In the city of Sakai, the ancient art of making Samurai swords was transformed into the production of a fantastic and varied range of kitchen area knives in Japan.
Knives of the highest quality and renown are made in the city of Seki, Japan’s leading producer today, using a combination of traditional methods and cutting-edge modern technology to achieve this feat.
A samurai knife set is a one-of-a-kind weapon on the planet, with the finest materials. To make an informed decision among the many styles, it is necessary to know the main characteristics of an Asian knife and how it differs from a Western knife.
Kitchen knives made in Japan are among the best in the world, but there are many different models designed for a specific task. Therefore, Japanese knives are so popular.
Choosing the right knife from such a wide selection can be challenging; in this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine their features in detail, explain the differences between models, and offer some purchasing advice.
When thinking of the best Japanese knife sets, the first thing that comes to mind is their exceptional quality and long-lasting durability. Moreover, in this list of the best Japanese knives, we’ll learn more about them.
Top Our Picks For The Best Japanese Knife Sets
If you’re looking for the best kitchen knives, look no further. We’ve reviewed some of the top Japanese knife sets on the market, and are confident in our selection of these brands.
1 - Best Overall - Yaxell Mon 6 Piece Knife Set
Yaxell Mon 6-piece Knife Set – Made in Japan – VG10 Stainless Steel Knives with Slim Wood Block
This is an excellent deal on a high-quality Japanese knife set. It’s been almost a century since Yaxell made high-quality kitchen cutlery in Seki, Japan. Incorporating traditional knife-making techniques with modern manufacturing techniques has resulted in knives that perform at a high level but are still reasonably priced.
This set’s layered VG-10 stainless steel blades are razor-sharp and retain their edge well. They look fantastic due to the sandblasted finish and Katana sword wave. Micarta is used for the handles, which is my all-time favorite handle material. The handle end caps are attractive and contribute to the knives’ excellent balance. At its current sub-$300 price point, this is an incredible set, but I wish it came with a storage block with some empty knife slots so that additional Yaxell knives could be added later.
Although the Yaxell Mon series of knives appears to be gaining popularity, they lack set options. Hopefully, this will change shortly to provide consumers with additional options.
2 - Shun Classic 6 Piece Kitchen Knife Block Set
Shun Cutlery Classic 7-Piece Essential Block Set; 11-Slot Bamboo Block, 3.5-inch Paring Knife, 6-inch Utility Knife, 8- inch Chef’s Knife, 9-inch Bread Knife, Herb Shears, Combination Honing Steel
The Shun Classic 6-piece knife set is a work of art from an aesthetic standpoint, but it also delivers performance. The price may seem steep for a set that does not include steak knives, but these are high-end knives that are meant to last a lifetime or more.
The blades are constructed from Damascus stainless steel overlaid with Shun’s impressive VG-10 steel, resulting in a well-balanced, lightweight blade that is a joy to use. The traditional D-shaped handles are crafted from ebony pakkawood, which is renowned for its durability.
This set’s block includes several empty slots, which is a practice I wish more cutlery manufacturers would adopt. It is incredibly convenient to have the option of expanding your set as your home cooking requirements change.
While this Shun set is undoubtedly impressive, I would opt for the Tojiro set mentioned later in this article, as the additional $150 is not worth it. However, my requirements may differ significantly from yours because I am not a professional chef or even an excellent home cook.
The Shun Classic 10 Piece Essential Cutlery set is an excellent product. Additionally, it is far more attractive than the more affordable sets mentioned in this article.
3 - Shun Sora 6-piece Knife Set
Shun Sora 6-Piece Block Set Including 3.5-Inch Paring Knife, 6-Inch Utility Knife, 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, Herb Shears, Combination Honing Steel and 11-Slot Bamboo Block; Stainless Steel Knife Set
Shun’s Sora series of knives is their more affordable line. They lack the superior aesthetics and high-end materials of the Shun Classic collection mentioned previously, but they are durable and perform exceptionally well given their low price point.
Shun can keep the price of the Sora series low without sacrificing edge retention by using high-end VG10 steel for the cutting edge and more affordable 420J steel for the blade’s upper section. As a result, you are left with a stunning San Mai cutting edge. This is a technique that many Japanese companies employ, and Shun’s parent company, Kai, even incorporates it into Kershaw pocketknives.
Although the TPE handles on the Sora series of knives are comfortable and grippy, they lack the aesthetic appeal of Shun’s Classic series. This set includes a Kai diamond and ceramic retractable sharpener, making it simple to keep the knives in this set sharp.
4 - Enso Hd 7-piece Knife Set
Enso Knife Set – Made in Japan – HD Series – VG10 Hammered Damascus Japanese Stainless Steel with Slim Acacia Knife Block – 7 Piece
Enso is a well-known Japanese knife manufacturer that has been handcrafting high-quality knives since 1932. This stunning sixteen-piece set features blades made of 37 layers of stainless steel atop a VG10 core. The knives’ distinctive appearance is due to their hammered sashimi finish. As a result, knives with harsh blades and a unique appearance are created. Enso knives, with their 12° cutting angle, are some of the most impressively sharp knives on the market right out of the box.
While the blades of these knives are undoubtedly impressive, the handle material initially drew my attention. Canvas micarta is an exceptionally durable and greppable material frequently found on premium survival knives. Although canvas micarta is my favorite material for knife handles, it is not frequently found on kitchen knives.
The Enso HD series offers exceptional overall quality and performance at a price point that is competitive with other high-end Japanese knife brands. I appreciated the HD series’ comfortable oval-shaped handles. They are more comfortable than the D-shaped handles frequently found on Japanese cutlery.
5 - Global 20 Piece Knife Block Set
Global Knife Set – 20 Piece, Walnut Block
Global Knives are unique in two ways: their edge and their balance. Any knife’s most critical feature is its edge. The blade is crafted from one of the finest stainless steels available, Cromova 18.
This unique steel is ice-tempered and hardened to a Rockwell Hardness of 56-58°, which means it retains its razor-sharp edge longer than any other steel and is resistant to rust, stains, and corrosion.
Like western-style blades, the blade edge is ground on both sides; however, the advantage is ground to a straight point rather than a beveled edge, resulting in a razor-sharp edge that stays sharper longer.
Each Global knife features a unique hollow handle filled with the ideal amount of sand to balance the blade. Global knives are indeed one-of-a-kind. Made in Japan, this item comes with a lifetime warranty.
Another distinguishing feature of the Global knives is their convex edge, which appears to aid in edge retention despite their lower Rockwell hardness rating than some competitors.
Global produces high-performance knives that are a joy to use in the kitchen. However, they appear to develop rust spots more quickly than other knives in this price range. As a result, they should never be put in the dishwasher and dried immediately after hand washing.
Global’s largest set, the 20-piece set, is one of the few that includes steak knives.
6 - SENKEN 8-piece Premium Japanese Kitchen Knife Set
SENKEN 8-piece Premium Japanese Kitchen Knife Set with Laser Damascus Pattern – Imperial Collection – Chef's Knife, Santoku Knife, Bread Knife & More
The Imperial Collection from Senken Knives is an eight-piece knife set that includes every knife you’ll ever need in the kitchen. Each blade is razor-sharp and forged from high-quality stainless steel to ensure effortless cutting and chopping.
The knives have a 15° cutting angle, significantly greater than the standard 25° edge angle found on most Western knives. After the initial cut, you WILL notice a difference. Imperial features an ergonomic Pakka Wood handle and a Finger Guard for added protection.
Senken Knives’ mission is straightforward: to create the finest, most stylish knives at the most affordable prices possible. We are masters of our craft, incorporating modern and ancient knife-making techniques. We can’t wait to bring our chef knives into your kitchen.
We are meticulous with our products and provide the best possible quality. We’re confident you’ll enjoy your Senken knives for years to come – improving our customers’ quality of life is what motivates us to do what we do!
7 - Tojiro DP Damascus 3-piece Knife Set
Each Tojiro DP Damascus Series blade is adorned with a Damascus pattern created by forging 37 layers of low and high carbon stainless steel folded over a thick VG-10 core of premium cobalt alloy steel.
This process is completed with extreme delicacy, resulting in an impressive appearance. The 60° Rockwell Hardness is sufficiently hard to retain an edge but is more easily sharpened than super hard steel.
The triple riveted Micarta handle with bolster provides heft and balance, and the closed bolster collar allows for complete blade sharpening. The razor-sharp blades are hand-honed and sharpened by skilled craftsmen in Japan.
We wish Tojiro had included a storage block with this set, but they are available separately. Even though the DP Damascus knives are slightly more expensive than the standard DP knives, they are still highly affordable for Japanese Damascus steel knives. This set is an excellent way to get started with a perfect Japanese knife set.
8 - Miyabi Mizu SG2 Magnetic Easel Knife Set, 10 Piece
Miyabi Mizu SG2 Magnetic Easel Knife Set, 10 Piece
With this knife set, Miyabi honors Japanese craftsmanship. These knives combine traditional and innovative techniques to create an exceptional knife collection. The stainless steel core is made of SG2 micro-carbide powder and is wrapped in another layer of stainless steel with a hammered (“Tsuchime”) Damascus finish.
Cryodur heat treatment results in a blade with a Rockwell Hardness of 63, which provides superior edge retention, corrosion resistance, and blade flexibility.
The Honbazuke sharpening method, which originated in traditional Japanese sword making, is then used by Miyabi artisans. This three-step process begins with double whetstone sharpening, followed by mirror polishing on a leather wheel.
This technique, which was developed over a thousand years ago for samurai swords, gives these knives their signature Miyabi razor sharpness. The blade is complemented by an exquisite, comfortable, and long-lasting D-shaped Micarta handle and stainless steel bolster.
The handle is beautifully accented with a decorative mosaic pin, red spacers, and the Miyabi logo engraved on the handle end and made by hand in Seki, Japan.
9 - Mac Knife Superior Santoku Knife, Set of 2
This is an excellent set for a sucker for Santoku knives. They’ve been gaining popularity for years, and this two-piece set is a perfect place to start for a Santoku fan looking to complete their kitchen cutlery set. Both knives that are included are exceptionally well balanced.
This is especially noticeable if you are upgrading from less expensive knives. The high carbon blades maintain excellent edge retention. The disadvantage of high carbon blades is that they must be hand washed and dried immediately to prevent rust spots.
This minor inconvenience is compensated for by the knives’ impressive performance and edge retention. These knives’ Pakkawood handles are incredibly comfortable and easy to grip.
These knives’ impressive ergonomics make them an excellent choice for busy cooks who suffer from hand pain or discomfort when using lower-end kitchen knives.
10 - Hisa Japanese Steel 9 Piece Knife Block
Hisa Japanese Steel 9 Piece Knife Block – Damashiro Emperor by Cuisine::pro – Includes 2 Chefs Knifes, 1 Bread Knife, 3 Santoku Knifes, Utility Knife, and a Paring Knife
With the Baccarat Damashiro Emperor Hisa 9-Piece Knife Block, embrace Japanese steel’s superior craftsmanship and exceptional quality. This impressive knife set includes eight kitchen blades expertly crafted from premium Japanese steel, ice-hardened for increased strength and durability, and finished with a stunning tsuchime hammered look and traditional Damascus blade.
All Baccarat Damashiro Emperor Hisa knives feature rich Pakka wood handles that conform perfectly to the shape of your hand while you work. Store these great knives in the transparent Baccarat Damashiro Emperor knife block to transform your countertop into a work of art.
These look fantastic, but I believe they are laser etched 420J2 Japanese steel upon closer examination. That would deduct a half star, but as there are no half stars, I’ll go with five because the set is lovely, well detailed, has an excellent knife block, and is exceptionally sharp.
The handles are made of Pakkawood and are incredibly comfortable to hold. The three Santoku-style knives feature divots facilitating vacuum slice release (technically Kullenscliff style blades).
Their weight is comparable to the solid santoku chef’s knife I’ve been using daily for several years now — light enough to work comfortably but capable of the job at hand.
Best Japanese Knife Sets Buying Guide
There are many factors that you should consider when looking for the best Japanese kitchen knife set. The main thing to keep in mind is your budget, because it will help narrow down your options considerably.
While there are cheaper options available, you may find yourself replacing them frequently. With the high-quality Japanese kitchen knives from our list, you won’t need to worry about that!
The number of pieces
If you are only interested in owning a high-end dog for cooking purposes, all you need is a set of the most basic knives.
However, if you wish to serve professional purposes and maximize convenience, you may increase the number of knives.
Blade & Handles Quality
After determining the number of knives required, you should consider the blade and handle design.
Concerning the blade? If you want a knife that slices through anything smoothly, choose a medium in thickness and thin in width.
However, if you want your knife to function correctly, it must be thicker and more complex.
The handle should be checked to ensure stability with the knife to avoid prolonged use causing discomfort.
Knives are typically stored in one of two ways: on wooden blocks or in bags/containers.
If your kitchen is small or you enjoy storing your utensils after cooking, you do not need to purchase wood blocks.
The ultimate point to consider is how much budget you have available to purchase Japanese knives, specifically the best Japanese knives.
Frequently Asked Questions
While Japanese knives are not the best, they are always a good suggestion for the best chef knives and are suitable for professional cooking.
German knives typically have around 57 layers, while Japanese knives usually have between 60 and 63.
Thus, a stiffer Japanese knife will hold the edge better; however, this does not necessarily translate into better slices, as the knife may be less durable and prone to chipping or even breaking.
Japanese knives are made and renowned for their ability to be thinner, stiffer, and sharper. That is what a great kitchen knife is all about.
When selecting the best knife for you, you should consider the following factors: quality, cutting performance, durability, ease of use, and maintenance.
Additionally, consider your financial situation.
To summarize, we’ve provided you with a list of the top Japanese kitchen knives that are available on the market today. Each knife has different features and benefits, so it’s up to you to decide which is best for your needs.
If you are looking for the best Japanese kitchen knife set, we hope that this guide has been helpful. You can find our recommendations and more information by visiting our website today.
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