Best Japanese Chef Knives

Last Updated on February 24, 2023 by Lauren Beck

Japanese knives are renowned for their sharpness, durability, and precision. They are essential tools for professional chefs and home cooks alike. If you’re in the market for a Japanese chef knife, there are many options to choose from. 

In this article, we will discuss the 10 best Japanese Chef kitchen knives, what to look for when shopping for Japanese knives, how to test Japanese knives, how Japanese knives are made, how to sharpen Japanese knives, how often to sharpen Japanese knives, whether Japanese knives are double-bladed, how much you should spend on a Japanese knife, what you should use a chef’s knife for, and whether Japanese chef knives are worth the investment.

10 Best Japanese Chef Knives

  1. Shun Classic Chef’s Knife
  2. Global G-2 Chef’s Knife
  3. Miyabi Birchwood SG2 Chef’s Knife
  4. Mac Mighty Professional Chef’s Knife
  5. Masamoto VG-10 Chef’s Knife
  6. Tojiro DP Gyuto Chef’s Knife
  7. Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef Gyuto Knife
  8. JCK Natures Blue Moon Santoku Knife
  9. Zelite Infinity Chef Knife
  10. Enso HD Chef’s Knife

What to Look for When Shopping for Japanese Knives

When shopping for Japanese knives, consider the following factors:

  • Blade material – The blade material affects the sharpness and durability of the knife. High-carbon stainless steel is a popular choice for Japanese knives.
  • Blade shape – Japanese knives come in a variety of blade shapes, including Gyuto (chef’s knife), Santoku (all-purpose knife), and Nakiri (vegetable knife). Consider which shape would be best for your needs.
  • Handle material – The handle material affects the comfort and grip of the knife. Options include wood, plastic, and composite materials.
  • Blade length – The blade length affects the versatility of the knife. Longer blades are better for slicing, while shorter blades are better for precision work.

How To Test Japanese Knives?

To test the sharpness of a Japanese knife, you can perform a paper test. Hold a sheet of paper in one hand and gently draw the knife down the paper with the other hand. If the knife cuts through the paper cleanly and smoothly, it is sharp.

How Are Japanese Knives Made?

Japanese knives are typically made using traditional forging techniques. The process involves heating and hammering a single piece of high-carbon steel to create the blade. The blade is then sharpened and polished by hand.

How Do You Sharpen Japanese Knives?

using whetstone to sharpen a knife

Japanese knives require special care when sharpening to maintain their sharpness and precision. The best method for sharpening Japanese knives is using a whetstone. 

To sharpen the knife, wet the whetstone and place it on a stable surface. Hold the knife at a 15-degree angle and draw it across the stone in a sweeping motion, starting at the base of the blade and working towards the tip. Repeat on the other side of the blade, using the same angle and motion.

How Often Should You Sharpen Japanese Knives?

The frequency of sharpening Japanese knives depends on how often they are used. For regular home use, sharpening every 2-3 months is sufficient. Professional chefs may need to sharpen their knives more frequently.

Are Japanese Knives Double Bladed?

No, Japanese knives are not double-bladed. They are single bevel knives, meaning they have only one sharpened edge.

How Much Should I Spend on a Japanese Knife?

The price of a Japanese knife can range from under $50 to over $1,000. The cost will depend on factors such as the blade material, handle material, and brand. As with most things, you get what you pay for. 

Higher-end Japanese knives are typically made with higher-quality materials and crafted with greater precision. That being said, there are many excellent Japanese knives available at mid-range price points. Consider your budget and needs when selecting a Japanese knife.

What Should You Use a Chef’s Knife For?

A chef’s knife is a versatile kitchen tool that can be used for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Chopping vegetables
  • Slicing meat
  • Dicing herbs
  • Crushing garlic
  • Mincing onions
  • Slicing bread
  • Carving roast

Are Japanese Chef Knives Worth It?

Japanese chef knives are worth the investment for those who are serious about cooking and want the best possible tools. They are often more expensive than Western-style knives [1], but they offer superior sharpness and precision. Japanese knives are also beautiful, with unique blade patterns and high-quality handle materials.


Japanese knives are among the best in the world, with a long history of craftsmanship and precision. When shopping for a Japanese chef knife, consider factors such as blade material, blade shape, handle material, and blade length. To maintain the sharpness and precision of a Japanese knife, it is important to sharpen it regularly using a whetstone. While Japanese knives may be more expensive than their Western counterparts, they are worth the investment for those who want the best possible kitchen tools. With the right care, a Japanese knife can last a lifetime and make your cooking experience more enjoyable and efficient.


Lauren Beck
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