japanese kitchen knives

Best Japanese Kitchen Knives to Buy (2022)

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If you are reading this article, chances are you love to cook, and so do we. Owning a set of good knives is a must for anyone who enjoys spending time in their kitchen! This is essential for cutting delicate meat and fish, but also for more basic tasks such as preparing salads and dressings.

Looking at the market, there is a variety of different kitchen knife types that vary in size, sharpness, and overall durability. From our own experience, we would say that high-carbon steel knives work the best. Still, these usually come at a higher price that not everyone is comfortable with.

After performing a thorough market analysis, we came to the conclusion that most great value offers come from Japan. This is not a surprise, given their delicate cooking techniques. In order to help you, we have prepared a list of the best Japanese kitchen knives. We have included both budget-friendly and high-end products so everyone can get value. Let’s get right to it to see what these knives have on offer.

Table of Contents

Japanese Kitchen Knives Reviews

Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife

If you are looking to get a professional-grade kitchen tool, then you are in the right place. The reputable Shun brand combines delicate craftsmanship and traditional Japanese blade-making skills to manufacture a durable, sharp, and attractive knife. It can be used for many different cooking tasks. More importantly, it comes with an ergonomic handle that will allow you to work for hours without getting exhausted!

ReviewShun 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

As we have mentioned above, Shun is one of the most trusted Japanese kitchen utensil brands. This can be attributed to the quality of its knives, considering the material and overall build of this 8-inch model. Thanks to the VG-Max steel that it is made out of, cutting on different surfaces shouldn’t damage the knife. This even goes for metal or wood surfaces.

The main reason for this durability is that the blade is also made with tungsten. Tungsten is known to be great when it comes to sharp edge retention. Additionally, this goes a long way when it comes to resharpening, which is as simple as using a regular honing tool. Another important element that is added to stainless steel is chromium.

This particular knife features a higher content of chromium, which ensures better corrosion and rust-resistance. In the end, high carbon content and cobalt are what make this knife extremely strong and adequate for heavy use. The ergonomic handle is made out of the pakkawood, which is a popular material with high-end kitchen knives.

The best thing about it is that it is infused with resin and comes with an elegant finish. Not only will you be able to work this knife for hours without getting tired, but the maintenance is quite simple, as well. The major concern we have with this model is related to edge chipping. Still, as long as you cut with the right motions, this risk should be reduced to a minimum.

The best way to use this knife is by pushing it forward and down, then lifting it up. This way, you can get the desired delicate cuts without the edge becoming damaged by a hard surface. As we mentioned earlier, you are sure to get flawless performance out of this knife, mostly due to its combined 69 layers. There are 34 on one side and 35 on the other side.

Additionally, if you do not feel comfortable sharpening the knife, that is no problem. You can always send it to the official service department, and they will return it in a matter of a few days. As long as you are an owner and the product is in usable condition, the Shun brand will do it for free (manufacturer guarantee). Overall, this is a great value knife that will improve your cutting game!

Pros & Cons


  • High-carbon content
  • Strong and durable
  • Great edge retention
  • Smooth cutting
  • Ergonomic ebony handle


  • Lacking a knife guard
  • Edge chipping

Zelite Infinity Chef 8” Knife

This is another model that can be used both for home and commercial purposes. The Zelite Infinity stands strong on our list of the top Japanese kitchen knives. This designed Gyuto knife will allow beginners to thrive while reducing the effort of professional cooks. The best thing about it is the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty!

ReviewZelite Infinity Chef Knife 8 Inch, Damascus Japanese AUS-10 Super Stainless Steel Blade Lasts a Lifetime, Sharpest Professional Chefs Knife For Cooking, Gyuto Made for Home Cook or Restaurant Kitchen

This kitchen utensil is suitable for a number of different tasks, including chopping, slicing, and dicing. Whether you are looking to prepare a fruit salad or a Sashimi plate, the Zelite Infinity is something that you can count on. The main reason why it is so easy to work with this utensil is because of its rounded handle.

This reduces the tension in the wrists, and the G10 design is made to fit both those with larger and smaller hands. The only con about the handle is that it is not as attractive as the aforementioned ebony pakkawood. The beautiful transportation case that it comes in makes this product a great gift for newlyweds, home cooks, or parents.

The method that was used in forging this knife is the traditional 3-step Honbazuke. This ensures ideal sharpness, durability, and corrosion resistance. The whole knife is made out of AUS-10 stainless steel, which is one of the best materials on the market. There are 67 layers, which, along with a double bevel, make this full-tang knife extremely efficient.

One of the most innovative things about this model is the fact that it is sharpened at 12 degrees. This allows for a superb cutting edge and retention. Much like with the Shun product, if you don’t feel competent enough to resharpen it on your own, Zelite will do that for you. Not only that, but there is a 30-day satisfaction guarantee during which you can ask for full reimbursement.

Additionally, the reputable Japanese brand offers a lifetime warranty on all defects that weren’t caused by direct physical damage. Still, you should be careful, as this knife shouldn’t be put in a dishwashing machine. Other than that small concern, there is not much to say against this product. Reliable and extremely sharp, the Zelite Infinite is a product that you will not regret buying!

Pros & Cons


  • Extremely sharp
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Ergonomic handle
  • 67 stainless steel layers
  • Transportation case


  • Edge prone to chipping
  • Not for dishwashing machine

Mac Knife MTH-80 Professional

Getting on with our list of the best Japanese kitchen knives, this knife is suitable for regular and delicate cutting. While this brand is not as popular as Shun or Zelite, Mac still does a great job of manufacturing reliable knives.

ReviewMac Professional Series Shefs Knife 200mm(7.8Inch) MTH-80

If you are a professional cook looking to get an adequate kitchen utensil for your restaurant, go for one of the previous two models. While this knife is as sharp as a razor, it is not as reliable for heavy use. Still, any home cook will love it. The overall length is just above 12.5 inches, while the blade length is 8 inches, which is quite common for knives of this type.

The MTH-80 is highlighted by a 2.5mm blade thickness that will allow you to get through meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Maybe the most important part of the whole design is the dimples featured on both sides. This ensures that even working with sticky foods, such as squash or watermelons, shouldn’t cause you any trouble.

The handle is made out of pakkawood, and, as such, it is elegant and ergonomic. Plus, this knife fits both small and large hands. The main issue that we have with it is that the MTH-80 is not as sturdy. Thus, metal or stone surfaces might heavily damage the cutting edge.

Additionally, you shouldn’t put it into a dishwasher. On the other hand, the overall value is superb, considering the sharpness and ergonomic design that this knife offers. This is a great choice if you are a home cook and you are looking to get a model that will not let you down on an everyday basis!

Pros & Cons


  • Extremely sharp
  • Blade has dimples
  • Ergonomic handle
  • 2.5 mm Blade
  • Lightweight


  • Could be more robust
  • Not dishwasher safe

Enso Chef’s Knife

This product is a reliable 8-inch blade knife that is is extremely sharp and has superb edge retention. It is perfect for delicate cutting, and this knife is extremely lightweight and a pleasure to use!

ReviewEnso Chef's Knife - Made in Japan - HD Series - VG10 Hammered Damascus Stainless Steel Gyuto - 8"

Before we get into reviewing the innovative features of this knife, we wanted to discuss the brand that stands behind it. Enso is among the market leaders in Japan when it comes to great value kitchen utensils. They offer a lifetime warranty on all manufacturer defects, which is just what you need with a knife of this type. Not only that, but, in case you don’t know how to resharpen it, they offer a service to do it free of charge.

The first thing that we love about this knife is the edge retention. It is rated at 61 (Rockwell Hardness), and you can be confident that even after a few weeks of heavy use it will not lose its sharpness. The thing that will make you fall for this knife is the 37-layered Damascus stainless steel that it is made out of. This ensures optimal durability and flawless cutting ability.

Additionally, while the handle is not made out of wood, it is made out of double-canvas and is crack-resistant. The hammered finish is a nice detail and something professionals love, but a beginner might not find it easy to work with. Additionally, we think the edge is a bit uneven. Still, considering the price, as well as the overall design, it is unlikely you will find a better Japanese kitchen knife!

Pros & Cons


  • Extremely sharp
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Ergonomic handle
  • 37 stainless steel layers
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Not best for beginners
  • Uneven edge

Simple Song Traditional Gyuto Knife

Last but not least is a kitchen knife that is perfect for those of you on a tight budget. Coming in the traditional Gyuto design, this product is a good choice for any home cook or beginner starting out. Working with Sushi and Sashimi will never be easier!

ReviewTraditional Japanese Professional Gyuto Kitchen Chefs Knife – Premium 8-inch High Carbon Stainless Steel Gyuto Sushi Knife with High Corrosion Resistance in a Single Bevel Chisel Edge Grind

While this knife may not be the ideal choice for a professional cook, it certainly is something you can work with. The full-tang design ensures that the stainless steel blade goes all the way through to the bottom of the wood handle.

As for the material that this model is made out of, it is 420HRC. Heat-treated to prevent corrosion and oxidizing, this knife is sure to last you for years. Yes, it may not be as sturdy as the aforementioned models, but the edge retention is exceptional.

Additionally, if there are any manufacturer defects, Simple Song offers a reliable customer service to have them fixed. It does have significant differences compared to the Enso model. This one is a single-bevel knife, with the left side being flat and the right side sharpened to 15 degrees. This is to ensure a smooth and precise cutting performance.

Other than superb edge retention and sharpness, we can say that the rosewood handle is beautifully done. Ergonomic and attractive, it is a good addition to this Gyuto knife. Our major concern is that it may not withstand heavy use and is not ideal for cutting on harder surfaces. Other than that, we can say with confidence that this Simple Song is worth every dollar!

Pros & Cons


  • Extremely sharp
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Ergonomic rosewood handle
  • Single-bevel
  • Customer service is excellent


  • Not as sturdy as similar products
  • Finish could be better


In the end, the final decision depends on whether you are a home cook or a professional. Also, it depends on what steel material is your favorite. We did our best to present a couple of great value Japanese kitchen knives. Our main recommendation is the Zelite Infinity as the overall best choice, considering the price, durability, and sharpness.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a flexible budget and you need a reliable knife for personal use, give the Simple Song Gyuto a chance!

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