If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best Japanese kitchen knife is. Then we recommend the KUMA Professional Damascus Steel Chef Knife. As the best one in our Japanese kitchen knives reviews.
Japan has offered many things to the world. From their food to their unparalleled work values and the superb technology – they never stay behind.
But if there’s something that stands out – that would be their cutlery. That’s why we want to talk about the best Japanese kitchen knives now.
If you want to enjoy one of the most important creations coming from Japanese culture, then enjoying their knives would be an excellent way to do so.
Here, you’ll learn everything there’s to know about them, how you can pick the ideal one, and eventually find a product that matches your needs. Care to learn more about these knives and possibly bring one home? Then read on!
In This Article, We’re Going To Review The Following Japanese kitchen knives:
Why Get a Japanese Kitchen Knife?
When you think of a Japanese knife, you may think about cutlery that reeks of quality, durability, sharpness, and beauty. Well, that’s precisely what you get with one of these.
Here are a few reasons why a Japanese knife can be such an excellent choice:
It is known that Japanese artisans have been playing with steel for centuries. Going back thousands of years, you can find Samurai & Katana swords made with Tamahagane, where Japanese stood out in the world.
Today, they use all their accumulated knowledge in weapon craftsmanship to develop next-level knives. And that’s because they know how to tinker with steel, so their blades are sharp, hard, thin, and gorgeous.
Yes, Japanese knives are also super attractive to the eye. Because the Japanese put so much effort into making quality products, they even end up making beautiful ones. And sure enough, their knives are always among their most eye-catching inventions.
Not only are these knives durable & striking, but they’re also super practical. There’s a Japanese knife for almost any application, going from opening oysters to cutting meat, and sometimes even offer a multi-purpose capacity.
Whether it is mincing, slicing, dicing, chopping, or breaking – you’ll find a Japanese knife for that specific purpose.
Types of Japanese Knives
It is not enough to know why Japanese knives are worth considering – you also need to know the different types you may find. Here are a few options:
Among the best Japanese chef knives, there’s the Santoku. This is a multi-purpose type that can measure up to 9 inches and offers one of the flattest edges among Japanese cutlery options.
What makes them so attractive is the ability to work for mincing, dicing, slicing, chopping, cutting meats, and more.
Still, it is better for small applications like cutting vegetables and the line. Yet, it works wonders for almost everything.
In case a Santoku knife is too small – then you can go for the Japanese Chef’s Knife. Also known as the Kiritsuke – it offers a similar appearance to western-style counterparts but with an unmatched edge.
This type of knife brings a straight edge with a curve on the top, as well as a long handle for maximum grip & control. You could say this is a perfect option for slicing meats and big stuff, yet it also works for chopping and mincing vegetables.
You can find Kiritsuko knives going from 8 to 12 inches or a little more.
The Nakiri would be easily explained as the Japanese Cleaver. It is smaller than a Western cleaver but larger than any Gyuto or Santoku knife.
What makes it stand out is the ability to cut vegetables like no other. Its chopping & mincing capacity is unbeatable, delivering the cleanest and most precise cuts you can think of.
This knife can go anywhere from 5-inches up to 12-inches in total size.
There are many other types of Japanese knives you can find. There’s the utility knife, a smaller version of the Santoku, usually ideal for cutting directly on the plate. A Bunka knife is like a Nakiri, but with a curved blade. And the paring knife, typically small but perfect for mincing small items & veggies.
What to Consider Before Buying a Japanese Kitchen Knife
Now that you’ve learned enough about the top Japanese chef knives from Japan, then you should learn how to pick the ideal option. Here are a few factors to think about before doing so:
As you know, steel is what most blades are made of. But there are many types of steel in the market – and some of them are better than others. Luckily, Japanese knives come with only a few of these kinds.
The most common would be Damascus steel. This is a carbon-steel variation and one of the strongest and most beautiful types in the market. In fact, Damascus tends to leave a wavy pattern on the blade, which gives Japanese knives a beautiful finish.
Another option would be VG-10 Japanese steel. It is the only pure Japanese steel and one of the sturdiest you can find alongside Damascus steel. This type of steel tends to be mostly on the edge of the blade instead of the body.
And to finish the list, you have AUS-10, also authentic Japanese steel like VG-10. It is sturdy and super-durable steel that contains a lot of carbon. Just like VG-10, this one tends to appear more on the edge than in the body of the blade.
Handle & Grip
Once you have the blade steel figured out, then you need to hop on the handle. Here, you’ll find thousands of materials to consider – going from G10 to pakkawood, plastic, and sometimes other types of hardwoods.
We recommend G10 as the best option as it is the sturdiest fiberglass variation you can get that stands any type of use. But other materials like pakkawood and plastic variations can be pretty helpful too.
After learning about the blade steel options and the handle materials, it is time to learn about the Japanese chef knife brands. Here are the best you’ll find:
Kyocera makes quality kitchen products since 1984. You can find any type of kitchen knife with this brand and for a pretty decent cost.
In case you want quality over anything else, then you need to pick a KUMA knife. They’re a little expensive, but come nothing short of amazing.
For the best value between price and quality, there’s Wallop. It makes Japanese knives with a wide array of steels like VG-10, AUS-10, Damascus, and even German steel. And they look superb.
Grandsharp would be another excellent brand to consider. Not only their knives have a striking appearance, but they also come with a pretty decent cost. You can get excellent value for your money.
Last but not least, there’s Katsura. This Chinese brand comes at a relatively high price but offers the most extensive array of Japanese knife types. So you’ll find tons of different options of excellent quality.
Our top 5 Best Japanese Kitchen Knives
After learning so much about Japanese knives, you’re ready to tackle our reviews. We chose only 5 of the best knives out there (highest value between price & quality), and analyzed each. Here’s what we found:
Coming from Kyocera, you can expect the Chef’s Santoku Knife to be the best affordable Japanese chef knife in the list.Coming directly from the Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series, this knife boasts a Zirconia Z206 blade. Instead of steel like most knives nowadays, this one comes with a sturdy yet still super-sharp construction that doesn’t disappoint.
This 7-inches ceramic construction also offers a unique advantage: the edge will last up to ten times longer than a regular steel blade. And if that wasn’t enough, you get a super-light construction that’s a piece of cake to handle.
The Santoku’s knife design also manages to help with small jobs like dicing and mincing vegetables or fruit. Yet, you can also slice boneless meats with ease.
Sure enough, it looks merely outstanding. You get a Black blade that surpasses expectations in every way.
- Unbeatable ceramic blade quality
- Ultra-handy Santoku’s design
- Light and easy to use
- Exceptional Black ceramic blade
- Fragile ceramic blade needs a lot of care
- Ultra-smooth handle can be a little dangerous
In case you don’t care much about the price, then you can always go for the Kuma Damascus steel chef knife.This 8-inches boasts 67 layers of Japanese Damascus steel. The durability and overall resilience it offers are unmatched, making this knife one of the sturdiest in the list.
At the same time, you’re faced with V-shape blade technology. It allows maximum sharpening results, so you can enjoy the smoothest cutting.
Still, what makes it stand out the most is the G10 handle. You get a high-end riveted handle made of fiberglass that not only feels amazing on your hand but also delivers maximum grip and top-notch durability while looking neat.
Lastly, you can enjoy a beautiful blade design all around. The chip-resistant finish it offers will help both with the durability of the piece as well as making it look striking. So you get a top-notch knife for sure.
- Next-level 67-layers Damascus steel blade
- Unique V-shaped blade technology
- Comfy & grip-oriented G10 handle
- Superb blade appearance
- More expensive than competitors
- Demands a lot of sharpening
No need to pick a costly model when something well-priced like the WALLOP Santoku knife enters into action.This is a 7.5-inches knife made of AUS-8 steel on the blade with Damascus steel look on the body. Together, they provide one of the sturdiest constructions, also delivering maximum sharpness.
Something that truly stands out is the hand-polished design, leaving a satin finish on the surface that looks superb. And with the G10 fiberglass handle, then you can enjoy an even more beautiful piece overall.
If you don’t want a Santoku knife, Wallop still offers a Paring Knife, a Utility Knife, and a Chef’s Knife. And if that wasn’t enough, you get the chance to pick between Damascus, VG-10, AUS-8, and German HC steel – so you can get precisely what you prefer.
Whatever you need, Wallop has you covered with its excellent options.
- High-end AUS-8 steel blade
- Attractive hand-polished blade
- Superb G10 handle
- Different steels & knives to pick from
- May feel a little heavy
- Looks like Damascus but it isn’t
In case you want an actual Damascus knife, then you’ll get the Kiritsuke Professional Chef Knife from Grandsharp.You can cut practically anything with this knife and its VG10 steel, and still get several days or even weeks of sharpness. Sure enough, it is also super hard and challenging to break.
Then there’s the G10 handle. Adding up to the 8.5-inches of total length – you can grab the knife comfortably and securely every time. Still, the blade manages to look neat and provide maximum quality overall.
To make it even better, you can enjoy a uniquely styled blade. It boasts one of the most enticing designs in the market, with a Damascus-styled body that looks outstanding however you look at it.
If the Kiritsuke knife is not the ideal one for you, then you can always go for the smaller 6-inches Paring utility Knife.
- Beautiful Damascus-styled finish
- Super sturdy VG10 steel blade
- High-end G10 handle
- Extra-practical paring knife alternative
- Tends to lose sharpness faster than expected
- Not Damascus steel but VG10 with Damascus finish
Offering a wide array of Japanese knife options, Katsura delivers the pure Damascus steel you’re looking for. That’s why we can safely say this is the best Damascus chef knife you’ll find.What sets this model apart is the Damascus steel on the blade that not only looks amazing but also provides one of the hardest constructions. You can enjoy next-level hardness and sharpness every day – so you can cut everything with ease.
This goes well with the full-tang G10 handle. You can find it on every option from this series – going from the 3.5-inches Paring Knife to the 7-inches Nakiri knife, the 6.5-inches Chinese Cleaver, and even the 8-inches Bread Knife.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to cut, mince, chop, dice, or slice – the Japanese Premium Damascus Steel knives from Katsura won’t disappoint.
- Amazing knife models for every purpose
- Durable, gorgeous & grip-oriented G10 handle
- Top-notch Damascus steel blade
- Hugely attractive Damascus-styled finish
- Not made in Japan but in China
- Takes a long time to sharpen
After going through this article, you’re probably a little exhausted and not ready to make a final choice. Well, we’re going to help you with that.
For us, the highest-quality option in our best Japanese kitchen knives reviews would be the KUMA Professional Damascus Steel Chef Knife. It delivers every feature you want on a knife, plus the most straightforward yet most durable VG10 blade constructions in the market.
In a close second you’ll find GRANDSHARP Kiritsuke VG10 Damascus Professional Chef Knife. This one offers an exciting array of Japanese knives to choose from – and all of them are long-lasting & reliable. So it is a go-to choice for sure.
Whatever you go for – make sure it’s something that matches your needs. There are tons of different types, builds, and designs to enjoy, so make your final choice carefully. You won’t regret it!