We decided to create this list of best Japanese knives to serve nothing but the best dishes right from the start of the year. Also, among our primary goals is to remain as unbiased as we possibly could when finalizing this collection. So we chose a diverse group of our friends and colleagues that could help us test these knives.
We gathered lots of data based on their experience in using the Japanese knives that we gave them. Our group of testers includes the following: Professional chefs, cooks, stay-at-home wives, and husbands, as well as just about anybody who enjoys cooking.
Meanwhile, the factors that we considered to rank the products in our roundup include sharpness, grip comfort, value for money, and additional features, just to name a few. And in the end, we narrowed it down to these ten best Japanese knives of the year:
Best Japanese Knives Center
|1. Shun Classic 8" Chef Knife||99%|
|2. Miyabi Fusion Morimoto Edition Chef's Knife||97%|
|3. Enso Chef's Knife HD Edition||94%|
|4. KUMA Professional 8" Chef Knife||90%|
|5. ISSIKI Cutlery GYUTO 8" Chef's Knife||84%|
|6. Miyabi Birchwood SG2 7" Santoku Knife||81%|
|7. Dalstrong 7" Santoku Knife||80%|
|8. Yoshihiro VG10 Gyuto Japanese Knife||77%|
We carefully hand-picked each of these ten best Japanese knives. We finalized our list through extensive research, thorough testing procedures, and unbiased evaluation systems.
So dive right in:
1. Shun Classic 8″ Chef Knife
We start this list with a knife from Shun Cutlery. Shun Cutlery is a pioneer when it comes to crafting the best Japanese knives. The has got to be one of their bestsellers. An excellent Japanese knife – Or any knife in general, really – Must feel both secure and robust while you’re gripping it. The handle must be able to rest securely in your palm. You must also feel comfortable while holding it.
Thehas a tungsten blade that measures eight inches. The handle, meanwhile, is made from ebony PakkaWood – A type of hardwood mixed with resin to create a water-resistant finish.
Shun Cutlery crafts their blades using heat treatment. This is important when it comes to making Japanese knives. Once a knife is treated using heat, it becomes durable and long-lasting. It gives your knife plenty of value. During heat treatment, the metal used for the knife is heated then cooled. This changes the structure of the knife and enhances its properties. The metal used for the blade becomes harder, sharper, and stronger despite its thickness.
What We Like About It:
We handed one of theknives to a tester, and later that day, he told us that this particular knife is the first Japanese knife that he had used ever since he started cooking professionally. He was rightfully impressed with the durability of the knife, as well as the quality.
Like all of Shun Cutlery’s knives, it is made from VG-MAX steel to reduce the probability of corrosion. The blade was very durable, thanks to the tungsten mentioned above and the extra addition of carbon and cobalt.
The knife itself was also easy and safe to clean, while its blade produced thin, smooth cuts. This makes theknife the perfect kitchen tool, and even works as a great gift.
2. Miyabi Fusion Morimoto Edition Chef’s Knife
According to our testers, Miyabi Fusion 10 is the perfect knife for chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing. These lines of knives, in particular, were made in collaboration with Japanese celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto (of “Iron Chef” fame). All of the blades are manufactured from Japan, by the finest knife craftsmen.
This is a very traditional knife, as it was made using a blade-honing technique known as honbazuke – A process similar to how samurai and ninja swords are created. The blade measures up to twelve inches and has a scalpel-like sharpness to it.
The knife’s VG-10 core creates a type of fantastic cutting edge retention, while its blade’s sharpness is superior to ordinary knives. The blade is made from a combination of three metals: Molybdenum, Cobalt, and Vanadium. Once it’s been attached to the handle, the knife is placed in ice to harden it, with the aid of the CRYDOUR process, creating optimal edge retention. The blade is durable enough, even when placed in high temperatures, and isn’t corrosive.
What We Like About It:
The Miyabi Fusion 10 can slice its way through thick cuts of vegetables and meat. This is all thanks to its durable blade, whose cutting core is supported by up to 64 layers of soft steel. The layers are all rolled on top of one another, and this creates a beautiful flower pattern.
One of our testers works as a professional sushi chef, and he enjoys using the Miyabi Fusion 10. He thinks the knife looks beautiful – And not only that, it’s very sharp, too. In particular, he enjoys the grip of the handle, especially since he has small hands. “This knife feels like a perfect fit,” he said.
3. Enso Chef’s Knife HD Edition
Similar to most Japanese kitchen knives on this list, the Enso HD was crafted in Seki, Japan. It’s got a unique curved belly, allowing it to chop through not just meat – But also veggies and fruits. As a company, Enso has been in the game since 1932, and they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon in regards to creating the best knives for home and commercial use.
Create fine mince using this beautiful knife, which has a blade measurement of eight inches. The Enso HD weighs at around nine ounces. Meanwhile, its blade is made from over 37 layers of fine Damascus steel with a VG-10 core.
The handle is comprised of sleek black micarta canvas, with a bolster made from stainless steel. The build of the handle guarantees balance, strength, and pure durability, with a double bevel edge – Allowing both left-handed and right-handed cooks to use it.
What We Like About It:
We tried out this knife before, and have used it several times. As much as we enjoy using top-notch knives to prepare our dishes, we also consider the price of the knives before purchasing them. Before receiving the Enso HD, we received an email from the company itself, which confirms that the knife we were about to receive was a Japanese import.
The cutting performance is excellent – In fact, a lot of our testers considered it to be much sharper than the Shun DM 0706, which ranks lower on our list. It performs the tomato trick with ease – Slicing the skin of the tomato very thinly, without having to pierce the meat of the tomato itself. It works perfectly without having to re-sharpen it (Although sharpening is a must for this knife, of course).
4. Shun Cutlery Premier Santoku Knife
The second half of our top ten list also begins with a Shun Cutlery knife. In Japanese, “shun” is the word used to describe any type of food when it’s in its richest, freshest flavor. Japanese chefs believe that this is when food is at its most utter perfection and should be consumed and appreciated at that exact moment.
The same can be said with the Shun Premier Santoku – Every Shun knife takes around a hundred painstaking steps for it to be finished. The Premier Santoku, along with with the other knives found in the Shun Cutlery Premier line, all come with the same PakkaWood handles constructed from polished walnut wood, as well as the same hand-hammered blades.
This is proof that Shun only uses hand-forged techniques when crafting their knives, which require plenty of artistry. The PakkaWood mentioned above handles contain a two-position design, giving you a sturdy and firm grip, in case you need to perform pull cuts when slicing food. The Shun Premier Santoku’s blade is lightweight and thin and comprised of 34 layers of VG-MAX super steel.
What We Like About It:
One of the first few things that got our attention after receiving the Shun Premier Santoku was its gorgeous finish, called “tsuchime” by the Japanese. Tsuchime refers to the Premier’s sleek mirror blade polish and the blade’s hammered finish, which is paired up with layered Damascus steel. The blade is intricately crafted, making the entire knife look sophisticated and rustic at the same time.
We have nothing but praise for the Shun Premier Santoku. Its blade is razor-sharp. It looks and feels more delicate than what we imagined – Similar to holding a samurai sword, or just about an intricate piece of antique Japanese art. And the best part is, we managed to get this for a steal.
5. ISSIKI Cutlery GYUTO 8″ Chef’s Knife
According to Japanese tradition, receiving a finely-crafted knife, such as a royal chef’s knife, is not only considered to be a lucky charm – But also gives its new owner some sort of inner power that lets them create fantastic feasts for friends and family. The only difference between the ISSIKI Cutlery Gyuto and the other knives mentioned on our list is, despite it being a bonafide Japanese knife – It’s made in China. This also makes it one of the cheapest Japanese knives you’re likely to find that’s worth your while.
However, this China-based knife does sport a fantastic type of craftsmanship that puts it in the same category as other top-notch Japanese knives out in the market today. The blade is constructed from nothing but the best kind of carbon stainless steel, while the handle is made from ergonomic and sturdy PakkaWood. The combination of the handle and the blade allows you to chop, slice and dice meat and vegetables with pure ease – Even if you don’t work in the food business or have professional chef training.
What We Like About It:
The ISSIKI Cutlery Gyuto is likely to give you a lot of value for your money. We highly recommend this knife to those who are novices when it comes to food preparation, whether at home or in a professional environment. It truly is a beautiful knife, with the blade crafted from high-grade Damascus steel.
Meanwhile, its handle gives the knife an excellent grip, preventing possible accidents or uneven slices of food, in case it slips from your hands. The blade feels broad, with a slightly curved angle at the bottom.
Perhaps another thing that we appreciated about this knife was the elegant-looking box that it arrived with. Its packaging can help it further augment the value of the kitchen utensil. All in all, the ISSIKI Cutlery Gyuto is the perfect knife that you need if you want to hone your kitchen skills and make an investment at the same time – It truly exceeds our expectations.
6. Miyabi Birchwood SG2 7″ Santoku Knife
The word “Miyabi” literally translates to “refined” or “elegant.” And those two words are befitting when it comes to the next knife on our list. Miyabi’s knives are all constructed in Seki, Japan, a place whose specialty is crafting blades used in swords. The tradition of blade-making in Seki began thousands of years ago and is still practiced today.
All of Miyabi’s knives, including the Birchwood SG2, are beautiful enough to be considered as works of art. The manufactures only use nothing but the finest materials to create their knives, giving them a visually striking appearance.
But there’s more to this knife than meets the eye – Its blade is made with nothing but the best kind of micro-carbide SG2 powder steel (hence the name), covered up with an additional 100 layers of fine steel. The knife is then hardened in ice, which contributes to its sharpness. The Birchwood SG2’s handle is made from gorgeous birch wood, specifically from the Karelian Masur birch – The same type of wood utilized inside a Fabergé egg. This makes the Seki-crafted Birchwood SG2 look as great as they feel.
What We Like About It:
This is one of the pricier knives that we tried out, but it’s worth the money, in our opinion. We gave this knife to a few testers who have been working in the restaurant business for almost a decade – And they told us that the Birchwood SG2 is one of the finest knives that they’ve ever used in their careers. This is coming from someone who has tried out different knives like a professional cook! At thirty bucks, the Birchwood SG2 carries quite a hefty price, but you’ll still get whatever it is you paid for.
Of course, it helps if you can research various types of steel used for knives, the different materials used for knife handles, and, most of all, the reputation of the knife brand itself. One of the cons when it comes to the Birchwood SG2 is that it requires plenty of sharpening, as well as maintenance. If you can, buy a water stone for the knives and learn how to use it. Never use diamond steel or an electric wheel when sharpening this particular knife.
7. Dalstrong 7″ Santoku Knife
“Santoku” refers to this knife’s three primary abilities – As dicer, a slicer, and finally, a mincer. It’s just as sharp as your average Japanese cleaver knife. The Santoku is comprised of the finest materials used for best Japanese knives and provides you with all of the flexibility you need when it comes to cooking a meal – Either for yourself or a group. The Santoku is ready to work alongside you and is highly dependable. The knife boasts a scalpel-like edge, which its makers have finished to an angle measuring up to twelve degrees. Its blade is crafted using the traditional Honbazuke method, ensuring its excellent quality.
The Dalstrong Santoku is no ordinary knife, either. It’s been cooled in nitrogen instead of ice, for twice the amount of flexibility and hardness. It can also resist corrosion, a must-have feature for all kitchen knives. The steel is sandwiched in the middle of 66 layers of carbon steel, providing it with durability and stain-resistance.
What We Like About It:
For the Santoku, our tester worked as a professional chef who focuses more on technique when it came to choosing a great kitchen knife. She thought the Santoku was a fantastic knife and was able to create a sumptuous dinner at the restaurant that she worked in. The knife managed to hold itself on its own, even while being used in different types of meat and fish.
However, a complaint that she had was that the knife looked a bit dull after receiving it and had to sharpen it several times before using it for the first time. Our favorite feature of the Santoku is its sturdy handle, which was made from the best and most ergonomic materials around.
8. Yoshihiro VG10 Gyuto Japanese Knife
It’s not surprising that Yoshihiro has managed to make our list because their knives have proven to be top-notch. The company itself has been in operation for hundreds of years, but only started exporting their knives around the globe since 2008.
This is perhaps the reason why finding these knives in the market can be quite tough. The Yoshihiro Gyuto set of knives come in an elegant-looking box, with a forged water-resistant blade.
What We Like About It:
You wouldn’t have to sharpen these knives very often. The fact that it’s a Yoshihiro knife gives it a genuine and beautiful feel – We also like that it’s comfortable, and the handle isn’t too bulky. The knives also come in stunning color, giving it a visual appeal. Also, feel free to use it with either your right hand or left hand.
So now that you’re familiar with the ten best Japanese knives this 2020, you can now make a more informed decision on which one to pick, like what we did. Keep in mind, though, unlike most kitchen knives out there; a Japanese knife requires plenty of maintenance. Take care of it properly by sharpening it. It is often said that if you don’t sharpen your Japanese knife very often, it means that you’re disrespecting the culture you are supporting, as well as your kitchen skills.
So take good care of your knife, and prepare the most delicious meals with flair and style. Hopefully, our collection of the top 10 Japanese knives this year can help you out with making the most suitable decision for your exact purposes and needs.
Do You Need Best Japanese Knives In Your Kitchen?
When it comes to cooking, there’s nothing more frustrating than using a dull knife to slice or chop your ingredients. Of course, you can get a durable stainless steel knife that does the trick – But in many cases, there’s nothing better than using a Japanese knife.
Japanese knives themselves are a class of their own. There’s a reason why a lot of professional chefs from around the world enjoy using Japanese knives more than regular knives. The art of Japanese knife-crafting is very traditional and is a work of art in itself.
A Japanese knife is highly detailed, elegant, and beautiful, like the country it originated from. The reason why Japanese knives are so highly respected is, they’re known for their fantastic presentation and precise cuts (Especially in Japanese dishes like sushi).
If cooking is your thing, then you’re most likely searching for a sharp Japanese knife. Don’t worry — The comprehensive details below quickly describes the most salient features, advantages, and benefits that we learned and experienced when using each of the top Japanese knives in our roundup.
So the quick answer to this question is, yes — You need a suitable Japanese knife if you regularly prepare, cook, and serve a variety of recipes at home or for your commercial kitchen. Though you’re, of course, recommended selecting the right set of Japanese knives for your particular needs. This way, you can be sure that each of the Japanese knives at your disposal will be suitable for preparing the ingredients and serving the meals that you often cook for your loved ones and guests.
Which is the best Japanese Knives brand?
- Best Quality Japanese Knives: Shun Classic 8″ Chef Knife
- Best Priced Japanese Knives: Miyabi Fusion Morimoto Edition Chef’s Knife
- Best Design Japanese Knives: ISSIKI Cutlery GYUTO 8″ Chef’s Knife
- Best Budget Japanese Knives: KUMA Professional 8″ Chef Knife
- Best Japanese Knives For Long Run: Yoshihiro VG10 Gyuto Japanese Knife
How We Chose the Best Japanese Knives?
First, we went to Amazon’s bestseller list of Japanese knives. Plus, we checked out other widely used online shopping platforms that many of our fellow home cooks and pro chefs recommend. Our objective was to find the most popular brands and models of Japanese knives at the moment. We took note of the top ones in the bestseller lists of these portals.
Second, we showed our Japanese knives shortlist to our relatives, friends, colleagues, and fellow members of the social groups and Web forums that we frequently visit when we want to talk about related topics. We asked them for their insights, opinions, and comments, especially those who have used and are currently using the Japanese knives in our collection at this point.
Third, we used this checklist and the feedback that we gathered from our networks as we carefully studied the reviews and ratings left by other buyers in Amazon and these other online shopping platforms. Our goal at this point is to take note of the key benefits and advantages of each product in our shortlist while comparing these against any negative remark that we encounter for each of the same products. So yes, we studied both positive and negative comments to be as objective as possible.
Fourth, we used all data that we collected at this point to trim our shortlist down to the top 10 Japanese knives of 2020. Plus, we formulated testing guidelines, procedures, and evaluation systems using the same data.
Fifth, we asked this team to test each of the products in our selection of the ten best Japanese knives this 2020. We carefully took note of their test results, and once we had the right amount of data, we deployed our evaluation processes.
Best Japanese Knives Buying Guide
As mentioned earlier, this is an essential attribute of a Japanese knife or any knife for that matter. That’s because there are instances when you need a sharper knife for particular types of food, like thick slices of meat. Meanwhile, a more standard knife in terms of sharpness will be more suitable for fruits, vegetables and the like. So this means you should keep in mind your specific purposes for each of the Japanese knives that you want, to choose products with the right sharpness.
Safety Design & Food-Grade Materials:
Components that are used to manufacture a Japanese knife, along with the production process and form factor design itself, are crucial factors that affect the safety design of a Japanese knife. Since you wouldn’t want to use an ultra-sharp Japanese knife that tends to slip from your grip, exposing you and the others around you to accidental cuts and more serious issues, then you should remember this factor while you browse through our collection.
Plus, you surely wouldn’t want any harmful chemical, plastic or toxic material to come in contact with your food, right? That’s another reason why you should carefully confirm that the best Japanese knives in your shortlist are made out of food-grade materials, and this is part of its overall safety design.
Sturdiness & Durability:
This has a lot to do with the form factor design along with the materials that are used to produce the best Japanese knives. For example, any type of knife is usually flimsier and less durable when it’s made out of low-quality materials if it’s integrated with an unoptimized form factor design or both.
Now a flimsy knife tends to slip from your grip more often than one with a sturdier form factor, so you’re advised to choose a Japanese knife with a sturdy heft as you hold and use it to cut your food. Also, a knife that can any time break down on you while you’re using it is likely to cause more accidents, so always go for durable and best Japanese knives.
A Japanese knife with a comfortable grip that gives you much better control should always be your priority. That’s because cutting the ingredients of your recipes requires not just skill and experience, but also the most suitable knives to do the job just right. And you wouldn’t be getting the results that you want if you don’t have a firm grip and reasonable control over your Japanese knives, would you? Now, this is just one of the many value-added benefits that some manufacturers equip into their products. Others are non-stick, food-grade materials, easy to store features, and the like.
Warranty & Price:
A product’s warranty is often a testament to the confidence of a manufacturer in the overall durability and performance of their products. That’s because these warranties are usually drawn from the results of their thorough tests. So, for instance, when there’s a 1-year warranty that comes bundled with a Japanese knife, this usually means that the manufacturer’s tests indicate that the knife can last for a year or much longer, even with prolonged heavy use.
These are the most salient factors that you should always remember while you’re taking a closer look at any product in our selection of the ten best Japanese knives this 2020. That’s because you’re bound to find the right knife in much quicker ways for your exact needs when you gauge its overall value through these aspects. So best of luck in pinpointing the right product as you go through our roundup of the top 10 Japanese knives this year!
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