The Best Japanese Kitchen Knives of 2022

The ancient tra­di­tions of Japan­ese black­smiths, man­u­fac­tur­ers of the leg­endary katanas, have been pre­served to this day and glo­ri­fied the mag­nif­i­cent kitchen knives all over the world. The edi­tors, togeth­er with an expert, have stud­ied their 2022 mod­el range and are ready to present the result of their work to the read­ers
The Best Japanese Kitchen Knives of 2022
Best japan­ese kitchen knives Pho­to: pix­abay

The knife is the main tool in the home and pro­fes­sion­al kitchen. Poet­ic Japan­ese say that the soul and heart of the mas­ter are hid­den in the knife. Clas­sic Japan­ese knives are dif­fer­ent from the Euro­pean ones we are used to. Their blades are elon­gat­ed, rem­i­nis­cent of a wil­low leaf. To use such a knife, you need to retrain. For left-han­ders and right-han­ders, dif­fer­ent knives are made with one-sided sharp­en­ing. And their han­dle is round or octag­o­nal.

Mod­ern Japan­ese knives for chefs around the world are adapt­ed to Euro­pean stan­dards. Their sharp­en­ing is dou­ble-sided, the han­dle is ergonom­ic, it is easy to work with such a knife, but safe­ty pre­cau­tions must be strict­ly observed. The blades are as hard as 65 HRC and are often coat­ed with addi­tion­al lay­ers of soft­er steel or stone.

Hard­ness Rock­well C (HRC) — a method for deter­min­ing the hard­ness of steel. The sam­ple is struck with a cer­tain force with a dia­mond tip, after which the depth of the dent is mea­sured. The small­er it is, the greater the hard­ness. There are sev­er­al Rock­well scales for dif­fer­ent mate­ri­als, the C scale is used specif­i­cal­ly for knives. A knife with a hard­ness of 58–62 HRC holds the cut­ting edge per­fect­ly, but breaks eas­i­ly and even breaks.



The fol­low­ing types of Japan­ese knives are on the mar­ket:

  • San­toku is an ana­logue of the Euro­pean chef’s knife, a ver­sa­tile tool suit­able for work­ing with meat, fish and veg­eta­bles. Which is reflect­ed in the title, which is trans­lat­ed into Russ­ian as “Three Good Uses”.
  • Usu­ba and nakiri are hatch­et-like tools for cut­ting veg­eta­bles, fruits, and herbs. They dif­fer in size and weight.

A Japan­ese knife is not cheap, but true mas­ters do not skimp on the tools to achieve extra­or­di­nary results.

Editor’s Choice

Chef knife Kanetsugu Special offer

Kanetsugu special offer.  Photo: market.yandex.ru
Kanet­sugu spe­cial offer. Pho­to: market.yandex.ru

An excel­lent knife, which is used by many pro­fes­sion­als in chic restau­rants, includ­ing those with Miche­lin stars. How­ev­er, it is increas­ing­ly found in the home kitchen.

It is a ver­sa­tile tool that is used for most kitchen oper­a­tions. This mod­el com­plies with Euro­pean stan­dards, but is made using tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese tech­nolo­gies. The blade is made of spe­cial AUS‑8/SUS410 steel hard­ened to 56–57 HRC.

Three lay­ers of a pro­tec­tive antibac­te­r­i­al coat­ing are applied over the steel. Sharp­en­ing is bilat­er­al, sym­met­ri­cal, with an angle of 15 degrees, the cut is very thin. The blade does not become dull for a long time, if nec­es­sary, it is under­mined with musat. The han­dle is made of sta­bi­lized rose­wood.

Technical specifications

Knife length with han­dle 300 mm
Blade length 180 mm
Blade thick­ness 2 mm
Blade width 42 mm
The weight 200 gr

Pros and cons

Com­fort­able blade shape, antibac­te­r­i­al coat­ing
Insuf­fi­cient­ly round­ed butt edges

Top 10 Japanese kitchen knives in 2022 according to KP

The range of Japan­ese knives is wide enough so that you can choose a mod­el accord­ing to your hand and dra­mat­i­cal­ly increase your pro­fes­sion­al­ism. We draw your atten­tion to the most inter­est­ing sam­ples.

1. Santoku FUJI CUTLERY TJ-12

Santoku FUJI CUTLERY TJ-12.  Photo: market.yandex.ru
San­toku FUJI CUTLERY TJ-12. Pho­to: market.yandex.ru

The design of the knife is thought out tak­ing into account the require­ments of Euro­pean chefs for their main tool. The blade made of high-qual­i­ty steel keeps sharp­en­ing for a long time and does not give in to cor­ro­sion. The han­dle made of poly­oxymeth­yl­ene is not afraid of high tem­per­a­ture and water. All knives are made at Fuji Cut­lery Co in Japan.

Japan­ese mas­ters hold high the brand of their prod­ucts, which have become, in prac­tice, the stan­dard for knife mak­ers all over the world.

Technical specifications

Knife length with han­dle 285 mm
Blade length 165 mm
Blade thick­ness 2 mm
Blade width 42 mm
The weight 150 gr

Pros and cons

Pre­cise­ly bal­anced at the edge of the blade
Gap on the plas­tic han­dle
Kitchen knives

A kitchen knife should be light, sharp — cut not only paper, but even hair

2. Tojiro Zen 13cm

Tojiro Zen 13 cm. Photo: market.yandex.ru
Tojiro Zen 13 cm. Pho­to: market.yandex.ru

The uni­ver­sal knife is used for prepara­to­ry oper­a­tions: peel­ing veg­eta­bles, fruits and root crops, cut­ting and chop­ping them. The blade with dou­ble-sided sharp­en­ing and three-lay­er coat­ing has a short length. The blade is made of VG-10 steel hard­ened to 61 HRC. Remov­able com­fort­able han­dle made of mag­no­lia



The video is a vivid demon­stra­tion of how Tojiro’s pro­pri­etary sharp­en­ing makes it eas­i­er to cut food.

Technical specifications

Knife length with han­dle 250 mm
Blade length 130 mm
The weight 125 gr

Pros and cons

Qual­i­ty blade, detach­able han­dle
There is wob­ble when cut­ting

3. Samura Shadow 20.8 cm

Samura Shadow 20.8 cm. Photo: market.yandex.ru
Samu­ra Shad­ow 20.8 cm. Pho­to: market.yandex.ru

The knife blade is made of AUS‑8 steel with a sin­gle-lay­er Black Fuso sil­i­cone coat­ing, which should pre­vent food from stick­ing to the blade when cut­ting. The blade does not bend, does not dull for a long time, does not absorb odors. The ergonom­ic han­dle made of ABS plas­tic does not slip out of the palm when work­ing.

Styl­ish black blades turn the most ordi­nary kitchen into a design­er one.

Technical specifications

Knife length with han­dle 327 mm
Blade length 208 mm
The weight 245 gr

Pros and cons

Qual­i­ty fac­to­ry sharp­en­ing, good bal­ance
Food sticks to blade despite spe­cial coat­ing

4.Super Stone Barrier

Super Stone Barrier.  Photo: Super Stone Barrier
Super Stone Bar­ri­er. Pho­to: Super Stone Bar­ri­er

A carv­ing knife hand­craft­ed in Seki, Gifu Pre­fec­ture, Japan. This is an organ­ic com­bi­na­tion of ancient tra­di­tions and mod­ern tech­nolo­gies. The shape of the blade repeats the sil­hou­ette of the leg­endary katana swords. The 0.01mm thick stain­less steel blades are pro­tect­ed against cor­ro­sion by six lay­ers of stone coat­ing. The met­al opens only at the cut­ting edge, giv­ing it excep­tion­al sharp­ness.

The side sur­face of the blade is tex­tured to pre­vent prod­ucts from stick­ing to it. The tra­di­tion­al wood­en han­dle is com­fort­able and easy to grip.

Technical specifications

Knife length with han­dle 300 mm
Blade length 180 mm
The weight 105 gr

Pros and cons

Prod­ucts do not stick to the knife dur­ing oper­a­tion, sharp­en­ing is main­tained for a long time
Do not wash in the dish­wash­er or use alka­line deter­gents

5. Samura Harakiri 21.8 cm

Samura Harakiri 21.8 cm. Photo: market.yandex.ru
Samu­ra Harakiri 21.8 cm. Pho­to: market.yandex.ru

A knife with a thin blade is designed for cut­ting, sep­a­rat­ing meat and fish from bones, car­ti­lage, and skin. Stain­less steel with a hard­ness of 58 HRC bends dur­ing oper­a­tion, bend­ing around ined­i­ble parts. The ergonom­ic han­dle made of ABS plas­tic does not slip out of the palm. The blade bends with­out break­ing and effec­tive­ly cleans food from ined­i­ble parts.

Although the tool has a fright­en­ing name, it is very use­ful in the house­hold, although it can be dan­ger­ous for an inex­pe­ri­enced user because of its sharp­ness.

Technical specifications

Knife length with han­dle 342 mm
Blade length 218 mm
The weight 140 gr

Pros and cons

Holds sharp­en­ing up to half
Too thin and flex­i­ble blade, this prop­er­ty takes some get­ting used to

6. Usuba FUJI CUTLERY, hatchet knife

Usuba FUJI CUTLERY.  Photo: market.yandex.ru
Usu­ba FUJI CUTLERY. Pho­to: market.yandex.ru

Unusu­al for Euro­peans, kitchen knives gained pop­u­lar­i­ty under the Chi­nese name “Cai Dao”. They are very con­ve­nient for cut­ting and chop­ping veg­eta­bles, as well as butcher­ing poul­try and meat. The blade of this knife is wide, but short, the cut­ting edge has a slight bend. Thanks to him, the chop­ping move­ment can be com­plet­ed with a cut­ting one.

Dou­ble-sided sharp­en­ing with a small angle of infor­ma­tion gives the blade a razor-sharp edge. The blade is made of molyb­de­num-vana­di­um high car­bon steel. It does not rust, is easy to sharp­en and with­stands mechan­i­cal loads well. The wood­en han­dle does not slip in the palm of your hand.

Technical specifications

Knife length with han­dle 290 mm
Blade length 175 mm
The weight 440 gr

Pros and cons

Well bal­anced, com­fort­able grip
Not enough weight to shred cab­bage

7. Kiritsuke YA37034 Gou

Kiritsuke YA37034 Gou.  Photo: market.yandex.ru
Kir­it­suke YA37034 Gou. Pho­to: market.yandex.ru

Knife from the anniver­sary col­lec­tion of Yax­el. The SG2 pow­der steel core has 69 lay­ers of Dam­as­cus steel on each side. Blade hard­ness 63 HRC. Sharp­en­ing is bilat­er­al, sym­met­ri­cal, at an angle of 15 degrees. Micar­ta han­dle does not absorb mois­ture and odors.



Top class per­for­mance. Look­ing at this knife, you under­stand why pro­fes­sion­al chefs appre­ci­ate it so much.

Technical specifications

Knife length with han­dle 335 mm
Blade length 200 mm
The weight 315 gr

Pros and cons

High qual­i­ty blade
Can­not be washed in the dish­wash­er
Table set­ting at home

30 best ideas with pho­tos, dia­grams and expert advice

8. Samura Kaiju Vegetable Nakiri

Samura Kaiju.  Photo: market.yandex.ru
Samu­ra Kai­ju. Pho­to: market.yandex.ru

The tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese nakiri knife resem­bles the usu­ba hatch­et, but is small­er in size and weight. The main pur­pose of the knife is to cut veg­eta­bles as thin­ly as pos­si­ble. The blade is made of AUS‑8 stain­less steel with a hard­ness of 58 HRC. Dis­tinc­tive fea­ture: wavy pol­ished edge along the sharp edge of the blade. It pre­vents stick­ing of prod­uct par­ti­cles.

The blade goes through sev­er­al stages of sharp­en­ing, includ­ing man­u­al and #3000 water stones. Com­fort­able wood­en han­dle. This mod­el is a dec­o­ra­tion for restau­rant and home kitchens.

Technical specifications

Knife length with han­dle 297 mm
Blade length 167 mm
The weight 170 gr

Pros and cons

Par­tic­u­lar­ly thin cut­ting of veg­eta­bles
No addi­tion­al blade coat­ings

9. Gyuto Yaxell Ran 20 cm

Gyuto Yaxell Ran 20 cm. Photo: market.yandex.ru
Gyu­to Yax­ell Ran 20 cm. Pho­to: market.yandex.ru

Knife type “gui­to” — an ana­logue of the Euro­pean chef’s knife, but with Japan­ese fea­tures. The 2 mm thick blade is made of VG-10 knife steel with a hard­ness of 61 HRC. It is cov­ered with 68 lay­ers of soft­er steel that pro­tects the blade and cre­ates a “Dam­as­cus” pat­tern on the sur­face.

The descents are slight­ly con­vex, which is espe­cial­ly appre­ci­at­ed by pro­fes­sion­als. This shape allows you to get the min­i­mum thick­ness of the cut prod­uct. And this is a key fea­ture of Japan­ese cui­sine.

Technical specifications

Knife length with han­dle 330 mm
Blade length 200 mm
The weight 215 gr

Pros and cons

Love­ly design
Bones, even fish bones, dam­age the cut­ting edge

10. Tojiro Western Knife F‑331

Tojiro Western Knife F-331.  Photo: market.yandex.ru
Tojiro West­ern Knife F‑331. Pho­to: market.yandex.ru

A ver­sa­tile san­toku knife is able to cope with any oper­a­tion when cook­ing. It is suit­able for both pro­fes­sion­al chefs and house­wives. Its blade is made of VG10 high car­bon steel alloyed with cobalt and molyb­de­num. A coat­ing of 37 lay­ers of soft­er steel pro­tects the blade from dam­age. The han­dle is wood­en, com­fort­able and not slip­pery.

Fan­tas­tic design and amaz­ing qual­i­ty, com­bin­ing the lat­est steel­mak­ing tech­nol­o­gy and ancient hand­i­craft secrets.

Technical specifications

Knife length with han­dle 290 mm
Blade length 170 mm
The weight 225 gr

Pros and cons

Great for cut­ting veg­eta­bles
Requires reg­u­lar sharp­en­ing

How to choose Japanese kitchen knives

The choice of any tool, includ­ing the Japan­ese knife, is deter­mined by its pur­pose. A full-length san­toku chef’s knife will be heavy for a house­wife’s female hand; you should choose a light­weight and short­ened ver­sion for her. It is bet­ter to buy a knife with the usu­al two-sided sharp­en­ing, oth­er­wise you will have to retrain. But if you plan to mas­ter the art of mak­ing sashi­mi per­fect­ly, then you will not be able to do with­out a clas­sic Japan­ese knife with one-sided sharp­en­ing. There is no oth­er way to get the desired slice thick­ness. The KP answers ques­tions from read­ers expert of the Shop­ping Live por­tal in the cat­e­go­ry “kitchen” Eka­te­ri­na Vetro­va.

Popular questions and answers

What should I pay atten­tion to when buy­ing Japan­ese kitchen knives?
Before buy­ing, it is impor­tant to eval­u­ate the qual­i­ty of the blade — we pay atten­tion to steel. It must be durable and stain­less. A sign of qual­i­ty is the mul­ti-lay­er coat­ing of the blade. In expen­sive mod­els, the blade is pro­tect­ed by a mul­ti-lay­er coat­ing, that is, steel with a thick­ness of about 0.01 mil­lime­ters is pro­tect­ed by real armor, for exam­ple, lay­ers of stone coat­ing, and is exposed only at the edge of the blade. This tech­nique allows you to make cut­ting accu­rate, with min­i­mal resis­tance.

Addi­tion­al­ly, stone coat­ing adds sophis­ti­ca­tion and tex­ture to the appear­ance of the prod­uct. In addi­tion, mul­ti-lay­er pro­tec­tion ensures that the knife retains its col­or, prop­er­ties and shape through­out its entire ser­vice life.

What is the advan­tage of Japan­ese knife man­u­fac­tur­ers over oth­ers?
The Japan­ese knife reflects the age-old tra­di­tion of mak­ing real samu­rai swords. They are most often made by hand, with every detail — from the han­dle to the blade — brought to per­fec­tion.
Is it true that all Japan­ese firms pro­duce knives in Chi­nese fac­to­ries?
This is not true. The art of cre­at­ing Japan­ese swords orig­i­nat­ed in the Japan­ese city of Seki on the island of Hon­shu. Today it is con­sid­ered the mec­ca for the pro­duc­tion of kitchen knives. There­fore, if the pack­ag­ing says “made in Seki”, this can already be con­sid­ered a good sign. Japan­ese man­u­fac­tur­ers vig­i­lant­ly mon­i­tor the mar­ket and, if coun­ter­feit prod­ucts are found, they imme­di­ate­ly con­tact the law enforce­ment agen­cies of the coun­try where the coun­ter­feit was found.
How to dis­tin­guish real Japan­ese knives from fake ones?
Qual­i­ty Japan­ese knife is made by hand. The angle of sharp­en­ing, the sharp­ness of each prod­uct, the mas­ter per­son­al­ly brings to per­fec­tion. Each blade of a real Japan­ese knife has a hiero­glyph with the name of the mas­ter.

Blade qual­i­ty is not the only strong point of Japan­ese knives. Japan­ese mas­ters pay spe­cial atten­tion to the han­dle — it should be com­fort­able, have a reli­able con­nec­tion with the blade. For the man­u­fac­ture of the han­dle, spe­cial types of wood or chrome-plat­ed met­al are used. Unlike inex­pen­sive poly­mer han­dles, Japan­ese han­dles are durable and com­fort­able.

How to care for Japan­ese knives?
It is impor­tant to remem­ber that Japan­ese knives are excep­tion­al­ly sharp. There­fore, in the process of use, care must be tak­en, espe­cial­ly dur­ing the first use. After each use, they must be washed under run­ning water using a sponge with a clean­ing solu­tion. At the same time, a dish­wash­er, abra­sive prod­ucts are strict­ly pro­hib­it­ed.

To sharp­en a knife, it is rec­om­mend­ed to soak the whet­stone in water until it is com­plete­ly wet. For right-han­ders, it is bet­ter to start sharp­en­ing from the right side of the blade, for left-han­ders — vice ver­sa. The knife is placed in the grind­stone at an angle of 45 degrees. To sharp­en a Japan­ese knife, you can also use any mod­ern sharp­en­ers.

Now you know about the fea­tures of Japan­ese knives and the choice will not be an insol­u­ble prob­lem. Cook­ing with these won­der­ful tools is a real plea­sure.