The Ultimate Guide to the Best Japanese Knives

Last Updated on September 28, 2022 | 0 Comments
best japanese knives
Last Updated on September 28, 2022 | 0 Comments
Our editorial team recommends the best products through independent research, selection and careful review. Prices are subject to change.

Japan is famous for a lot of things, and the best Japanese knives are no exception. Japanese knives are some of the best in the world and have been perfected by local craftspeople for generations. But what exactly makes Japanese knives so great? 

For one, they are extremely sharp. They are designed to delicately yet precisely slice meat, fish, vegetables and more. Japanese knife types are also thin yet durable, meaning they can last a long time and are easy and comfortable to use.

Are you ready to add the best Japanese knives to your cutlery collection? From paring knives to butcher’s knives, and from the best Japanese chef’s knives to the best Japanese kitchen knives, there are plenty to choose from. 

Browse the best Japanese knives below to learn more about each selection’s premium materials, strategic design and unique features.

 

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THE BEST OF THE BEST

our top pick
Miyabi Artisan 8" Chef Knife

Miyabi Artisan 8" Chef Knife

Go from chef to samurai

Centuries of tradition meet exceptional modern construction in the Miyabi Artisan 8" Chef Knife. This knife features an SG2 powder-steel core clad in layers of nickel and stainless steel for strength and performance, with a hammered Tsuchime finish that prevents sticking. The handle, made of cocobolo rosewood pakkawood, is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably into your hand. Each knife is hand-honed in Seki, Japan using traditional sharpening methods and finished with a true katana edge, resulting in blades so sharp they glide through food (they’re the sharpest cooking knives in the world).Dimensions: 13" L (8” blade)Care and Use: Hand wash onlyMaterial: SG2 micro-carbide powder steel, cocobolo rosewood pakkawood handle

This knife is as impressive as it is beautiful. The blade layers nickel and stainless steel over an SG2 powder-steel core, complete with a true katana edge for optimum sharpness.

runner up
Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime 7" Santoku Knife 

Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime 7" Santoku Knife

The best of both worlds

A Western handle and Japanese blade complement one another beautifully in the Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime 7" Santoku Knife. This smaller version of a Western chef’s knife excels at chopping, slicing and dicing meats, fish and produce. The hand hammered tsuchime finish helps release food from the blade for easy, clean and safe cutting. A modern installment of Kikuichi’s 750 year tradition of excellence, this versatile blade is sure to please new and seasoned chefs alike. Hand engraved with the Kikuichi chrysanthemum logo. Handcrafted in Japan.   Dimensions: 7" bladeCare and Use: Hand wash. Sharpen periodically with water stone. Apply oil to blade during prolonged periods between use.Materials: Stainless steel blade. Eco wood handle.

A Western handle meets Eastern blade in this stunning santoku. The hand-hammered tsuchime finish gives this knife an extra edge in safe, easy cutting and quick clean-up.

best value
Miyabi Evolution 3.5" Paring Knife

Miyabi Evolution 3.5" Paring Knife

The best cutlery companion

With the Miyabi Evolution 3.5" Paring Knife, you’ll be able to cut, slice, peel and more—all with surgical-like precision. Designed with a dry sharpened blade that boasts scalpel-like sharpness, this Japanese paring knife takes the craftsmanship expected of the samurai sword-making capital of the world and combines it with German engineering capability, ensuring superior performance with every movement. The blade itself is constructed from groundbreaking FC61 fine carbide steel and ice hardened, so it’s incredibly durable and impressively resistant to corrosion. A keen, mirror-finish polish and hollow edges work to keep food from sticking to the blade as you cut, while the comfortable, triple-rivet handle allows you to work longer with less effort. Western-style chops and Asian-style rocking cuts are equally manageable thanks to its rounded spine and heel. When it comes to kitchen-related prep work—from chopping and slicing to peeling and scoring—the Miyabi Evolution 3.5" Paring Knife handles it all effectively and stylishly.   Made in Japan.    Dimensions: Length: 8.86"; Width: 0.75”; Height: 0.98" Care & Use: Hand wash only Materials: FC61 Fine Carbide Steel

A paring knife is a chef's best companion, and this one is a veritable bargain. Boasting scalpel-like sharpness, the ice-hardened FC16 carbide steel is near indestructible.


Best Japanese Chef’s Knives

1. Most Stylish Japanese Chef's Knife: Miyabi Artisan 8" Chef's Knife

Looking for one of the best Japanese chef's knives for wear-resistant use? The Miyabi Artisan 8" Chef Knife is made from high-alloy and high-carbon stainless steel and nickel, making it a durable and aesthetically pleasing option. It features a hammered tsuchime finish that keeps it from sticking to food as you’re cutting. The handle’s made from gorgeous cocobolo rosewood pakkawood and is ergonomically designed to support you as you use it.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

According to Chef Andy's hands-on review, the knife "exceeded all my expectations from the quality of sharpness and material to the design. I totally recommend it if you are looking for sharpness and amazing design."

  • Price: $179.99
    miyabi artisan 8 inch chefs knife
    via Miyabi

2. Best Minimalist Japanese Chef's Knife: Miyabi Koh 8" Chef's Knife

With an ice-hardened stainless steel blade and sleek pakkawood handle, this handmade knife is truly one of a kind. The Miyabi Koh 8" Chef's Knife is as functional as it is beautiful, with an octagonal shape that supports all sorts of cutting, slicing and chopping. Topping the list of best Japanese knives, this selection is designed to honor the samurai swords of eras past and makes a lovely addition to any kitchen.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

This minimalist knife features clean, sleek lines and razor-sharp precision. The handle supports both Western-style chopping and Asian-style rocking cuts for total versatility.

  • Price: $129.99
miyabi koh 8 inch chefs knife
via Miyabi

3. Best Hybrid Japanese Chef's Knife: Miyabi Evolution 8" Chef's Knife

The Miyabi Evolution 8" Chef's Knife combines knife-making techniques from both Japan and Germany to create one of the best Japanese knives available. It’s made in Seki, Japan from high-carbon FC61 stainless steel, which is harder, denser and far more durable than average. The blades are ice-hardened, carefully polished and sure to withstand the tests of time no matter how much of you use them.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

In his hands-on review, Chef Jordan W. notes the Evolution shows impressive craftsmanship, with a razor-sharp edge and a comfortable grip.

  • Price: $129.99

miyabi evolution 8 inch chefs knife
via Miyabi


THE BEST OF THE BEST

OUR TOP PICK
Miyabi Artisan 8" Chef Knife

Miyabi Artisan 8" Chef Knife

Go from chef to samurai

Centuries of tradition meet exceptional modern construction in the Miyabi Artisan 8" Chef Knife. This knife features an SG2 powder-steel core clad in layers of nickel and stainless steel for strength and performance, with a hammered Tsuchime finish that prevents sticking. The handle, made of cocobolo rosewood pakkawood, is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably into your hand. Each knife is hand-honed in Seki, Japan using traditional sharpening methods and finished with a true katana edge, resulting in blades so sharp they glide through food (they’re the sharpest cooking knives in the world).Dimensions: 13" L (8” blade)Care and Use: Hand wash onlyMaterial: SG2 micro-carbide powder steel, cocobolo rosewood pakkawood handle

SHOP NOW | $179.99
RUNNER UP
Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime 7" Santoku Knife 

Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime 7" Santoku Knife

The best of both worlds

A Western handle and Japanese blade complement one another beautifully in the Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime 7" Santoku Knife. This smaller version of a Western chef’s knife excels at chopping, slicing and dicing meats, fish and produce. The hand hammered tsuchime finish helps release food from the blade for easy, clean and safe cutting. A modern installment of Kikuichi’s 750 year tradition of excellence, this versatile blade is sure to please new and seasoned chefs alike. Hand engraved with the Kikuichi chrysanthemum logo. Handcrafted in Japan.   Dimensions: 7" bladeCare and Use: Hand wash. Sharpen periodically with water stone. Apply oil to blade during prolonged periods between use.Materials: Stainless steel blade. Eco wood handle.

SHOP NOW | $330.00
BEST VALUE
Miyabi Evolution 3.5" Paring Knife

Miyabi Evolution 3.5" Paring Knife

The best cutlery companion

With the Miyabi Evolution 3.5" Paring Knife, you’ll be able to cut, slice, peel and more—all with surgical-like precision. Designed with a dry sharpened blade that boasts scalpel-like sharpness, this Japanese paring knife takes the craftsmanship expected of the samurai sword-making capital of the world and combines it with German engineering capability, ensuring superior performance with every movement. The blade itself is constructed from groundbreaking FC61 fine carbide steel and ice hardened, so it’s incredibly durable and impressively resistant to corrosion. A keen, mirror-finish polish and hollow edges work to keep food from sticking to the blade as you cut, while the comfortable, triple-rivet handle allows you to work longer with less effort. Western-style chops and Asian-style rocking cuts are equally manageable thanks to its rounded spine and heel. When it comes to kitchen-related prep work—from chopping and slicing to peeling and scoring—the Miyabi Evolution 3.5" Paring Knife handles it all effectively and stylishly.   Made in Japan.    Dimensions: Length: 8.86"; Width: 0.75”; Height: 0.98" Care & Use: Hand wash only Materials: FC61 Fine Carbide Steel

SHOP NOW | $99.99

Best Japanese Kitchen Knives

4. Best Overall Gyuto: Kikuichi Ginsan Sanmai 7" Gyuto Knife

This Kikuichi Ginsan Sanmai 7" Gyuto Knife is one of the best Japanese knives for giving you the confidence in the kitchen to be a cut above the rest. The blade is made with not one but three layers of Ginsan steel yet is still thin enough for delicate cuts. It features an octagonal, walnut handle designed for ergonomics and a chrysanthemum graphic engraved onto the blade.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

Chef Natasha notes this knife was handcrafted to perfection, making it a perfect option for blitzing through vegetables, herbs and more.

  • Price: $324.95

the kikuichi GW series ginsan sanmai gyuto is one of the best japanese knives
via Kikuichi

5. Best Overall Nakiri: Kikuichi Ginsan Sanmai 6.5" Nakiri Knife

If you’re looking for a knife in a less traditional shape, this rectangular Kikuichi Ginsan Sanmai 6.5" Nakiri Knife is a great option. It’s made from three layers of engraved stainless steel and an octagonal walnut handle. The knife is quite simple in appearance but extremely practical as a multi-purpose, high-quality kitchen tool for making quick work of greens and vegetables. It’s no wonder it’s one of the best Japanese knives.

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

This beautiful knife embodies both simplicity and complexity (a Japanese concept known as shibui). The walnut wood handle is especially striking.

  • Price: $330

kikuichi GW series ginsan sanmai nakiri
via Kikuichi

6. Best Overall Petty: Kikuichi Ginsan Sanmai Petty Knife

At 8" long, the blade of this Kikuichi Ginsan Sanmai Petty Knife is big enough to take on all sorts of proteins and produce with ease. It’s made from Ginsan stainless steel and boasts a comfortable walnut handle perfectly suited for easy use. This is one of the best Japanese knives thanks to its simple yet quality design and the top-tier materials that it is made from.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

Chef Jordan W. notes it's the perfect petty knife for "fileting raw fish, or breaking down proteins such as chicken, pork or beef."

  • Price: $220

the kikuichi GW series ginsan sanmai petty is one of the best japanese knives
via Kikuichi

7. Best Overall Japanese Paring Knife: Kikuichi Ginsan Sanmai Paring Knife

If you are looking for a smaller knife option, this Kikuichi Ginsan Sanmai Paring Knife is perfect. What makes this one of the best Japanese knives is its Molybdenum AUS-10 stainless steel handle which is stiff and highly durable. This knife is also very thin, allowing for small, precise cutting.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

According to Chef Jordan W., this paring knife is particularly excellent for citrus and other fruit. The walnut handle adds a beautiful finish and is comfortable in the hand.

  • Price: $219.95

kikuichi GW series ginsan sanmai paring
via Kikuichi

8. Best Mid-Range Japanese Paring Knife: Kikuichi Molybdenum Paring Knife

The Kikuichi Molybdenum Paring Knife is sleek, small and super-fine, yet just as durable as its thicker counterparts. This knife is also extremely sharp and features a Molybdenum AUS-10 stainless steel blade that stands up against wear and tear. For an introductory paring knife, this is one of the best Japanese knives for anyone who likes to cook at home.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

In her hands-on review, Chef Sharon cites the knife as easy to maneuver and great for fruit, making easy work of peeling an orange, cutting segments or coring strawberries.

  • Price: $89.95

the kikuichi GM series molybdenum stainless steel paring knife is one of the best japanese knives
via Kikuichi

9. Best Mid-Range Petty: Kikuichi Molybdenum Stainless Steel 6" Petty Knife

Another member of the Molybdenum stainless steel family, the Kikuichi Molybdenum Stainless Steel 6" Petty Knife is a good starter knife and one of the best Japanese knives if you’re seeking precision and value for money. Featuring a black resin handle and charming engraving, this petty is both great-looking and exceptionally reliable.

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

This is a great petty knife for chefs of any level. The ergonomic, comfortable design makes it easy for beginners to hold just as much as more established cooks.

  • Price: $110

kikuichi GM series molybdenum stainless steel petty
via Kikuichi

10. Best Mid-Range Gyuto: Kikuichi Molybdenum Stainless Steel 7" Gyuto Knife

This Kikuichi Molybdenum Stainless Steel 7" Gyuto Knife is very similar to the petty knife above but has a significantly longer blade. Longer blades allow for more leverage but at the end of the day, which one you should go for is really up to your own preference. That said, if you cook with a lot of meat, this will be one of the best Japanese knives to add to your collection. 

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

This gyuto is ideal for all kinds of all-purpose chopping, from meat to produce and everything in-between. Plus, the design doesn't compromise on style or practicality. 

  • Price: $129.95

kikuichi molybdenum stainless steel 7 inch gyuto knife
via Kikuichi

11. Best Heavy-Duty Japanese Paring Knife: Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime Paring Knife

This Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime Paring Knife holds quite heavy in the hand but is just as small and agile as one could want. It’s made of Damascus stainless steel featuring a hammered tsuchime finish and gorgeous engraving. With its eco wood handle and timeless design, it's one of the best Japanese knives of this size.

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

We love this small but mighty paring knife for its unique shape; food slides right off as you're cutting, maximizing your efficiency.

  • Price: $240

the kikuichi elite warikomi damascus tsuchime paring knife is one of the best japanese knives
via Kikuichi

12. Most Stylish Petty: Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime Petty Knife

This Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime Petty Knife is incredibly designed and highly functional, featuring 17 layers of steel in its blade. What makes this one of the best Japanese knives is its fine grain structure and ultra-sharpness that allows it to glide through anything from meat to potatoes. It’s an agile kitchen knife that you’ll love for a lifetime.

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

We love this petty because it offers all the agility and flexibility of a great Japanese knife, with the durability of a German one. You'll have this one in your arsenal for a long time.

  • Price: $259.95

kikuichi elite warikomi damascus tsuchime petty knife
via Kikuichi

13. Best Overall Santoku: Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime 7" Santoku Knife

The best santoku knives with a curved top look nice and perform wonderfully, as you’ll find with this Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime 7" Santoku Knife. It’s made of stainless steel with an eco wood handle that fits comfortably in the hand as you use it. This knife has a hammered finish that both prevents the knife from sticking to food and also provides a unique appearance you are sure to love.

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

This knife is bound to be a stunner in your cutlery collection. It gets our top marks for practicality, beauty and multi-functionality.

  • Price: $330

kikuichi elite warikomi damascus 7 inch santoku knife
via Kikuichi

14. Best High-End Gyuto: Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime 8" Gyuto Knife

If you’re searching for a large kitchen knife that will last a lifetime, this Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime 8" Gyuto Knife fits the bill. It’s made with a 9.5” blade featuring 17 layers of Damascus stainless steel. The knife also has a Rockwell hardness of 60, meaning it will retain its razor-sharp edge for longer than average.

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

This knife combines the best of Japanese and German design into one stylish blade that performs as well in pro kitchens as it does at home.

  • Price: $299.95

kikuichi elite warikomi damascus 8 inch gyuto knife
via Kikuichi

Best Japanese Knife Sets 

15. Best Starter Japanese Knife Set: Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime 2-Pc Knife Set With Stone

For novices and experienced cooks alike, the Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tsuchime 2-Pc Knife Set With Stone is one of the best Japanese knife sets money can buy. The set includes a handcrafted, hand-hammered 7” santoku, perfect for working through produce and lean meats, and a 3.5” petty to expertly slice your way through delicate kitchen tasks. Best of all, the included 1,000/6,000 grit waterstone will keep your blades razor-sharp over time.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

Chef Andy calls this set a "must" for anyone who could get use out of both a santoku and petty knife. The Western-style handle is also convenient for those already used to Western knives.

  • Price: $589.95

kikuichi elite warikomi damascus 2 piece knife set
via Kikuichi

16. Best Overall Japanese Knife Block Set: Miyabi Birchwood SG2 7-Pc Knife Block Set 

Add some flair to the kitchen with the Miyabi Birchwood SG2 7-Pc Knife Block Set. Featuring some of the best Japanese knives, this stylish collection includes a 3.5” paring knife, 7” santoku, 8” chef’s knife, 9" bread knife, kitchen shears and honing steel, plus room to add to your collection. Each blade features 100 layers of micro-carbide powder steel for an exceptionally sharp edge built to last. And, the stunning Karelian Birch handles put a high-end finishing touch on an overall fantastic knife set.

  • Price: $1,299.99

miyabi birchwood sg2 7 piece knife block set
via Miyabi

17. Best Japanese Knife Block Set for Beginners: Shun Sora 6-Pc Basic Block Set

One of the best Japanese knife sets for a budding collector, the Sora 6-Pc Basic Block Set comes with a 3.5” paring knife, 6” utility knife, 8” chef's knife, herb shears and honing steel. Each knife’s unique composite blade combines high-performance VG10 steel on the cutting edge with corrosion-resistant Japanese 420J stainless steel on the upper blade. The included knife block has seven extra slots so you can keep growing your collection of best Japanese knives. 

  • Price: $500
    the shun sora 6 piece basic block set is one of the best japanese knife sets
    via Shun

If you’re looking to add a new Japanese knife to your collection, you cannot go wrong with any of the best Japanese knives on this list. Between their high-quality, layered steel blades, beautiful wood handles and beloved Japanese knife brands, these knives are second to none.

For even more ways to elevate your kitchen, check out chef-recommended cookware in the Cozymeal Shop.

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