Best Japanese Knives For The Money: Top 8 Picks

zelite infinity knife on a table with chopped chicken ham and spices

Chefs and cooking enthusiasts alike agree that Japanese knives are the best cutting tools in the world. These knives are known for their exceptional performance and unmatched quality. What you may not know if you are a newbie looking for the best Japanese knives is that there are many types to choose from.

A true culinary connoisseur, chef, or anyone serious about cooking knows the importance of having a high-quality knife in their kitchen all too well. For them, it's not about having an ordinary knife but owning a knife that's perfect for the job.

The numerous options available can make it challenging for you to find the best Japanese knives for your kitchen. But don't panic. We've got all the details you need to find a Japanese kitchen knife you can rely on meal after meal.

So, how should you go about choosing a Japanese knife for your kitchen?

Let's find out:

Select The Best Japanese Knife For Your Kitchen

While Japanese knives have a reputation for exceptional performance, each blade is different.

To find the best Japanese knives for your kitchen, you need to be well informed about the different options available and how each knife's design caters to your cooking needs.

If you feel like you're treading water on your quest to find the best Japanese knives, we are about to boost your confidence by providing you with all the information you need. By the time you're through with this piece, choosing a Japanese knife will be a piece of cake for you.

Let's get straight to business:

Understand the different types

Unlike European knives, Japanese knives have specialized applications.

Their specific utilization is what makes them long-lasting. For this reason, it's vital to understand the different types of Japanese knives to get the right one for your needs.

Japanese Chef Knife or Gyuto Knife

If you're a chef in search of the best Japanese knives, the Gyuto knife is a must-have. This knife is what you need for precision work like mincing vegetables and light proteins.

The Gyuto knife resembles the western-style knife in so many ways. In fact, it is said to be a hybrid of the Japanese Nakiri and western cook's knife which makes it suitable for various duties like slicing meat and fish.

So how do you identify this knife?

The Japanese chef's knife features a long straight edge that curves at the tip. What's more, it has a profile that enhances more contact between the blade and the cutting board thereby making it perfect for intricate tasks. The knife is sharp on both sides and measures eight to 12 inches.

The Bunka

The Bunka is what you need if you're looking for a general purpose knife. This knife features a double bevel cutting edge that's perfect for push cutting and chopping. Also, the blade is medium size and measures five to eight inches.

The Bunka also features a convex cross-section that makes it ideal for cutting lean proteins and vegetables.

The only thing you can't do with this knife is rock chop because it has a subtle curve.

Although an excellent knife for the kitchen, you should know that the Bunka is quite expensive.

They're only made in small batches in craft shops or by independent smiths in Japan -- if you love traveling and you're in the mood to splurge, this may be a great excuse to visit Japan.

Santoku Knife

The other Japanese knife you need to be familiar with is the Santoku knife. This knife is perfect if you need a knife you can use for most tasks. It resembles a western cook's knife, and it's suitable for slicing, dicing, and mincing.

The Santoku knife features a double beveled flatter edge that's dramatically angled up to 60 degrees. It measures five to seven inches and has a uniform thickness all over.

Apart from these three popular Japanese knives, there are other types of Japanese knives you should know. These include:

  • Pankiri: The bread knife
  • Kiritsuke: Slicer
  • Usuba: Vegetable knife
  • Deba: Butchery
  • Takobiki: Used for slicing sushi, sashimi, and crudo
  • Yanagi: Used for slicing sushi, sashimi, and crudo
  • Yo-deba: Butchery
  • Nakiri: Vegetable knife
  • Hankotsu: Boning knife
  • Honesuki: Boning knife
  • Petty: Paring activities
  • Sujihiki: Slicer

Settle for the best handle

Now that you're familiar with the different types of Japanese kitchen knives in the market, it's time to learn about the different types of handles and why you should choose the right one.

Most people don't give a lot of thought to the type of knife handle they have as long as the knife does the job. But this is a mistake. You need to choose a handle that's not only lightweight but doesn't slip easily.

Fortunately, you won't have trouble finding the right handle for the best Japanese knives because most of them are Japanese Magnolia wood. The wood is curved into oval, D-shapes, or octagons to ensure there's no slip and your grip is just right.

In most cases, handles made out of the Japanese Magnolia wood have the Wa Japanese construction -- a light-weight and simple handle that's easy to work with. This type of design is perfect for right-handed people.

I know what you're thinking, "what about the lefties?" If you're left-handed, don't throw in your chef's hat just yet! You have the option of going for Japanese Knives with Yo' construction, also known as the Western handle. This type of handle is perfect regardless of your dominant hand.

Layers and why they matter

Japanese knives have layers of steel. The number of layers can be anywhere between 2 and 33, and it's influenced by the type of steel used and whether the knife will be single or double beveled.

So why should you concern yourself with the number of layers a knife has?

If you're just looking for a sharp knife that will execute the task at hand, the layers shouldn't concern you because all Japanese knives regardless of how many layers they have are incredibly sharp.

However, if you also want a knife that features the attractive patterns typical of Suminagashi or Damascus steel, you need to go for knives with multiple layers. To achieve an attractive look, multiple layers of steel are forged and ground to expose the sheets of steel and form patterns.

Comparison Table

Overall Price Range Of Japanese Chef Knives

On average, Japanese knives cost about $$, but you can get one for as low as $. However, most of them are considered works of art and can go for $$ to $$$.

How We Reviewed

We know how difficult it can be to find the best Japanese knives especially for newbies who don't know what to look for. To help you out with your search, we scoured the internet to identify the top Japanese knives worth the investment.

We considered different types of Japanese knives with varying price ranges to give you several options to choose from.

To determine whether or not these knives are worth investing in, we relied on expert reviews and real customer feedback about how the blades performed.

You can rest assured that each knife you buy from this list will live up to your expectations.

So let's get to it:

The Best Japanese Chef Knife: Our Top 8 Picks

After hours of research, we were able to come up with a list of eight of the best Japanese knives in the market.

There are affordable, mid-range, and highly-priced Japanese knives on this list.

Take your pick!

1

Kyocera

Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Series 4.5-inch Utility Knife, Red Handle, White Blade
  • A great first-time introduction to using a Kyocera ceramic knife in the kitchen,...
  • A 4.5" utility knife for everyday kitchen prep that requires precise slicing and...
  • Ceramic blades are made from Kyocera's proprietary zirconia material produced in...

Kyocera’s Limited LTD Cutlery Series is one of the best Japanese knives you can buy. This knife is crafted with high precision to suit varied culinary uses.


You can rely on it for everyday kitchen tasks like dicing, chopping, and slicing. However, it may not be the best for slicing frozen meats.


Apart from its multipurpose nature, we also love that this knife features a lightweight handle contoured to the palm of your hand to offer incredible kitchen performance.


The knife also features sharp ceramic blades which the manufacturer claims will last 10 times longer than the popular steel blades.


And there's more:


This Japanese knife has a simple yet sophisticated design that will without a doubt add a touch of class to your kitchen.


Whether you're a chef or cooking enthusiast, this is a knife you'll enjoy working with.


Amazon buyers love this knife. They rated it 4.0 out of 5 stars.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Sharp
  • Stylish

Cons

  • Poor attention to detail
  • Low-quality handle

2

DALSTRONG

DALSTRONG Phantom Series - Japanese High-Carbon - AUS8 Steel - Sheath (9.5" Chef)
  • Powerhouse Sushi Knife: Masterfully elegant, perfectly balanced, razor sharp and...
  • Peak Performance: Mercilessly sharp, the Phantom Series yanagiba edge is a...
  • The Dalstrong Touch: Full tang and precision forged from a single piece of ice...

Next on our list of the best Japanese knives is the Dalstrong Utility Knife.


Dalstrong is one of the most popular cutlery manufacturing companies in Japan. The company has a reputation for manufacturing top-notch products, and the Dalstrong Utility Knife is not an exception.


Made with high-quality carbon steel, you can rest assured that this santoku knife is up to the task. It also features a high-density fiberboard handle for moisture resistance and smooth performance.


We also love that the blades are non-corrosive which means they will remain in tip-top condition for an extended period of time.


Amazon can't stop raving about this utility knife. They gave it a rating of 5.0 out of 5 stars.

Pros

  • Comfy and stable handle
  • Lightweight
  • Extremely sharp

Cons

  • May not be the best display knife due to its simple design
  • It's not versatile

3

Aces

Aces Damascus Chef Knife Japanese VG10 Carbon Stainless Steel, 67 Layer Super Sharp Steel 8" Chef's Knives - Ergonomic Military Aircraft Grade G10 Handle for Professional Use (Bonus Wood Sheath)
  • A CHEF'S DREAM KNIFE - The ACES Japanese Chef Knife is nothing short of a...
  • 60 DAYS TO MAKE EACH KNIFE - This Master Chefs Knife is forged from imported...
  • IMMACULATE ENGINEERING - Intelligently designed with form and function in mind,...

For the individuals who like to display their cutlery, the Aces Damascus Chef Knife would be a great addition to your collection.


At first glance, you will love the unique patterns on this Japanese knife. But there's more to this knife that just good looks.


For starters, this knife has a high-quality carbon steel with 67 layers -- yes you read that right. With this many layers, you should expect nothing short of excellent precision, and that's exactly what this Aces knife offers.


The knife also features a top-notch lightweight handle that ensures all your cutting motions are effortless.


And we're not done:


If you're not pleased with this knife for whatever reason, the company offers you a full refund no questions asked. What more could you ask for?


Amazon buyers believe this knife deserves a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Pros

  • Elegant and classy
  • Built to last
  • Efficient

Cons

  • The Damascus pattern doesn't look authentic
  • Food easily sticks on the blade

4

Yoshihiro

Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layer Hammered Damascus Gyuto Japanese Chefs Knife (7'' (180mm))
  • Forged and hammered with 16 layers of steel in the Damascus tradition with a...
  • The most versatile and essential of all knives a cook can have is a Japanese...
  • Proudly made in Japan. This knife is complimented with a premium Western Style...

The Yoshihiro Hammered Damascus Gyuto Chefs Knife is one of the best Japanese knives for chefs and for good reasons.


To begin with, the knife features the attractive Damascus patterns that make it a perfect fit for a modern kitchen.


Unlike the Aces Damascus Chef Knife, this knife only has 16 layers of steel. But this doesn't make it less effective. It features high-quality VG-10 Japanese stainless steel that offers reliable sharpness and enhanced durability.


What's more, we love that the knife features a mahogany handle that's not only lightweight but also very durable.


If you're an entry-level chef, you'll enjoy using this knife because it's quite easy to use and very lightweight according to Amazon customers. They rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Pros

  • Ultra-sharp blade
  • Easy to maintain
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Low-quality handle
  • Lacks precision

5

Shun

Shun Cutlery Premier 7" Santoku Knife; Easily Handles All Basic Kitchen Cutting Tasks, Light, Agile and Very Easy to Maneuver, Fits in Hand Like a Glove, Hand-Sharpened, Handcrafted in Japan
  • Beautifully crafted, Asian-inspired chef's knife sure to become a kitchen...
  • Light and agile, combined with being slightly shorter than the standard chef's...
  • Easy to use as a chef's knife and is especially effective with a...

Spending more than $ on a knife can seem like a lot. But the Shun Hiro Chef's Knife is worth all the extra bucks.


The main reason we are crazy about this Japanese knife is the fact that it features high-quality VG-10 stainless steel blades. To add to this, the blades have 32 layers of steel that are slightly textured to cut through anything. The layering on the knives also gives them a unique design that makes them stand out in any kitchen.


And that's not all:


The blades are also rust-resistant, and you'll be happy to know that this knife is dishwasher safe.


Another reason to invest in this knife is that the company offers a lifetime sharpening and replacement warranty -- how cool is that?


Apart from its price, there are no major complaints about this knife. Customers have attested to its effectiveness in the kitchen. It has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Pros

  • Elegant and classy
  • Efficient
  • Extremely sharp

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Quite heavy

6

ZELITE INFINITY

Zelite 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
  • SEASONED CHEFS AND HOME COOKS WILL NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE IMMEDIATELY - The well...
  • OUR COMPETITORS WILL ADMIT WE ARE NOT THE SAME - Beware of cheaper santoku and...
  • HAND SHARPENED AND READY WHEN IT ARRIVES - Search 'sharp' in our reviews and...

Another example of an attractive knife that will without a doubt impress your guests.


The primary reason why the Zelite Infinity Chef Knife stands out from the rest is because of how it looks. It features a unique Damascus pattern that will make you second guess all the previous knives you've ever owned.


Apart from a great aesthetic appeal, this knife has so much more to offer.


The knife features 67 layers of carbon stainless steel that's also non-stick. Furthermore, it has a high-quality lightweight handle that provides a secure and comfortable grip to prevent any accidents.


You can depend on this knife for anything from slicing meat to cutting vegetables.


Amazon buyers are very pleased with this blade's performance. It was rated 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Pros

  • Superior handle
  • Ultra-sharp
  • Stylish

Cons

  • The blade is not durable
  • Quite heavy

7

Imarku

imarku Chef Knife - Pro Kitchen Knife 8 Inch Chefs knife High Carbon German Stainless Steel Sharp paring knife with Ergonomic Handle
  • High-carbon stainless steel blade-It is manufactured from high-quality stainless...
  • Multi-functional knife-The gyutou knife is classified and designed to be...
  • Ergonomic pakka handle- To make it more professional and minimize any fatigue,...

Imarku 8-inch Gyutou Knife is one of the best Japanese knives for cooking enthusiasts and chefs on a budget.


Although this is the cheapest knife on this list, it doesn't mean you'll have to compromise on quality. Like the rest of the blades on this list, the Imarku knife has so much to offer.


For starters, the knife features a high-quality carbon stainless steel blade which is not only durable but also very sharp. To add to this, the knife has a strong, comfortable handle that will serve you for years.


However, the primary reason why we think this is one of the best Japanese knives is the fact that it is multipurpose.


Amazon customers swear by this Japanese knife. They gave it an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Extremely sharp
  • Comfortable handle

Cons

  • It has a very simple design
  • Compared to other Japanese knives, it doesn't have the strongest blade

8

If you'd like a Damascus Japanese knife but can't afford one, the Blauman Dragon Tooth is a great alternative.


This knife features engravings that mimic the ones you'd expect in a real Damascus knife.


However, just because it doesn't have the layerings typical of Damascus knives doesn't mean it won't perform. The knife features high-quality carbon steel blades that provide unmatched performance.


In addition to this, it has a high-quality handle that offers a comfortable grip for a better cooking experience.


Buyers have nothing but good things to say about this knife. They rated it 4.9 out of 5 stars.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comfortable handle
  • Ultra sharp

Cons

  • It doesn't have real Damascus patterns
  • It's not versatile

Revamp Your Kitchen With The Best Japanese Knives

If you've been trying to find the best Japanese knives without any luck, we hope our list has made things easier for you. Based on our research, we can assure you that you won't go wrong with any of these knives.

Have you used any of the knives on this list? Did the blade live up to your expectations? Please share your views and thoughts in the comments section below.

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