Japanese culture Japanese food

Japanese knife guide: How to choose the first Japanese knife?

Written by Kaori sensei

As everyone knows, the Japanese blade tradition has a long history since the samurai period and has been admired for its quality and durability. However, there are many different types, and you wonder which knife they should buy. Today, I offer you a Japanese knife guide to see the different types and uses, as well as the differences in quality.

Why are Japanese knives chosen?

When choosing a kitchen knife, there are several aspects to evaluate: sharpness, durability, and ease of use. Japanese kitchen knives are characterized by their sharpness and their hardness.

Blades made of steel are extremely sharp and the same material is used in traditional Japanese swords. It is also known for its long-lasting sharpness. However, this material is characterized by its tendency to rust. It is made with the expectation of regular maintenance.

Japanese knife guide

In contrast, foreign-made stainless steel knives can be used for a long time without losing their sharpness without any maintenance compared to Japanese knives. However, if the blade is ruined, it is difficult to sharpen it again. However, the sharpness of Japanese knives made of steel cannot be compared with that of stainless steel knives.

Which Japanese knife should I choose?

Japanese knives have a variety of functions and features.
Please see the figure below. There are knives suitable for fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, and materials.

There is also a map of the leading kitchen knife production areas in Japan.
Japanese kitchen knives can be bought all over Japan, but when shopping, it is a good idea to check if they were made in that town.

Here are three types of knives that are beloved as Japanese kitchen knives.

Santoku Knife

JapanBargain 1545, Japanese Santoku Knife, Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Sushi Chef Knife, 170mm, Made in Japan

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03/30/2024 11:34 pm GMT

Santoku means three good things in Japanese. In other words, in this case, it means that the knife is made for fish, meat, and vegetables respectively.
These knives are commonly used in Japanese households.
It is a very good choice for a first knife.

It is not suitable as a knife for filleting a whole fish (i.e., separating the bones from the fillet). The de-aberu knife, which will be introduced later, is suitable for this purpose.

Gyutou (Chef knife)

Gyu means “beef” in Japanese. This knife is especially suitable for cutting meat. Japanese chef’s knives are very much loved by chefs all over the world.

It differs from a santoku knife in that it has a sharp edge and a large curve from the base of the blade to the tip of the blade. It is good for cutting meat and cutting large pieces of food.


kai Seki Magoroku Kinju ST Japanese Deba Knife 150mm (AK-1101)

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03/31/2024 09:08 am GMT

The de-eba is probably the most indispensable knife for Japanese sushi chefs. It is used to handle fish, and the blade length is generally about 15 cm.The thick base of the blade allows the fish head to be cut off without damage to the blade.

Do you know how to eat sashimi? Let’s check proper way!


In conclusion, Japanese knives are beloved for their beautiful craftsmanship and superior performance. By understanding the different types and how to use them effectively, you can elevate your culinary experience.It also represents the spirit of our Japanese people who use tools with care. Let’s get into the spirit of Japanese culture with Japanese kitchen knives.

About the author

Kaori sensei

Japanese online teacher, live in Kamakura, Japan. She is currently working as a language teacher and online Japanese experience host to introduce Japanese culture to the world. She originally worked as an engineer at a Japanese company, so she is familiar with Japanese business culture too.

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