Best Japanese Knives

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‘Japanese knives’ is such a broad term but what comes to my mind is that it’s just another knife! What’s the big deal, right? Apparently, it really is a big deal since there are so many brands catering to it and on top of that, there are many varieties of Japanese knives that came to light upon my research. Let’s have a look at some of the best Japanese knives I found.

The Top Best Japanese Knives In 2020

Product Length Best For Highlighted Features
Imarku Chef knifeImarku Chef knife8 inchesBest Overall
  • G10 fiber handle
  • Japanese super steel
  • Full tang
  • Triple rivets
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Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series SetGinsu Gourmet Chikara Series Set8 inchesBest for Quality
  • Japanese stainless steel
  • Fully forged blades
  • Bamboo storage block
  • Full tang
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TUO Cutlery CleaverTUO Cutlery Cleaver7 inchesBest Budget Pick
  • Japanese AUS-10
  • 66 layers of softer steel
  • Polished pakkawood handle
  • 8 pcs kitchen block knife set
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Zelite Infinity Knife by Alpha seriesZelite Infinity Knife by Alpha series8 inchesBest for Professionals
  • AUS-10 Damascus steel
  • Tapered bolster with full tang
  • Classic 3-metal mosaic rivet
  • Rounded G10 handle
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Material
Handle
Blade Tip
Length
Knife Guard
Cleaning
Imarku Chef knife
Imarku Chef knife
Japanese super steel
G10 epoxy glass fiber
Straight
8 inches
Cover
Hand-wash
Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Set
Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Set
Japanese stainless steel
Heat-resistant resin
Straight
8 inches
Block
Hand-wash
TUO Cutlery Cleaver
TUO Cutlery Cleaver
Japanese steel
Pakkawood
Curved
7 inches
Cover
Hand-wash
Zelite Infinity Knife by Alpha series
Zelite Infinity Knife by Alpha series
Japanese super steel
Military Grade G10
Straight
8 inches
Cover
Hand-wash
Shun Classic
Shun Classic
VG-MAX steel
Pakkawood
Straight
8 inches
No cover
Hand-wash
Gyuto Kitchen by Simple Song
Gyuto Kitchen by Simple Song
High-quality stainless steel
Rosewood
Straight
8 inches
No cover
Hand-wash
Okami Knives
Okami Knives
VG10 Japanese Steel
Pakkawood
Straight
8 inches
Cover
Hand-wash
DALSTRONG Kiritsuke Knife
DALSTRONG Kiritsuke Knife
Japanese super steel
Military Grade G10
Curved
8.5 inches
Sheath
Hand-wash
Vegetable Knife by TradaFor
Vegetable Knife by TradaFor
German stainless steel
Pakkawood
Flat
7 inches
Cover
Hand-wash
Enso Chef's Knife with Sheath
Enso Chef's Knife with Sheath
Japanese VG10 steel
Black canvas micarta
Straight
8 inches
Sheath
Hand-wash

Best Japanese Knives

1. Imarku Chef knife

Imarku Chef knife
Highlighted Features
  • G10 fiber handle
  • Japanese super steel
  • Full tang
  • Triple rivets
KitchenFaction Rating
5

Imarku Chef knife is a knife that feels really comfortable in your hand and can slice through fruits, veggies, and meat like butter. This multipurpose knife can slice, dice, cut and chop as required. Plus, you can crush garlic with it and even remove flesh from the bones. Bring this premium quality knife to your home and enjoy the prep time and the cooking time.

Construction: This elegant knife has an 8-inch long, double-edged ‘V’-shaped blade that has 67 layers of AUS-10V Japanese super steel. The handle is quite ergonomic and is made of G-10 epoxy glass fiber. It provides a perfect balance with no skidding. Plus it is moisture-proof and oil-resistant. The knife has a full tang and triple rivets with a forged bolster.

Function: The cutting job has never been as easy as with the Imarku Chef knife. The double-edged blade with 8 to 12 degrees edge on each side provides the sharpness to cut vegetables and fruits; even deboning fish and meat. The blade is durable and very sharp with the Rockwell hardness of 60+ HRC. Hence, chopping, crushing, mincing, slicing and dicing is no trouble at all. Moreover, it is suitable for both left and right-handed people. Also, the handle has a suitable weight that does not put much stress on your wrist.

Cleaning and maintenance: The knife can be protected from getting rusty by sharpening it with a professional knife sharpening stone rather than a knife sharpening rod. For the handle, you need a linen cloth or cotton to wipe clean. In case, there is some stain on the handle, you should dip it in some oily-detergent or a water-soluble detergent and then wipe it clean. It is recommended to hand wash the knife, then wipe it clean and store it in a dry, airy place.

Pros
  • Elegant design
  • Sharp durable blade
  • Convenient to use
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Multipurpose knife
  • Easy maintenance
Cons
  • The handle may get slippery while cutting oily things

2. Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Set

Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Set
Highlighted Features
  • Japanese stainless steel
  • Fully forged blades
  • Bamboo storage block
  • Full tang
KitchenFaction Rating
5

Ginsu Chikara knife set offers design with quality. The emphasis on every detail while designing them delivers a product of premium quality. The Japanese-style handles are ergonomic and fill you with confidence as you explore your culinary skills. The full tang of the blade makes your job very convenient with no stress on your wrist.

Construction: The blades of Chikara knives are made of 420J2 Japanese stainless-steel and these blades have a full tang. The handles are rounded Japanese style and made of resin which makes them water and heat resistant. You also get a bamboo storage block for the knives. The set consists of 8 pieces and it includes 3-1/2-inch paring, 5-inch utility, 5-inch serrated, 7-inch santoku, and an 8-inch chef’s. Plus, you get a honing rod and kitchen shears.

Function: The Ginsu Chikara knives as the name suggests provide “power and energy”. The razor-sharp knives are forged in such a manner that they provide comfort and safety while you chop, cut, slice or dice through the vegetables, fruits, and meat. The handles are quite convenient for a firm grip, being round. Also, they don’t put much pressure on your wrists.

Cleaning and maintenance: The knives should be hand washed. For maintenance, sharpen the knives with a whetstone frequently. Honing of the edge should be done with the honing rod every time you use the knife so that you get perfect results.

Pros
  • Durable construction
  • Full tang
  • Firm grip
  • Razor-sharp edges
  • Ergonomic handles
  • Easy maintenance
Cons
  • May rust

3. TUO Cutlery Cleaver

TUO Cutlery Cleaver
Highlighted Features
  • Japanese AUS-10
  • 66 layers of softer steel
  • Polished pakkawood handle
  • 8 pcs kitchen block knife set
KitchenFaction Rating
5

TUO fiery series knives come in an 8-piece kitchen block knife set that includes a chopping knife, cleaver knife, santoku knife, utility knife, paring knife, and a firey series honing steel. Being hand-sharpened and with an exquisite design, these knives are durable with extra sharpness of AUS-10 high carbon steel used in making the core of the blade and 66 layers of softer steel covering the core. The pakkawood handles provide enhanced comfort and performance of using these knives.

Construction: The knives are made of AUS-10 high carbon steel in the core and covered by 66 layers of SUS410 steel that is a softer steel. These knives are sharpened by hand and there are very interesting unique Damascus patterns on the face of the knives. The full tang construction adds to the durability and long-lasting performance of the knives. Plus, these knives are rust-resistant and wear-resistant. The polished pakkawood handles are very beautifully designed with a slight curve that provides a perfect grip with an extreme convenience of maneuvering the knife at your will without any stress on the hand or wrist.

Function: These knives have a Rockwell hardness of 56±2 that guarantees the extreme convenience of cutting a variety of stuff pretty efficiently. Moreover, the pakkawood handles get through the job of slicing, dicing, and chopping of fruits, vegetables, small cuts of meat with extreme ease and perfection. Hence, you enjoy every bit of your culinary adventures with these TUO Japanese knives.

Cleaning and maintenance: Hand washing of these knives is recommended. In terms of maintenance, the edges should be honed regularly.

Pros
  • Rust-resistant & long-lasting
  • Full tang construction
  • Cut through fruits and vegetables easily
  • Durable handles
  • No stress on the wrist
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • The meeting point of bolster and handle is not a good fit

4. Zelite Infinity Knife by Alpha series

Zelite Infinity Knife by Alpha series
Highlighted Features
  • AUS-10 Damascus steel
  • Tapered bolster with full tang
  • Classic 3-metal mosaic rivet
  • Rounded G10 handle
KitchenFaction Rating
5

Zelite Infinity Chef knife by Alpha series is a premium construction chef knife made with AUS-10 Super Steel with 67-layer high carbon stainless steel that ensures that it is stain and rust-resistant. Besides, it has a razor-sharp edge, tapered bolster with a full tang for strength & control and a light & comfortable handle. Plus, the elegance further enhances with the classic triple mosaic rivet.

Construction: Zelite Infinity Chef knife has hammered tsuchime finish accompanied by a superior quality Japanese AUS-10 Super Steel that is sandwiched between 67 layers of high carbon stainless steel. Moreover, the knife has a Japanese tsunami rose Damascus pattern that looks really pretty. The 8-inch knife has an elegant design with a triple-riveted handle, a tapered bolster with a full tang for strength, durability & control and an ergonomic, rounded G10 handle.

It has a Rockwell Hardness of 61. Plus, it has been liquid nitrogen cooled to ensure it does not stain, rust or corrode. The 57mm blade provides optimum knuckle clearance and it has a 9 to 12 degrees razor-sharp edge on each side as it has been hand-finished with a 3-step honbazuke method.

Function: The ergonomic handle with a tapered bolster provides a secure, comfortable grip for you to handle the knife with utmost ease and convenience. The razor-sharp edges with polished cutting angles enable you to maneuver the knife effortlessly while slicing, dicing, chopping or cutting the vegetables, fruits, meat or fish.

Cleaning and maintenance: You need to hand-wash the knife with detergent and water. Then, let it dry and store it in a cool dry place. For maintenance, regularly sharpen the knife on a whetstone.

Pros
  • Premium-quality design
  • Durable & long-lasting
  • Powerful sharp blade
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Full tang construction
  • Comfortable use
  • Easy to clean & maintain
Cons
  • Needs to be sharpened regularly

5. Shun Classic

Shun Classic
Highlighted Features
  • VG Max steel construction
  • Ebony pakkawood handle
  • Heat-treated knife steel
  • Handcrafted technique
KitchenFaction Rating
4.5

Shun Classic Chef’s knife signifies the quality at its best, synonymous with the word “Shun” which signifies the peak of ripened seasonal fruits. The traditional handcrafted technique accompanied by the heat treatment process to forge the knife raises the level of perfection. You get supreme quality with extreme perfection to enjoy every minute of your culinary adventure.

Construction: VG Max steel is used to make this Shun classic knife. VG Max is steel that has 34 layers of stainless steel on each side of the blade making a total of 69 layers for long-lasting performance. For providing extra sharpness to the edge, extra tungsten is used. Corrosion resistance is achieved by the use of chromium. The strength and durability of the knife comes from cobalt and carbon. The heat treatment of the blade makes the blade finer-grained, stronger and harder. The handle is made of ebony pakkawood and an infusion with a resin ensures durability & water resistance.

Function: The technique of using the blade can also help you maintain the quality life of the knife. For slicing, you should push the knife forward first then down to cut the food. Afterward, pull it up and back. This process would prevent chipping while getting smooth cuts. So you can easily dice through vegetables, fruits, meat, and fish and actually enjoy your time spent in the kitchen.

Cleaning and maintenance: Hand-wash the knife with detergent and water. Do not let it air dry as it can get rusty. Wipe it clean and store it in a dry place. Regularly sharpen the knife with a whetstone or honing rod. Also, the shun manufacturers offer to sharpen the knife for free if you own it.

Pros
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Extra sharpness due to tungsten
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • 69 layers of stainless Damascus steel
  • Sharpening - free of cost
  • Easy maintenance
Cons
  • It is thin so it can bend easily

6. Gyuto Kitchen by Simple Song

Gyuto Kitchen by Simple Song
Highlighted Features
  • 420HC stainless steel
  • Professionally heat treated
  • Hand sharpened
  • Rosewood handle
  • Full-tang construction
KitchenFaction Rating
4.5

The traditional Japanese Gyuto Knife is specially designed to cater to the needs of home chefs and professional chefs alike. You wouldn’t feel a difference whether you make simple meals for the family or a chef uses it in a hectic rigorous environment of a restaurant. The perfect edge retention, the balance of the blade & handle and ultimate sharpness brings out the extreme perfection of this chef knife.

Construction: 420HC stainless steel has been used to forge the blades of the knife. The steel is heat-treated and hand sharpened to get the razor-sharp edge and the durability of the blade. The knife has a full tang construction and it is corrosion resistant as well. Moreover, the blade is sharpened to a 15-degree on one side while the other side remains flat in order to have perfectly sharp edge retention. The handle is made of hand-polished rosewood with a full tang design for a comfortable & balanced grip.

Function: This is a versatile chef knife and an ultimate weapon of culinary expertise in a professional chef’s hands. Whether you want to cut vegetables, get clean sashimi slices, hard meats like pork belly or even beefy chunks that require sharp edge, Gyuto Chef knife would provide the service with extreme professionalism. Moreover, it is corrosion resistant so it wouldn’t rust due to oxidation even if you cut your fruits, vegetables or meat with it.

Cleaning and maintenance: You need to hand wash the knife with water and detergent. Wipe it clean and store it in a dry place. Honing it with a honing rod or whetstone would help in maintaining the knife for a long-lasting performance.

Pros
  • Premium quality construction
  • Equally good for home and professional kitchen
  • Single bevel edge for sharpness
  • For soft and hard meats
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Easy maintenance
Cons
  • A bit heavy for some

7. Okami Knives

Okami Knives
Highlighted Features
  • VG10 Japanese steel
  • Pakkawood handle
  • Western-style knives
  • Free Okami Sharpener
KitchenFaction Rating
4

Okami knives are a blend of western design with Japanese construction. Therefore, the blades you get are thinner & harder and at the same time lighter & sharper. Plus, ergonomic pakkawood handle and long-lasting edge retention make your cutting job the most convenient & enjoyable one.

Construction: The Okami knife is forged with premium VG 10 Japanese steel that is ultra sharp and pretty light as compared to german steel. The construction has a western design but Japanese construction that provides style with quality. It also has a long-lasting edge retention. The ergonomic handle is made of pakkawood.

Function: The Okami chef knife is a multipurpose knife. You can chop, mince, slice and dice your vegetables, fruits or meat with perfection. The handle has a firm & comfortable grip that would not lay any stress on your hand or wrist. Plus, the lighter & sharper blade with perfect edge retention makes your task easier & more comfortable. Hence, you can enjoy every bit of the cutting job at hand.

Cleaning and maintenance: You get an Okami sharpener when you buy one or more of the Okami chef knives. So, sharpen it regularly to maintain its quality. Also, hand wash the knife and wipe it clean.

Pros
  • Blend of western design and Japanese construction
  • Multipurpose knife
  • Thin, hard, sharp and light blade
  • Comfortable pakkawood handle
  • Easy maintenance
Cons
  • Probably not good for left-handers
  • Half tang construction

8. DALSTRONG Kiritsuke Knife

DALSTRONG Kiritsuke Knife
Highlighted Features
  • AUS 10V Japanese steel
  • Full tang construction
  • Fiberglass resin G10 handle
  • Liquid nitrogen cooled blade
KitchenFaction Rating
3.5

Dalstrong Kiritsuke Chef knife is a picture of superior construction with a traditional 3-step honbazuke method of sharpening, liquid nitrogen cooled blade for extra sharpness, full tang construction with tapered bolster for a perfect balance and a G10 handle for long-lasting performance.

Construction: The Dalstrong knife is made up of AUS 10V Japanese super steel. The 66 layers of premium high carbon stainless steel provide unmatched quality construction. The Rockwell hardness of 62+ ensures ultra sharpness with long-lasting edge retention. The traditional 3-step honbazuke method is used for sharpening the blade besides giving it an 8 to 12-degree angle on each side. Also, the blade is nitrogen cooled for ultimate hardness & corrosion resistance. Full tang construction with triple rivet design provides maximum robustness & long-lasting performance. The tapered blade provides balance with smooth cutting & non-stick properties and the ergonomic, hand-polished handle can last a lifetime.

Function: The Dalstrong Kiritsuke chef knife is an infusion of designs including the traditional Japanese yanigabas (fish slicers) and usubas (vegetable knives). Usually, Kiritsuke knives are used by master chefs who are well-versed in handling them for displaying their culinary skills. Hence, you are sure to experience professional slicing, dicing and cutting of vegetables, fruits & meat with the kiritsuke knife.

Cleaning and maintenance: Hand wash the knife with detergent and water. Wipe it clean, let it dry, oil it if necessary and store it in a dry place. Regularly hone it with a honing rod or a whetstone.

Pros
  • Super-premium construction
  • Extreme sharpness & long-lasting edge retention
  • Incredible balance and control
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Easy maintenance
Cons
  • A bit heavier for some

9. Vegetable Knife by TradaFor

Vegetable Knife by TradaFor
Highlighted Features
  • German stainless steel
  • Pakkawood handle
  • Rockwell hardness 57-60 HRC
  • Seamless attachment of cutting core
  • Seamless attachment of handle
KitchenFaction Rating
3.5

TradaFor Usuba Japanese chef knife offers quality with utmost convenience and perfection in cutting paper-thin slices. With a very different unique design, sturdy german steel, ultra-sharp blade, and a perfect balance, this usuba knife takes you on an incredible journey of achieving culinary finesse.

Construction: The knife is constructed with a high quality 1.4116 german high-carbon stainless steel that gives the knife durability and rust-resistance. The knife has a single bevel with a straight edge for extra sharpness to cut through the food delicately. The handle is made of pakkawood so it is also durable and can withstand moisture. The 7-inch knife is lightweight and perfectly balanced.

Function: The construction of the knife makes it perfectly suited for right-handers. Moreover, the sharpness of the blade provides the delicacy to cut through fruits and veggies for getting paper-thin slices. The exquisite design of the blade and the ergonomic handle provide a great balance for slicing, dicing, cutting and mincing a variety of food including fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish. Also, the seamless attachment of the blade and handle provides safety and a strong grip while chopping with no stress on your wrist.

Cleaning and maintenance: Wash it carefully with detergent and soap. Wipe it clean and store it in a dry place. Since the knife is very sharp, you should keep it out of reach of children.

Pros
  • Unique design
  • High-quality construction
  • Safe and balanced grip
  • Ultra-sharp blade
  • Perfect for paper-thin slices
  • Effortless chopping
  • Easy to clean and maintain
Cons
  • Keep it out of reach of children

10. Enso Chef's Knife with Sheath

Enso Chef's Knife with Sheath
Highlighted Features
  • VG-10 steel cutting core
  • Full tang handle construction
  • Black canvas micarta handle
  • Hammered or sashimi finish
  • 12-degree cutting angle
KitchenFaction Rating
3.5

Enso Chef’s knife constructed in the city of swords, Seki, displays high-quality craftsmanship and traditional design to meet the needs of modern culinary cutlery. The Enso knife has a trademark Japanese blade ‘Kanji’ that is machine-pressed. Hence, Enso HD knife is perfect for slicing, dicing, cutting and chopping through a variety of food with utmost convenience and elegance.

Construction: The knife is constructed with a Japanese VG10 steel cutting core that is sandwiched between 37 layers of stainless Damascus steel. Plus, it has a traditional hammered sashimi finish that provides the blade with a sleek design and a perfect edge retention. The heat treatment of the knife gives it a 61 on Rockwell hardness scale with a cutting angle of 12 degrees. Also, the edge is double-beveled for both right-handed and left-handed users. The handle is made of black canvas micarta that gives it the same look as that of wood and it has three stainless steel rivets, bolster & an end cap.

Function: The Enso HD chef’s knife can be used for slicing, dicing, chopping and cutting of fruits, vegetables, meat with extreme perfection. In fact, the curved design of the blade lets you rock through spices and herbs to get a perfect mince. Therefore, the traditional craftsmanship with advanced technology lets you experience your culinary knife cuts with comfort, ease, and safety.

Cleaning and maintenance: You need to wash the knife with detergent and water. Wipe it clean and store it in a dry place. You should sharpen the knife regularly either with a whetstone or a honing rod.

Pros
  • Sleek design
  • Quality construction
  • Both for left & right-handers
  • Sharp and light
  • Firm grip
  • Easy to clean & maintain
Cons
  • Needs to be sharpened regularly

Things to look for before buying!

There are so many styles or designs of the blade out there, and you might not even know which knife would be the best for you. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, then let me help you in choosing a knife that fits your comfort level and you can use it quite easily.

Following are some features you should look for while buying:

  • Material
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Sharp steel
  • Full-tang construction
  • Easy to use and clean

Buying Guide

What are Japanese knives?

Japanese knives come with detailed designs plus there is no compromise on blades so they cut with ease. They come in a variety of blades; some are thin and some are thick. But if you don’t take care of them properly and after every use, they are prone to damage. Some Japanese knives are made with a full tang which gives them stability and makes them durable. Their handle is made with such precision that it will be easy to carry and cut whatever you want. Moreover, it will not be hard on your wrists.

Which one is better: Japanese or German knives?

Japanese knives are very much lighter to hold and are made so sharp so that you don’t need to exert much effort when cutting or chopping. Due to their thin blade, they are prone to damage if you don’t take care of them so you need to maintain them quite often. They are very good for cutting delicate things like fish and veggies.

On the other hand, German knives are heavy and bulky due to their thick blades that need to be sharpened for good edge retention. They are perfect for heavy-duty tasks like breaking down the chicken. Eventually, your preference is what matters in order to differentiate which one is the best.

Are there certain tips to follow while using a Japanese knife?

Yes, there certainly is, Japanese knives have thin blades so they are at the risk of being damaged if you don’t use them properly. With this knife, you can cut delicate things. This knife is not for chopping bones, frozen foods or hard seeds as well. Moreover, don’t use cutting boards that are made of marble or glass as they can damage the edge of the knife. Moreover, you don’t need to exert much effort while cutting but if you are cutting and the knife isn’t cutting with ease then you need to change it immediately as this is for your own safety and comfort.

How to maintain these Japanese knives?

Maintaining these knives requires a lot of hard work. Even if you use them strictly for cutting delicate stuff, they need to be sharpened after every use to maintain the edge. If you don’t sharpen the blade it will lead to exerting more effort on your part, leading to an accident. Therefore, it is quite essential to keep it sharpened so that you can cut easily. A ceramic sharpening rod is considered to be best for sharpening the knives as others don’t do the job that well.

How to wash Japanese knives?

Japanese knives need to be washed after every use in order to prolong their life expectancy otherwise they will most certainly rust. Moreover, take care to not wash these knives in the dishwasher as it can diminish the quality of the knife. So it is highly recommended to wash these knives by hand and dry well to secure its longevity.

How to store Japanese knives?

There are many different knife protectors that often come with the knife so it’s better to keep the knives inside them. After washing and drying, you need to keep the knife in its protective cover to protect its longevity. There are many options to keep the knife secure by covering it with a sheath or keeping it in a box or you can have a knife block to keep your knife secure and out of the reach of children.

Conclusion

So, guys, I have mentioned the information about Japanese knives plus reviewed the best products but it all comes down to your preference so make a decision and cut and slice with ease!

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