A knife is an essential utensil that every cook must have in their kitchen. A good knife is sturdy and solid in hand. Preparing delicious meals starts with buying whole ingredients and using the right kitchenware, such as a high-quality Japanese knife.
The best Japanese knife is the knife you can comfortably work with and produce amazing results. The Japanese knife you buy should be suited for your cooking preference. A home cook needs a lightweight knife with a sharp edge and a comfortable handle. A professional chef needs a knife that is consistent in cutting.
Japanese knives often have a sharper edge and thinner blades. They require to be properly maintained to prevent the tip from breaking and the blade from chipping. The razor-sharp and thin blades allow home cooks and professional chefs to have delicate and precise cuts with so much ease. They are often used in cutting vegetables, fish, meat, and other foods.
I hope you find your preferred kitchen knife from the 7 best Japanese kitchen knives in this review with so many brands to choose from.
Reviews of the Best Japanese Kitchen Knives- Top 7 Products by Consumer Reports
#1. Dalstrong Chef’s Knife Shogun Series
Topping the list is the shogun series knife from Dalstrong, crafted out of premium quality materials with a combination of cutting edge technology and outstanding craftsmanship. Featuring a tsunami-rose Damascus layer that gives it an elegant appearance and comes with a money-back or a 100 % satisfaction guarantee, lifetime warranty, a sheath, Dalstrong support, and an excellent package.
Shogun series is engineered to perfection with an ultra-premium G-10 handle that is carefully hand polished. The ergonomic handle shape allows you to have superior hand control, comfort, and agility. The hand-polished blade spine enhances comfort and aids smooth handling. Fully tang and triple-riveted handle allow using for hours without hurting your palm.
This product is made from 66 compressed layers and a sharp AUS-10V vacuum treated high-carbon Japanese stainless steel. It produces a smooth gliding and is rust-resistant. Slicing and cutting feel like magic. This knife is hand finished to a mirror polish using the traditional 3-step Honbazuke method to have a cutting edge of 8 to 12 degrees on each side. This allows you to use the knife without friction and fight. Shogun series knives are nitrogen cooled for strength, corrosion resistance, durability, flexibility, and enhanced harness.
Premium Japanese Steel
Does not stuck-on food
Due to the sharp angle, it cannot be sharpened with most sharpeners
#2. Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Forged 12-piece Japanese Steel Knife Set
Ginsu Chikara knives are perfectly balanced, which gives you full power and control when you are in the kitchen. This product is referred to as the Best Buy in a consumer report and offers a lifetime warranty. They are formed for balance, and well known for its strength, rust-resistant, stain-resistant, and precision forged.
The set includes a 3.5-inch paring knife,5-inch serrated utility knife, 5-inch utility knife, 7-inch santoku knife, 8-inch chef knife, four 4.5-inch steak knives, kitchen shears, honing rod, bamboo finish block. Steak knives are not forged but stamped. The storage block is available in either toffee or bamboo finish.
This product is not dishwasher safe.
These knives are fully tanged, made from a piece of high-quality Japanese stainless steel. This product is suitable for a wide range of usage, from dicing, slicing, chopping, cutting, to mincing. This set includes all the knives you need to prepare and serve both simple and complex meals. The santoku knife can be used for slicing, chef knife for chopping, a paring knife for peeling, and hand cutting. It comes in a bamboo block used to store the knives and add value to your countertop. Ginsu Chikara features ultra-sharp knives made of premium grade Japanese stainless steel material and other accessories.
Require minimal maintenance
Referred to as the best buy
Poor quality control of the knife
#3. Shun Classic 8 “Chef Knife
The next product is a knife from Shun with VG-MAX cutting edge, Damascus layers, and an ebony pakkawood handle. VG-MAX steel contains extra carbon, chromium, cobalt, and tungsten for increased strength, sharpness, resistance to corrosion, and durability.
Shun Classic knife is crafted from advanced steel with a razor shaped blade that is lightweight. The handle is made from ebony pakkawood with a slight ridge on the right side, which fits into the contour of your hand for a secured and comfortable grip. Pakkawood is durable, waterproof, and does not harbor bacteria. This product is sharper, thinner, stronger, lighter, and harder. This product is designed to cut in a neat, smooth slicing motion without causing damage to the meat. Sharpened to 16 degrees angle. The knife is ideal for right-handed people and has no option for lefties. It has a D embossment on the handle.
This product is backed against manufacturing defects. The cutting core is of high-quality super steel that is hard, enabling the knife to hold longer and take an incredible edge. Cladded with 34 layers of Damascus stainless steel on each side of the blade, making a total of 69 layers. Stainless Damascus cladding enhances the look, supports the cutting core, and adds to its corrosion and stain resistance.
All-purpose kitchen knife
Not suitable for left-handed cooks
#4. Shun Cutlery Premier 8″ Chef Knife
Another hand-polished and handcrafted knife from Shun. Unlike Shun Classic Knife that are ideal for only right-handed users, shun premier can be used ambidextrously. Featuring a hand-hammered tsuchime finish, VG-MAX cutting core, 68 layers of Damascus, 16 degrees double bevel blade, embossed end cap, and a contoured walnut colored pakkawood handle.
This beautiful handcrafted knife is effective at food preparation. The wide blade makes the transfer of food from the chopping board to cookware simple and hassle-free. The razor-sharp edge and 8 “inch length are perfect for chopping, dicing, and slicing a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and other foods. Thinner and lighter blade makes the knife comfortable to use and less tiring
The tsuchime finish is eye-catching and beautiful to behold. The mirror blade polish, coupled with the Damascus layers and a hammered finish, gives Shun Premier a sophisticated and rustic appearance. The lightweight, razor-sharp blades are precise and quick in meeting a variety of your kitchen needs. It offers exceptional agility. Comfortable for both smaller and larger hands to hold.
This product features the newest VG line of super steels known as the VG-MAX steel. This fine-grained steel offers a sharp, long-lasting edge, strength, maximum performance, and corrosion resistance.
Suited for both hands
#5. Best Buy Damascus 9 Pieces Knife
This set of knives from Best Buy Damascus is crafted from a premium Japanese AUS10 67 layer steel at 62+ Rockwell hardness for excellent edge retention and extraordinary performance.
This product is hand finished using the Honbazuke method and has a razor edge of 12 degrees on each side. This set includes 8″ sharpener wood knife block, 6″ boning knife, 7″ santoku knife, 3.5″ paring knife, 8″ chef knife, 8″ bread knife, 5″ utility knife, and 8″ slicing knife with a diamond steel sharpener.
It is suitable for different hands; the handle improves balance and ensures minimal finger fatigue. Honing and sharpening should be done with only water whetstone. The hammered texture of the blade keeps food from sticking to the blade and eliminates friction.
This product is one of the sturdy knives and is designed for multipurpose usage. This is an excellent value for your money, fully tang, premium quality, minimal slicing resistance, beautifully package.
The mirror-polished cutting edge ensures optimal sharpness and safety. The handle is designed to provide maximum comfort, control, and a secured grip. Ultra-premium G10 handle comes with flower rivets that are durable, strong, and resist moisture. Riveted to the fully forged tang provides extra strength and durability. This product has a double bevel blade and can serve as a gift item
67 Damascus layers
Suited for daily use
Not ideal for frozen foods, nutshells, and bones
#6. Shun Premier Nakiri Knife
This Premier Nakiri knife by Shun is designed with the ancient Japanese Tsuchime forging technique.
You will love the design of this Nakiri knife if you are a true traditionalist. It has a beautiful hand-hammered finish blade, which gives the knife an elegant appearance. The textured blades slide through vegetables with ease making the food preparation process swift and less stressful. You can accomplish the most delicate slices with confidence. Hand-hammered finish ensures a free release of food without sticking to the blade and reduces drag when cutting. This product features Damascus layer steel and a thin blade that is perfect for cutting vegetables.
This is one of the best hand-hammered Nakiri knives.
This product is well balanced and lightweight. Welding this knife is easy and comfortable. The handle is made of Pakkawood that has been laminated and tinted to provide a robust, streamlined look. The handle is nonslip and ergonomically designed.
The versatile and sharp edge makes dicing and slicing vegetables easy. The handle nestles into the palm’s contour with ease and allows for a variety of comfortable grips. Shun logo embossed on the end cap makes it beautiful both in and out of the knife block.
Ideal for smaller hands
Suitable for cutting delicate ingredients
Quite tricky for large hands to grip
#7. Sakai Takayuki Japanese Dimple Knife
Looking for a high-quality Japanese made knife with a Granton edge?
This last option is an excellent choice for you. It is ideal for professional or home use. The blade complements the handle with an excellent finish giving it a sleek appearance. The Granton edge allows you to get extra thin slices and reduce resistance. The dimples are only on the front side of the blade. The handle is well balanced and easy to grip.
Made of a hard Rockwell HRC of at least 60 and a long-lasting alloy stainless steel from Bohler-Uddeholm Sweden. The edge of the blade is sharper than other options. This product is affordable and offers superior comfort and superb performance. This super sharp knife offers years of pleasure in the kitchen. It comes in a nice packaging box.
The knife is sharpened on the right side, which means it is not ideal for left-handed use. This product requires regularly honing to keep the edge in good shape for a longer period. Idahone fine ceramic hone is recommended for regular maintenance of the edge.
The core blade is precisely forged by folding selected alloy steel severally and features superior sharpness or supreme. The double edge blade offers exceptional sharpness, corrosion, and abrasion resistance for years.
Comfortable to grip
One-sided dimple processed
Not ideal for left-handed use.
What to Look for When Buying a Japanese Kitchen Knife
There are specific criteria you should look out for when buying a Japanese kitchen knife. Aside from your purpose of purchasing a knife that could be for home or professional use, here are some things to consider:
A knife’s weight does not matter if you are not a professional cook because you would not use it for long to get fatigued. But if you are a frequent user of a knife, you need a lightweight knife to reduce fatigue. You should not experience fatigue or strain when holding the right knife for a long period. A good Japanese knife has a standard weight. Lightweight knives are nimble and a joy to use.
The blade length or size boils down to your personal preference. Having a knife with a longer handle helps you to grip with comfort. You need to check if the knife is constructed for ambidextrous use or specific hand use. You need a knife with a longer grip if your hands are big
The material used affects the performance and durability of the knife. A robust material provides the needed toughness for cutting food.
There are several types of materials used in manufacturing a Japanese knife. We have stainless steel, high-carbon steel, and many others. A high-carbon steel blade requires less maintenance and sharpening. It is more durable and solid. On the contrary, stainless steel is prone to chipping but harder.
We have the full tang handle where the blade goes all the way into the handle and is often sturdy and riveted. The half tang makes the knife nimble in your hand.
An unbalanced grip causes mistakes in slicing and cutting. The design of the grip is a critical factor that contributes to the experience. You need an ergonomic handle that perfectly fits your hand and does not wear out your wrist. Ensure the material of the handle is solid, nonslip, and lightweight
Good Japanese knives are known for their hardness that is usually from 60 and above. This hardness is measured in Rockwell, an increase of one degree on the Rockwell represents a ten percent increase in hardness. The higher the number of Rockwell, the harder the steel.
High-quality steel and high-carbon content result in hard steel. Hard steel holds a sharp edge longer and can be sharpened to an acute angle that makes cutting effective. The blade would not require frequent honing if the blade edge retains its sharpness. Proper hardness ensures the blade edge does not get crack or chip.
The finish of a knife determines its longevity and superior performance. Most Japanese knives have either a Damascus finish or a hand-hammered finish known as Tsuchime in Japanese. Damascus finish creates a nonstick surface that prevents food from sticking to the blade of the knife.
Type of Steel
The different types of steel are created by the various addictive elements, and how the blade is heated and rolled. The steel to look out for when shopping for stainless and stain-resistant knives are VG-MAX, VG10, high carbon steel, Molybdenum, SG2, or R2.
The steel is responsible for the performance of the knife. It is an alloy of carbon, iron, and other elements such as nickel, copper, tungsten, and others. The manufacturers of Japanese knives have formulated several specialized premium quality steel alloys that enhance durability and sharpness in the end product.
Here are some of the common addictive elements that enhance the steel quality and improve its characteristics based on the application.
- Copper is used as a brazing agent in composite blades and enhances its resistance to corrosion.
- Chromium is the main element that improves its stain resistance.
- Cobalt binds the other elements into complex steel and increases the hardness and strength.
- Nickel adds strength and toughness.
- Molybdenum increases strength and adds toughness due to its hardening element. It also enhances its rust-resistant.
- Vanadium makes sharpening easy and improves wear resistance.
- Tungsten improves hardening properties as well as increasing toughness and strength.
Japanese Knives FAQs
What is the best Japanese knife brand?
There are some quality Japanese kitchen knife brands in the market, such as Shun, Best Buy, Dalstrong, Ginsu. The best Japanese knife brand is Shun Cutlery. They have different incredible quality Japanese knives that meet your needs, budget, and a wide range of variety you could choose.
What are the best chef knives in the world?
The best chef knives in the world include Shun Classic chef’s knife, Yoshihiro Gyuto chef’s knife, TUO chef’s knife, Dalstrong Chef’s Knife Shogun Series, and Ginsu Gourmet Chef’s knife Chikara Series.
How do I sharpen my Japanese knives?
You can sharpen the knife yourself with a whetstone, or you take it to a reputable knife sharpening shop for professional sharpening and polishing. There is a slight difference between honing and sharpening.
Honing helps you align the microscopic shards of metal that have become jagged through repeated use of the knife. Sharpening, on the other hand, is the removal of materials from the blade to create a new sharp edge.
Can I clean my knife in a dishwasher?
It is not ideal for washing your Japanese knife in a dishwasher. The blade of the knife easily gets chipped and cracked in a dishwasher. Your knife is prone to rust quickly when you wash other items along with it. Cleaning a Japanese knife is simple and easy. All you need is warm water to clean the surface, a towel to wipe dry, and store in a dry place.
How do I test the sharpness of a knife?
To check the sharpness, you can do the paper test by holding the corner of a sheet of paper with your other hand and lightly drag your knife across it. If you have a smooth cut without drag, then the knife is sharp.
How often should I sharpen my knife?
For home cooks, perfect edge cutlery recommends that you sharpen your knife every 4 to 6 months. You should sharpen your knife periodically; this depends on the frequency.
Are Japanese knives worth it?
Japanese knives are worth investing in. You get back value for your money and produce outstanding performance and excellent results. They are perfect for delicate and fine cuts.
What knives do Japanese chefs use?
The Japanese chefs use the Shun knife. It has a unique design and is crafted from long-lasting materials.
The users have praised Shun for its incredible performance.
Japanese knives are great for home cooks, especially people with weaker hands and arms force. Japanese have a long-standing sword-making history, and cutlery manufacturers inherited the secret from the swordsmith to produce premium quality knives for your kitchen. A combination of traditional handcraft techniques and modern technology.
No kitchen in the world is without a knife. A knife is presumably the only kitchenware you must use in every meal preparation. A good knife is indispensable. The most versatile and essential product a cook can have is a Japanese kitchen knife.
Japanese kitchen knife makes a difference in your cutting skills and final dish.