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Japanese chefs’ knives are specialized, and high-quality knives adapted to preserve or enhance the flavor of Japanese cuisine. Additionally, they enable ultra-fine precision cuts to enhance the presentation of a dish.
You can also purchase multi-purpose Japanese chef knives capable of a variety of different cuts on various food types. These multi-purpose knives were created to replicate the functionality of famous Western chef’s knives.
A Santoku knife is the best all-purpose Japanese chef’s knife. A Santoku is a versatile knife that is adept at cutting various foods, including meat, fish, and vegetables. Its name translates as ‘three virtues,’ indicating suitable for mincing, slicing, and dicing.
To help you narrow down your options, we have compiled a list of features that will help you make an informed decision, and of course, we weigh in on which knife we think is the best all-around Japanese chef knife for your needs.
What Makes Japanese Knives So Popular?
Chefs understand that having the proper tools for the job is critical to completing it efficiently. Japanese knives are top-rated due to their adaptability and durability. Japanese kitchen knives of exceptional quality are an excellent addition to any professional chef’s arsenal of cooking utensils.
These knives provide chefs with everything they need to make their jobs easier, even if they are unaware.
Additionally, it establishes a professional and informative tone through rhetorical questions and plain language.
Our Top Picks
10 Best Japanese Chef Knife Reviews
Your kitchen may contain various tools and equipment, from slow cookers to pasta makers. But if you’re considering purchasing a new set of tools, you must have a chef’s knife. However, if you want to keep your kitchen looking sharp, you will have to decide between a German and a Japanese knife. Let’s get one thing straight: Japanese knives are the best in the world of cutlery.
What distinguishes them from the crowd? Japanese knives are renowned for their thin, razor-sharp blades, allowing you to quickly slice vegetables or even carve meats and sushi like a samurai without worrying about the blade losing its edge over time. We’ve covered you with the most practical knife sharpeners for every blade type. Are you prepared to search for the best blade for your cutlery needs? Check out our list of the best Japanese knives for professional and amateur cooks.
1. Best Overall: Yoshihiro VG-10 Japanese Chefs Knife
Yoshihiro VG-10 46 Layers Hammered Damascus Gyuto Japanese Chefs Knife (Octagonal Ambrosia Handle) (9.5" (240mm))
Have you ever switched knives when preparing your favorite Japanese dishes because the vegetable knife could not cut through the beef?
A razor-sharp gyuto knife is a solution to this issue. The blade and handle of this Yoshihiro Japanese knife make it one of the finest gyuto knives available on the market.
It is ideal for those who desire quality, adaptability, and a razor-sharp edge. It is excellent for both precise and, more significantly, thicker cuts. You can prepare yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) and katsu curry with this knife.
The beautiful Damascus hammered finish blade prevents food particles from adhering to its edges. Therefore, each cut is clean and quick, and there is no need to stop in the middle of chopping.
The best feature of this knife is the razor-sharp blade with a hammered finish; it holds its edge exceptionally well and remains sharp even after extensive cooking. In addition, the blade is resistant to wear and is not easily chipped.
The blade’s 8-inch length is ideal because it is easier to maneuver and use, even by inexperienced home cooks.
Because the knife is well-balanced, you can safely cut almost all ingredients when preparing meals from scratch.
A complete tang design makes the knife more durable and balanced, but some users have noted small porous areas at the end of the handle where food particles can become lodged.
This is one disadvantage to consider, given that the product is expensive.
The handle is made of mahogany, but it is a traditional Western-style handle, not an octagonal shape. It made a list the best overall because it applies to everyone.
It is simple to clean by hand, and the wood prevents the knife from slipping through your fingers.
You can’t go wrong with this Yoshihiro Gyuto VG10 knife due to its reputation for superior quality.
- Proudly made in Japan and not mass produced.
- This knife is complimented with a traditional Japanese Wa-style handcrafted Octagonal Handle that is lightweight and ergonomically welds to the hand for seamless use.
- Excellent for both home chefs and professional chefs.
- Every knife from Yoshihiro is handcrafted by master artisans creating a unique one-of-a-kind work of art.
- Handcrafted in Japan
2. Sakai Takayuki Gyuto Chef Knife
Sakai Takayuki Hammered Damascus 33 Layer Vg-10 Japanese 07396 Gyuto 240mm Chef Knife
The Gyuto Chef Knife by Sakai Takayuki is forged from VG-10 Damascus steel, which consists of 45 layers to maintain its sharpness and durability and results from exceptional craftsmanship. In addition, the knife’s magnolia handle is handcrafted and water-resistant, allowing it to retain its exquisite beauty. If you’re looking for a chef’s knife that strikes the perfect balance between form and function, we suggest trying this one.
This gyuto knife is an artistic creation. I’ve had my fair share of gyutos throughout the years, and this is one of the most attractive ones I’ve ever owned. Due to its slim blade, it resembles a traditional French knife rather than a typical Japanese gyuto.
This Sakai Takayuki gyuto knife feels well-balanced and has a pleasant weight in hand. This makes it ideal for a pinch grip, and you will have no difficulty using it for extended periods.
The blade has a VG-10 core wrapped in 33 layers of exquisite Damascus steel and finished by hand.
Because of its excellent edge retention and staining resistance, VG-10 steel is a popular choice among Japanese knife makers.
While many users find VG-10 challenging to sharpen, this VG-10 stainless steel has been heat-treated to 60 HRC with a specific tempering process to achieve an ideal balance of hardness and flexibility. The result is a blade that can maintain a razor-sharp edge for a long time while remaining extremely flexible and simple to sharpen.
As opposed to carbon steel, VG-10 is much more resistant to staining, so you don’t have to worry about your knife being ruined by a spill or accidental contact with acidic or alkaline foods.
- Light, well-balanced and incredibly sharp
- 45 Layer VG10 Damascus Steel
- Hand hammered and finished blade
- Magnolia handle
3. Dalstrong 6-inch Nakiri Vegetable Knife
DALSTRONG Nakiri Vegetable Knife – 6 inch – Phantom Series – Japanese High-Carbon AUS8 Steel – Pakkawood Handle – Sheath Included
If you intend for your knife set to be complete, you’ll need a vegetable knife. Designed for swift chopping, this Nakiri Vegetable Knife not only gets the job done but does so with grace and elegance. Elegantly crafted with 58-HRC Japanese stainless steel and an ergonomic Pakkawood handle, this knife is designed to cut through vegetables quickly and stealthily, like a ninja lurking in the shadows while ensuring durability and comfort. This makes the Nakiri Vegetable Knife Phantom Series the “weapon” of choice for culinary enthusiasts and master chefs seeking a high-performance knife for use in the kitchen.
The blade is even more admirable because of its Tsu chime finish, demonstrating the knife’s Japanese heritage. The finish not only adds elegance but also improves functionality by preventing food from sticking.
It requires little in the way of care and maintenance. The blade is rust and corrosion resistant. In addition, it has anti-stick properties.
The blades have been vacuum-treated and precisely altered to ensure the highest quality. These procedures strengthen the material, allowing it to withstand various applications.
The vegetable knife’s handle is made of ergonomic G10 material. It provides control and comfort, ensuring a positive user experience. The handle is composed of nonporous fiberglass, which contributes to its durability.
- The Phantom Series 6″ Nakiri Knife
- The Ultimate Steel For The Ultimate Performance
- Premium Imported Japanese AUS-8 Steel
- Precision Refinement
- Premium-quality laminated Pakkawood handles
- Full tang for maximum robustness & quality
4. Shun Premier Chef’s Knife
Shun Chef's Knife Cutlery Premier, 8 Inch, Brown
Did you know that shun refers to when a food’s flavor is at its peak? Knife brand Shun honors this tradition to ensure that its culinary equipment is always at its peak and places. Consequently, we recommend using the Chef Knife by Shun, whose sharp blade is designed to slice fruits and vegetables cleanly and make meal preparation more enjoyable. Invest time in maintaining the blade’s sharpness for optimum performance.
The Premier has the sharpest factory edge of any knife I’ve reviewed in a long time, if ever. The blade glides effortlessly through most foods. Its edge makes you question the quality of other high-end knives on the market. Each incision feels unburdened.
However, any enthusiast worth his salt will tell you that sharpness out of the box is less critical than Grindr’s ability. It is standard for Japanese knifemakers only to give their knives an essential edge, leaving the micro-bevel to be ground by the customer.
They make their knives as thin and as durable as possible. Initially, this is excellent. The issue arises when you’ve been using a Shun knife for some time and need to sharpen it. And if you’ve never pointed out before, VG-MAX with a 12° edge can be challenging to learn.
Not to imply that VG-MAX is poor steel. It is essentially a step up in edge retention from VG-10, but it is neither easier to sharpen nor more resilient.
- 8-inch Premier Chef’s knife
- Wide, Curved Blade
- High Quality Construction
- The walnut-finished, contoured Pakkawood handle resists moisture
5. Miyabi Evolution Chef’s Knife
Miyabi is a Zwilling group brand that combines ancient techniques and contemporary design to produce the most delicate Japanese knives. The Evolution Chef’s Knife is one of our favorite knives from the brand. Its striking blade is designed to provide long-lasting comfort and effortless meal preparation. With a Rockwell Hardness of 61 and double Friodur steel hardening, the Evolution Chef’s Knife is a revolutionary tool that ensures durability, performance, and corrosion resistance — ideal for chefs who desire a dependable blade in the kitchen.
The Evolution series is the closest Miyabi comes to entry-level pricing. These knives are ideal for intermediate home cooks due to their blade styles and prices. The blades are made of lightweight, fine carbide steel that is razor-sharp and has a curved belly that allows for straight or rocking cuts. In my opinion, the Evolution chef’s knife is an excellent value, whereas the other knives in this series are overpriced compared to comparable knives from competing brands.
- Fabricated from revolutionary Fc61 fine carbide steel; ice-hardened Friodurx2 blade offers exceptional durability, cutting edge retention, and corrosion resistance
- Dry sharpened blade boasts scalpel-like sharpness
- Authentic, thin Japanese blade profile
- Ergonomic, triple-riveted pom handle nestles comfortably in the hand
- Time-tested German engineering meets Japanese craftsmanship
6. Global 8-inch Chef Knife
Global is a well-established brand known for producing world-class Japanese knives using traditional and contemporary techniques to appeal to aspiring chefs. If you desire a culinary powerhouse, the Global lightweight chef’s knife is your best option, as it’s Cromova 18 stainless steel keeps it sharp and ready to use while protecting it from stains and rust — a cook’s worst nightmares. This chef’s knife features a dimpled, non-slip handle to prevent cuts from interfering with your cooking.
This knife is responsible for introducing Japanese cutlery to western kitchens. It was also one of the best arguments that stamped blades are not inherently inferior to forged blades. The G-2 was revolutionary in the 1980s and still holds its today, although it is still distinctive enough to stand out.
Therefore, it seems somewhat pointless to write a review of this knife more than three decades after its release. It’s good, and you should already be aware of this.
It has a nice, thin cutting edge, but one of the issues with convex grinds is that the thin grind quickly disappears. This is quite thick behind the edge, beginning at approximately 12 degrees. On the other hand, convex grinds do not wedge as effectively as flat grinds. This tends to separate foods rather than wedge them, which I enjoy.
As exciting and friendly as the handle is for me, I believe it will be the first thing that turns off most people unfamiliar with Global because of its appearance and how it can feel during a long workday.
The knife performs adequately and feels distinctive enough to remain highly relevant. There are no other high-quality knives with a handle like this and a convex grind. If you enjoy these types of things, you will enjoy this knife. Otherwise, it will be an expensive piece of metal occupying space in your knife block.
There are multiple ways to view this knife: It is an excellent transitional knife for moving from thicker western blades to thinner, more delicate Japanese knives, or it is a happy medium for those who do not prefer either style.
This is likely to last a long time for residential use. However, anyone using it for several hours per day in a professional kitchen should look elsewhere. It should last a few years if properly maintained and sharpened, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a cook or chef accustomed to Western or Japanese knives, as the G-2’s in-between state seems to throw them off.
However, for the average home cook, this is a relatively low-risk blade that you could very well pass on to your children.
- Lightweight, precisely balanced 8-inch or 20cm chef’s knife
- Blade made of high-tech molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel
- Edge retains razor sharpness exceptionally well
- Stainless-steel handle molded for Comfort, dimpled for safe grip
- Lifetime warranty against defects and breakage
7. Kyoku Daimyo Series Chef Knife
KYOKU Chef Knife – 8"- Shogun Series – Japanese VG10 Steel Core Hammered Damascus Blade – with Sheath & Case
The intricately crafted golden mosaic pin on the handle of Kyoku’s chef knife evokes a luxurious aura, while the knife’s wide, curved blade offers versatility and performance in the kitchen. This chef’s knife is as adept at mincing, dicing, and slicing as a powerful blender. Also featuring a balanced, lightweight design, this is an excellent choice for home chefs preparing food for large groups. We acknowledge that cooking for others is enjoyable, but what is even more enjoyable? A chef’s knife that minimizes hand fatigue.
This knife is one of the most popular in the Daimyo series and comes from the well-known brand KYOKU. A professional chef’s knife cuts tough meat with minimal force. In addition, its blades are made of Japanese VG10 steel of the highest quality, which will not rust for years. In addition, these knives are treated with the traditional Honbazuke method of tempering. The ruthless sharpness of this 8-inch knife makes it ideal for use in the kitchen.
This chef’s knife is a must-have if you want to cut with precision and precision. It will last for years due to its sturdiness and superior quality. In addition, the sharpness will not fade quickly, so this is a good deal. However, these knives are somewhat costly and must be hand-washed because they are not dishwasher-safe.
- Top-notch Vg-10 Japanese Steel
- Superior Design
- Unparalleled Cooking Experience
- Ergonomic G10 Handle
- Full-Tang Construction
8. Enso Chef’s Knife
Enso Chef's Knife – Made in Japan – HD Series – VG10 Hammered Damascus Stainless Steel Gyuto – 8"
Need some food for thought? The knives of Enso are forged in Seki, a city renowned for its expertise and history in swordsmithing. Awesome, right? What’s cool about the brand is that it combines tradition and technology to design knives that meet the requirements of chefs. Its micarta handle, for instance, is constructed with a sturdy tang to maintain balance (Fun fact: Enso means “harmony”) and ensure durability. As with other Japanese knives, the chef’s knife from Enso features excellent edge retention and a double-bevel edge, making it suitable for right-handed and left-handed chefs.
This blade is sharp, but it doesn’t feel like it. I always feel more resistance than usual, most likely because Enso has ground it a bit thicker behind the edge and given it a bevel instead of a complete flat.
This reduces chipping risks significantly. Since I’m not a line cook attempting to dice ten pounds of onions per minute, it’s not a huge issue. However, it is essential to consider the workload you will be under if you purchase this knife. This is not a fast car.
Since the hammer finish does not begin until halfway up the blade, it does not provide much food release. Still, I am left with a pile of onion pieces on the side.
However, the edge gets a great deal of work done. Due to the layers, it has difficulty with onions, but tomatoes and lighter ingredients such as chives and green onions are no problem. If you are accustomed to fragile, flat-ground knives, you may find them challenging to use on meat, but they will get the job done without much difficulty.
As someone who uses a single knife for all daily tasks, I prefer the thicker edge because I’m less concerned about performing riskier tasks, such as slicing into an avocado seed to twist it. In this regard, it resembles a wider-ranging kitchen utility knife.
- Chef Knife handcrafted in Seki City, Japan; 8 inch blade (13-3/8 inches overall); Weighs 7.9 ounces (225 grams)
- Japanese VG10 steel cutting core for excellent edge retention; Rockwell Hardness 61
- 37-layer stainless Damascus blades with hammered (tsuchime) finish
- Black canvas micarta handle for a similar look and feel to wood without the worry of cracking
- Double bevel edge for both right and left-handed use; All Enso chef’s knives come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects
9. Tojiro 8.5-inch DP Gyutou
Tojiro does not appear to spend much money on marketing or the packaging of their knives. This company’s lack of ostentatiousness distinguishes them from the seemingly monthly emergence of average-quality cutlery companies with lots of advertising and fancy packaging. Tojiro produces high-quality, well-performing knives at reasonable prices, and their primary marketing strategy appears to be word-of-mouth. The DP Gyutou F808 Chef’s Knife exemplifies this philosophy to perfection. The packaging is simple, and the product description is brief and ambiguous, but the performance is comparable to that of a significantly more expensive chef’s knife.
The blade profile of the F808 is slightly curved, but not to the same extent as a Western-style chef’s knife, such as the Wusthof Classic. This means it will be less effective at rock chopping than most Western-style chef knives but better at push cutting. I believe that the F808 does an excellent job of combining Western and Japanese styles in a way that allows the blade to be useful for various tasks, even if it does not excel at any cutting job.
The Tojiro DP Gyutou chef’s knife features a full tang, three-ply construction that encases a core of VG-10 super steel with a Rockwell hardness of 60+. The knife’s triple-riveted handle adds weight and balance, allowing you to perform virtually any task in the kitchen.
- Stain resistant chef knife
- Usable to both left and right-handed users as it’s even edged
- Blade Height: 1.7″, Blade Length: 8.2″
10. FINDKING Dynasty Series Japanese Chef Knife
FINDKING Dynasty Series Japanese Chef Knife, Professional Kitchen Knife, 9Cr18MoV High Carbon Steel Blade, African Rosewood Octagonal Handle, Sharp, for Meat Cutting, 8 Inches
Are you an occasional home cook looking for an affordable but effective knife? It isn’t easy to find an affordable knife with as many positive reviews as the 8-inch gyuto from Findking. It resembles a traditional Japanese gyuto with its exquisite, hammered finish and octagonal wooden handle.
This is an excellent knife for beginners and cooks who want to try a Japanese chef knife. In this price range, there are numerous inferior imitation knives to avoid. The Findking is surprisingly effective due to its 60 on the Rockwell hardness scale alloy steel blade.
This indicates that it has excellent edge retention and remains exceptionally sharp. Users are astounded by this gyuto’s superior craftsmanship. It is comparable to knives costing $100 or more due to its multiple steel layers.
The Granton (dimpled) surface makes it easy to cut different types of foods. The vegetable scraps and small pieces do not adhere to the blade.
This blade is also excellent for precise slicing; once you try slicing vegetables, you realize they appear to have been machine-sliced.
If you have difficulty balancing Japanese knives, this one is a good option because it is lightweight and well-balanced. The only concern is that it will become dull, so you must obtain your whetstone.
Also, after a few months of use, you may notice some rust, but be sure to dry it and store it in a knife block or on a magnetic knife strip.
This inexpensive knife’s excellent blade, ergonomic wooden handle, and edge retention make it an essential addition to your collection.
- 8 Inch Chef Knife
- 9Cr18MoV High Carbon Steel Blade
- African Rosewood Octagonal Handle
So, what should you be looking for when deciding to purchase a Japanese chef knife?
The type of steel used to make the knife is critical to consider. Although the steel used in Japanese knives is renowned for its toughness, sharpness, edge retention, and ease of sharpening, each knife is unique.
For instance, at the most expensive end of the spectrum, you can obtain super high carbon steel (also called blue or white steel), which is significantly more complex but more prone to chipping and requires considerably more maintenance.
You’re more than likely looking for an entry-level Japanese knife made of stainless steel.
Stainless steel knives are more durable and resist rusting, and it’s not necessary to spend a fortune on your first Japanese knife collection.
The shape of the handle is critical to the knife’s balance and feels in hand. It’s critical that you feel secure when using your knife to make it easier to use and avoid any accidents.
Hold the knives in your hands before purchasing to ensure that the handle is not too large or too small for your hands, as this will make them more challenging to control.
Along with the greater variety of design features, a portion of the knives pictured above also feature astoundingly modern styling. The unmistakable splendor of these highlights elevates them to an a-list alliance frequently with a-list coordination costs.
Additionally, it’s critical to consider how you’ll be using the knife, as each one serves a unique purpose. For instance, if you’re filleting and preparing fish, all you’ll need is a sashimi or Deba knife.
If you’re looking for something that can handle a wider variety of kitchen tasks, consider whether you’ll be spending more time chopping vegetables, in which case a curved edge will probably be better.
Allowing you to chop in a rocking motion, or whether you’ll be chopping meat more frequently, in which case a straighter blade may be preferable.
Additionally, shorter blades are better for smaller, more fiddly items or food, whereas longer blades are better for more oversized items.
The best Japanese knives are available at a wide range of price points, ranging from around $30 to over $500! Depending on your aptitude level, you must spend similarly. Less expensive knives will accompany a stainless-steel synthesis, though at a lower price than a more extravagant knife.
Less expensive does not necessarily imply inferior quality. Numerous affordable knives are difficult to keep up with, easy to maintain, and have incredible sharpness. The primary disadvantage of purchasing a less expensive knife is that its edge will require more maintenance, which means its sharpness will be less consistent.
Here is a brief overview of some Japanese knife brands that we carry at Kitchen Knives.
Tamahagane (derived from the Japanese words Tama’ ’round and precious’ and hagane’steel’) is a term that refers to a particular type of Japanese steel that was frequently used in the central cores of samurai swords that required extreme sharpness and strength.
The knives are made in collaboration with the Arai workshop in Oogata City, Nigata prefecture, using the finest materials available, including Hitachi and Takefu Special Steels, to ensure that they maintain the integrity of even the most rugged products.
Kasumi Knives are manufactured at the Sumikama Cutlery factory in Seki. Sumikama Cutlery was the first manufacturer to use folded Damascus steel wrapped around a VG-10 core, a technique that has been replicated by numerous other manufacturers since.
Additionally, they specialize in the highly coveted VG-10 stainless steel, a steel alloy composed of molybdenum, chromium, vanadium, and cobalt that holds an edge better than any other steel.
As one of Japan’s most prestigious brands (along with Masamoto and Misono, known as the ‘Three Ms’), Masahiro is perhaps best known for their MV-H range, which features heat, moisture, and solvent resistance resin handle.
These traditional Japanese knives feature a non-slip bamboo handle and a razor-sharp edge on one side.
Bunmei knives, which are primarily used for raw fish and meat in sushi and sashimi, come in various sizes.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best Japanese knives are frequently lighter and more acute than their German counterparts. Because they are slender, they are more prone to tip breaking or blade chipping, which means that Japanese knives will generally require more maintenance.
The most widely recognized culinary experts’ knife blades are stainless steel, carbon steel, Damascus steel, and ceramic. Carbon steel and Damascus steel knives are experiencing a renaissance, with artisan manufacturers producing exquisite implements.
Japanese knives (both traditional and Western style) are lighter and, according to many, more even than German knives. While some prefer the feel of heavier knives, they can be taxed on the hands after extended periods of use.
A few critical points to consider when selecting a decent knife. A razor-sharp, well-balanced blade is paramount. The most frequently used high-quality steel is stainless steel, which is easier to maintain. Carbon and Damascus steel, on the other hand, are experiencing a sharp, stable, simple to perfect, reliable, and adaptable renaissance.
The finest Japanese knives are forged from the finest steel and are expertly handled by master chefs. However, they are costly. As a result, we analyzed customer reviews on Amazon to determine which knives perform similarly well.
Additionally, we excluded chefs’ choice knives, as too many excellent knives are already available. Chefs select them primarily based on their reputation, but this is irrelevant when the importance is decades old and thus out of date.
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