Are you searching for a more durable and better-performing knife for your home kitchen? Investing in a Japanese chef knife is the way to go. The best Japanese chef knives feature a thinner and more balanced design, allowing you better control and comfort. This also means you can use it for longer without getting hand fatigue.
The knife’s durable edge, harder finish, and sharper blade allow for seamless performance when it comes to the actual cutting performance. Like a regular chef’s knife, a Japanese knife can be used for a wide range of cutting functions. So, it’s definitely worth the investment! We’ve shared our top picks for the best Japanese kitchen knives you should have in your kitchen. It’s certainly time to elevate your cooking.
01. Shun Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife
The Shun Classic 8-inch Chef Knife integrates exclusive Japanese craftsmanship to make it among the market’s best knives. Each knife goes through over 100 individual steps with state-of-the-art technology to curate. The knife features a heat-treated steel blade which is then cooled to change its microstructure.
In turn, the knife’s steel features a fine-grained structure with a stronger and harder finish. Furthermore, the knife features a thinner, sharper, and longer-lasting edge for smoother cutting jobs. However, this is not all the Shun Classic knife blade does. Its proprietary VG-Max steel formula packs extra tungsten, chromium, cobalt, and carbon.
The tungsten sharpens the edge while chromium offers corrosion resistance. On the other hand, the cobalt and carbon reinforced the knife’s strength and durability. The classic chef knife is also fitted with a Pakkawood handle. The handle integrates hardwood material infused with resin for durable water resistance and high grip.
02. Mac Knife 8-inch Hollow Edge Chef Knife
The Mac Knife Professional Chef Knife is specially designed for smooth-cutting jobs. The Japanese chef knife is fitted with a 2.5mm blade molded with dimples to prevent food from sticking to it. Thus, you can use the knife for a wide range of cutting tasks without worrying about damaging your food.
The knife works for anything from potatoes to apples, fish, and squash. Constructed from alloy steel, the knife features a lightweight finish. This construction allows you to use the knife for long periods without suffering from hand fatigue. Additionally, the lightweight construction gives the knife improved balance and control.
Furthermore, the knife integrates a steel bolster for added safety and easy cuts, slices, and dices. On the other end of the knife, you will find a water-resistant Pakkawood handle for added grip. On the other hand, the curve connection between the blade and handle gives the knife a streamlined and comfortable design.
Read More: 7 Best Chef Knives Under $100 In 2021
03. Global 8-inch Chef’s Knife
If you are searching for an ultra-sharp Japanese chef knife, you can’t go wrong with the Global 8-inch Chef’s Knife. In fact, the Global Chef knife undergoes a unique engineering formula to improve its sharpness. The knife undergoes a sharpening process on both sides while the edges are ground steeply to give the knife a sharp, straight edge.
This straight edge design allows the knife’s sharpness to last longer and offers a sharper tip. The blade combines a blend of molybdenum, vanadium, and chromium to produce a high tensile stainless steel that maintains sharpness longer as well.
Nonetheless, it remains soft enough for when you want to sharpen it again using a whetstone. Ultimately, the Japanese chef’s knife’s razor-sharp finish and ultralight build allow you to use it for long periods without hand fatigue. Furthermore, the knife’s high chromium content gives it impressive rust, corrosion, and staining resistance.
04. DALSTRONG 8-inch Kitchen Knife
The Dalstrong 8-inch Phantom Series Kitchen Knife offers an excellent value for your investment thanks to its affordability and excellent quality. The knife integrates a 2.5mm blade with a sharp scalpel-like edge. Furthermore, the blade features a 13 to 15-degree angle on each side to maintain an outstanding balance between the blade sharpness and resilience.
The blade is also accurately tapered to minimize surface resistance. In turn, this allows for smooth and frictionless cutting. Plus, the affordable knife does an excellent job in blade construction. The blade features a mix of chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, nickel, magnesium, and silicon for a premium Japanese steel finish.
The single-piece blade has a 58+ Rockwell hardness for optimal durability and edge retention. On the other hand, the Japanese kitchen knife’s polished spine gives it a comfortable grip. A minimal-sized and polished bolster provides the knife with an improved balance to complement the spine.
Read More: 10 Best Chef Knives Under $200 in 2021
05. Zelite Infinity Japanese 8-inch Chef Knife
The Zelite Infinity Chef Knife features a superior blade design to make it ideal for most kitchen knives. In fact, its exclusive blade design makes this knife perfect for both home and professional kitchen settings. The Japanese chef knife is engineered with a deep 57mm blade for optimal knuckle clearance.
Furthermore, this blade design allows for a smooth rocking motion style for clean cuts and reduced hand fatigue. Furthermore, the Japanese knife features HRC61 Rockwell hardness and goes through a liquid nitrogen cooling process for stain, rust, and corrosion resistance.
This process helps to fortify its edge retention as well. You will find a triple-riveted full-tang handle on the other end of the knife. The knife offers extra strength, durability, balance, and excellent grip, thanks to this military-grade handle design. You will also find a rare tapered bolster for even better comfort and balance.
06. Yoshihiro 8.25-inch Japanese Premium Chef’s Knife
The Yoshihiro Japanese Chef’s Knife is a perfect option for those who want an extra-strong and hard knife. This Gyuto knife features a hardened steel blade, giving it a strong edge and durability. Thanks to its design, it is also quite low maintenance, requiring less sharpening. Furthermore, the Japanese knife for chefs features an impressively sharp tip for precision cutting compared to knives with softer tips.
Thanks to this versatile design, you can pretty much use the knife for anything, whether chopping, slicing, or mincing. The knife features a three-layer construction with a VG-010 Japanese stainless steel center with an exceptional HRC60 Rockwell hardness.
The knife delivers superior sharpness, edge retention, and durability thanks to this design. On the exterior of the blade, the 16 layer finish gives it more style and functionality. In fact, this outer layer design prevents friction, allowing the blade to slide smoothly without food sticking.
Read More: 7 Best Chef Knives Under $50 in 2021
07. Simple Song 8-inch Single Bevel Chef Knife
The Simple Song Japanese knife features a high quality and meticulous handcrafting to make it ideal for home cooks and chefs alike. The knife integrates a versatile design and long length for multipurpose use, even in a professional kitchen. Its design allows long cuts, dicing, chopping, slicing, and even deboning. You can use the same knife to cut vegetables or slice fish for a clean sashimi display.
Its ultra-sharp edge allows you to tackle the toughest pork belly or bone-in beef. The knife is manufactured using high-quality 420HC stainless steel, which gives it optimum hardness and edge retention. Its corrosion and rust resistance allows for multipurpose and frequent kitchen use with all food types.
The knife’s blade runs through its length thanks to the full tang construction to give you better control. This traditional Gyuto knife also features a single bevel edge design with a 15 degree sharpened edge on the right. The other side remains straight, allowing for smoother food slicing.
08. Kyocera Advanced 7-inch Ceramic Chef’s Knife
The Kyocera Japanese advanced ceramic knife is a perfect choice if you are on an ultra-capped budget. While the knife comes with a pretty low price tag, it still maintains great quality and value. In fact, the professional Japanese chef knife is a perfect option for large slicing tasks.
The professional-sized blade can be used for vegetables, fruits, and boneless meats. It features a proprietary zirconia material blade produced in Japan to give its exclusively beautiful and high-quality finish. It also features a dark badassery look to give you both style and performance in the kitchen.
However, the blade doesn’t work like regular chef knife blades. The pure advanced ceramic blade has an ultra-sharp finish and maintains its edge up to 10x longer than regular steel blades. Yet, the knife still maintains a lighter finish. Additionally, its ceramic blade is rust, corrosion, and stain-resistant.
09. Tojiro DP Gyutou – 8.2-inch Chef Knife
The Tojiro DP Gyutou knife maintains superior workmanship while combining traditional and modern design techniques. In turn, the knife lives up to the brand’s reputation as one of the most well-known and prestigious Japanese knife makers globally. The chef knife features a longer-length design for smoother cutting tasks.
This knife allows for smoother back and forth strokes on different food items. In turn, you can maintain neat-looking food with no tears or damage. In fact, this knife design makes it an excellent tool for slicing and disjointing large beef cuts.
However, you can also use it for mincing, slicing, and chopping vegetables. This smooth cutting and slicing mechanism also allows you to use the knife for longer without suffering from hand fatigue. The knife is also fitted with a powerful blade to chop stiff foods while its sharp tip can make fine cuts.
10. KYOKU 8-inch Japanese Kitchen Knife
The Kyoku 8-inch Japanese kitchen knife features an exclusive design thanks to its hammer-beaten wave pattern that complements its traditional Damascus steel design. Thanks to its high-quality Damascus steel design, the knife retains its sharpness for longer. Additionally, the cryogenic blade uses a traditional 3-step Honbazuke method for increased hardness, flexibility, and corrosion resistance.
Their hollow edge design also prevents food from sticking to the knife’s blade. Furthermore, the brand’s proprietary design gives the knife a thin, hard, and sharp blade finish. In fact, the knife fuses modern technology with traditional craftsmanship to produce a scalpel-thin blade edge for excellent non-stick performance.
The Damascus steel blade knife features an ergonomic handle design engraved with a mosaic pin for a luxurious look. The knife features a full tang construction to give you better balance, control, comfort, and durability.
11. Regalia 8-inch Japanese Chef Knife
The Regalia 8-inch Japanese Chef Knife is the ultimate choice when it comes to style and aesthetics. The knife integrates the finest craftsmanship and high-quality material for superior beauty and aesthetics. Its 66 layers of high carbon stainless steel Damascus steel cladding reinforce its beauty while preventing rust and corrosion.
The blade is also forged with an authentic Japanese super steel cutting core for added flexibility and edge retention. The knife isn’t prone to dulling or chipping, thanks to this design. Additionally, the luxurious Japanese chef knife integrates a perfectly sharp and geometrically balanced blade with 8 to 12-degree angles on each side.
This makes the blade viciously sharp, while its tapered curvilinear design allows for smooth mincing, slicing, and chopping tasks. This design makes the blade perfect for slicing meat and disjointing large cuts. On the other end, the chef knife features a military-grade handle resistant to cold, heat, and moisture.
12. Famcute 8-inch Japanese Gyuto Sushi Knife
The Famcute Japanese knife features a thin blade design to make it an excellent option for prepping sushi. Its clad dimple helps prevent friction, allowing the blade to glide smoothly without food sticking to it. In turn, this allows you to achieve clean cuts on your sushi ingredients.
However, this superior blade design doesn’t limit the knife to just preparing sushi ingredients. With an HRC of 60+ and an accurate angled edge, the knife retains long-lasting edging and versatility. You can use it for slicing, dicing, and chopping vegetables, fruits, fish, and meats.
Furthermore, the chef knife offers an accurate balance between weight and control. The knife’s balance point runs heel to the spine to the billet. In turn, this gives you a comfortable grip and handling. The design also facilitates smooth rock chopping motions.
How to Choose the Best Japanese Chef Knives?
When choosing the best Japanese chef knives, you have to know which features to look out for. Doing so allows you to pick suitable options for your kitchen needs. We’ve shared the common features you should consider before picking your next Japanese chef knife.
The best Japanese chef knives come with two common types of blade materials. These include high carbon steel and stainless steel. Beginners and home cooks typically use stainless steel knives. This knife material offers good rust resistance and low maintenance.
However, if you want to enjoy superior blade quality, high carbon steel is a better option. Typically used by professional chefs, high carbon steel is harder but easier to sharpen. The high carbon steel also offers rust, corrosion, and a stain-free finish.
Handle Types and Materials
Japanese knives offer wooden, or metal handles when it comes to handle materials. Wooden handles include materials such as redwood and Pakkawood. These handle designs are ideal for a more stylish and appealing knife look. In addition to the aesthetics, wooden handles are comfortable and offer great grip.
However, they can be a little costly. On the other hand, metal handles offer better strength and durability. But, they can be a little heavy and prone to getting hot near a flame which is why they are less popular amongst professional chefs. Additionally, metal handles can get a little slippery when wet.
When it comes to their handle design, Japanese chef knives offer stag handles. Stag handles tend to be tough and durable. Additionally, their natural curves provide better grip and comfort. You can opt for deer antler handles if you want a more premium option. While these handles offer even better grip, comfort, and durability, they tend to be more expensive.
Japanese chef knives generally feature 7 to 8-inch blades. This offers a standard length, allowing you to use the knife for different functions. But, in general, you want a short blade if you have small hands. (Check out this review if you want a chef knife for small hands). If you have larger hands, you want to go for a longer blade for easier handling.
A lighter knife goes a long way in the kitchen. This is because it allows for easier handling and control. Additionally, a lightweight knife allows you to use it longer without worrying about hand fatigue. However, you have to ensure you balance weight and performance. After all, a knife that is too light will end up being flimsy and difficult to handle tougher foods.
The sharpness of your knife is the ultimate factor to look out for. After all, with a dull knife, your investment is virtually useless. Compared to regular western knives, Japanese knives are generally razor-sharp. You will enjoy even better sharpness when opting for high carbon steel blades or Damascus cladding blades.
The best Japanese chef knives should offer proper balance and control. This makes it easier to use them for longer without injuries or fatigue. The easiest way to ensure your knife offers adequate balance is to opt for a full tang knife. A full tang knife features a blade that fully runs through the handle. Additionally, a knife designed with a pinch grip bolster will also offer a good balance.
Edge Type (Single or Double Bevel)
A single bevel edge means that the knife is sharpened and angled on only one side of the blade. On the other hand, a double bevel knife features sharpened edges on either side. A single bevel knife functions best with a sharpening angle between 15 and 17 degrees.
This offers a fine and sharp edge for cutting delicate fish, seafood, meat, and vegetables. A single bevel is also relatively easy to sharpen. On the other hand, double bevel knives offer more versatility as you can use them for a variety of more tasks. A double bevel knife will also give you more durability.
Ease of Cleaning
When looking for a good quality knife, you want to ensure cleaning is easy to maintain its durability. To confirm this, simply opt for a knife material that is easy to maintain. This is because even knives advertised as dishwasher-friendly shouldn’t be tossed in the washer. Over time, they may be susceptible to dullness and rusting. Instead, you want to gently hand wash your knife and wipe it dry as soon as you are done.
The best quality Japanese chef knives offer a warranty of at least five years. However, you can also find knives with a lifetime guarantee. The goal should be to find an option with a reasonable warranty period as this also ensures you purchase a good quality item.
The Price Range
An expensive knife doesn’t necessarily mean it is of good quality. You can still find an impressive knife for an affordable price tag. The goal is to look for the right features. Typically, you will find Japanese chef knives ranging from $50 on the low end to $200 on the high end. The pricing is generally determined by the craftsmanship, design, and choice of materials.
A Japanese chef knife typically covers general kitchen functions. However, what makes it an excellent investment are the qualities it offers. With a sharper and longer-lasting blade edge, comfortable grip, and versatility, the best Japanese chef knives improve your results in the kitchen. So, if you want to elevate your cooking, you most certainly want to invest in any of the knives from our top pick list above.
I’m a food and cooking enthusiast and I love testing new kitchen gadgets almost as much as I love eating new, different exciting foods. Most of the time I try to taste new recipes even sometimes I cook. But if I don’t then I go to my computer and start writing for my blog or research for other kitchen products manually. I believe the kitchen and food are an important part of our everyday life. That’s why I spend tons of time on it and learned a lot about it.