5 Best Japanese Knives To Keep In The Kitchen

A cook is only as good as the tools they use. You might know the greatest recipes and have the best techniques down, but if you really want to give your food that extra oomph, it is important that you have the right kitchen tools at your disposal. This is the exact reason why people around the world continue to invest in Japanese knives, even if they have plenty of knives resting in their kitchen drawers.

So, what really is it about Japanese knives that make them so different from the ones that are made locally?

Japanese knives differ from their European counterparts in their construction and design. They are generally made from an advanced formula steel that is much thinner and stronger than the  steel you would find locally. This enables them to be more lightweight while still being durable. The thin blade also gives them a sharper edge and results in cleaner and easier cuts.

However, all knives manufactured in Japan do not share the same qualities. In fact, once you actually begin to browse through the many options available, you will notice that it’s not easy to find a Japanese knife that fits the bill.


Best Japanese Knives

To help you steer clear of the poorly made knives, we have reviewed 5 great options you can order from Amazon right now.

In a hurry? Here is our best!

Only have a little while until you have to prepare for dinner? Let’s chop the BS and dive right into our best. Here is a short and sweet little review about our winning Japanese knife for today.

The Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle - Our Overall Best

If the classic designs appeals to you, then you will absolutely love the Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife. This exemplary Japanese knife is made with the highest quality materials to ensure strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion.

With a simple yet elegant design, this versatile chef’s knife is able to accomplish a lot in the kitchen. From simple slicing and dicing, to a magnificent chopping or cutting action, the Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife will do it all.

In addition to the Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife being super versatile and durable, there are a number of reasons that made it worthy of being called the best Japanese knife of all:

  • Manufactured by a well-known and reputable culinary tool brand
  • Incredibly easy to use, even for beginners
  • The ebony PakkaWood handle gives it an elegant look

The Five Best Japanese Knives At A Glance

OUR TOP PICK

Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle; All-Purpose Blade for a Full Range of Cutting Tasks with Curved Blade for Easy Cuts; Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan

Summary

The Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife blade is manufactured with a unique VG Max steel formula that makes it extra durable and tough. Further strength comes from adding a cobalt and carbon mix. Tungsten is also added to protect against rust that naturally comes with use.

Using this fancy japanese knife is super easy and comfortable. The Pakkawood handle not only looks great, but also provides a comfortable grip that stays strong even with prolonged use. The chunky knife is great for chefs who like to have a little bit of weight in their tools.

Pros

  • It makes for a great gift for all occasion
  • Looks great in any kitchen
  • Easy and comfortable to use

Cons

  • Left handed chefs might have some difficulty using this knife, as only a right handed model is available

EDITORS CHOICE

Global 8' Chef's Knife

Summary

Another fantastic option to get when shopping for the best Japanese knives is the 8” Chef’s Knife by Global. As opposed to the one discussed above, this is pretty lightweight, and suits chefs who prefer that over weighty kitchen tools.

The blade is made of a high-tech molybdenum/vanadium mix and stainless steel. This ensures that the knife does not break easily when cutting through something hard, and easily slices through everything like butter. The edge remains sharp even after significant use, and does not need frequent maintenance.

Pros

  • Comes with a lifetime warranty against defects and breakage
  • Stainless steel handle is molded for comfort
  • Dimpled texture of the handle makes for a safe grip, even when the hands are wet

Cons

  • A safety sheath has to be bought seperately if needed

BEST VALUE

KUMA Professional Damascus Chef Knife – 8 inch Chef Knife with Hardened Japanese Carbon Steel - Stain & Corrosion Resistant Blade - Balanced Ergonomic Handle & Sheath - Sushi Chef Knife – Safe & Easy

Summary

Love the fine blades manufactured in Japan but don’t have a lot to spend? Don’t worry! This Japanese knife fits well in your budget without compromising on the quality.

The Kuma Professional Damascus Chef Knife is an excellent purchase for any chef on the budget. The 8” blade is made with 67 layers of premium Japanese Damascus steel that gives the knife extraordinary strength and longevity. With 8 engineering processes, the knife is hand-finished with V shaped sharpening technology for a truly superior edge.

Whether you are using this knife for 10 minutes in your home kitchen, or for hours in a restaurant kitchen - it is super comfortable. The ergonomic design allows for a strong grip that does not slip even as your hands get sweaty. The knife itself is also pretty lightweight and can be maneuvered with great ease. 

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Ergonomic design that guarantees comfort
  • 67 layers of premium Japanese Damascus steel

Cons

  • May wear away if put in the dishwasher

RUNNER UP

Mac Knife Professional 8 Inch Hollow Edge Chef Knife

Summary

The Mac Knife Professional 8 Inch Hollow Chef Knife is equally great for use in a home kitchen or in a professional setting. Extremely strong, durable, and with a fine edge, this is definitely one of the best Japanese knives in the market right now.

The hollow construction of this knife enables it to be super lightweight and comfortable for amateurs and pros alike. The elegant Pakkawood handle features grooves that naturally fit the contours of your hand for a comfortable, non slipping grip. With this knife in your kitchen, you can go on cutting and chopping for hours without your hand ever cramping up.

The Mac Knife Professional 8 Inch Hollow Chef Knife is also very versatile in the kitchen. You can get more done with this one knife than two ordinary, locally made knives combined. The 8 inch blade is dimpled all the way to ensure that it glides through all food stuff easily - even sticky things like potatoes and summer squash.

Pros

  • Multipurpose chef’s knife
  • Made with durable and dependable alloy steel
  • Retains sharpness even after significant use

Cons

  • Handwashing this knife is recommended, as it is not dishwasher safe

RUNNER UP

Shun Cutlery Premier 8” Chef’s Knife; Lightweight, Agile, Extremely Comfortable Grip, Perfect for Slicing, Dicing and Chopping a Full Range of Foods, Beautiful and Versatile, Handcrafted in Japan

Summary

We round up this list with yet another honourable mention from the Shun store - the manufacturers of our winning Japanese knife today. The Shun’s Cutlery Premier 8” Chef’s Knife will quickly become your favorite thing to use in the kitchen soon after the purchase.

Just like the first Shun knife we discussed above, the Cutlery Premier 8” Chef’s Knife also features a VG Max cutting core. This gives the knife considerable durability and strength when compared to other best Japanese knives. The razor sharp edge of the knife slices through anything as easy as a hot knife glides through butter.

The contoured walnut coloured Pakkawood handle sits comfortably in your palm as you slice, dice, chop, and cut. The Shun Cutlery Premier 8” Chef’s Knife can be used for a variety of common kitchen tasks, and performs equally well in all of them.

Along with the elegance of the Pakkawood handle, the magnificent tsuchime finish of the blade makes this Japanese knife look super fine. This knife will immediately grab your attention and is fit to be displayed in the fanciest of kitchens.

Pros

  • The Pakkawood handle prevents bacteria from harboring on the knife
  • This knife features supreme strength and balance that allows agile handling
  • The edge stays sharp for weeks without needing any maintenance

Cons

  • The handle can be a little small for someone with larger than average hands
  • Using it to debone your meat may chip off the blade

Best Japanese Knives - Buying Guide

While most Japanese knives have a pretty hefty price tag attached to them, not all of these are created equal. When you go shopping for Japanese knives, there are definitely some blades that you should not even consider. At the same time, you will find several that make just the cut (pun intended), and you will want to take them home right away.

So, how can you tell if a Japanese knife is worth it? Here are some factors to keep in mind during and before the purchase that will help you identify the best Japanese knives from among all the available options.

What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Japanese Knives

The purpose of use

Before you begin to sort through the hundreds of options and make your head spin, ask yourself what you will be using your Japanese knives for? Will you be using them in your home kitchen? Or in a more professional setting, like the kitchen of a restaurant? Do you aim to make your daily meals with it? Or try your hands at complex recipes from around the world?

The answers to these questions should dictate the kind of Japanese knives you purchase. If you plan to use these knives in your home kitchen, you can get away with buying a good quality, mid-range one. But if you are a professional and work long hours with kitchen knives, it is important to invest in the absolute best Japanese knives available.

The manufacturing material

Usually, cutlery is either made with carbon steel or stainless steel. Though they are both great options for manufacturing materials for kitchen tools, they do have their limitations as well.

However, when it comes to theJapanese knives, you will notice that most of these are made with a more advanced quality steel - which makes all the difference. It gives the blade a thinner edge, a sharper point, and affords you cleaner cuts.

Even so, there are still many knives manufactured in Japanese that use the usual carbon steel or stainless steel to cut down the cost and increase durability. Thus, it is important to identify the manufacturing material of a knife, instead of blindly going for any Japanese knives you can find.

The handle and heft

Once you have figured out the basics, it is time to consider factors that affect the comfort level of using the best Japanese knives. These include the construction and design of the handle, the grip that the knife offers, and the weight of the tool.

It is important to note that there is no one size fits all with the best Japanese knives. While some may prefer the handle and heft of one, others will find another easier to use. It all ultimately comes down to your personal preference to decide which Japanese knife is best for you.

The ease of sharpening

Lastly, one must ensure that the knife they are buying is easy to maintain and sharpen. Even the best Japanese knives are worthless if they are simply sitting in your kitchen drawer unsharpened because doing so is such a feat. This consideration is important because ultimately all kitchen knives will need to be sharpened at some time - sooner or later.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is the most versatile knife in a kitchen?

A. In a well-stocked kitchen, you will find loads of different types of knives. However, there is one kind without which any kitchen would be incomplete. This is the chef’s knife - the most versatile knife in a kitchen.

Due to its broad blade and sharp edge, the chef’s knife can be used in a variety of ways. You can use it to cut or chop vegetables, smash garlic, dice fruits, or even disjoint some cuts.

Q. What are the different types of knives that are frequently used in the kitchen?

A. There are so many different kinds of kitchen knives that it is very easy to get all muddled up when talking about them. Unless you are a professional or super into the culinary arts, chances are that you do not know the names and uses of all the knives that are frequently being used in a kitchen. This list will make your life easier, as it mentions the most popular kitchen knives.

Here are some types of kitchen knives that you would expect to find in a well-stocked kitchen.

  • Chef’s knives
  • Utility knives
  • Slicing knives
  • Boning knives
  • Paring knives
  • Vegetable knives
  • Carving knives
  • Butcher’s knives or cleavers

Q. Is it smart to splurge on a kitchen knife?

A. While it may be tempting to splurge on a glorious looking chef’s knife, it is not a necessity. A well-priced, mid range knife might serve you just fine in your home kitchen if you cannot afford to shell out a huge amount of money.

At the same time, investing in the best Japanese kitchen knives is always worth it if you are a professional or even simply just love to cook and can afford the extra expense.

Conclusion

When it comes to the best Japanese knives, you will see a lot of different brands claiming that title for their products. However, it really comes down to their construction, design, and versatility that determines if they are really worthy of being called that.

To really find the best Japanese knives, one must be aware of what makes them so good and how they perform in comparison to the other options available. Hopefully, this guide would have helped you do just that.

So, which Japanese knife makes the cut in your opinion?

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