The 5 Best Japanese Kitchen Knives of 2021 Buyers Guide & Expert Reviews

best japanese kitchen knives

Cooking is an art, and to do it well you need fresh ingredients and the correct cooking tools. A good quality kitchen knife is essential in achieving superb results and ensures the cooking process is much easier. If you have a sharp knife, you can slice your ingredients quickly, and speed up your cooking process. Choosing the best kitchen knife on the market is going to give you extra precision while preparing your meal and ensure safety and comfort. So, choosing the best knife is very important. 

There are lots of knives on the market, so it can be tricky when choosing the best one for you. To make the process easier we have done the research for you. While there are many knives out there we discovered Japanese knives. Japanese cuisine requires a high level of precision and using good quality knives is part of achieving such excellent results.  Japanese knives are popular with chefs and they have many positive reviews. That’s why today we are going to discuss the benefits and options of the best Japanese kitchen knives. I hope this will help you to choose the best one for you. So, stay with us.

Why Japanese knife?

 

Japanese knives are well known for their tremendous sharpness and lightweight. This is one of the main reasons it has become the prime choice with amateur and professional chefs worldwide. Over the past decade, Japanese cooking techniques have gained the attention of chefs worldwide. With the growing popularity of Japanese cuisine, the interest in Japanese chef knives has also increased.

Delicate Japanese cuisine requires a sharp blade to preserve the fresh flavors and appearance of ingredients. Cutting with a dull knife can damage the cell walls of food and accelerates discoloration and wilting. Nowadays, Japanese knives have become a popular tool in chef’s kitchens.

The Japanese knives are entirely hand-made, which is the main reason behind their usage! The blacksmiths use different types of metals for making these knives. Also, their techniques of forging metals are what differentiate them from other knives. Using traditional techniques to forge and sharpen the blades it stands out above other knives, delivering precision with every slice.

Now let’s discuss some of the important features. Japanese knives are very sharp and light. Because of its lightweight, and sharpness chefs prefer to use it rather over other blades. The design and shape of Japanese knives are also what makes them so popular. Different Japanese knife brands make diverse sizes and shapes, used for various purposes like shell removing, etc. 

Right now it is popular in many countries, especially in America and Europe. In Asia, Japanese knives have an excellent reputation as this is the preferred knife for many Asian chefs.  

Things To Consider Before Buying Japanese Knives

 

Japanese knives have been at the top of the list for chefs. Well known for its sharpness, slim design, and lightweight. But before buying Japanese knives, there are a few things we need to consider carefully. Check the following point to ensure your find a knife that’s right for you,

Price

The first factor is the price! Japanese knives can come in a large range of prices from 50 to 1000 dollars! It is best to allocate a budget based on your skills. Expensive knives come with a high carbon steel blade, which means they can retain their sharp edge longer. For this, proper maintenance and regular sharpening are required. A cheaper knife will still deliver equally impressive results, however, cannot hold their sharpness as long as a higher-end knife. A decent, good-quality Japanese knife will cost around 100 dollars. 

Blade Style

The blade style is one of the essential things that need to be considered; Japanese knives come in single bevel and double bevel blades. The single bevel blade is made for professionals, and the double bevel blade is suitable for everyday usage.

Blade Type

The third thing that needs to be considered is blade type; when you are buying a Japanese knife, you have to consider the class. There are numerous types of knives, which have specific usage, but there are two types of Japanese knives that are meant for general use, and they are Gyuto and Santoku. The gyuto blade is a bit longer than Santoku. So basically if you are working in a small space, you should consider Santoku. 

Knife Handle

The last thing to consider is the handle type. Japanese Knives can come with a Western-style handle or traditional Japanese handle. The Western handle has a decadent grip, formed shaped, and secured through the tang of the blade with rivets. On the other hand, the traditional Japanese handle is cylindrical, lighter, and always made of wood. The conventional Japanese handle may feel awkward to those who have never used this before. But it can provide a more delicate touch and control once you are set with it. In the end, it is up to you to choose one that suits you best.

TOP 5 JAPANESE KITCHEN KNIVES | OUR TOP PICKS

Preview
Best Overall
Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle; All-Purpose Blade for a Full Range of Cutting Tasks with Curved Blade for Easy Cuts; Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan
Best Budget
Kitory Chef's Knives - Kitchen Chef Knife Pro - Japanese AUS8 HC Steel - Full Tang - Dishwasher Safe Black G10 Handle - 8.5" - AUS8BCHEF
Best Durable
KUMA Professional Damascus Chef Knife – 8 inch Knife with Hardened Japanese Carbon Steel - Stain & Corrosion Resistant Blade - Balanced Ergonomic Handle & Sheath - Sushi Chef Knife – Safe & Easy
Zelite Infinity Chef Knife 8 Inch, Damascus Japanese AUS-10 Super Stainless Steel Blade Lasts a Lifetime, Sharpest Professional Chefs Knife For Cooking, Gyuto Made for Home Cook or Restaurant Kitchen
Best Beginner knife
Santoku Knife - imarku 7 inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp Asian Knife Japanese Chef Knife - German HC Stainless Steel 7Cr17Mov - Ergonomic Pakkawood Handle, Best Choice for Home Kitchen and Restaurant
Title
Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle; All-Purpose Blade for a Full Range of Cutting Tasks with Curved Blade for Easy Cuts; Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan
Kitory Chef's Knives - Kitchen Chef Knife Pro - Japanese AUS8 HC Steel - Full Tang - Dishwasher Safe Black G10 Handle - 8.5" - AUS8BCHEF
KUMA Professional Damascus Chef Knife – 8 inch Knife with Hardened Japanese Carbon Steel - Stain & Corrosion Resistant Blade - Balanced Ergonomic Handle & Sheath - Sushi Chef Knife – Safe & Easy
Zelite Infinity Chef Knife 8 Inch, Damascus Japanese AUS-10 Super Stainless Steel Blade Lasts a Lifetime, Sharpest Professional Chefs Knife For Cooking, Gyuto Made for Home Cook or Restaurant Kitchen
Santoku Knife - imarku 7 inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp Asian Knife Japanese Chef Knife - German HC Stainless Steel 7Cr17Mov - Ergonomic Pakkawood Handle, Best Choice for Home Kitchen and Restaurant
Prime Benefits
-
Best Overall
Preview
Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle; All-Purpose Blade for a Full Range of Cutting Tasks with Curved Blade for Easy Cuts; Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan
Title
Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle; All-Purpose Blade for a Full Range of Cutting Tasks with Curved Blade for Easy Cuts; Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan
Prime Benefits
Check on Amazon
Best Budget
Preview
Kitory Chef's Knives - Kitchen Chef Knife Pro - Japanese AUS8 HC Steel - Full Tang - Dishwasher Safe Black G10 Handle - 8.5" - AUS8BCHEF
Title
Kitory Chef's Knives - Kitchen Chef Knife Pro - Japanese AUS8 HC Steel - Full Tang - Dishwasher Safe Black G10 Handle - 8.5" - AUS8BCHEF
Prime Benefits
-
Check on Amazon
Best Durable
Preview
KUMA Professional Damascus Chef Knife – 8 inch Knife with Hardened Japanese Carbon Steel - Stain & Corrosion Resistant Blade - Balanced Ergonomic Handle & Sheath - Sushi Chef Knife – Safe & Easy
Title
KUMA Professional Damascus Chef Knife – 8 inch Knife with Hardened Japanese Carbon Steel - Stain & Corrosion Resistant Blade - Balanced Ergonomic Handle & Sheath - Sushi Chef Knife – Safe & Easy
Prime Benefits
Check on Amazon
Preview
Zelite Infinity Chef Knife 8 Inch, Damascus Japanese AUS-10 Super Stainless Steel Blade Lasts a Lifetime, Sharpest Professional Chefs Knife For Cooking, Gyuto Made for Home Cook or Restaurant Kitchen
Title
Zelite Infinity Chef Knife 8 Inch, Damascus Japanese AUS-10 Super Stainless Steel Blade Lasts a Lifetime, Sharpest Professional Chefs Knife For Cooking, Gyuto Made for Home Cook or Restaurant Kitchen
Prime Benefits
Check on Amazon
Best Beginner knife
Preview
Santoku Knife - imarku 7 inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp Asian Knife Japanese Chef Knife - German HC Stainless Steel 7Cr17Mov - Ergonomic Pakkawood Handle, Best Choice for Home Kitchen and Restaurant
Title
Santoku Knife - imarku 7 inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp Asian Knife Japanese Chef Knife - German HC Stainless Steel 7Cr17Mov - Ergonomic Pakkawood Handle, Best Choice for Home Kitchen and Restaurant
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Check on Amazon

Best Overall Japanese Kitchen Knife

 

Shun Classic 8″ Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle

 

Shun Classic is one of the best top-rated knives. It is totally corrosion resistant and has a very sharp edge. It is made using carbon and cobalt, which makes this knife really durable. It has a sturdy handle that is made of pure Pakkawood. Pakkawood is a super material that has a water-resistant finish, and it is very easy to clean.

This knife is 8 inches long and is very lightweight. This knife could be the best gift for a chef or cook in your house. This knife is a pleasure to use while working in the kitchen.

Key feature

  • Proprietary VG-MAX cutting core
  • Pakkawood handles are too strong.
  • Can wash with gentle dish soap
  • Durable and resist moisture

Pros

  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Too sharp & Long-lasting
  • Water-resistant handle
  • Can wash with normal dish soap

Cons

  • Extremely sharp, not for amateur use.
  • Some users have a bending issue on the top of the knife.
Preview
Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle; All-Purpose Blade for a Full Range of Cutting Tasks with Curved Blade for Easy Cuts; Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan
Prime Benefits
More information
Preview
Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle; All-Purpose Blade for a Full Range of Cutting Tasks with Curved Blade for Easy Cuts; Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan
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Best Budget Japanese Kitchen Knife

 

Kitory Chef’s Knives – Kitchen Chef Knife Pro

 

The manufacturer of the Kitory chef’s knives is made using Japanese Super Steel AUS-8, this is one of the best materials for knives. This knife has a mirror finish with a good design. It can cut with a clean form with its razor-sharp edge. An amazing feature is it prevents food from sticking with the knife. 

It comes with a full tang steel blade which is hand sharpened. Full tang knives have a full piece of metal and are the strongest, half of which is between two pieces of the handle it is super comfortable in hand and has a good balance while cutting. Overall it gives excellent performance with proper durability. Another amazing thing is it is one of the top-rated best Japanese knives on Amazon.

Key Features 

  • This is perfect for all cutting tasks.
  • It has high carbon steel.
  • Kitory is a professional-grade knife.
  • It has a lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Great performance on heavy work
  • Totally stainless
  • Well balanced.
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • It is very light, so some of the users don’t feel comfortable while using it,.
  • It can scratch while sharpening.
Preview
Kitory Chef's Knives - Kitchen Chef Knife Pro - Japanese AUS8 HC Steel - Full Tang - Dishwasher Safe Black G10 Handle - 8.5" - AUS8BCHEF
Prime Benefits
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Preview
Kitory Chef's Knives - Kitchen Chef Knife Pro - Japanese AUS8 HC Steel - Full Tang - Dishwasher Safe Black G10 Handle - 8.5" - AUS8BCHEF
Prime Benefits
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Best Durable Japanese Kitchen Knife

 

KUMA Professional Damascus Chef Knife – 8-inch Chef Knife with Hardened Japanese Carbon Steel

 

The main reason to buy this knife is it’s long-lasting, very strong, and durable. There are lots of knives where the blades bend and break easily under pressure. This knife is different and designed to manage pressure well.

This 8-inch chef knife is made with Damascus steel, which originates from the east. It is super strong as it has 67 layers. It has a high-quality handle that is well designed and ultra-comfortable in hand. It has a polished soft spine that gives the knife a well-balanced and comfortable grip. When applying pressure it glides the blade effortlessly through the food.

Key features

  • Made of high-grade steel which gives excellent performance.
  • It has a proper balance for the soft spine on the handle.
  • Kuma Built with the premium Japanese exclusive steel in historical Yang Jiang.
  • Very popular with cooks due to its design.
  • Kuma is beautifully handcrafted.

Pros:

  • Razor-sharp performance
  • Long-lasting
  • Well balanced
  • Moisture resistant

Cons

  • Some people say that it doesn’t stay sharp for a long time.
  • Blade becomes spotted if you don’t properly dry it.
Preview
KUMA Professional Damascus Chef Knife – 8 inch Knife with Hardened Japanese Carbon Steel - Stain & Corrosion Resistant Blade - Balanced Ergonomic Handle & Sheath - Sushi Chef Knife – Safe & Easy
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KUMA Professional Damascus Chef Knife – 8 inch Knife with Hardened Japanese Carbon Steel - Stain & Corrosion Resistant Blade - Balanced Ergonomic Handle & Sheath - Sushi Chef Knife – Safe & Easy
Prime Benefits
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Best Stainless Blade Japanese Kitchen Knife

 

Zelite Infinity Chef Knife 8 Inch, Damascus Japanese AUS-10 Super Stainless Steel Blade

 

Zelite infinity chef knives are another top choice for the kitchen. It is well weighted and has a rounded handle. It makes the knife more comfortable to hold and gives proper balance. It is a double bevel knife, and it is finished using the traditional 3-step Honbazuke method. 

It is hand sharpened and ready to use after unboxing. If you want to surprise your favorite person who likes to cook then this is definitely the right choice for you. The money-back lifetime warranty ensures quality. 

Key features

  • Handmade traditional finish
  • Rounded shape handle
  • Ready to use always
  • A unique feature of this knife is its small handle that minimizes wrist tension.
  • Zelite infinity has Japanese AUS-10 stainless steel that is more durable
  • Super grade G10 handle and excellent 67 layers of high carbon

Pros

  • Sharp edge
  • Long-lasting
  • Comfortable and durable
  • Risk-free as it has a money-back warranty

Cons

  • Some user feels it heavy
  • Not ideal for a novice chef
Preview
Zelite Infinity Chef Knife 8 Inch, Damascus Japanese AUS-10 Super Stainless Steel Blade Lasts a Lifetime, Sharpest Professional Chefs Knife For Cooking, Gyuto Made for Home Cook or Restaurant Kitchen
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Preview
Zelite Infinity Chef Knife 8 Inch, Damascus Japanese AUS-10 Super Stainless Steel Blade Lasts a Lifetime, Sharpest Professional Chefs Knife For Cooking, Gyuto Made for Home Cook or Restaurant Kitchen
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More information

Best Beginner Japanese Kitchen Knife

 

Santoku Knife – marks 7 inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp Asian Knife Japanese Chef Knife

 

This Santoku Knife is made of stainless steel and is rust and corrosion-resistant. Ideal for daily use in the kitchen with various tasks. It has an ultra-sharp 2.2mm hand-polished edge. The unique hollow edges prevent food from sticking to the knife.  This allows proper comfort while in use.

Let’s talk about the handle. This is made of Pakkawood, and it has a rounded shape, which fits neatly into the hand to ensure proper balance. Pakkawood is more stable than other wood. This is a great choice for experts and also one of the best Japanese knives for beginners.

What is a Santoku Knife Used For?

The Santoku knife is an all-purpose knife, so you’ll find a great many uses for it. Whether it be vegetables, meat, fish, or fruit, a santoku knife can chop any of these things – especially if the goal is to create thin, precise slices. The main purpose of santoku knives is to streamline food preparation. The wide blade allows for picking up chopped food quickly. The blade has a subtle oval indentation which allows for a tiny bit of space between the food and the blade. So, there is less chance of food sticking to the blade. This blade will speed up your cooking process.

Differences Between a Santoku and Chef Knife

For those new to specialty knives, it often easy to mistake a santoku knife from a chef knife because they are similar in function. At first glance, the santoku is said to be the Japanese version of Western-type Chef Knife. However, there are some specified differences in their physical features and functionality. These differences fall into the category of size, type of blade, uses, and weight

The Blade Features – Santoku Knife vs Chef Knife

One main feature that differentiates the santoku from the western chef knife is the blade design., When you look at the Santoku Knife, you will notice the hollow indentation at the edge of the steel knife’s blade. This unique feature enables the knife to form air pockets that help prevent food from sticking to the surface of the blade.

Meanwhile, Chef knives have a smooth surface and can achieve fast cutting due to their tapered shape along with a delicate, sharp edge.

Check our detailed review about “The Best Santoku Knife”.

best-santoku-knife
santoku knife

Key feature

  • Ultra-sharp edge
  • Scratch-resistant
  • The 7-inch blade has a razor-sharp edge that has an excellent chopping capability
  • Stain-resistant Saken Santoku known as the workhorse of the kitchen
  • Saken is made from durable German HC Steel.

Pros

  • Rust & corrosion resistant
  • Super comfort in the hand
  • Good for beginners
  • Durable and long-lasting

Cons

  • Beginners should be aware of the sharp edge.
  • The knife needs to be kept dry as it can develop spots.
Preview
Santoku Knife - imarku 7 inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp Asian Knife Japanese Chef Knife - German HC Stainless Steel 7Cr17Mov - Ergonomic Pakkawood Handle, Best Choice for Home Kitchen and Restaurant
Prime Benefits
More information
Preview
Santoku Knife - imarku 7 inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp Asian Knife Japanese Chef Knife - German HC Stainless Steel 7Cr17Mov - Ergonomic Pakkawood Handle, Best Choice for Home Kitchen and Restaurant
Prime Benefits
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FAQ

 

Why are Japanese knives the best?

Answer: Japanese Knives are excellent because they use world-class materials, and their knives remain sharper for a long time.

Are Japanese knives worth it?

Answer: They are designed with high-quality material and made to be lighter and more comfortable to use. Their razor-sharp edge remains sharp for longer and cuts with precision. Most people who use Japanese knives never go back to using other knives.

Why are Japanese knives so expensive?

Answer: They are expensive, but you are getting the best kitchen knives in the market, that will last you a long time. With top-quality products and good design comes a higher price tag.

Is it cheaper to buy knives in Japan?

Answer: Yes, it is cheaper to buy in Japan than another country due to export costs they land up being more expensive when purchased elsewhere.

What is the best Japanese steel?

Answer: AUS10/AUS8 is well known in Japan as the best steel.

Conclusion

 

Knives are very important accessories in the kitchen. Japanese knives are a little bit more expensive than others, rest assured that you are getting a premium quality knife. If you spend money buying the best Japanese kitchen knives, then you are investing in the proper tool for your kitchen. We hope this article has helped you learn more about Japanese knives and which one will work best for your needs. We recommend the Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife is the top choice for professional cooking experts. If you are a beginner, then choose the Santoku Knife.

Last update on 2021-06-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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