What is so special about Japanese kitchen knives? You may have asked yourself this question before you began searching for the best Japanese knife to buy. Japanese knives are superior to many other types of knives – they are superior in construction, and design as well.
They are so good because the Japanese have perfected the art of making knives through hundreds of years of knife making as part of the Japanese tradition.
You’ll encounter several different types of Japanese knives once you begin exploring them. The most popular ones are the Santoku knife, the Sashimi knife, the Nakiri knife, and the Gyutou knife. All of these knives excel in different areas.
Below you’ll find 5 of the top Japanese knives available on the market today. The first two are Santoku knives, the third, fourth, and fifth are Sashimi, Nakiri, and Gyutou knives respectively.
The 5 Best Japanese Knives to Buy Today
1. Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Santoku Knife
This is a high quality 7-inch Santoku knife from Mercer Culinary, and it’s one of the best selling Japanese knives you can buy today. It has a lifetime limited warranty, so you virtually have no reason not to try it out.
This knife has a Santoprene handle, which offers reduced weight, comfort, and safer grips thanks to its non-slip property. It is also an NSF certified knife, which means the materials used in manufacturing this knife have been approved by the FDA and so are safe for handling food items.
Its stain-resistant blade is made of German steel, with high carbon content for better wear resistance. The blade also extends to the top of the handle, giving it the much-loved full tang design. The large bolster gives it outstanding balance and stability.
The blade also has a series of shallow holes that produce tiny air pockets. These air pockets make it easier to remove thin slices from the blade.
This Mercer Culinary Santoku knife sharpens easily, and retains its sharpness longer than you’d expect thanks to its taper-ground edge. This also means you’re going to be way faster at cutting and chopping than you’d be while using a knife without a taper-ground edge.
Keeping this knife in good condition is very easy. You just need to hand-wash it after use to keep the edges and surface of the knife clean and shiny.
2. J.A. Henckels Classic Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
When it comes to making knives, J.A. Henckels stands out noticeably. This Japanese knife from the stables of J.A Henckels is a fully forged knife, so you can confidently expect no disappointment in terms of strength, balance, durability, and comfort.
Its blade is made of some of the highest quality German stainless steel available today, and Germany is known for manufacturing stainless steel of the highest grade, compared to Asian countries and the US.
The blade also has a satin finish, which gives it the beautiful lustre it possesses. It’s not just beautiful – it cuts with precision and it has been finely honed to retain its sharpness longer than other knives on the market.
Its triple-riveted handle ensures that the knife stays secure in your hands, with a balanced feel and comfortable handling.
Since this is a 7-inch knife, it’s perfect for preparing pretty much anything, whether it’s vegetables, fish, or meat. When you need to cut food into very tiny slices, you’ll find its polished hollow razor edge very handy. This razor edge is designed for extra thin cutting.
You’ll be glad to know that this knife has a full bolster, which contributes a great deal to its balance, just like its full tang design.
To clean this knife, you can either use a dishwasher (yes, it’s dishwasher-safe) or use your hands. This knife is only available in one color (black handle and stainless steel blade) and has a lifetime warranty to go along with it.
3. Lucy Cook 10-Inch Sashimi Knife
If you’d like to cut delicate food like sushi rolls or fish without destroying the structure, then you need a Sashimi knife. These knives are super sharp and are designed for cutting through delicate food with ease and precision.
This 10-inch Luck Cook knife can fillet an entire fish with just two quick movements within seconds. This is all thanks to its long asymmetrical blade which tapers at the end.
This knife has been designed in keeping with Japanese traditions. The traditional requirements of a Japanese Sashimi knife include high quality stainless steel and extremely sharp blades. This knife has all of that, plus a non-slip handle made of wood, and great balance during use.
This is the perfect knife for not just filleting fish (which is the primary purpose of Sashimi knives, but also for taking your cooking skills to a whole new level. You’ll definitely find other uses for this knife as soon as it lands in your kitchen.
This knife also comes in a stylish gift box, so if you intend to gift this knife to someone, you won’t need to buy any additional items for packaging your gift.
4. Shun Cutlery Classic 6.5” Nakiri Knife
Japanese Nakiri knives are used for chopping vegetables, and if that’s the kind of knife you’re looking for, you’ll find this Shun Cutlery Nakiri knife a strong contender for your money.
This knife is as close to a traditional Nakiri knife as you can get. It has a 6.5-inch blade made of the kind of steel you’ll only find in Shun Cutlery’s knives.
They call it VG-MAX steel, and it’s also covered in 68 layers of Damascus stainless steel. Damascus steel is beautiful, to describe it in one word, and retains its sharpness excellently.
So, when you need to dice onions, chop peppers, slice tomatoes, peel potatoes, or julienne carrots, all you need to do is whip out this knife and get started, secure in the knowledge that you’ll have no trouble completing your cooking tasks.
The blade on this knife has a razor-sharp edge, a feature home cooks and restaurant chefs alike will find appealing. Home cooks who prepare salad almost daily will find that they can’t do without this knife as soon as they begin to use it.
This knife also has a PakkaWood handle, and its blade is resistant to corrosion. It’s a durable knife, as you can tell already. It’s versatile too, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself reaching for it frequently.
5. Yoshihiro VG10 16 Japanese Gyutou Chef Knife
Gyutou knives are multi-purpose Japanese knives used to chop vegetables, meat, and more. They are also perfect for fine cuts and larger cuts.
This Yoshihiro Cutlery gyutou knife is a one of a kind Japanese knife. This one is handcrafted in Japan by skilled tradesmen and it is not a mass-produced knife. In light of this, you should expect nothing but outstanding quality from this knife.
This is an 8-inch knife, and it’s perfect for slicing, dicing, and chopping fresh produce. You’ll also enjoy carving roasted chicken fresh out of your oven with this knife.
The VG10 in the title represents the Japanese stainless steel used in manufacturing the blade. The qualities of this knife’s blade, thanks to the VG10 stainless steel, include easy honing, durability, edge retention, and outstanding sharpness.
The outer part of the blade is hammered to get rid of friction and to keep food from sticking to the blades while in use.
You’ll only begin to appreciate the premium Mahogany wood handle on this knife when you hold it in your hands. You’ll also notice its awesome balance, thanks to the handle and the blade’s full tang design.
This knife is ready to use as soon as you purchase it, and cleaning is easy – just hand-wash it. It isn’t dishwasher safe, so your dishwasher won’t be seeing an inch of this knife.
Over to You
So, you’ve seen the best knives to buy if you’re looking for a Japanese knife. The four major types of Japanese knives are also included in this article. If you’re really interested in getting a Japanese knife that will last long and satisfy your cooking needs, you probably won’t need to read beyond this article.