What Is The Best Japanese Knife?
The best Japanese Knives make chopping and dicing a breeze while feeling comfortable in your hand. Of all the Japanese knives we researched, the Shun DM0706 Classic 8 Inch Chef’s Knife is the best Japanese knife because it has 32 layers of high carbon steel to give it ultimate strength.
- What Are The Top Features of the Best Japanese Knife?
- How to Choose The Best Japanese Kitchen Knives?
- Top 10 Best Japanese Knives
- Best Overall: Shun DM0706 Classic 8 Inch Chef’s Knife
- Best Budget: Japanese Damascus Steel Chef Knife and Magnet Holder by GreaterGoods
- Best Knife Set: Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Forged 12 Piece Japanese Steel Knife Set
- Best Chef’s Knife: Shun Premier Chef’s Knife
- Best Damascus Knife: Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layer Hammered Damascus Gyuto Japanese Chef’s Knife
- Best Sushi Knife: Traditional Japanese Professional Gyuto Sushi Knife
- Best Santoku Knife: Kessaku Santoku Knife – Samurai Series
- Best Steak Knives: Enso HD 6 piece Steak Knife Set
- Best Paring Knife: ZELITE INFINITY Paring Knife
- Best Cleaver: TUO Cutlery Cleaver Knife – Japanese AUS-10 Damascus Steel
What Are the Top Features of the Best Japanese Knife?
You want a knife that feels comfortable in your
Ease of Use:
A heavy knife is not something you are going to want to spend a lot of time using. Your hand will get sore and feel fatigued. You want a knife that provides the weight you need to cut your food, but also feel light in your hand.
You should not put any of your Japanese knives in the dishwasher. Hand washing and drying your knife immediately after use is the best way to care for your
You want your knife to look as nice as it is functional. Many Japanese knives have hammered
Most of these patterns allow for less friction when cutting your food and food does not stick to the blade. It is important that you do not have bits of food left on your knife blade.
You want a Japanese knife that the company will stand by. Most Japanese knives are expensive and you don’t want to risk putting out a lot of money for a tool that does not hold up to the price you paid.
Make sure the company offers a warranty against defects and workmanship and will issue a refund or replacement.
How to choose the best Japanese knives:
A knife set vs single knives:
Purchasing a knife set will save you money in the long run. You will get a knife block to keep all of your knives neat and safe.
All of your knives will be the same manufacturer and look the same. That is great providing you love the knives.
If you are a typical home cook that prepares meals daily so you can eat, a knife set is the way to go.
All of the benefits of having all the knives you need in one will benefit you greatly. You can still purchase a
Purchasing single knives also
If you are a budding chef, or an experienced one, purchasing single knives is the better option for you. This allows you to create an individual set of knife that
You can always purchase a separate knife
Low maintenance vs high maintenance:
You do not want one more thing for which you have to take extra special care. Your Japanese knives should be easy to maintain. Low maintenance means a knife will stay sharp for a long time without you having to sharpen it with a whetstone.
High maintenance means you not only need a whetstone to sharpen the knife, but also a honing rod for the edges.
Sharpening and honing are skills you must learn. Before attempting to do either of those to your Japanese knives, you should make sure you understand how to sharpen and hone.
You could take a course, or watch a video to get expert tips.
Let us be honest here, price does matter. However, it should not be the only factor. What you really want to make sure if that you are getting the knife for which you are paying.
Some of the most expensive knives available are worth the price, but some are not. Some of the most inexpensive Japanese knives on the market are among the best knives you will ever use. Do not let price be the only factor.
A knife is one of the tools you use the most in your kitchen, so you want to make sure you love the one you purchase.
High carbon steel:
The core of your knife should be high carbon steel. This provides you with the ultimate strength. The stronger your core is, the stronger your knife will be.
Make sure your knife has a strong steel core that is wrapped in
This provides you with the ultimate strength and flexibility.
Easy to clean:
Our first instinct is to put our dirty dishes in the dishwasher. You should not put any of your knives in the dishwasher.
You must wash and dry them by hand immediately after use.
10 Best Japanese Kitchen Knives Reviews
1. Best Overall Japanese Knives: Shun DM0706 Classic 8 Inch Chef’s Knife
Why you will love the Shun DM0706 Classic 8 inch Chef’s Knife: Each knife blade has a core of VG-10 Super Steel with a Pattern Damascus cladding of 32 layers of high carbon stainless steel, 16 layers on either side.
The Shun DM0706 Classic 8 inch Chef’s Knife is expertly crafted in Japan to be the only
This knife is perfect for everyone, regardless if it’s your first Japanese kitchen knife, or your 10th. It can handle all of your chopping, dicing, and slicing needs. The Shun Classic combines VG10 steel and SUS410 high carbon steel to help it resist corrosion.
These metals allow the knife to maintain its sharp edge for quite a long time.
The 32 layers (16 on each side) of folded Damascus steel gives the knife a stunning patterned surface that looks like water marks on the blade. This surface provides flexible strength in addition to beauty. It also reduces friction while cutting and chopping.
This hand sharpened double bevel blade is incredibly sharp with a 16 degree angle. The handle is black pakka wood coated with resin giving the knife a sophisticated look.
It is D shaped and fits in the palm of your hand to allow control and comfort. It is weighted to prevent the knife from slipping out of your hand while in use.
This knife can be washed in the dishwasher, but hand washing and drying is recommended for longer life. It also comes with a lifetime limited warranty. Kai Shun offers free knife sharpening as long as you own the knife.
You pay for shipping and handling and they will sharpen it for free. If you are in the area, you can walk in and they will sharpen it while you wait.
Pros: Free knife sharpening, 32 layers of folded style to provide beauty and function, weighted handle for comfort and control.
Cons: Knife is incredibly sharp and may not be safe in homes with small children.
Click here to purchase the Shun DM0706 Classic 8 inch Chef’s Knife.
2. Best Budget Japanese Knife: Japanese Damascus Steel Chef Knife and Magnet Holder by GreaterGoods
Why you will love the Greater Goods Japanese Damascus Steel Chef Knife: This knife is made of hammered steel around a high carbon core for a sharper cutting edge.
The GreaterGoods knife offers one of the best Japanese knives on a budget as it is one of the more economical knives, but don’t let the price fool you.
It is made from Damascus steel that is layered and then hammered together giving it a distinct marble pattern. This is a Signature Chef knife for
This knife has an 8 inch blade that is multipurpose for all your needs. The VG 10 core is high carbon and wrapped in stainless steel to reduce friction when cutting and chopping.
The blade is sharpened to 15 degrees per side giving it the best sharpness and edge retention. The GreaterGoods knife blends Japanese and German styling to maximize comfort and precise cutting.
The ergonomic POM handle allows for correct grip and the steel tang counterbalances the blade by running the full length of the handle. The handle has a half bolster to cushion fingers. Hand washing with soap and water and drying is recommended.
GreaterGoods provides outstanding customer
They also provide video tutorials to show you how the proper way to use your knife.
GreaterGoods not only provides a quality product, but wants to make a positive impact on the global community. They partner only with manufacturers who are skilled and uphold values and standards when it comes to protecting the rights and safety of workers.
GreaterGood truly believes in the greater good, so every knife that is purchased pays it forward. They donate a percentage of every item to one of their charity partners.
This Knife is a Nourish product and a percentage of the profit goes to the Global Orphan Project. This project helps care for children in need.
Pros: Impeccable customer service, video tutorials, economical price.
Cons: Should be hand washed. It is a combination of Japanese and German design, not just a Japanese design.
Click here to purchase the Japanese Damascus Steel Chef Knife and Magnet Holder by Greater Goods.
3. Best Japanese Knife Set: Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Forged 12 Piece Japanese Knife Set
Why you will love the Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Forged 12 Piece Japanese Steel Knife Set: This is a complete knife set and comes with every knife you will ever need.
Ginsu has been around for decades and is well known as one of the best Japanese knives. You may also remember the statement that they “never need sharpening” from the popular infomercial days.
These knives can’t claim
It also may need a little honing here and there to maintain the edge. The honing rod is included with this, but a whetstone is not.
These Ginsu knives are forged from one piece of Japanese Stainless Steel from the tang to the tip so the knife will remain steady and balanced in your hand no matter how hard you have to chop your favorite veggies.
The POM grip is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand. The knife arrives at your door razor sharp and stays sharper longer than most knives, so you must be careful with it.
These knives remain high quality and low maintenance use after use.
This Ginsu Chikara knife set includes everything any home chef needs to prepare any meal, no matter how challenging it may be. The knives are kept secure in a Bamboo block that holds the entire set.
This set comes with 12 pieces:
These Japanese blades are covered by a limited lifetime warranty. They have also been named a Consumer Report best buy five times. These knives are made in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.
They should be hand washed and dried immediately after being used.
Pros: Consumer Report best buy, a complete set of knives with bamboo block. Incredibly sharp out of the box.
Cons: May need sharpening with a whetstone.
Click here to purchase the Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Forged 12 Piece Japanese Steel Knife Set.
4. Best Japanese Chef’s Knife: Shun Premier Chef’s Knife, 8 Inch
Why you will love the Shun Premier 8 inch Chef’s Knife: This traditional Japanese knife features Damascus steel with a Tsuchime finish.
The Shun Premier 8 inch Chef’s Knife is an ideal Japanese knife for any at home kitchen chef as this can be used for all manner of chopping and slicing.
The Shun Premier is made in the traditional style of Kasumi which uses a high carbon hard core steel that is wrapped with another, somewhat softer steel to protect the core.
Kasumi means mist and the outer steel has a misty appearance, especially as compared to inner core. This is similar to how samurai swords are made.
The Damascus steel is layered and has a hand hammered finish. Damascus steel protects the core of the blade and allows it to slide through food smoothly. The hand hammered finish is known as Tsuchime.
Tsuchime not only gives a traditional Japanese knife appearance but is also functional. This technique created air pockets that act as a cavity to reduce drag and releases food from the blade so it does not stick.
The blade core is a high carbon VG 10, which is a known Japanese steel that maintains its edge retention. This keeps the knife sharp for years to come. The blade is a 16 degree angle which makes it the sharpest knife you can buy.
The Damascus steel has 16 layers on each side (32 total) to give it optimal flexible strength. It is incredibly easy to maintain and resists corrosion.
The handle is made of pakka wood that is a walnut finish. It fits comfortably in the palm of your hand allowing for a secure grip. Pakka wood is a natural wood, so no two handles look alike.
The handle has a resin coating to allow it to be moisture resistant.
The handle has Shun’s logo embossed on the end. The total size of the knife is 13 1/5 inches by 4/5 inches by 1 4/5 inches.
The knife is dishwasher safe, hand washing and drying are recommended. The Shun Premier comes with a lifetime limited warranty.
Pros: Tsuchime style appearance, Damascus steel. Unique pakka wood handle.
Cons: Must be washed by hand.
Click here to purchase the Shun Premier 8 inch Chef’s Knife.
5. Best Damascus Chef’s Knife: Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layer Hammered Damascus Gyuto Japanese Chefs Knife
Why you will love the Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layer Hammered Damascus Gyuto Japanese Chef’s Knife: This knife is versatile for all needs from dicing and chopping to carving.
The Yoshihiro VG 10 is perfect for beginner chefs and cooks as it can dice and slice, chop and carve. The Gyuto is the most versatile Japanese knife that a chef can have.
It is 100 percent handcrafted by Japanese skilled tradesmen. The blade has a texture that’s been hammered to remove friction and prevents food from sticking to the knife.
VG 10 is a Japanese stainless steel used in high end cutlery. It has a hardness level, or HRC level, that is greater than most other steel cutlery available.
The greater the hardness, the thinner the edge can be made and the thinner the edge, the sharper the blade is. The sharper the blade, the easier it can cut through any food.
The Yoshihiro has 16 layers of VG 10 gold steel hammered together.
The core of this knife has a HRC 60, which makes it exceptionally sharp, giving it optimal edge retention. This Gyuto is incredibly durable and easy to sharpen.
It has a quality mahogany wood handle that includes a full tang allowing for a balanced construction and seamless use. The handle is ergonomically designed and sits comfortably in the palm of your hand.
The Yoshihiro is stain resistant, which means it is also rust resistant, even when it is left wet. The knife can be used for long periods of time without having to worry about rust building up on the blade.
It is ready to use out of the box. This knife should only be hand washed. Only use a quality whetstone to sharpen the knife.
Yoshihiro specializes in handcrafted Japanese kitchen knives. Their knives are crafted by artisans that have centuries of experience and techniques.
Their knives go back to medieval times and sword smiths who perfected the use of fire, iron, and water to craft the ideal sword.
Pros: Stain and rust resistant, uses VG 10 gold steel, backed by centuries of artisan craftsmanship.
Cons: Needs to be sharpened with a whetstone.
Click here to purchase the Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layer Hammered Damascus Gyuto Japanese Chef’s Knife.
6. Best Japanese Sushi Knife: Traditional Japanese Professional Gyuto Kitchen Chef’s Knife
Why you will love the Traditional Japanese Professional Gyuto Kitchen Chef’s Knife: This knife can handle anything you want to cut with it. This is the knife to make you leave all other knives behind.
The traditional Japanese professional Gyuto Kitchen Chef’s Knife is the knife for chefs. The Gyuto is versatile and long so it can cut smoothly through the toughest of meats and cut vegetables with ease.
This knife can handle it all professionally and with ease.
The Japanese blades on this eight inch knife are heat treated for the best hardness. This knife’s edge retention allows the knife to be sharpened like a razor’s edge.
The high carbon stainless steel resists corrosion, which means it does not oxidize with rust when touching meat, vegetables, or fruit. These blades are a single bevel edge to provide the sharpest and most precise edge.
They are sharpened to 15 degrees on one side and the other side is flat. Many knives will have both edges sharpened o 15 degrees, with a total 30 degree edge.
These edges are not as sharp. The Traditional Japanese Professional Guyto knife cuts anything like butter with the sharp edge while the flat side assists in separating food.
The handle is made of Madagascar rosewood because of its heavy strength, yet polished look. The steel blades run the length of the knife and through the handle for a full-tang design.
This knife gives you a balanced feeling when holding it in your hand. The knife comes in a stylish, decorative and protective box. Placing the knife in this box when not in use will help you take proper care of your knife, which will extend its life.
This Traditional Gyuto comes with a satisfaction guarantee promise. If you do not love your knife, you can contact customer service any time within 30 days of purchasing the knife.
They will refund you the full amount that you paid for the knife. If the knife arrives to you with any damage, customer service will send you a refund and a brand new knife.
Pros: Satisfaction guarantee, single beveled edge.
Cons: Knife is made in China, not Japan.
Click here to purchase the Traditional Japanese Professional Gyuto Kitchen Chef’s Knife.
Related: Best Sashimi Knife
7. Best Japanese Santoku Knife: Kessaku Santoku Knife – Samurai Series
Why you will love the
The Kessaku Santoku Knife can handle all of your needs in the kitchen.
Each knife is crafted by a highly trained technician that uses the best material and innovative technology for cutting edges.
The knife blade is hand sharpened to a
The handle is made of pakka wood which is polished and clean. It offers unbelievable strength and yet is still comfortable. Due to its seamless design, there is no place for dirt or debris to collect or build up.
The Kessaku Santoku is balanced and fits comfortably in your hand. The knife is ergonomically designed to help reduce fatigue and aching in your hands. The handle is resistant to moisture, heat, and cold. It has a full tang for additional strength.
The Kessaku comes in a gift box with exquisite design and a magnetic closure. Your knife is intended to be stored in this box. Not only does it look beautiful, but it is also functional.
A Kessaku cloth is included in the box for you to use to clean your knife. You should hand wash and dry your knife. This will keep you knife looking new and polished. This knife makes an amazing gift.
Kessaku believes in their product so much they offer a true lifetime warranty. They guarantee their product against manufacturer defects and will do everything possible to correct any issue that you have.
Contact the company with any problems and they will fix it.
Pros: Beautiful gift box, lifetime warranty
Cons: Will need to be sharpened and isn’t easy to sharpen if you have no experience.
Click here to purchase the 7-inch Kessaku Santoku Samurai Series Knife.
8. Best Japanese Steak Knives: Enso HD 6 piece Steak Knife Set
Why you will love the Enso HD 6 piece Steak Knife Set: This is a complete steak knife set that has a double beveled edge for left or
Another popular Japanese knife types are steak knives. This Enso HD steak is a
Each Enso knife has a machine pressed blade kanji. The first two characters are Enso, which means harmony in Japanese. The last three characters are Nippon Sei, which translates to made in Japan.
These knives are made in Seki City, Japan, which is one of the most well known sword making cities in Japan.
The knives blades are made of 37 layers of Damascus stainless steel with an VG 10 inner core that allows for proficient edge retention. Each blade comes with a hammered, or tsuchime, finish.
The edge of these steak knives are treated with heat and have a Rockwell scale hardness of 61. The Enso HD knives are hand ground to a 12 degree cutting angle. The blades have a double beveled edge allowing for left or right hand use.
The handles of the steak knives are a black canvas micarta. The micarta gives the knife the look and feel of wood but you don’t have to worry about it cracking.
The handle has three stainless steel rivets, end cap, and bolster. The handle has a full tang construction so it is seamless to improve balance, strength, and durability.
The knives are 3.5 ounces. They have a spine thickness of 1.7 mm at the heel. The blade length is 4.5 inches and the overall length is 9 inches. The blade height is 3/4 inch at the heel.
Enso is part of the Yaxell corporation and they stand behind every knife that they craft. They offer a lifetime warranty for each of their knives.
If you have any problems, contact them and they will fix any problem you are having.
You can contact the company through their website about any problems you are having.
Pros: Lifetime warranty, hand crafted in Seki City, Japan.
Click here to purchase the Enso HD 6 piece Steak Knife Set.
9. Best Japanese Paring Knife: ZELITE INFINITY Paring Knife 4 inch – Alpha-Royal Series
Why you will love the ZELITE INFINITY Paring Knife 4 inch – Alpha-Royal Series: This knife has a military grade,
They are several generations of home cooks that love cooking and they were unhappy with the kitchen tools available.
The looked at other Japanese knife brands and wanted to bring that strength and reliability to their paring knife.
This knife starts with your needs with the handle. This handle is non slip, secure and comfortable. The Zelite Infinity Paring knife has a tapered bolster, which is not common in paring knives.
It has a full forged tang running through the length of the knife for additional strength and durability. The knife is a beautiful as it is effective with the classic styling of three metal mosaic rivets.
This type of knife is short, 4 inches, with a curved edge. A paring knife is known as a utility knife because of its versatility. This paring knife has a spear point tip. It can be used to skin food items and the food will never stick to the blade.
The blade is tempered with liquid nitrogen to guarantee lasting a lasting sharp cutting performance. It is AUS10 super steel, which is an imported Japanese steel. It has 67 layers of high carbon steel that are resistant to rust. The blade has a beautiful rose Damascus pattern on it.
The pricing of this paring knife is around the mid level for pricing. It is not the most expensive paring knife available, but it is not the cheapest at all.
For this warranty to be valid, you must order the knife directly from Zelite. If you don’t like this knife, they will give you a 100 percent refund of what you paid for the knife.
The Zelite company does not miss a chance to impress you with their knife. The 4 inch paring knife comes delivered to you in a premium box for ultimate packaging.
Pros: Military grade, ergonomic handle, razor sharp
Cons: Made in China, not Japan. Warranty against defect only honored if ordered directly from Zelite.
Click here to purchase the Zelite Infinity Paring Knife 4 inch – Alpha Royal Series.
Related: Best Paring Knife Reviews
10. Best Japanese Cleaver: TUO Cutlery Cleaver Knife – Japanese AUS-10 Damascus Steel
Why you will love the TUO Cutlery Cleaver Knife – Fiery Phoenix Series: This knife has an octagonal shape to fit perfectly in your hand to provide optimal control over the cleaver.
TUO Fiery Phoenix Series was picked as one of the world’s best kitchen knives and TUO knows all their customers will agree. They have crafted their knives to encompass their love of working in the kitchen while providing the utmost quality to their customers.
This Japanese blade utilizes AUS 10 Damascus steel directly from Japan. It is a high carbon steel that makes up the core of the cleaver blade.
It has 66 layers of
The blade has a hardness level of 62 HRC which exceeds 95 percent of all kitchen knives available today, which come in under 56 HRC.
The blade is unbelievably sharp with an angle of 8 to 12 degrees on each cutting side, which allows for easy maintenance and ultimate performance.
The handle is an exquisite
It is an octagonal shape to provide the ultimate comfort to the user.
TUO stands by their Japanese knife with a 100 percent money back promise. They believe that you will love this knife as much as they do, so they are guaranteeing your complete satisfaction.
If you do not love this knife for any reason, they will issue you a complete refund of the price you paid for the knife.
This Japanese knife is perfect for gift giving as is comes delivered in a luxurious gift box. TUO believes this knife is a gift from them to you. Each of their product specialist have over 10 years of expertise that they put into every knife the ship out.
They have a modern factory that is innovative and technologically advanced to provide you with the best product possible. They are committed to the mission and values and do not skimp on any of them.
They hold themselves and their knives to a high standard and employ over 100 steps to craft the knife that gets delivered to your door.
Pros: Octagonal shape provides comfort and control.
Cons: This meat cleaver is not best for cutting vegetables.
Click here to purchase the TUO Cutlery Cleaver Knife – Japanese AUS – 10 Damascus Steel.
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