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Because you’re looking for the best Japanese chef knives, you probably know Japanese cutlery holds an invaluable spot in the history of the craft.

With traditions that have been ceremoniously respected for centuries, Japanese knife-forging is widely regarded as illustrious.

If you’re a true culinary connoisseur or enthusiast, you’ll be searching for one of the best Japanese chef knives at least once in your lifetime.

Get a head start with our complete guide below, which breaks down the design, quality, and performance specs of the most impressive models currently on the market.

The One We Tested: Kasumi 88020

We’ve tested the Kasumi 88020 Japanese Chef Knife and we got to say that this is the sharpest knife ever.

We’ve cut vegetables, fruits, a whole chicken, a sponge and even a soda can. It cut through them like a hot regular knife through butter.

It has a Damascus pattern made of 33 layers of stainless steel. The cutting edge is made of V-Gold No.10 that helps the sharpening process and increases the knife’s durability.

The handle is made from multiple layers of wood and offers the knife great balance.

Best Japanese Chef Knives 2019

10. Shun DM0706 – Best Japanese Chef Knife with 8-inch Blade

Chef knives with 8-inch blades come with a multitude of user benefits.

For starters, they’re arguably the best Japanese chef knives for beginners that aren’t ready for 9.5”-10” models.

Moreover, they’re highly practical for numerous kitchen tasks.

Out of all the 8-inch chef knives we’ve reviewed, we’re happy to announce that the Shun DM0706 came in first.

Before we explain why, you should know that this Shun classic piece can be purchased for around $150 on Amazon.

Shun DM0706 - Best Japanese Chef Knives with 8-inch Blades

Main Features

  • 8-inch VG-10 stainless steel knife
  • 16-degree (32 total) double-bevel blade
  • 32 layers high-carbon stainless steel
  • 60-61 Rockwell hardness rating
  • Pakkawood handle

Design & Usability

The Shun DM0706 is a gorgeous, classic chef knife authentically made in Japan.

It has a high-carbon stainless steel construction, made of 32 durable layers.

It is a full-tang model that measures a total of 15 inches, with a comfortable blade length of 8 inches.

Speaking of comfort, the DM0706 has a D-shaped Pakkawood handle, praised by customers for its ergonomic design.

Not only will it feel good in your hand when cutting for longer periods at a time, but it will also prevent rolling.

Quality & Performance

With a hardness rating of 60-61 on the Rockwell scale, you know you’ll be getting a long and satisfying life out of the DM0706.

Although there are some reports of poor blade quality, they represent just a handful among the hundreds of 5-star reviews.

All in all, the DM0706 is an incredibly sharp knife that’s easy to use and doesn’t require frequent sharpening.

Even when you do want to refresh the blade, you can access the free lifetime sharpening service Shun offers to all its customers.

  • Professional quality
  • Holds an edge well
  • Smooth rocking
  • Full-length tang and ergonomic handle
  • Free lifetime sharpening courtesy of Shun
  • Weak tip
  • Blade may bend
  • Prone to pitting
Regardless if you’re a novice in the kitchen or you need a quality multi-purpose knife, you can count on the Shun DM0706 knife. The model is easily one of the best carbon steel Japanese chef knives with 8-inch blades you can find on the market.

9. Miyabi Fusion 10 – Best Japanese Chef Knife with 10-inch Blade

Kitchen knives with 10-inch blades aren’t for everyone.

If you’re just getting started with complex kitchen tasks, it may be too large for you.

However, once you get a hang of it, a 10-inch chef knife will become your best friend.

For this category, we have chosen the Miyabi Fusion 10 – a model that’s just as pretty as it is practical.

With a list price of about $200 on Amazon, the Miyabi Fusion 10 can also be found for less if you keep an eye out for discounts.

Best Japanese Chef Knives Miyabi Fusion 10 - Best Japanese Chef Knives with 10-inch Blades

Main Features

  • 10-inch Cryodur blade
  • Honzabuke hand honing process
  • 5-12 degree edge
  • 65 layers of VG-10 super steel
  • POM handle

Design & Usability

Miyabi is a high-end knife manufacturer based in Seki, Japan.

Their Fusion 10 model takes the steel quality of traditional Japanese cutlery and mixes it with the comfort and convenience of Western-style knives.

As a result, you enjoy a cozy-feeling knife that packs 65 layers of powerful Japanese super steel.

With a bit of experience, you can use the Fusion 10 for most meal preparation tasks.

We don’t recommend it for heavy-duty cutting, though, as you might damage the thin blade.

Quality & Performance

On Amazon, the Miyabi Fusion 10 has a huge customer rating average (4.7 out of 5 stars).

Most customers are ecstatic when describing this knife’s performance because it enables home cooks to feel like professional chefs.

The model comes sharp right out of the box and has just the right weight for good balance.

Nevertheless, Miyabi could invest more in the packaging of their $200 knife.

We wouldn’t call it a deal-breaker, but it is an aspect that you should be aware of if you want to give it as a gift.

  • Japanese and Western style benefits
  • Terrific all-purpose knife
  • Ideal weight
  • Arrives razor sharp
  • Comfortable grip
  • You may have to sharpen it often
  • Inferior quality compared to other traditional Japanese knives
  • Poor packaging for the price
Pick the Miyabi Fusion 10 if you’re looking for one of the best Japanese chef knives with longer blades. The Fusion 10 mixes key elements from Japanese tradition and Western innovation so you can enjoy an all-around amazing knife.

8. Enso HD – Best Japanese Gyuto Chef Knife

Japanese chef knives can generally fit in one of two categories – Gyuto or Santoku.

Gyuto knives are usually more popular, owing to their accessibility and ease of use.

While there are plenty of Gyuto models for you to choose from, we highly recommend the Enso HD knife.

Handcrafted by the Seki-based Enso, the HD knife features all the details one could ever want from a traditional Japanese chef knife.

You can currently order it on Amazon for about $150.

Best Japanese Chef Knives Enso HD - Best Japanese Gyuto Chef Knives

Main Features

  • Tsuchime (hammered) Damascus blade
  • 37 layers of stainless VG-10 steel
  • HRC 61
  • Double bevel edge
  • Micarta handle

Design & Usability

The Enso HD looks and feels just like a genuine Damascus knife.

Its 10-inch blade is made from 37 layers of Japanese super steel, beautifully hammered by hand.

For the handle, Enso chose black canvas micarta as a long-lasting substitute for Pakkawood.

Some users feel that the handle isn’t as comfortable as they’d wish it to be, but the company designed it this way to withstand heavy use.

Like all authentic Japanese knives, the HD’s blade is thin and precise without sacrificing durability.

Quality & Performance

Speaking of durability, the Enso HD knife has a Rockwell hardness rating of 61, ensuring its build quality.

It comes sharp, and because the model uses VG-10 steel it also ensures that it will stay sharp in time.

While the balance may be a bit off for some cooks, the HD knife is perfect for paper-thin slicing but also chopping and dicing.

Enso stands behind their products with a lifetime warranty, so make sure you reach out to customer support if you encounter any issues with the HD knife.

  • Stunning design
  • Ideal sharpness
  • Thin but rugged blade
  • Keeps an edge long
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Some find the handle to be uncomfortable
  • Balance may not be satisfactory
  • Craftsmanship could be better
We encourage you to try the Enso HD knife if you try out a quality Gyuto knife. You can use it in various applications while perfecting your chef skills.

7. Yoshihiro NSGY240SH – Best Japanese Chef Knife for Gifts

Is a close friend getting married?

Do you want to offer a truly memorable house-warming gift?

Either way, a high-quality chef knife is a fantastic gift idea.

Still, if you plan on getting a great Japanese chef knife as a present, you should look for some key features.

The Yoshihiro NSGY240SH is a gorgeously packaged, gift-ready model from one of the most prestigious Japanese cutlery brands.

You can currently buy it for around $200 on Amazon.

Best Japanese Chef Knives Yoshihiro NSGY240SH - Best Japanese Chef Knives for Gifts

Main Features

  • 46 layers of VG-10 Damascus steel
  • 5” hammered blade
  • Double redwood bolsters
  • Shitan rosewood handle
  • Natural magnolia saya (cover) included

Design & Usability

So, what exactly makes the Yoshihiro NSGY240SH a dreamy gift?

Its design is definitely a major selling point.

The 9.5-inch blade is made from 46 layers of hand-hammered VG-10 steel by Japanese artisans.

According to users, the results are even more stunning in real life.

In addition, the NSGY240SH has a lovely rosewood handle with redwood bolsters.

The magnolia saya (wooden sheath) is the icing on the cake.

You can also buy a whetstone to make the gift complete.

Quality & Performance

Yoshihiro has built a strong reputation based on respecting Japanese cutlery tradition.

Consequently, you can expect nothing less than pure quality from their NSGY240SH knife.

Some customers complained about the lack of a full tang, but a bit of light research shows that it’s not part of Japanese craftsmanship.

Other than that, the Yoshihiro NSGY240SH provides a silk-like slicing experience, has fantastic balance, and is likely to hold an edge for a long time.

  • Superb craftsmanship
  • Traditional sheath makes it perfect for gifts
  • Outstanding edge retention
  • Ideal balance and weight
  • Ultra-smooth slicing
  • Not full tang
  • Food tends to stick
  • Fragile tip
Pick the Yoshihiro NSGY240SH knife if you need a good Japanese chef knife you can use as a meaningful present. The wooden sheath and sleek packaging make it the perfect choice for gift-giving.
Cheapest Product

6. Global G-2 – Best Full Stainless Steel Japanese Chef Knife

Most of the premium Japanese chef knives feature traditional Pakkawood or otherwise high-quality wooden handles.

On the other hand, some chefs prefer otherwise.

If you’re among them, we encourage you to get a quality full stainless steel knives.

From our point of view, Global is your go-to brand for one-piece steel alternatives.

We talked about the G-48 model in our best chef knives guide, but today’s spotlight shines on the Global G-2, available for around $150 on Amazon.

Best Japanese Chef Knives Global G-2 - Best Japanese Chef Knives with Full Stainless Steel

Main Features

  • Cromova 18 stainless steel construction
  • Rockwell hardness rating: 56-58
  • 20” overall length, 8” blade
  • Dimpled handle
  • Komin Yamada design

Design & Usability

As opposed to most Japanese knives, Global’s models use a molybdenum-vanadium stainless steel blend.

Indeed, it’s still a high-quality material, but it may not be as sharp as a VG-10 super steel model.

On the other hand, the full steel design makes the G-2 one of the easiest models to maintain.

Whether or not you choose to put it in your dishwasher, you won’t have troubles cleaning the blade or the handle connection area.

It also means that your knife will remain sanitized in time.

Quality & Performance

Don’t be fooled by the light weight of Global cutlery – their models are top quality.

Although not having a decent amount of weight may be inconvenient to some chefs, the G-2 has great balance.

You also won’t experience as much fatigue when chopping, slicing, and dicing for long periods at a time.

Moreover, the 8” blade is appropriate for all users.

Thanks to its clever engineering, fine quality, and stellar feedback, the Global G-2 is among the top 20 best-selling chef knives on Amazon.

  • 1-piece stainless steel knife
  • Easy to maintain
  • Hygienic design
  • Good grip
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Not as sharp as VG-10 knives
  • Feels too lightweight
  • Small handle
We back the Global G-2 as one of the best Japanese chef knives that caters to users that prefer full steel knives. It’s a premium quality model that doesn’t come with the downsides of knives with wooden handles.

5. Shun Premier Santoku – Best Santoku Japanese Chef Knife

Santoku knives may not be as well-known as Gyuto models, but they have a series of perks.

Before we dive into the advantages, we’ll start off by sharing our favorite Santoku at the moment.

The Shun Premier Santoku knife is an eye-catching model with an astonishing finish that will be a joy to work with.

Best Japanese Chef Knives Shun Premier Santoku - Best Santoku Japanese Chef Knives

Main Features

  • 7” Santoku knife
  • 32 manually-hammered layers
  • VG-10 steel blade
  • HRC 60-61
  • Curved Pakkawood handle

Design & Usability

Compared to Gyutos, Santoku knives features a wider blade and curved tip.

They’re highly recommended by experienced chefs for dicing, mincing, and slicing. In fact, the term “Santoku” is said to represent the “three virtues” mentioned above.

The Shun Santoku, in particular, is a true work of art.

It is wonderfully designed to look just as impressive as it performs.

Its 7” blade contains 32 layers of Damascus steel hammered by hand, while its curved handle is made from Pakkawood.

Quality & Performance

Shun is also among the most reputed top Japanese knives companies.

Unfortunately, though, there are numerous quality complaints regarding their Santokus.

While some are upset about how brittle the blade is, others aren’t satisfied with the overall sharpness of the blade.

In case your tip or blade does end up breaking, take advantage of Shun’s lifetime warranty.

All in all, if you do take care of your Santoku, you should be able to benefit from a well-balanced, beautifully designed Japanese knife.

  • Cosmetically-pleasing design
  • Exquisite finish
  • Well-balanced knife
  • Feels good in hand
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Tip/ blade susceptible to breaking
  • Doesn’t hold an edge that long
  • May not come sharp
If a Santoku knife is on your shopping list, go for the Shun Premier Santoku. We encourage you to try this model if you want to mince, slice, and dice with ease, all while enjoying a gorgeously-crafted knife you can admire every day.

4. ISSIKI Cutlery Gyuto – Best Japanese Chef Knife on a Budget

To get the most precise cuts out of the best Japanese chef knives, you’ll need to pay a pretty penny.

If you want a genuine model, you’ll have to pull out well over $100.

Nonetheless, there are quality options that come pretty close to the authentic models they aim to mimic.

While the ISSIKI Cutlery Gyuto isn’t an authentic Japanese knife, it’s a fantastic alternative for customers on a tight budget.

Still, check the page for updated prices before you add it to your cart.

Best Japanese Chef Knives ISSIKI Cutlery Gyuto - Best Japanese Chef Knives on a Budget

Main Features

  • 67 layers of Damascus steel
  • 8-inch VG10 blade
  • Ergonomic bolster design
  • Pakkawood handle
  • Gift box included

Design & Usability

We want to start off with a disclaimer – the ISSIKI Cutlery Gyuto knife is made in China.

Otherwise, to be honest, it would not be available for such a low price.

All the same, this Japanese-style knife is advertised as having 67 layers of VG10 steel, even though the 8” blade is stamped instead of forged.

The ISSIKI knife also has a Pakkawood handle with a comfortable bolster.

One detail that further boosts its value is the chic gift box included.

You’ll also notice upon arrival that it’s well-packaged.

Quality & Performance

At this price point, you can imagine that the ISSIKI model doesn’t offer the highest quality.

The knife’s blade is quite on the dull side, while the balance could be better.

Other than these features, however, it truly is a fine budget knife.

If you’re just getting started with serious cooking, it’s just what you need.

You can develop your skills without making a considerable investment from the beginning.

You’ll also avoid unpleasant situations in which you’d mishandle an expensive model.

  • Cheapest Japanese chef knife on our list
  • Full tang construction
  • Great for beginners
  • Safely packaged
  • Incredible value for the price
  • Made in China
  • Unsatisfactory balance
  • Dull blade
Few entry-level Japanese-style knives can compare to the ISSIKI Cutlery Gyuto. You’ll get plenty of value without overspending on your first proper knife. For additional options on a budget, take a look at our best chef knives under 100 dollars guide as well.

3. Miyabi Birchwood SG2 – Best Premium Japanese Chef Knife

Japanese knife makers are treasured for their craftsmanship, attention to detail, and outstanding quality.

As you’ve noticed by now, original Japanese cutlery costs a pretty penny.

Nevertheless, the investment is worthwhile if you’re a professional chef or passionate home cook.

If you want one of the best Japanese knives that are readily available online, the spectacular Miyabi Birchwood SG2 knife is for you.

Best Japanese Chef Knives ISSIKI Cutlery Gyuto - Best Japanese Chef Knives on a Budget

Main Features

  • 6” SG2 micro-carbide powder steel blade
  • 100 steel layers
  • Honbazuke hand-honing
  • Karelian birchwood handle
  • 63 Rockwell hardness rating

Design & Usability

In terms of design, no other models from our list can surpass the expertise, sophistication, and overall allure of the Miyabi SG2.

It features an 6-inch blade that packs 100 layers of steel with an admirable Damascus flower pattern.

To complete the model’s refinement, Miyabi topped it off with a Karelian birch handle.

Users agree that the mastery and finish of the Miyabi SG2 are exceptional.

Although it is indeed a work of art, you can easily use it for all common purposes.

Quality & Performance

There’s no doubting the Miyabi SG2’s quality.

Yes, it may be overpriced, but you receive an absolutely breathtaking gem of a knife.

A handful of customers found design flaws in theirs, but they are isolated cases among the overwhelmingly positive feedback.

The blade is made from SG2 steel, which is superior to VG-10 steel.

Additionally, this knife’s blade has the highest durability out of all models we have reviewed, with a Rockwell hardness rating of 63.

  • Top-of-the-line quality
  • Superior steel (SG2)
  • Splendid aesthetics
  • Extreme sharpness
  • Perfectly balanced
  • Overpriced
  • Coarse edge
  • Potential design flaws
If you don’t want to resort to anything else besides premium quality in your cutlery, you need the Miyabi SG2 in your life. It may be significantly expensive, but it’s one of the best Japanese chef knives you can purchase online today.

2. Dalstrong Santoku – Best Rated Japanese Chef Knife

If we, as consumers, were to make our buying decisions based on product descriptions, we’d be a mass of outraged customers.

As far as the best Japanese chef knives are concerned, it’s extremely easy to fall into the trap of buying cheap rip-offs.

Therefore, it’s natural to see what real customers think before buying a knife.

In this case, the Dalstrong Santoku has the best real feedback from hundreds of happy chefs, out of which a staggering 90% are 5-star reviews.

Best Japanese Chef Knives Dalstrong Santoku - Best Rated Japanese Chef Knives

Main Features

  • 7″ AUS-10V Japanese steel blade
  • HRC 62+
  • 67 stainless steel layers
  • G-10 handle
  • PerfectFit Dalstrong sheath included

Design & Usability

This Dalstrong knife has a classic Santoku silhouette.

In other words, it features a wide, 7-inch blade with a curved tip.

Compared to most competing models, the Dalstrong Santoku comes with a G-10 fiberglass resin handle for extra durability.

The way the handle and bolster are designed make the knife notably comfortable, even if hours on end of chopping and dicing await.

On this note, Dalstrong’s Santoku is a model you can easily use in a professional setting.

Quality & Performance

No wonder the Dalstrong Santoku is so popular and trusted by customers.

Not only is the knife’s design brilliant, but so is its performance.

It has a highly effective weight-balance ratio designed to accommodate even the busiest of chefs. And because it’s a Santoku, it works great as a vegetable knife too!

Despite a few sharpness-related complaints, this Santoku is mostly appreciated for having fine edge retention.

In addition to the engineering, quality, and performance offered, Dalstrong is also applauded for their attentive customer support service.

  • 90% 5-star reviews
  • Professional quality
  • Ergonomic bolster and handle
  • Wonderful balance
  • Amazing customer service
  • Uncomfortable Dalstrong logo on blade
  • Some say sharpness leaves much to be desired
  • Inferior steel (AUS-10V)
If you rely on customer feedback for making your purchases, you’ll immediately appreciate the Dalstrong Santoku as a quality Japanese chef knife. It enjoys fabulous reports from consumers that are extremely satisfied with their pro knife.
Best Product

1. Yoshihiro Gyuto – Best Japanese Chef Knife of 2019

With this model, we’re back to the skilled artisans from Yoshihiro.

In order for a knife to secure our #1 spot, it had to be versatile, accessible, high-quality, and authentic.

The 8-inch Yoshihiro Gyuto sincerely had it all.

It effectively combines elements drawn from Japanese and Western cutlery to form the near-perfect knife for any beginner, intermediate or expert chef.

At the moment, the Yoshihiro Gyuto model can be ordered on Amazon for around $100.

Best Japanese Chef Knives Yoshihiro Gyuto - Best Japanese Chef Knives of 2018

Main Features

  • 8-inch VG-10 steel Gyuto
  • Hammered Damascus steel layers (16)
  • 60 Rockwell hardness rating
  • Mahogany wood handle
  • NSF certification for commercial kitchens

Design & Usability

Similar to the Miyabi knife, the Yoshihiro Gyuto takes the best elements from Japanese knife-making and mixes them with Western ergonomics.

The beautiful Japanese super steel blade is hand-hammered with 16 layers of Damascus protection.

Yoshihiro drew inspiration from the West with a triple-riveted mahogany wood handle that’s as comfortable as it is pretty.

You can use the Yoshihiro Gyuto in any pro kitchen environment without battling fatigue or other similar inconveniences.

Quality & Performance

Design-wise, there are a few quality complaints.

Several users were unhappy with the questionable bolster design.

Likewise, some reported that the edge was rather brittle.

Setting these annoyances to the side, your cutting experience with Yoshihiro’s Gyuto should be phenomenal.

Not only is it razor sharp, but it’s also said to hold an edge for a long time.

Its authenticity, terrific performance, and practical construction have made it the 6th top-selling item in the Gyuto Knife Amazon category.

  • All-purpose chef knife
  • Genuine Japanese hand-crafting
  • Effortless slicing
  • Holds an edge well
  • 6th best-selling Gyuto Knife on Amazon
  • Handle prone to splitting
  • Poor bolster design
  • Brittle edge, according to some
Invest in the Yoshihiro Gyuto if you want a piece of genuine Japanese cutlery that you can use throughout almost all stages of meal preparation. From where we stand, they’re the best Japanese chef knives for home or pro chefs you can buy this year.

The Verdict

In summary, the best Japanese chef knives are just a few clicks away, no matter if you prefer Gyuto or Santoku models.

You can now make a well-researched decision and invest in a piece of exquisite cutlery you’ll treasure for years to come.

Before we let you go, we can’t stress enough how important it is to properly care for your Japanese knife.

It would be disrespectful to both the culture you’re supporting and yourself to not do so.

Take care and enjoy preparing unforgettable meals in style!

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