Best Japanese Kitchen Knife Brands in 2021 (TOP 6)

A Japanese kitchen knife is desired for its gorgeous and detailed design, as well as the cuts they offer. We all know that the Japanese have a tradition of making handcrafted things, their forging techniques, and the uncompromising mentality of using the best materials lead them to the best Japanese kitchen knife brands in the world and still.

In today’s hot cutlery market, there are plenty of companies claiming to be the best Japanese knife brands, delivering the most reliable Japanese knives or the best product, this may lead to confusion in which one is worth your money and time.

To have you get yourself the most suitable kitchen knives or even the best cutlery set with less concern and worries, we selected some items based on independent research from many of the best knife brands for this article, now shall we get started?

First of all, let’s take a quick look at a shortlist of the most helpful knives in the world according to Amazon actual reviews and ratings, keep in mind that all of this is recommended, there is nothing called the best cutlery, only the best item for you and your needs.

The Top-Rated Japanese Kitchen Knife Brands  (Recommendation)

1. ZELITE INFINITY DAMASCUS – PREMIUM CHOICE

2. SHUN CLASSIC VG MAX – TOP REVIEWS

3. TOJIRO GYUTO – BEST FOR YOUR BUCKS

4. YOSHIHIRO VG10 GYUTO DAMASCUS – BEST ALTERNATIVE

5. MAC KNIFE SANTOKU KNIFE SET – BEST KNIVES SET

6. YOSHIHIRO MIRROR POLISHED GYUTO


Related:

Guide For Japanese Kitchen Knife Brands

Since the beginning, there are numerous types of knives, some are well known for its quality and some don’t, each of them is made for performing their particular advantage, here are some famous types.

1. The Gyuto

In some terms, these types may be considered as the greatest Japanese knife. Built with a double beveled edge, it’s razor-sharp on both sides and usually measures between 8 and 12 inches.

If being forged by the best Japanese kitchen knife brands, they can be a lightweight, all-purpose knife that excels at accuracy works, vegetables, or light proteins.

However, these won’t be the best in chopping through dense materials such as bones or slicing through large items like Hubbard squash.

2. The Santoku

These types are built with a slide wight angle on the cutting edge, allow for some rock-chopping, makes cutting in a straight up and down fashion is easier and more efficient.

Some knife brands made these types with a Western-style double-beveled edge and maintain a regular thickness from the spine to just behind the cutting edge.

The tip shape and the height of the blade make it a solid and safe fulcrum point for the offhand when mincing.

Like a chef’s knife, these types are lightweight and nimble, can be used for a variety of cutting tasks in the kitchen, but lack the blade length for tasks like slicing up fish or meat.

3. The Sujihiki

Being acknowledged as the best cutlery knife in the world, the Sujihiki owns a long, narrow blade with a short height that’s created for slicing boneless meat, fish, or poultry.

Some brands design the Sujihiki with fluting or a hammered profile above the cutting edge to further reduce friction and prevent sticking.

Unlike the santoku, these knife types are built with low height and intend less surface area, reducing friction, which makes it excellent for making thin slices.

4. The Nakiri

These types are built in a shape comparable to a short cleaver, it has a flat form identified by a thin, neat blade, some may have a slight curve toward the blunt edge.

This knife type has a flat edge that utilizes a straight up and down motion, without the need for any horizontal pushing or pulling.

You can perform paper-thin slice cuts as the edges travel through the food.

Due to the thin, clean cutting edge, this knife type is best for handling veggies and herbs without bruising or crushing it or even scooping large amounts of food.

5. The Deba

These types are traditionally also thick and stout and have the primary application of butchering and filleting fish.

The blade length is usually measured from 6.5 to 8 inches, some as small as 4 inches in length.

This makes it wonderful for cutting the soft flesh of fish as well as fish bones or cutting vegetables.

However, the single bevel can make this difficult for those unfamiliar with a proper technique.

6. The Yanagiba

This type is traditionally used as a sashimi knife, acknowledged as the most reliable Japanese knives in the world by many chefs.

The long and thin blade is intended to cut in a single pulling stroke that produces clean, sharp edges using only the weight of the knife, and according to some chefs, the longer the blade, the more reliable results.

Best Japanese Kitchen Knives Shortlist (Updated List)

Product imagesProduct namesEditor's ratingPrice
ZELITE INFINITY DAMASCUS JAPANESE KNIFE4.7Check
Price
SHUN CLASSIC KITCHEN KNIFE4.7Check
Price
TOJIRO GYUTO JAPANESE KNIFE4.7Check
Price
YOSHIHIRO GYUTO DAMASCUS KNIFE4.7Check
Price
MAC KNIFE SANTOKU KNIFE4.4Check
Price
YOSHIHIRO MIRROR POLISHED GYUTO JAPANESE KITCHEN KNIFE5.0Check
Price

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can be changed

The Best Japanese Kitchen Knives

#1. ZELITE INFINITY DAMASCUS  – PREMIUM CHOICE

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If you are getting familiar with complex tasks in the kitchen and looking for the best Japanese kitchen knife in the world and hand-forged by one of the best products for yourself, this should be the one, let me tell you why!

The design of this handmade knife is just outstanding, the Damascus pattern is the result of 67 layers of steel, sturdy yet thin and stable.

The edge is obviously razor-sharp right out of the box, it can deal with anything except bones or dense amounts of meat, as you may know.

Its handle has a western look, thicker to the end, which gives extra comfortable gripping and prevents it from slipping off your hand.

With all this combined with the blade, this Japanese knife is perfect for those who are already an expert in the kitchen.

Pros

  • Both Japanese and western-style benefits
  • High-quality finish
  • Fits for all-purpose
  • Razor-sharp blade
  • Perfectly weighted, and easy to handle
  • Damascus pattern
  • 67 layers of high-quality steel
  • Stain-resistant featured
  • Lifetime risk-free guarantee
  • Nice looking box for storage

Cons

  • Requires constant resharpen
  • No Japanese kitchen knife handle replacement
  • Only one size to choose

Overall, if you are looking for an item with a 12-degree blade edge that makes slicing meat, chicken, steak, and sushi/sashimi feel like slicing butter, then this knife will satisfy you the most in your cooking journey.

#2. SHUN CLASSIC VG MAX – TOP REVIEWS

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Firstly, this Japanese knife is too, a handmade Japanese kitchen knife, the blade has a great all-purpose design with 69 layers, which makes it useful for all kinds of food preparation.

Besides, this versatility and its stability make it the best item for the home kitchen.

Also, being well-forged by one of the most trustworthy Japanese knife brands, this knife is too, has a ‘’pakkawood’’ ebony handle, ‘’pakkawood’’ is a hardwood infused with resin for a long-lasting, and water-resistant finish, ideally for easy cleaning and solid enough for continuous usage.

Just like every less of the best kitchen knives in the world, the manufacturer offers you three various options of sizes to choose (6 inches, 8 inches, and 10 inches).

In extension, each size will be included with a sharpener offered.

Being forged in traditional Japanese knife making, this item requires proper after use treatment and care, otherwise, the blade will easily get rusty and may cause serious money loss.

Pros

  • High quality
  • Sturdy, razor-sharp blade
  • Three options of sizes to choose
  • Comfortable handle
  • Holds an edge for weeks of daily use
  • Design for right-handed users
  • Damascus pattern
  • Stable between weight and size

Cons

  • Overpriced
  • No left-handed version
  • No handle replacement
  • Does not featured with stain-resistant
  • May get dent if not being treated properly

Overall of these knives, if money isn’t a big deal for you, these might be the best handmade knives for you, although, you should wait until sale events so you will have the best choice for yourself.

#3. TOJIRO GYUTO – BEST FOR YOUR BUCKS

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Are you looking for the best Japanese kitchen knives in the world yet come at an affordable price, you can rely on this one.

This knife is created to be affordable and practical in the home kitchen, which means this knife has a few shortcomings, for example, the handle isn’t the most comfortable one you will find, but any size hand can use it for extended periods without fatigue.

Even though the blade is not made of expensive steel, it is easy to be sharpened.

You can use an electrical or handheld knife sharpener and the result will be just fine. This would be a great item for home chefs.

Not being forged by the best knife brands, it is easy to understand that this item only offers you one option of size, 8.2 inches of blade length.

Besides, the blade is featured with stain-resistant and suitable for both left and right-handed users.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good quality
  • Fit for both left and right-handed
  • Can be used for all purposes
  • Good looking
  • Durable
  • Comfortable gripping feeling
  • Stain-resistant
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Razor-sharp blade

Cons

  • Made of regular steel
  • Only one option of size
  • Does not come with a cover

#4. YOSHIHIRO VG10 GYUTO DAMASCUS – BEST ALTERNATIVE

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This product is forged and hammered with 16 layers of high-quality steel in the Damascus tradition with a combining performance, beauty, and remarkable value and two various options of sizes.

Being hand-forged by one of the most trustworthy Japanese kitchen knife brands, the handle is made of premium handcrafted Mahogany that extends to the full tang of the knife, giving an increased handling experience.

The blade excels in dicing, slicing, and chopping fresh produce from a farm to cut a roast chicken straight from the oven, even the simplest tasks are elevated with a handcrafted knife that is as beautiful as it is functional.

The blade of this handmade product is also featured with stain-resistant, which means that they resist the forming of rust when it is left wet during its use.

You are free to use the knife for long periods without the concern of any rust buildup.

Pros

  • High-quality
  • Hand-forged item
  • Made in Japan
  • Stain-resistant featured
  • Beautiful and stable handle
  • Excellent for slicing meats
  • Two sizes to choose
  • Double-edged blade
  • Made of 16 layers of stainless steel
  • Perfectly weighted, and easy to handle
  • Easy to take care of

Cons

  • The extra length may not be comfortable at first
  • Does not come with a cover
  • No handle replacement

In short, If you love to cook, if you love to eat, and don’t mind putting in some practice to get used to the extra length of the knife, then you will be impressed by this gorgeous item.

#5. MAC KNIFE SANTOKU KNIFE SET – BEST KNIVES SET

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Are you wondering why there is no knife set being mentioned in this article?

Here it is, a santoku style product, built for beginners at an affordable price.

The blade is razor-sharp and sturdy, meant for effortless slicing and cutting meats or vegetables.

The handle is made of pakka wood, gives an extra gripping and comfortable feeling.

However, this set is not made of the best quality steel, yet performs well with precision cuts.

You will find this knife set has two knives when purchasing, or you can take just one knife as the manufacturer offered.

Like every other product on the planet, keep in mind that this product is not suitable for heavy-duty tasks such as chopping bones or large amounts of proteins and requires regular attention.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Has two options to choose
  • Good quality
  • Sturdy handling
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Razor-sharp blade
  • High-quality wood handle
  • Comfortable wielding
  • Made in Japan

Cons

  • Not being made of the best steel
  • Does not come with a cover
  • No handle replacement

#6. YOSHIHIRO MIRROR POLISHED GYUTO

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Being forged by one of the most solid Kitchen Knife Brands, this product is beautifully mirror-finished, this handmade item is created with extraordinary skills.

Like every best handmade Japanese knife, this one is forged of the highest quality steel based on the traditional methods used in ancient Japanese sword making by masters who have over 50 years of experience.

The design of this knife is just gorgeous, the blade is hand-forged of white steel and has a mirror-polished finish as mentioned.

The handle is well-made with ebony, giving you the most reliable grip and handling experience.

You will find this one comes with two various options of size (240mm and 270mm).

Keep in mind that traditional Japanese knife making values a sharp edge, which demands attention and care.

Sharpening should be done with entirely water whetstones.

Pros

  • Premium quality
  • Hand-forged Japanese kitchen knife
  • Razor-sharp blade
  • The ebony handle gives an increased gripping experience
  • Perfectly weighted, and easy to handle
  • Two various option of sizes
  • A lacquered magnolia saya knife cover
  • Unique item

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Does not featured with stain-resistant
  • No handle replacement

Overall, if you are looking for a product with premium quality, hand-forged by one of the best Japanese kitchen knife brands, and the word clumsy is not in your dictionary, this will definitely be a valuable item in your kitchen.

What are The Best Japanese Kitchen Knives for You

As you may already know, each style has its specific specialized features and benefits.

Depending on many aspects, having the most suitable kitchen knife for yourself is much better than a ‘’just fine’’ one. So, here are some considerable things to have the best item for your needs.

1. Types of Steel

There are many types of steel being used in Japanese knives forging and each of them has its own advantages.

For example, white steels have the highest levels of purity and laser-sharpness, but the price of this material is not for everyone.

Next is the blue steel, which has a similarly high level of carbon as white steel, but will have added elements such as tungsten and molybdenum for greater sharpness and sturdiness.

The last one, powdered steel, comes with a rich chemical combination of chromium, vanadium, and molybdenum. It offers a very sturdy yet sharp edge, excellent performance, and good rust resistance, all of that at a low price.

2. Damascus

You will often see cutlery products with a Damascus pattern, I use the word ‘’pattern’’ because they are not 100% Damascus qualified, 70% at best.

Let’s take a trip back to the past, Damascus was forged from Wootz-a type of steel that originated in India and Persia way back to B.C.

They took their steel to Damascus-a famous forging town back then and they named the new material is Damascus.

The forging of Damascus was extinct since the 18th century, some hypothesis was made up to answer the question such as the raw material has been exhausted or there was no mastered blacksmith alive, or so, this is still a myth today.

3. Handles

The traditional Japanese knife handle called ‘Wa’, they are usually made of magnolia – a wood that doesn’t demand lots of maintenance and doesn’t get slippery when being wet.

On the other hand, there is a version that is an adaption of western handles called ‘Yo’.

These handles usually feature a full tang, with the handle attached with stainless steel rivets, giving extra grip and comfort.

4. Right VS Left Handed

Some brands offer two versions of their product for both left and right-handed.

If you are a left-handed chef, consideration requires to be noted in both handle choosing and types of bevel, single beveled blades are ground for right-handed users, and adapting to left-handed use isn’t as satisfying or successful as it is.

5. The Saya Cover

Some brands will deliver you your knife with a Saya cover.

However, this is not necessary for the home cook, a professional chef may get one of these helpful for going around for work, even if it is just to keep the incredibly sharp cutting blade from slicing a hole in their knife roll.

Commonly Asked Questions About Japanese Kitchen Knives

1. Why Are Japanese Kitchen Knives So Good?

Since world war II, Japanese culture or craftsmanship has been known worldwide for its perfectness and beautiful looks, most known is the ‘katana’ on the battlefield and knives in kitchens.

They have thinner, sharper bevels made of harder steel that keep their edge for more lasting.

2. Why Are Japanese Knives Commonly Sharpened On One Side?

The Japanese made their knives with a single bevel for specific varieties of cooking, they offer a key advantage – extremely sharp blade.

And the fact that they only need to be honed on one side so it is easier to create a much smaller, thus sharper, angle.

3. Japanese Kitchen Knives VS German Kitchen Knives?

If you are wondering which one is the best cutlery item in the world, well, the answer will be depending on your needs.

If you are performing delicate tasks such as slicing sushi or sashimi, you will be satisfied with your Japanese knife for its effortless cuts.

On the other hand, if your work requires heavy-duty tasks like chopping bones or large amounts of proteins, a German blade will fit you just fine with its strong and thick blade, which can hold edges for more lasting.

4. Why Japanese Kitchen Knives So Expensive?

Some Japanese blade makers are true artists and naturally when you get one of their knives you are getting a piece of art.

The high price is a consequence of many factors: the high-end materials, extra labor of forge welding together multiple layers, and each of them is a unique hand-forged item.

Conclusion

Things must be said, there is nothing called the best knives in the world, only the one that suits your needs and your skills.

If you are looking for a cutlery product that is hand-forged at a premium quality by one of the best Japanese kitchen knife brands, then the YOSHIHIRO MIRROR POLISHED GYUTO KNIFE will surely satisfy all your needs with its balanced built, razor-sharp blade yet sturdy to handle.

Or are you a beginner in the cooking journey and looking for an affordable yet well-made Japanese knife, then the TOJIRO GYUTO KNIFE will be what you are looking for?

Hopefully, this article will support you in choosing yourself the most suitable cutlery item and the best Japanese kitchen knife brands.

Further Reading: 

Tags: edge retention, Japanese chef knives, hammered Damascus, paring knife, Japanese chef s knife

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