9 Best Japanese Knives

9 Best Japanese Knives

Good chefs are distinguished by their kitchen tools, especially their chef’s knives. You should invest in a Japanese chef’s knife. Here we are. If your dull-ass kitchen knives aren’t cutting it anymore, it’s time for an upgrade.

Unmatched craftsmanship and precision continue to be hallmarks of brands like Shun, Miyabi, and Yoshihiro. It is up to the individual to decide which Japanese knife brand will suit their needs the best. You should consider your current kitchen tasks and your aspirations. Perhaps all you need is a tool that will cut through all your delicious food.

There is nothing better than Japanese knives when it comes to heirloom-quality and the attention to detail. Kitchen companions should provide maximum comfort and a secure, sturdy grip handle. Be sure to examine the smaller details, like the blade material and construction. Knives made of Japanese steel are extremely thin and easily break or chip.

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Many options will undoubtedly be available to you. Our review is dedicated to the most effective best Japanese knives available. Our inventory consists of ten knives made by seven manufacturers. We are going to review some candidates to find the perfect Japanese knives for you. Your Japanese knife will last a lifetime with routine cleaning, polishing, and proper storage.

Top List Below Best Japanese Knives

1. Shun Cutlery Classic Japanese Knife

Shun Cutlery Classic Japanese Knife

Features

  • Brand: Shun
  • Model: DM0706
  • Color: Black
  • Material: VG-MAX Steel
  • Weight: 7.1 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎15 x 2.8 x 1 inches

An 8-inch Shun chef’s knife is first on our list. The word is derived from a Japanese word that means perfectly ripe fruit. Making knives perfectly suited for their intended use is their aim. Each Shun knife is handcrafted in Japan’s three knife capitals, including Seki city. After that, they are shipped throughout the world.

Cobalt, chromium, tungsten, and carbon are all contained in VG Max. Its strength is a combination of carbon and cobalt, while its sharpness is a combination of tungsten and chromium. Consequently, you obtain a knife with a sharp edge that won’t corrode over time.

A total of 34 layers of Damascus steel are installed on both sides of the blade. The blade is protected against corrosion and stress by this. It not only makes the product longer-lasting but also looks stylish.

A wood and resin composite, Pakkawood is made from wood and resin. As a result of its construction, it is resistant to water. Can you explain what that means for you? Those nasty kitchen microbes, such as bacteria and germs, will not find a home in your handle. Wooden handles of low quality can absorb water and lead to bacteria growth in your knife. Pakkawood handles avoid this problem.

Also, it is contoured to perfectly fit your hand. It has a D-shaped holder that allows your fingers to wrap around it. Because of this, it’s a right-handed knife, which may turn off left-handed people.

There is a complaint about chipping with this knife. Since the steel is VG-MAX, the blade is somewhat brittle. If you’re used to caring for your knives, it won’t be a problem, but if you want a knife that will survive the rough and tumble of a family kitchen, this is a drawback.

2. Global Chef’s Knife

Global Chef’s Knife

Features

  • Brand: Global
  • Model: G-2
  • Color: Silver
  • Material: Stainless Stee, Carbon
  • Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎14.72 x 3.46 x 0.94 inches

A new 8-inch chef’s knife from Global has arrived. Even though Global is based in the third historically important knife region of Japan, it is the first non-traditional maker on our list. From 1985 to the present, Global has produced a line of unique modern Japanese knives.

Knives made from Cromova 18 steel create the illusion of being one-piece pieces. Their bodies consist of three parts – the blade, the handle, and the grip. The three are welded together using TIG welding. Welding the hollow handle pieces together first, and then adding the blade. Finally, the fine grain of sand is filled into the handle.

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So what’s the bottom line here? Cromova 18 ice-tempered steel is between 56 and 58 degrees Rockwell in temperature. In the hollow handle of the blade, fine-grain sand is used to achieve the right balance. A dimpled handle is also present. The result is a more easily grippable surface.

We use stamped steel for this knife in comparison to our other knives. It is therefore cut from a larger piece of steel rather than forged individually.

It has a stainless steel handle and a one-piece welded style, which have several advantages. It looks like they made the knives super modern. More importantly, stainless is completely water-resistant, and it has no cracks or crevices to harbor bacteria.

3. Mac Superior Santoku Knife

Mac Superior Santoku Knife

Features

  • Brand: Mac Knife
  • Model: SK-65
  • Color: Silver
  • Material: Alloy Steel, Pakkawood
  • Weight: 8.4 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎6.5 x 1 x 1 inches

We have an offering from MAC in the form of a 6 12.4-inch Santoku knife. Both Shun and the company are located in Seki. Since 1964, they have produced and sold knives in the US and were the first Japanese knife makers to do so. Santoku is a Sansei; the word means three virtues. Traditionally, this style of knife is used by Japanese chefs.

It is shaped differently from the Gyuto and has a different level. Made of MAC’s Superior Steel, the Superior Series knife is part of the series. Steel is tempered to a sub-zero temperature. When steel is heated to very low temperatures, it becomes more durable and wears and tear-resistant.

In MAC’s case, the blade design is their own. This is a fusion of eastern and western styles. The cutting edge has a V-shaped profile, and the bevel on the cutting edge is single, so take care if you are left-handed. An extra 15 degrees is sharpened on the cutting edge as well. The blades of most other non-Japanese knives are five degrees sharper.

MAC takes great pride in this aspect of its knives. Therefore, they not only sharpen the blade edges more accurately, but the spine is also narrower than those of most other blades. With only 2mm in thickness, this knife slides through food like butter.

Like most knives on this list, the tang determines how well the knife balances. An even balance toward the handle is a full tang. Take a look at the handle. Again, Pakkawood works well for easy cleanup and bacteria-free handle confidence. It is MAC’s confidence in the quality of their knives that leads to them providing a 25-year warranty against manufacturing defects.

4. Mac Series Japanese Knife

Mac Series Japanese Knife

Features

  • Brand: Mac Knife
  • Model: JU-65
  • Color: Silver
  • Material: Pakkawood, Alloy Steel
  • Weight: 0.24 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎6.5 x 1 x 1 inches

Even though Sacramento City is the company’s headquarters, the entire knife-making process is carried out in Seki, Japan using Japanese products, which include shaping, assembly, polishing, and sharpening. To maintain the authenticity of Japanese craftsmanship, they employ professional Japanese craftsmen.

Over 25 million Japanese knives have been sold since 1964 by this company. A razor-sharp edge, a comfortable handle, and elaborate balancing are reasons for their fame and popularity. There are numerous positive reviews online from MAC knife owners, confirming their reputation as one of the best Japanese knife brands.

Blades are made from molybdenum-infused, rust-resistant high carbon steel. The final step involves hand-grinding and hand-sharpening on water-cooled stones, which produces a smooth and sharp blade. When you cut this way, you reduce drag and the ingredients are less likely to stick to the knife.

With the cutting-edge design, you have a fusion of the traditional Japanese blade with a single-sided edge and the Western blade with both sides sharpened. Having an off-center design allows it to be used in a variety of ways. The knife can easily be used to cut thin slices as well as straight cuts.

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5. Enso Large Chef’s Knife

Enso Large Chef's Knife

Features

  • Brand: Enso
  • Model: VG10
  • Color: 37-layers VG10 Hammered Damascus Stainless Steel, Triple Rivet Black Micarta Handle, 61 Rockwell Hardness. Made in Seki, Japan.37-layers VG10 Hammered Damascus Stainless Steel, Triple Rivet Black Micarta Handle, 61 Rockwell Hardness. Made in Seki, Japan.
  • Material: Wood, Japanese 37-layer VG10 Hammered Damascus Stainless
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎19 x 7 x 3 inches

In the next knife, Enso is involved. There’s a 10-inch Gyuto knife here. Knives by Enso have made their mark on the world since 1932, and this one is no exception. Gyuto is characterized by the western chef’s knife, given a Japanese style. The edge is similarly very sharp as if it were a katana.

The 10 inches make this knife one of the longest on the list. Well, we know what you are thinking; what makes the steel special? Basically, this knife is made with VG-10 steel, our old favorite. Heat treatment also allowed Enso to obtain a Rockwell score of 61.

Damascus is sandwiched between the two layers. It’s not only that, as the Damascus is Tsuchime, meaning hammered. Again, the hammering adds to the look, as well as provides an additional way to ensure slices won’t stick together.

A traditional Japanese knife has only a single bevel, making it difficult for left-handed users to use. Because the Enso has a double bevel, it works perfectly with both right-handers and left-handers.

This Handle consists of a canvas substrate impregnated with epoxy and subjected to pressure and high temperatures. Micarta canvas appears rough but becomes grippy when damp.

6. Miyabi Birchwood Chef’s Knife

Miyabi Birchwood Chef’s Knife

Features

  • Brand: Miyabi
  • Model: 34373-163
  • Color: Stainless Steel
  • Material: Alloy Steel, Wood
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎3.25 x 1.38 x 15.13 inches

The second knife of this series comes from Miyabi. I’ve got an 8-inch chef’s knife, and it’s really stunning. This is not a knife for the faint at heart, but a high-quality knife for those who appreciate quality. A micro carbide steel alloy and Karelian birchwood were assembled into this tool. Materials like these should not be messed with.

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It is made of steel, which is super hard, and birchwood, which is incredibly expensive. With Miyabi’s patented Cryodur process, SG-2 is ice-hardened to Rockwell 63 using steel that normally is hard. Those are about the hardest knives you can find. In this procedure, steel is first heated before being quenched to room temperature briefly.

In response, the steel is exposed to -196 degrees Celsius, causing it to become extraordinarily hard. To complete the process, it is necessary to reheat the blade and resupply some flexibility. Steel is a compare-and-contrast activity, and SG-2 compares well. It is both hard as nails and rust-resistant. The difference is even greater than VG-10.

In common with several knives included on this list, the knife core is encased in Damascus steel. While all the other knives have only one layer, this one has 100 layers! Strengthened durability and toughness are provided by these materials. There is 2mm of blade thickness on the heel. All Miyabis is Honbazuke honed to 9.5 – 12 degrees, as it is with all Honbazuke knives.

That makes it among the sharpest knives on the market. The handle is made from birchwood. There’s no ordinary birchwood here; it’s either Karelian or Masur birchwood. This wood has a distinctive grain pattern as a result of a hereditary trait found in certain trees. It is possible that the traditional Japanese D shape will not fit someone left-handed.

7. Yoshihiro Japanese Chefs Knife

Yoshihiro Japanese Chefs Knife

Features

  • Brand: Yoshihiro Cutlery
  • Model: HDGY21
  • Color: Mahogony Handle
  • Material: VG-10 Hammered Damascus, Wood
  • Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎13.4 x 0.06 x 1.81 inches

Following that will be an 8 inch Yoshihiro Gyuto knife. Yashihiro has been making handcrafted knives in Sakai city for more than a century. Globally, they expanded in 2008 and have a Los Angeles headquarters. The Gyuto is the Japanese counterpart to the western chef’s knife. In keeping with the German-style, its blade is continuously curved. As a multipurpose knife, the Gyuto slices, dices, minces, minces, chops, and disjoints.

Steel is everything in the knife world. Takefu Special Steels introduced VG-10 steel more than 60 years ago, and it is used in this knife. Is there a benefit to this? On the Rockwell steel hardness scale, VG-10 gets a hardness score of 60 HRC. Then it must be pretty difficult. Using hard steel can result in a blade edge that is sharper and lasts longer.

Steel is wrapped around the core 16 times with hammered Damascus. By hammering the Damascus, you can enhance the appearance of the structure and ensure food release. In this case, the pockets of air between the blade indents and the food act as a preventative measure. There is a full tang to this knife. Basically, it means that the blade steel extends to the end of the handle.

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Due to its full tang, the knife is balanced. The blade also acquires more strength since it has a full fulcrum. This reason, however, requires that the handle be split into two pieces. Speaking of the handle, it’s made from mahogany. Looks great, feels fantastic, and will last as long as it is properly cared for. Although, it definitely needs to be taken care of.

8. Seisuke Hammered Kiritsuke Santoku Japanese Knife

Seisuke Hammered Kiritsuke Santoku Japanese Knife

Features

  • Brand: Table Top
  • Model: Aus10
  • Color: Silver / Blue
  • Material: Alloy Steel, Pakkawood

A team of experienced craftsmen, belonging to Japanny, makes Seisuke knives throughout Japan. We promote traditional and high-quality handmade Japanese kitchen knives online through our website, Japanny.

The company currently promotes numerous other brands in addition to Seisuke, its original brand. This knife collection includes knives with a variety of blades, handles, and designs. A variety of models are available, ranging from affordable workhorses to unique art pieces suitable for use at home or in the kitchen.

Because Seisuke knives are made in cities such as Toyama, Miki, Takefu, Sakai, Seki, and Sanjou, we will not commit the injustice of lumping them together. The Seisuke brand is enriched by the unique contributions of each of them. Their efforts have helped maintain the reputation of Seisuke as one of the best Japanese knife brands. In addition to the brand name, they both handcraft knives in Japan from the finest Japanese materials.

NE Alberta, Portland, Oregon, is home to Seisuke, which displays knives made by Japanese artisans. During many of their events, customers can meet the actual knife makers.

9. Yoshihiro Gyuto Japanese Chefs Knife

Yoshihiro Gyuto Japanese Chefs Knife

Features

  • Brand: Yoshihiro
  • Model: GWGY210
  • Color: Black Pakkawood Handle
  • Material: Stainless Steel, Pakkawood
  • Weight: 5 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎14 x 3 x 1 inches

Keeping up with our knives series, our next option is our 7-inch stainless steel santoku knife, the Yoshihiro. The Yoshihiro company is located in Sakai city as mentioned. The manufacturer of 90 percent of Japan’s knives purchased by professionals is Sakai.

Santoku knives seem to be everywhere, so we should clarify what they are. In the mid-20th century, Japanese households began expanding their cooking repertoire as they sought to improve their diets. A modern version of the old Nakiri vegetable knife, the Santoku is also suitable for cuts of meat.

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Warikomi is a process in which VG-10 steel is embedded between two stainless steel sides. Wow, Warikomi? The warikomi technique involves setting a piece of harder steel into a more malleable outer steel then combining the two to form a solid metal.

As a result of the VG-10 set in the middle, the edge can maintain a fine edge, while the stainless steel ensures external flexibility. Because it is made of plain stainless steel, this knife should be easier to maintain with a reduced risk of discoloration.

This blade is rated 60 on a Rockwell scale of HRC. Steel is graded according to Rockwell HRC hardness, which is the hardness scale most common in knives. Having a score of 60 means the blade can hold razor-sharp edges well. Since its widest point has a 2mm thickness, this blade slices and dices easily.

In contrast to some of the manufacturers on the list, Yoshihiro isn’t biased towards left-handed construction. Both righted and lefties can use this knife easily thanks to the double-edged blade. An easy-to-care Pakkawood handle and balanced rear end enhances the performance. An ergonomic Western-style design that fits into your hand.

Buying Guide: Japanese Knives

The question is, what are the best features to look for when purchasing a Japanese knife? First, we consider the materials’ quality. A knife’s blade and handle are made of steel, and the handle is made of some kind of material. We’ll start with the steel…

Materials

Choosing knives when faced with carbon and stainless steel can be confusing. As a result of the alloy in stainless steel, carbon steel, and other steel blades, all knives contain carbon. Carbon knives are steel knives, but stainless steel adds a longer lasting quality to the mix.

Blades made of carbon steel maintain sharp edges longer and are heavy-duty, but they are susceptible to corroding and rusting. The chromium in the alloy mitigates the issue of discoloration or rust when stainless steel is added to the mix. Furthermore, chrome enhances the silvery shine of blades and helps them last longer.

Storage

Storage is not an issue if you buy a set, as the block is included. Individual knives are an option if you prefer that route. It comes with a sheath that protects the blade. However, if you intend to store your knives in a drawer, an organizer will keep them from being lost.

There are a variety of in-drawer organizers available in a variety of materials and sizes. When you have space on a wall, magnetic strips are a great option. There are many attractive materials available for any kitchen design, and they are convenient for prep areas. 

Handle

You should also handle the material well. Synthetics are best if you want to protect your knife. If, however, you are sure that the handle will be well taken care of, then you might enjoy using a real wood handle.

Length and Shape

Now let’s take a look at how the blade is shaped. Choosing a shape will depend on how you enjoy chopping. The curve needs to be greater if you like a rocking motion.

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Perhaps we should also consider the length here. You need no more than six to eight inches of knife for home cooking according to most chefs. The longer it is, the more difficult it becomes to control, and unless it is required for specific techniques, the longer it is mostly wasted.

Maintenance

You have to take a little more care of your Japanese blades than you would with Western blades. Due to their ice-hardened nature, blades can become brittle or chipped when exposed to strong detergents or dishwasher sprays. After cleaning, you should also dry them immediately. This prevents them from rusting or picking up water spots. In addition to cracking handles, dishwasher heat and steam can also cause them to crack. Furthermore, you want those knives you have invested in to last a long time.

Knives that are dull are useless, and Japanese knives require special attention in that regard. The Japanese edge requires a higher angle than you can achieve with whetstones at home, but you can sharpen them yourself if you understand what the higher angle means. You need to practice. The sharpening service that some brands and retailers offer with purchases should be taken advantage of. Sharpening your knives is a good investment even if the shop does not offer free service.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Best Japanese Knives made of?

The best Japanese knives won’t be made in China, the USA, or anywhere else but Japan. Make a pilgrimage to Sakai City if you’re obsessed with Japanese hand-crafted knives and want to see where the best Japanese chef’s knives originate. Nearly 90 percent of all Japanese knives made in the country are handcrafted here.

When should Japanese knives be sharpened?

Whenever your knife smushes a tomato, you should sharpen it. However, do not let it get to this point. Maintaining your knives regularly ensures that they will perform well when the time comes. Sharpening knives is always a matter of frequency of use. You may need to sharpen your knives more frequently if you cook every day. In the case of occasional cooks, you may be able to wait longer, but at least get them sharpened once a year.

How do Japanese knives compare to German knives?

Knives made by Japanese manufacturers are usually lighter and sharper than those made by German manufacturers. Their thinness makes them prone to breaking tips and chipping blades, so Japanese knives require more maintenance.
Japanese knives are great for cutting vegetables, slicing fish, and other delicate tasks because of their thin, light design. In Lau’s view, sushi is an excellent example. You don’t cook sushi, so how you prepare it and how fresh the ingredients are what makes a sushi chef great.
A German knife is often heavier and bulkier, but it is also more robust and requires more sharpening if you want it to hold an edge well. German knives are good for cutting through poultry, such as breaking down chicken. Knives are ultimately selected based on their needs and preferences.


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Emma Gold
By Emma Gold

Hi, I'm Emma Gold and I am the Blog Editor at KitchenExpert.net. My blog is all about kitchen accessories and utensils that you need to make your cooking life easier! If you're looking for a new knife or spatula, or want to upgrade your pots and pans; then come visit me at my blog to see what's hot in the kitchen world today!

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