When it comes to picking the right chef’s knife for the kitchen, you may be puzzled between the Japanese and German knives. But let’s get the fact right, Japanese kitchen knives, with their detailed and aesthetic look, and most importantly, cutting capacity, certainly gets the edge over the German knives.
But the real question is, how do you get the best Japanese kitchen knives from thousands of choices in the market? You may need to look at the detailed design, cutting sharpness, durability, and versatility of the knives, which at times may be daunting to you.
Thus, we researched the kitchen knife market and came up with ten top-quality Japanese knives for kitchen use. These knives have a detailed design, an eye-pleasing look, and the cut you want. Also, we included a detailed buying guide referring to the essential factors to consider purchasing the best Japanese knives.
So, if you spend a good time in the kitchen and love preparing different dishes, especially with cut meats and vegetables, let’s go with the flow.
The Ten Best Japanese Kitchen Knives Review
Japanese knives, no doubt, are the king of the cutlery world. Its sharp and thin blade allows you to cut the vegetables and even some meaty items swiftly and cleanly. And you don’t even need to worry about the sharpness of the blade either.
1. KUMA Professional Damascus Chef Knife
A good chef’s knife should feel ergonomic in your hand and offer an easy and swift cutting experience in all conditions. The 8-inch knife from Kuma simply offers the same. Once you hold it in hand, you will feel that its handle is made to fit your pump comfortably. Also, its thin blade with sharp edges will surely ease out your kitchen experience.
Whether you want to slice through the delicate meats or cut vegetables into pieces, its 8-inch thin blade will make the cuts effortless. It’s also long enough for cutting large chunks of meats and veggies without having a problem reaching the entire piece.
Apart from the cutting versatility and easiness, this Japanese knife also promises strong resilience and durability in the kitchen. It has been made using the legendary Yang Jiang steel. The knife has 67 layers of premium carbon steel. Thus, it offers maximum protection from chips. Also, its blade holds the sharpness for a longer period. It means you won’t need to sharpen it as frequently as most kitchen knives need. Also, its solid built quality ensures a lasting lifespan to be worth the investment.
The knife comes in a beautiful box. Also, the sheath and knife protector is included within the package to allow you to store them conveniently. Last but not least, the knife comes with a beautifully balanced and designed handle. It has minimum bolster for different holding techniques. Also, its hand-polished spine and ergonomic making it easy to hold to cut anything from delicate meats to roasted veggies or even juicy butter.
- Length: 8-inch
- Material: Carbon-Steel
- Weight: 7.7 ounces
- Dimensions: 13.39 x 0.8 x 1.18 inches
2. DFITO Kitchen Chef Knife Sets
If you dislike going to markets once in a while and purchasing different items, this DFITO chef knife set is made for you. The set comes with 10 different cutting and slicing knives to help you with all sorts of needs in the kitchen. From cutting the large chunk of meats to slicing the fish fillets ad even swiftly cutting the veggies, these 10 kitchen knives set will perform everything.
The set includes an 8” chef knife along with an 8” slicer and bread knives. So, you are sure to get everything done with these knives. The knife set also includes pairing, boning, Santoku, two cleaver knives, and a medium utility knife. Thus, you won’t need to buy these useful and essential knives separately anymore. It saves both time and money for you as the knife set comes in affordable pricing, too, compared to its high utility.
Whether you want to perform slicing, mincing, or dicing, this 10-piece set of Japanese knives is ready to deliver you the best experience. The knives are made of premium forged steel with a Rockwell Hardness rating of 54+. Thus, it retains the sharpness for a longer period. Also, the edges provide the razor-sharp cutting ability for swift and smooth cuts and slices.
Each side of the knife has 13-15° hardening. It, thus, balances the maximum resilience and ultra-thin cutting edge. But what does it mean? Well, you will get smoother cuts with the least power applied to the knife.
The design of the knife is also pretty impressive, with a combination of Japanese and Western knife designs. Also, its unique design brings a distinct look to the kitchen. Last but least, you will love its long durability thanks to the premium construction that keeps the chips and rusts at bay, making it the best Japanese knife seton the list.
- Set: 10-piece
- Material: 440A forged steel
- Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions: 12 x 2 x 1 inches
3. Mac Knife Professional 8 Inch Hollow Edge Knife
Professional chefs love this knife for both its supreme look and the extremely swift and smooth cut it produces. It truly comes with a sleek design that perfectly complements the kitchen tools while offering you great versatility.
Its extra-thin blade has a 2.5mm thickness. Furthermore, its edge has added dimples. Thus, it glides through the sticky foods as smoothly as you want. Hence this knife is a great option to cut and slice potatoes, squashes, and apples. Also, you will love how it cuts through different vegetables and pieces of meat to help you prepare different dishes.
Also, its bolster equips with the thin edge provides greater sharpness. So, you will find mincing, slicing, and cutting different food items east with this chef knife. The Japanese knife is made from premium steel material. It, thus, retains sharpness and shows good resilience on hardwood cutting boards for a longer lifespan. It won’t catch rust and corrosion either.
Finally, its handle is made of Pakka wood. It is not only comfy to hold but also looks great. You will truly love its performance and comfort in the kitchen.
- Length: 8-inches
- Thickness: 2.5mm
- Weight:6.5 oz
- Material: Stainless steel
4. Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core
Shun is famous for manufacturing some of the best Japanese knives for chefs and regular kitchen uses. The Classic 8” Chef’s Knife is definitely one of their premium knives, and it comes with a VG-MAX core. For those who don’t know what VG-MAX is, here’s brief information.
VG-MAX is a patented steel manufacturing technology that only Shun uses in their kitchen knives. It has extra tungsten than regular knives. Also, the mix of carbon and cobalt with steel material makes the knife more durable and resilient to the chips. Its tungsten makes the edges more sturdy and shaper. The chromium in the middle offers ruggedness, too, along with the cobalt for maximum durability even after being used on the hardwood cutting boards.
The entire knife has been handcrafted to continue the tradition while ensuring the best build-quality that never fails to impress the chefs. Also, the knife has a detailed design that simply looks charming, while the knife itself brings an effortless cutting, slicing, and mincing experience for all.
You will also feel how precise the design is once you hold its handle. It is made of ebony Pakka wood to offer maximum ergonomics. Its anti-slip feature makes sure that you can hold the handle easily even if it gets weight.
Therefore, its layered steel design provides a flawless cutting experience. The classic knife is available in 8” size, but you can also get it in 6” and 10” models too. So, you are free to choose the right-sized knife to meet the kitchen requirements.
- Length: 8-inches (Two other versions at 6” and 10”)
- Thickness: 2.5mm
- Weight: 1 ounces
- Material: Improved stainless steel
5. Shun Cutlery Premier 8” Chef’s Knife
The Shun Premier 8” knife is another Japanese knife that deservedly got its position in the list thanks to its razor-sharp edge, highest build-quality, and convenience in cutting application. This 8” knife is also handcrafted with attention to every detail from design to look and durability.
The knife is pretty lightweight, and so you will not leave with stress and fatigued even after using the knife for hours. Also, its lightweight boosts your agility in cutting applications. It, thus, makes the preparation of your ingredients swifter and faster. On top of it, the knife comes with thin and razor-sharp edges. Thus, you will love how sleekly and cleanly it performs every cut on different items.
You will be able to cut, chop and slice vegetables and fruits easily with the knife thanks to the improved sharpness. Also, the edge has tungsten added that helps it retains the sharpness for a long period. It is pretty crucial as you won’t have to invest much time in sharpening the edges more, which can be indeed painstaking at times.
The knife comes with a standard 8” length offering you to cut and chop items with improved comfort. On top of it, the handle is made using Pakka wood with extra hardness. It has the perfect contour and ergonomics to fit into your pump easily for some comfy veggies and fruits cutting sessions.
The overall construction of the knife is pretty durable. Also, its beautiful handcrafting design makes it look eye-pleasing and a perfect addition to modern-day kitchen decors.
- Length: 8-inches
- Weight: 7 ounces
- Handle: Treated pakka wood
- Material: VG-MAX stainless steel
6. Shun Premier Kiritsuke Kitchen Knife
This is a multi-purpose knife that truly upholds Japanese cutlery and culinary culture at its best. Previously, only the master chefs’ were allowed to use this kind of multi-purpose knife in the kitchen. It has, however, changed with time, and now, this kitchen knife has become part and parcel of every home. So, why not you bring one for your wife, beloved, parents, or for you in the kitchen?
Trust us; you will be happy to take this wise decision. This Japanese knife is made of patented VG-MAX stainless steel. Therefore, it has the perfect mix of tungsten, cobalt, chrome, and steel to offer the chefs’ most durability, excellent performance, and effortless cutting experience. Indeed its 64-layers steel construction protects the knife from chipping and corrosion in the long run.
The blade has a flat-ground design with a double bevel. So, you will enjoy its versatility more. It allows you to cut, chop, slice and mince any food items in the shortest possible times. Also, its slicing and cutting are smooth, which gives you the perfect sizes for veggies, fruits, and even meats too. Its dual bevel further ensures enhanced durability.
You can even use its one side to take away the foods after cutting. Each side of the knife has a 16-degree cutting angle which complements the sharpest edges perfectly. Moreover, the edges of the knife have a hammered Tsuchime finish. It permits you to take away the foods as soon as you cut them.
- Length: 8-inches
- Weight: 6 ounces
- Material: VG-MAX stainless steel
- Dimension: 13.5 x 0.88 x 1.75 inches
7. Shun Classic 8-Inch Kiritsuke Kitchen Knife
This is our 3rd straight selection from Shun kitchen knife, and it has some reasons too. For instance, this is another Classic Kiritsuke knife from the manufacturer that earlier only the best chefs’ were allowed to use for different cutting and chopping jobs in the kitchen. Thankfully, you can now get your hands on this beautifully designed and perfectly balanced Japanese knife.
The knife has a standard 8” length with a solid handle. The knife is made of the legendary Damascus stainless steel. Previously, this steel was used to make the best swords, and so you can trust its longevity. The entire knife is made using 68 layers of Damascus steel to ensure that it doesn’t chip or corrode soon.
Its ultra-thin edge has enhanced sharpness thanks to its added tungsten. The edges retain the sharpness for a longer period too. Thus, it cuts through most food items swiftly. The most striking benefit of the kitchen knife is its rounded belly.
The rounded belly makes it possible to cut through meaty parts easily with its fast and rocking cuts. From aspiring cooks to master chefs’, everyone will love how the kitchen knife makes their cooking life easy and fun.
The handle has a D-shape, which makes it holding easier without fatigue and pressure. It is made from premium and natural Pakka wood and has a stylish finish. The overall experience of holding and cutting with the knife is truly amazing and unforgettable.
- Length: 8”
- Material: Damascus steel
- Weight: 8 ounces
- Dimension: 13.5 x 0.88 x 2 inches
8. Tojiro DP Gyutou – 8.2″
Let’s get it right; this Tojiro kitchen knife will simply make your kitchen life easier. From cutting veggies such as tomatoes to waffles, there’s hardly any cutting and slicing job that this Japanese knife can’t do for you. When you 1st bring it to the kitchen, you will see how it is making a difference.
The knife has the longest durability on the list, thanks to its 3-layered core. The core is made of VG10 steel with cobalt alloy. Thus, it has the perfect combination of sharpness and solidity to cut through the various food items. Its outer layer is made of 13-chrome stainless steel covering the edges better. The edges are thinner but still retains the sharpness more than the expected times. It is sharp enough to cut through the veggies and chickens easily. However, we don’t recommend it for beef or pork meats since these are heavy meats and may not suit this knife-cutting style.
The edge of the knife is symmetrical and even. Thus, it is usable for both left and right handers’ which is another striking benefit of the knife. The edges are stain-resistant, and so cleaning it becomes easier. On top of it, its solid stainless steel-made handle has the perfect ergonomics. You will feel comfortable as you hold the handle and use the knife to cut the food items effortlessly and swiftly.
- Length: 8.2”
- Material: 3-layered stainless steel
- Weight: 7.4 ounces
- Dimension: 13.19 x 2.4 x 0.79 inches
9. Yoshihiro Hammered Damascus Gyuto Japanese Knife
Are you on the lookout for the best Japanese Knife? Then you should look no further than the Yoshihiro Japanese Chef’s Knife. This knife is made of hammered Damascus steel with a beautifully patterned finish that provides both a pleasing look and extraordinary cutting performance.
The knife will enable you to cut, chop, slice and mince the food items and ingredients swiftly for some delicious dishes. You will be amazed at its cutting speed and effortlessness. You can cut through the veggies and chickens with the least power applied. Thus, you won’t feel any fatigue and stress while working with the knife.
Its central core is made of 3-layers of VG10 stainless steel. It is a combination of alloy cobalt and steel to offer maximum strength. The outer layer has 16-layers of hammered steel construction. Thus, both its center and outer layers offer maximum rigidity and are chip-resistant. So, you won’t have to worry about the knife durability while cutting on the hardwood cutting boards.
Moreover, the edges are thin for a perfect cutting experience. The best part is that despite having such thinner edges, the knife retains sharpness better than many standard kitchen knives. Also, its hammered outer layer prevents food from sticking to it and eliminates friction. So, you need less power to cut than a usual knife would need.
Its handle is made of premium Mahogany wood. You will love its seamless use thanks to its full-tang design and the eye-catchy look. The entire knife has a patterned finish to complement the modern-day kitchen looks with perfection.
- Length: 8”
- Material: VG10 stainless steel
- Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Dimension: 13.4 x 0.06 x 1.81 inches
10. Mac Knife Superior Santoku Knife
The Mac Santoku knife is made for those who want a multi-purpose kitchen knife at reasonable pricing without any downgrading to quality and functionality. The 6.5 inches long knife truly comes forward in making your cooking life fun and brisk.
The knife is made of carbon steel for maximum protection from chips and has satisfactory Rockwell Hardness too. It has multiple layers for both the core and outer sides that makes it so durable. Also, the edges have been improved to retain the sharpness.
Its blade is only 2mm thick which is among the thinnest blade for the Japanese knives available in the market. So, cutting with the knife becomes faster and effortless. What’s more, the edges will retain the sharpness for a longer period despite having such thinness. It means you have to go through the painful knife sharpening process less frequently.
The knife has a plain design, but it shows its true worth when it comes to cutting functionality. You will be indeed impressed with its cutting experience. Last but not least, Its Pakka wood-made solid handle feels comfortable to hold as you cut or slice anything. Also, its even edges and symmetrical handle make it possible to use both for left and right-handers.
- Length: 6.5”
- Material: Stainless steel
- Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Dimension: 6.5 x 1 x 1 inches
How to Buy the Best Japanese Kitchen Knives
Japanese kitchen knives may seem like pretty easy and straightforward tools at first glance. But the reality is far from what it appears. Japanese knives are mostly handcrafted with detailed design and have some critical factors during construction.
When you want to get the knives for the kitchen, you need to look at a few important factors.
Japanese Knife Types
Japanese kitchen knives are available in different types with varying shapes. These knives are designed to perform different cuts, slices, mincing, and chopping works. Thus, you have to determine which type of Japanese kitchen knife you want at first.
Deva knives come with petite blades. It is used mostly while working with fish and has been one of the most popular chef’s knives. You can use it to prepare fish fillets or scale the fishes swiftly. If you want sharp cuts, choosing the Gyuto knife can be helpful for you. It has sharper tips and facilitates precise cutting.
The Santoku knives are comparatively softer in their tips than the Gyuto knife. It is pretty versatile and has headed in the western kitchen with storms. You can use it to cut, slice, mince or even chop veggies and meats with ease.
The Sujikhi are much like the standard carving knife. It has similar functions too. Lastly, the Yanagi knives are useful for preparing sushi as it has sharp edges and thickened blade. Therefore, decide which Japanese knife types suits your cooking purpose better.
The next important thing to consider is the actual length of the knife. It will allow you to cut comfortably and easily. If the knife is too long or short, you will feel uneasy operating with it. The standard size for the Japanese kitchen knife is about 8”. It has the perfect balance of length and thickness.
However, some knives are also available in 6.5”, 7”, and 10” sizes. Thus, determine which blade length is suitable for your job.
It is known that Japanese kitchen knives use stainless steel mostly. But even then, there’re different types of stainless steel in the market. So, knowing which stainless steel has been used in the center of the knife will help you understand its durability.
The best-known materials for the knives are Damascus steel and VG-MAX stainless steel. The latter one is used by Shun as their patented material. Some knives may be manufactured using forged steel. You just have to ensure that the material is durable and retains the edge sharpness for a longer period.
The handle of the knife plays an important role in overall cutting comfort for you. The handles are made of different woods. But you need to look at the ergonomics of it rather than the manufacturing material used for it.
A handle with a full-tang feature will make holding it easier. Also, if the handle is too heavy, it will disturb the overall balance of the knife. So, you must check the balance and comfort of the handle as you hold it before getting the right Japanese knife for the kitchen.
Top Three Recommendations for the Japanese Kitchen Knife
Japanese kitchen knives, with their extraordinary cutting performance and easiness in use, have found their place in western kitchens successfully. Following their grand success, we have already reviewed ten top-quality and dependable Japanese knives for kitchen use.
But if you still feel lazy and don’t like reading all the ten reviews, here’s a short suggestion for you.
Our premium pick is the DFITO Kitchen Chef Knife Sets. It comes with 10 pieces of knives in the set and includes all common types of knives you may need in the kitchen. The set includes utility, cleaver, pairing, boning, and Santoku knives. It also has the main chef’s knife and bread knife. These knives are made of forged stainless steel and have perfect edges for superior cutting, chopping, boning, slicing, and mincing experience.
Next on our recommendation list is the Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife. Its core is made using the legendary VG-MAX stainless steel. This is patented steel of Shun, and you can depend on it for durability. The knife itself has a beautiful pattern finish and complements the kitchen décor properly. Also, it is usable in different jobs, from cutting to chopping veggies and other food ingredients. The 8” knife is fully handcrafted, and the handle is made of Pakkawood for comfortable holding too.
The last on our list is the affordably priced Tojiro DP Gyutou – 8.2″ kitchen knife. It is made using Damascus steel, and you will feel the difference once you hold the knife. It has a rounded belly for useful and swift rocking cuts, especially for meats and fishes. The contoured D-shape handle brings comfort and risk-free cutting experiences as well. And finally, it is one of the lowest-priced Japanese knives you will find presently.
How to Clean Japanese Kitchen Knife?
The performance of the Japanese knife will depend on how much care you take of it. Thus, washing the knife plays a key factor in its overall maintenance. The cleaning tips for these knives mainly include two suggestions-
- Clean after use: You must clean the knife immediately after using it. If you don’t clean it and keep it as it is after cutting, chopping, or slicing food ingredients, it will lose the sharpness faster. Also, if the knife has a carbon steel core, it becomes vulnerable to rust and corrosion. The juices of raw meats or veggies will cause them to rust and lose sharpness if not cleaned quickly.
- Always hand washes: Japanese kitchen knife is not meant for cleaning by detergent. These knives aren’t safe for detergent. Thus, you must hand wash them properly. You can easily clean it in running water with mild soap and a scrubber.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Are Japanese kitchen knives really worth it?
Yes, Japanese kitchen knives are worth the investment. These knives are appreciated for their beautiful design, lasting durability, and versatile applications. The blades are thinner and offer maximum sharpness for cutting, slicing, or chopping facilities.
- What type of Japanese knives do chefs use?
Chefs use a variety of Japanese knives to meet their kitchen and cooking requirements. For cutting fish, they will use Deba knives. For precise cuts, you will see chefs using their Gyuto knives mostly. And for common cuts, Santoku and Petty knives are used primarily.
- What are the best brands for Japanese knives?
Several manufacturers have brought multiple Japanese kitchen knives for chefs and enthusiastic cooks. The most famous brand among them is Shun. Other brands include Miyabi, Sakai, Dalstrong, etc. whom you can depend on for good-quality kitchen knives.
Japanese kitchen knives have been the charismatic figure for western chefs and cooks for some time now. Here, we have presented the ten best Japanese kitchen knives reviews to meet your growing demands in the kitchen.
From a single-piece knife to a whole set of 10-pieces Japanese knife we have included all types of the knife in the list. So, you should find it easy to get the right knife for use in the kitchen. All these knives are durable and have an ergonomic handle that makes sure you experience the best cutting moments. And finally, the knives also have a beautiful and detailed finish that will bring charm to the kitchen décor too.