can also be quite expensive.

However, if you really want to improve your sushi skills at home, it’s important to use only the highest quality knife. You can rest assured that the knife will last you for a very long time.

Mercer Culinary-M24012 Asian Collection Yanagi Sashimi Knife, 12-Inch, Wooden Handle
  • QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Knives are crafted with high-carbon German steel, taper ground with a fine stone finish to form a single blade edge
  • SUPERIOR DESIGN: Traditional wood handle is easy and comfortable to use
  • BEST USE: Perfect for everyday slicing, ideal for cutting large pieces of fish, such as salmon and halibut
  • EASY CARE: To maximize the performance and longevity of your Mercer knife, carefully wash by hand after each use with warm water and mild soap; rinse and dry completely with a soft towel. Do not place in dishwasher or submerge for long periods of time
  • MERCER CULINARY ASIAN COLLECTION: Calling on the rich tradition of Japanese craftsmanship to provide unsurpassed performance, perfect for professional use or the home cooking enthusiast
Cangshan J Series 62793 X-7 Steel Sashimi Chef Knife With Walnut Sheath, 12-Inch
  • Hand crafted knives Forged from 67 Layers of special formula Cangshan X-7 Damascus Steel for incredible durability, stain resistance and exceptional edge retention. 2017 Red Dot Design Award Winner, IDEA Award Finalist, 2018 German Design Award Winner. USPTO Patented Design.
  • Each blade goes through an (ultra6) stage heat treatment ensuring every blade maintains it's strength and function. Hand sharpened to a 16-degree angle per side.
  • Well balanced 5.5" handle and 12" blade with HRC 60 +/- 2 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale. Includes a fitted dark Walnut wood magnetic Saya style sheath to protect the knife blade. Handcrafted by skilled bladesmiths, each precisely balanced knife pairs exceptional performance with timeless design.
  • Strong magnets are embedded into the edge of the Saya sheath to hold onto the spine of the knife. A innovative and stylish way to protect your blades and fingers.
  • NSF International Certified. Lifetime Warranty against manufacturer defects. Wash knives with warm water and a little detergent, rinse carefully and dry with a towel.

Usuba Knife

Kitory Nakiri Knife, Japanese Usuba Vegetable Knife, Handmade Chefs Kitchen Knife 7 inch, 9CR18MOV Clad Steel Octagon Ergonomic Wooden Handle, Asian Vegetable Knife for Home Restuarant

From the looks of a Usuba knife, you wouldn’t know it was ideal for cutting vegetables and making garnishes, fine cuts and peeling. The blade is high-carbon VG10 steel and it has a single bevel edge with a hollow ground back that means only the cutting edge of the blade touches the food for superior stick resistance and clean cuts.

While the typical use of a Usuba knife is cutting vegetables, this knife can really be used for many other things. Once you get used to the feel of it in your hand, and the cutting technique, you may find that you want to use it for more things.

The best part is that the blade stays extremely sharp so you won’t have to deal with resharpening it very often.

Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Nakiri Vegetable Knife
  • QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Knives are crafted with high-carbon German steel, taper ground with a fine stone finish to form a single blade edge
  • SUPERIOR DESIGN: Traditional wood handle is easy and comfortable to use
  • BEST USE: The classic rectangular blade is designed to quickly slice produce paper-thin, ideal for cutting vegetables without hard seeds
  • EASY CARE: To maximize the performance and longevity of your Mercer knife, carefully wash cutlery by hand after each use with warm water and mild soap; rinse and dry completely with a soft towel. Do not place in dishwasher or submerge for long periods of time
  • MERCER CULINARY ASIAN COLLECTION: Calling on the rich tradition of Japanese craftsmanship to provide unsurpassed performance, perfect for professional use or the home cooking enthusiast
Yoshihiro VG-10 46 Layers Hammered Damascus Nakiri Japanese Vegetable Knife (6.5'' (165mm) Rosewood Handle)
  • Blade Material: vg-10 Stainless Steel / Edge Angle: Double Edged / Grade: Damascus / Handle Shape: Octagonal / HRC: 60 / Knife Style: Nakiri Vegetable Knife / Saya Cover: Natural Magnolia Wood / Stain Resistant: Yes / Made in Japan
  • Forged and hammered with 46 layers of steel in the Damascus tradition with a vg-10 Core, the vg-10 Hammered Damascus Series has been a perennial seller, combining performance, beauty, and extraordinary value.
  • One of the most popular knives that a cook can have today is a Japanese Vegetable knife known as a Nakiri knife. The Nakiri is a Japanese double edged knife with a flat cutting edge. The flatness allows for the whole length of the knife to come in contact with the cutting board with each stroke. This is particularly helpful when chopping vegetables since it eliminates those imperfect cuts in which ingredients are hanging by a string.
  • Reminiscent of a small cleaver, this knife is cherished for its ability to chop through root vegetables to thinly slicing delicate tomatoes. From prepping greens for a salad to chopping vegetables for a main dish, the simplest of tasks are elevated with a handcrafted knife that is as beautiful as it is functional.
  • Proudly made in Japan. This knife is complimented with a traditional Japanese Wa-style handcrafted Octagonal Handle that is lightweight and ergonomically welds to the hand for seamless use. A protective wooden sheath called a Saya is included, which protects the knife and adds to its appearance when not in use. The hammered texture of the blade eliminates friction and keeps food from sticking to the blade.

Deba Knife

Sakai Takayuki Japanese Knife Kasumitogi Yasuki White Steel 06036 Deba Knife 165mm

You may have seen a Deba knife in the past and wondered what you might use it for. It’s one of the best fish fillet knives you’ll ever use. The blade is single bevel and constructed to be able to slice through fish and other foods without pulling or tearing the flesh.

The knife has a bit of weight to it, which will make it feel sturdy and easy to control while cutting. When I was learning to spatchcock or butterfly a chicken, this knife definitely came in handy. There’s no other knife that works as well to debone and slice.

If there’s anything you need to thinly slice this is your knife. It’s perfect for cutting gorgeous slices of sashimi. Keep in mind when purchasing that you can get a Deba knife in many different lengths.

If you’re uncomfortable handling the 8 1/2 inch knife, be sure you check out the 6 1/2 inch blade. For me, the smaller knife is easier to hold and balance for smaller hands.

Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Deba Knife with NSF Handle
  • Razor sharp, high-carbon, stain-resistant German steel resists rust, corrosion, and discoloration
  • Single-edge blade is taper ground with a fine stone finish
  • Offered with a traditional wood handle
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Hand wash knives for blade edge and surface care
Yoshihiro Shiroko High Carbon Steel Kasumi Deba Japanese Fillet Butcher Chefs Knife 6.5inch (165mm) with Shitan Handle
  • Grade: Kasumi / Knife Type: Deba (Butcher /Fillet Chef)Knife
  • Steel Type: Shiroko (White Steel 2) High Carbon Steel
  • Blade: Single-Edged/ Blade Length : 6.5 Inch (165mm)
  • Handle Material: Round Shaped Shitan Rosewood
  • Hardness Rockwell C scale: 62-63 / Saya Cover : Included

Honesuki (Boning knife)

MASAMOTO VG Japanese Honesuki Boning Knife 5.7" (145mm) Made in JAPAN, Professional Deboning Knife for Chicken and Meat Cutting, Super Sharp Japanese Stainless Steel Blade, Full Tang POM Handle, Black

Boning knives are a must have in the kitchen if you like to make poultry. The honesuki is a poultry boning knife. The pointy sharp edge will help you make small and precise incisions.

The knife makes it very easy to bone a chicken, duck, or other bird. I’ve also heard that the honesuki is great for peeling round fruits, but I haven’t tried that myself yet. The Shun honesuki knife features a Japanese san mai construction. San Mai means “three layers”.

It is carbon steel between two layers of stainless steel. This gives the knife a hardness and reliability that other knives won’t have. It also means you won’t have to put extra maintenance into the knife, which is always a good thing. The blade is just 4 1/5 inches long, which makes it very easy to use.

Premier 4.5" Honesuki Knife
  • 4 1/2-Inch Premier Honesuki Knife by Shun
  • Handcrafted knife to remove bones from fish, meat and poultry
  • Knives features layered Damascus steel with a striking, hand-hammered finish (known as 'Tsuchime' in Japanese)
  • Hand-hammered finish reduces drag when cutting, keeping foods from sticking to the knife blade
  • Premium PakkaWood handle nestles comfortably into the curves of the palm and allows for a variety of comfortable and secure grips
Zelite Infinity Honesuki Knife 4.5 Inch - Alpha-Royal Series - Japanese AUS-10 Super Steel 67-Layer Damascus - Razor Sharp, Superb Edge Retention
  • ✅ TAKING DEBONING TO A NEW LEVEL: Incredibly Maneuverable, Ultra Versatile Japanese Chicken Boning Knife. The BEST for Breaking Down a Whole Chicken. Equally good whether you Spatchcock Poultry or Game Birds, Trimming Brisket, Boning Legs of Lamb, Skinning or Fillet Fish, or even Coring Tomatoes or other Vegetables, Pitting Avocadoes or using as a Robust Utility Knife – you are covered! You will feel like a Surgeon with this Blade in your Hand! Set in Unforgettable Premium Packaging
  • ✅ PREMIUM JAPANESE STEEL – BUILT TO LAST: Imported Japanese AUS10 Super Steel with 67-layer High Carbon Stainless Steel, Tsunami Rose Damascus Pattern, Liquid Nitro Cooling giving an Incredible Rockwell Hardness HRC 61. What this means for you - You get Butcher Sharpness, Edge Retention PLUS Stain and Rust Resistance so you can Trim & Prepare your Meat off the Bone with minimal Prep time like a Pro Chef giving you more time to enjoy the good Family meal. Chefs Choice!
  • ✅ STUNNING TRIPLE RIVETED, ROUNDED HANDLE: This is what Differentiates Zelite Knives from the Competition – Our Handles Were Built with YOU in mind! A Top Military Grade G10 Black Handle Triple Riveted to the Forged Full Tang for Extra Strength & Durability, Tastefully Adorned with the Zelite Infinity Classic 3-Metal Mosaic Rivet. Ergonomically Designed -ROUNDED- Handles to ensure a Secure and Comfortable Grip! RARE Tapered Bolster for Extreme Comfort, Perfect Balance!
  • ✅ UNRIVALED PERFORMANCE, RUTHLESSLY SHARP: Hand Finished using the Traditional 3-Step Honbazuke Method this 4.5” Boning Filet Knife has an Incredible 12 degree pro razor edge per Side, Mirror Polished Cutting Angle Ensuring Maximum Sharpness & Safety. You get Effortless Slicing of Meat, Fish – Sushi & More bringing Excitement back to Cooking! The Butchers 4.5-inch stiff de-boning Ikon Carving Steak Knife – whether Butchering, Fishing, Hunting or Kitchen work – this is the Best for You
  • ✅ 100% SATISFACTION or MONEY BACK GUARANTEE - TRY IT RISK FREE: Lifetime Warranty against Manufacturing Defects (only if purchased direct from 'Zelite Infinity' - check "sold by Zelite-Infinity"). Our Fish Filleting Knifes have been built with Perfection in Mind. Ideal Multipurpose Cutlery Gift (Christmas, Weddings, Birthdays, Fathers Day, Mothers Day), for Home Cooks, Professional Chef’s, Culinary Students and more. You can't lose. Limited Supply, Order Now before they are Sold Out!

CONCLUSION

With just these 6 best Japanese kitchen knives, you will be able to do every type of cutting, chopping and slicing you need to do in the kitchen, with ease. The blades are extremely sharp and hard.

We think you’ll find that they make working in the kitchen a breeze, and you won’t have to spend so much time worrying about how to keep your knives sharp. If there’s a specific Japanese knife that you love, tell us about it in the comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *