Sharpening Knowledge on Best Japanese Knives 2023

January 9, 2023

Graceful chefs’ sensation, Japanese knives are famous for the sharp and precise cuts it produces and might not be the best friend of unskillful cooks as it requires prime delicacy and eager attention while handling. Best Japanese knives are typically thin in shape, and if you don’t love or care for them, they are given to deteriorate or break sooner rather than later.  

When it comes to Japanese cuisines you cannot get the same outcome if you don’t have or use some of the best knife brands, the simple and very reason is that certain Japanese recipes require the precise cuts in order to enhance the power of ingredients and get the true accent of the dish.

What is Better Japanese or German?

The answer depends on your requirement. Regarding the shape, Japanese ones are thin and sharp, while the counterpart’s ones are heavy and bulky. Further, best Japanese knives are more suited for delicate and subtle works like slicing meat, fish or vegetables. But the German products are tailor-made for heavy-duties.    

Types of Japanese Kitchen Knives

Rookies and even more experienced chefs have issues in identifying different shapes of these knives and their uses. There are many types of best knives out there in the market to confuse you, but the following list will see you through this dilemma. Later in the article, we are planning to provide you in-depth analysis on a list of kitchen knives best on the market, for now, see below types and get used to the names of these Japanese products. 

  • Gyutou – Preferred one for most of the chefs (multi-purpose)
  • Sujihiki – Ideal for slicing
  • Usuba – Made to cut vegetable
  • Deba – Ideal for butchery tasks
  • Nakiri – Made to cut vegetable
  • Hankotsu – Perfect for deboning
  • Takobiki – Ideal for slicing
  • Petty – Suited for tiny and delicate works  
  • Honesuki – Perfect for deboning
  • Yo-deba – Heavy and built for butchery tasks
  • Yanagi – Ideal for slicing
  • Santoku – A Multi-task knife
  • Pankiri – Made to cut bread
  • Kiritsuke – Ideal for slicing
best japanese knives, Sharpening Knowledge on Best Japanese Knives 2020

Factors to Consider when Buying a Japanese Knife

Now it’s time to see the crucial elements you need to focus on when buying one. These factors are the same even though you are planning to buy a Bushcrafts knife, fillet knife or cleaver knife.


For most of these knives, you don’t have to worry about the toughness or the sharpness of the steel. Still, your choice of the blade should be made from stainless steel, else constant maintenances are inevitable. Especially if you are going for an entry-level knife, most of the Japanese knives are made from stainless steel, and we see no need to pay for a one made from expensive high carbon steel or white steel.


As you saw and realized before in the article, Japanese best knives are made for different purposes. So before you buy your thing, you must know for what you are planning to use the knife. Otherwise, you might not get the intended results. For instance, if you need a knife for butchery works at your household, you must go with a knife such as Yo-deba.


One thing you must keep in mind is that Japanese knives are renowned for their sharp blades and not ideal for the clumsy type of users. It doesn’t matter whether you are an expert; the feel of the knife in the hands must be comfortable for both protection and handling. Choose one that is not too big or not too small.


Obviously, the price is another factor you have to consider. As mentioned in the steel section, most of the time, the blade’s steel determines the cost of the knife. If you are going to buy a new Japanese knife, you got to know that prices in Japan are significantly low in most cases.

10 best Japanese Knives

Alright, so you are in search of the best quality knives, and Japanese are the ones you prefer. Here is our list of 10 best Japanese chef knives.


Shun Cutlery Premier 8″ Chef’s Knife

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It’s no secret that Shun Cutlery knives are regarded as one of the best knives in the world and one of the best Asian kitchen knives you can ever find in the market.

In Japanese, the word “Shun” describes the top and perfect local foods, and this premier knife is well known for its astonishing look and high standard of performance. This magnificently handcrafted knife is considered as a user-friendly product for from chefs to husbands.

If you are an existing user of the Shun Cutlery Premier 8″ Chef’s Knife, you probably know how it’s going through the fruits, vegetables, and meats and the joy it brings to your soul. 

Features of the Knife
  • 8-inch Chef’s knife
  • Lightweight
  • Razor-sharp edge of the blade
  • Walnut-colored Pakka wood handle
  • Weight: 7.7 ounces
  • Hand-sharpened 16° double-bevel blade
  • VG-MAX cutting core
  • 34 layers of Damascus cladding on each side
9.6Expert Score

  • This premier knife is extremely light weighted (7.7 ounces) and agile
  • Pakka Wood handle blends a sense of comfortableness to the hand, and you don't have to be an expert to handle the knife
  • Handcrafted 16-degree double bevel and VG-Max cutting core mean easy to maneuver on even the ripped fruits, vegetables, and meat
  • Shun Cutlery knives require regular maintenances
  • Relatively high in price
  • Some claim the handle is too small for handling (very few!)

Shun Classic 8″ Chef’s Knife

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A must in every kitchen and Shun Classic 8″ Chef’s Knife is one of the best Japanese kitchen knives. These classic knives are the first of its kind made available, particularly in North America, and carry a traditional Japanese look with it.

This product can be named a versatile and multi-purpose knife made from utilizing the modern and high standard of materials. Like the premier sort, these are also magnificent in look and handcrafted with hard to resist utter elegance.

For proper cutting, it is advisable to move the knife forward and down in a “locomotive” method until you get used to the knife. 

Features of the Knife
  • 8-inch Chef’s Knife
  • Blade material: Carbon
  • VG-MAX cutting core
  • Ebony-colored Pakka wood handle
  • Lightweight
  • Weight: 7.1 ounces
  • Double Bevel (16 Degree each side)
  • 34 layers of Damascus cladding on each side
9.6Expert Score

  • The Shun Classic weighs only 7.3 ounces
  • Extra Tungsten included VG-Max formula steel guarantees the longevity and strength of the knife
  • Smooth and precise cuts, chops, chips, and slices through all sorts of food ingredients
  • The resin-infused Pakkawood handle is water-resistant and brings an eye-catching finish to the knife
  • VG-Max cutting core and 16-degree double-beveled blade are helpful to keep the exact taste of the recipes
  • Technically the knife is made for the right-handers, so handling can be not so easy for the left-handers

Zelite Infinity Chef Knife 8 Inch

Zelite Infinity Chef Knife 8 Inch, Best Japanese chef knives, best knifes

We argue this is the best Damascus chef knife in the market, due to various reasons. Some say this knife more inherited to the west, but you better understand the Zelite infinity Chef Knife is built from Japanese VG-10 super steels.

The curvy handle will ease the pressure on the wrist and so that you can comfortably chip, chop, and cut the foods. The unique Japanese traditional look is preserved in the product, and we will guarantee you will get an unforgettable experience when unboxing the knife. 

Features of the Knife
  • 8-inch Chef’s Knife
  • The military-grade G10 handle
  • 67 layer high Damascus carbon Japanese AUS-10 stainless steel
  • Finished using the traditional 3-step Honbazuke Method
  • Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • 2.2 mm Thick Blade
  • Rounded edges
9.4Expert Score

  • High-carbon 67 layer/ Stainless steel (AUS-10) and G-10 Military-grade steel
  • 100% handcrafted and double-beveled edge brings you butter slicing feeling when you cut through meat or steak
  • Astonishing Damascus pattern and 2.4mm thick blade
  • Prevent stains, corrosion, and discoloration
  • 12-degree blade and finished utilizing traditional Honbazuke method (3step method)
  • Unbelievable handling and balance
  • If you want a Japanese made knife, you must know that Zelite Infinity Chef Knife is made in China, though the materials are directly imported from Japan

Zelite Infinity Santoku Knife 7 Inch 

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Zelite is one of the famous brands among the best Japanese knives lovers. If you are a lover of Santoku knives, then you should try the Zelite Infinity knife to realize the new standard it has set to the type.

It is made to add a distinguished and modern appearance to the whole kitchen with its supreme outlook as one of the best household kitchen knives. The knife’s grip brings exceptional feel on the hand as it is reverted to the blade, which helps the strength and durability of the knife too. 

Features of the Knife
  • 7-inch Chef’s Knife
  • 67 layer high Damascus carbon Japanese AUS-10 stainless steel
  • G10 Handle Triple Riveted
  • 2.4 mm Blade thickness
  • Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Rounded edges
9.4Expert Score

  • High carbon 67-layered stainless steel with AUS-10 super steel keeps the blade away from stains, rust, and corrosion
  • Superlative Damascus pattern ensures the longevity of the knife with the help of tempered liquid Nitrogen
  • Ergonomic curvy handles are pivotal in comfortable handling the product and smooth cuts on top of the additional security it provides
  • Blade thickness is 2.4mm's, and weight is 9.4 Ounces
  • Précised and delicate cuts on any type of food ingredients, including meat for grilling, steak, vegetable
  • Most of the Zelite products award you with lifetime warranties, so there is no risk involved
  • As mentioned in the above 8 Inch knife, this is a Chinese product though it has similarities with best Japanese chef knives

Shun Cutlery Classic 6.5″ Nakiri Knife

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This is another remarkable Shun Cutlery Japanese chef knife in the Nakiri family. As you know, Nakiri knives are specifically made to cut vegetables and fruits like papaya & mango, and Shun came up with the best 6 Inch chef knife you can ever dream of.

This handcrafted Japanese knife has a 15 degree double bevel blade, and exquisite black D-shaped Pakkawood handles to satisfy your eyes and your culinary needs. If you are going around the market for a traditional Japanese vegetable cutting (Nakiri) knife, this is our recommendation.

Shun Cutlery is a trusted product for restaurant chefs as well as the home cooks for many years purely because of the efficiency and the comfortable feel on hands. 

Features of the Knife
  • 6.5-inch Chef’s Knife
  • VG-MAX cutting core
  • 34 layers of Damascus cladding on each side
  • Weight: 7.5 ounces
  • Ebony Pakka Wood handle
  • VG-10 cutting core
  • Asian Cutlery blade edge
9.6Expert Score

  • 6.5 Inches blade produced from customary Shun material of VG-Max steel, also well equipped with Damascus stainless steel
  • Shun Cutlery Classic 6.5" is handcrafted to provide you with the feel of a traditional Japanese Nakiri knife and comfort
  • Clean and precise cuts allow you to try with any vegetable cuisine, and handling doesn't require an expert
  • Best Nakiri knife in the market
  • This is not ideal for dishwashers as handling must be done with complete care, and we do not suggest you use this as a gift item for your loved ones, especially for the clumsy ones

Shun Classic 7″ Hollow-Ground Santoku All-Purpose Kitchen Knife

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This multi-purpose knife will do all the kitchen cut needs of you with supreme ease. The Japanese word Santoku elaborates “three virtues,” It can be related to chopping herbs like coriander, parsley, marjoram etc. , slicing meat, and dicing.

Once, this particular Shun Classic knife was recognized as the “Kitchen knife of the year” by the famous Blade Magazine. The award itself tells how much capable the knife is and a valid reason for you to pick the knife among the other brands.

Moreover, it is another proud product of Shun, which has a history of 90 years in producing magnificent Japanese knife sets. 

Features of the Knife
  • 7-inch Chef’s Knife
  • Weight: 11 ounces
  • 34 layers of Damascus cladding on each side
  • Wide blade measuring 7-inches in length
  • VG-Max Cutting Core
  • Double Bevel (16 Degree each side)
  • Traditional blade shape
9.6Expert Score

  • Light-weighted knife (7.40 Ounces) and 15.5 inches in length
  • Made from Shun's unique VG-Max stainless steel and includes extra Tungsten, Carbon, Cobalt, and Chromium for solid strength and enhanced durability
  • With its fine Damascus blade, cooking becomes so enjoyable, and you don't have to be an expert to cut precise pieces from the knife
  • Pakkawood handle brings comfort and balance to the blade's maneuvering, and it prevents water from absorbing into the handle
  • The only disadvantage we can say is that high maintenance it requires after the usage

Zelite Infinity Chef Knife 10 Inch

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Zelite always provides its customers with great products from super quality materials, and the same can be said on this product too. 

Typically, the Japanese cooking knives are less in weight, but the Zelite’s products tend to feel well balanced on the hand but not bulkier like Western products. When it comes to Zelite Infinity 10 Inch Chef Knife, this one also made from AUS-10 super steel with 45 layers High-Carbon Damascus stainless steel.

The innovative curvy looking handle and the blade’s imperious look bring executive feel into your kitchen and for you.

Features of the Knife
  • 7-inch Chef’s Knife
  • 45-layer High Carbon Stainless Steel blade
  • Japanese AUS-10 Super Steel
  • 60mm Deep Blade
  • Weight: 1.94 pounds
  • 2.4mm thickness
  • Black Forged G10 Handle Shape


8.2Expert Score

  • 60mm deep blades ensure your knuckles are away from the sharp edge so you can experiment with different shapes of cuts and slices easily with the knife
  • Sturdy and executive looking leather sheath
  • The liquid Nitrogen tampering means that blade is capable enough to protect itself from rust and stain quite easily without much upkeep
  • Hand-crafted with customary 3-step Honbazuke method so that blade can effortlessly cut any food ingredient
  • VG-Max cutting core and 16-degree double-beveled blade are helpful to keep the exact taste of the recipes
  • Wee bit heavy in weight for some users
  • Don't get disappointed
  • it's from China, not Japan folks
  • Some claim the blade is not robust and prone to break while cutting solid foods!

Miyabi 34373-203 Chef’s Knife

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Miyabi knives are renowned for its elegance and beauty, and if you are new to the brand, it will be hard to resist because of the captivating look.

The sharp cutting edge helps and working well on any type of food and is an extremely light weighted knife. This Japanese chef knife is sharpened from the famous traditional Honbazuke method expanding from 9.5 to 12-degree angle on each side.

Miyabi 34373-203 Chef’s Knife is regarded as one of the best if not the best Sushi knife, and it is designed to balance well in hand to try out your intended cuts with a considerable amount of ease. 

Features of the Knife
  • 8-inch Chef’s Knife
  • Damascus pattern added durability
  • G2 micro carbide powder steel
  • Hand honed
  • Handle length:5.39 inch
  • Blade material: Alloy Steel
9.6Expert Score

  • D-shape looking handle can minimize the pressure on the wrist
  • A Multi-purpose chef's knife you can use for cutting, slicing, chopping, and dicing
  • Handcrafted product using traditional Honbazuke method and a Japanese product
  • It requires extra attention on the knife
  • if you let moisture on the blade, rust and corrosion are inevitable
  • Not ideal for solid or frozen foods

Yoshihiro VGYA270SH Hongasumi VG-10 Stainless Steel Yanagi Sushi Sashimi Japanese Knife

Yoshihiro VGYA270SH Hongasumi VG-10 Stainless Steel Yanagi Sushi Sashimi Japanese Knife, Best Japanese chef knives, best household kitchen knives

This long knife is explicitly made for Sushi, slice fish, and Sashimi and one of the most famous and most used traditional Japanese knives.

This mini sword looking knife is handcrafted using traditional Wa-Style, and the octagonal and Rosewood handle ensures a firm grip on the hands. The exceptional sharp blade is made from Hongasumi high-carbon stainless steel material, and the durability of the product is guaranteed.

Though the knife is relatively long compared to the other knives mentioned in the list, this Yanagi knife is considered a light-weighted product that can handle without much of a problem.

Features of the Knife
  • Rosewood Handle
  • Weight: 5.9 ounces
  • Made with VG Stainless steel
  • 10.5 inch (270mm) single-edged blade
  • Double Ebony Bolster
  • 100% handcrafted in Japan
  • 3mm Spine Thickness at Heel
8.6Expert Score

  • The long shape means continuous strokes so that the cuts' appearances can be kept in an identical way
  • It is completely flat on one side, so it can be easy to keep in kitchen trays while in use
  • A delightful looking wooden sheath (Saya) available to protect the knife from outside factors, and it is essential in keeping a distinguished outlook of the knife
  • Due to the knife's long shape, some find the light-weighted nature is a barrier for a smooth cut

TUO Cutlery Cleaver Knife – Japanese AUS-10 Damascus steel

TUO Cutlery Cleaver Knife - Japanese AUS-10 Damascus steel, best japanese knives, best quality knives, Best Japanese chef knives

The TUO knives have relatively thinner edges than other brands mentioned in the list, and this design is helping chefs around the world to handle the knife nimbly on the foods.

This one comes from the fiery phoenix series of TUO kitchen knives, which they claim (TUO) people wanted their knives to be different and beautiful than the traditional Japanese knives.

Tuo Cutlery Cleaver knife is produced from Japanese AUS-10 high carbon Damascus steel and enriched with 66 layers to add extra durability to the product. 

Features of the Knife
  • 7-inch Chef’s Knife
  • Ergonomic Pakka Wood Handle
  • Japanese AUS-10 Damascus steel
  • Blade sandwiched with 66 layers of softer steel
  • Hand sharpened using 3-step Honbazuke method
  • Weight: 1.16 pounds
  • Nitrogen Tempered & Heat Treated
9.6Expert Score

  • Gentle curvy shape and Pakkawood ergonomic handle will help you maneuver easily on the fruits, vegetables, or meat with no pressure on hand or wrist
  • The multi-purpose Cleaver helps all of the cutting functions, and you can cut most of the hard foods without any hassle by putting additional pressure with the non-working hand
  • The versatility of the Cleaver can be utilized at restaurants as well as the households
  • There are instances of cracked and broken handles experienced by the users

Difference between Japanese and German knives?

In our view, typically, the best Japanese knives are handcrafted while German knives are machine finished. Further, traditional Japanese blades are designed to cut food items precisely and clean, but the Germans expect rocking cuts from their blades. All and all, Japanese knives hold slightly upper hand over German brands. But it is always up to you to decide what you want to buy.

Are Japanese knives suitable for home use?

See, we would say it is suitable for home needs too and why not? People all over the world use Japanese cutlery with a significant amount of efficiency. The Santoku knives are famous among the house chefs, having said that, the handling must be done with absolute care as all of these Japanese products are sharp enough to damage you in a jiffy.

What kind of Best Japanese Knives do chefs use?

It’s not a secret that Gyuto knife is the most used type among the chefs, but it’s not the only sort they prefer. These chefs do use Santoku, Hankotsu, Nakiri, and many more kinds. Overall it’s better to keep in mind that Japanese knives are more in use among the professional chefs as they have vast experience handling these kinds of stuff, but it does not suggest that you can’t try one even if you are a rookie.

best japanese knives, Sharpening Knowledge on Best Japanese Knives 2020

How to sharpen a knife?

This question might have different methods and answers, use of electric sharpener is the one of easiest sharpening method but we will tell you the process of sharpening a knife using a whetstone.


Get/buy a Whetstone.


Clean the knife – remove all the dirt on the surface of the blade carefully. 


Lubricate the Whetstone from water, oil, or mineral oil.


Start sharpening – create a 30-degree angle with the Whetstone and apply pressure to the blade by using semi-circle rounds/motions. 


Monitor the progress – Use your thumb carefully on the edges and feel is there any more rough areas left in the edge. The dull edges tend to shine more, and when it gets sharper, the shiny look disappears gradually.


Do the same on the opposite side.


Check the progression by using thumb and cross-check it by using the paper cut test. 

Wrapping up..

The Japanese knives and cutlery are particularly famous among the chefs worldwide. And more and more home chefs are also searching online shops for this magnificent handcrafted Japanese product. If you came to this part of the article, we are confident that you have the knowledge to choose the best Japanese knives and to use them in day to day life. Cheers! Have a good day! 

1 Comment
  1. Another great knife brand to consider when purchasing kitchen knives is Wusthof. Wusthof offers several different types of kitchen knives ranging from the traditional pocket knife to a larger fixed blade. One of the best features of Wusthof kitchen knives is the fact that it uses traditional blade construction.

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