Best Japanese Chef Knives

Japanese chef knives are known for their high-quality design and the skill that goes into crafting them. The best japanese chef knives offer impeccable balance, and a razor sharp blade forged with the highest quality Japanese steel. Master Japanese blacksmiths, who spent years mastering the Samurai sword, passed down those same techniques that are now used to create a modern japanese chef knife. Above all, these knives are known for their unmatched sharpness.

One major difference between Japanese chef knives and their Western counterparts is their size. They tend to be slimmer and tapered by design, which means they’re lighter, too. If you’re used to a traditional Western knife, you may be unsure of what separates the best japanese chef knives from the average ones. No worries, as we’ve provided a Top 6 guide to make your shopping much easier.

Best Japanese Chef Knives Reviews 2017 – UK Ratings

Name Rating Features Price
1

Mac Santoku 16.5cm Chefs Knife

100
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Value for Money
100
Design
100
Ease of Use
100
Performance
100
- Best £ -
2

Kasumi Japanese Chefs Knife

100
Read review
Value for Money
100
Design
100
Ease of Use
100
Performance
100
- Best £ -
3

Wusthof Classic 17cm Oriental Cooks Knife

96
Read review
Value for Money
100
Design
92
Ease of Use
94
Performance
98
- Best £ -
4

SETO Japanese Chef Knives: Damascus Forged

94.25
Read review
Value for Money
96
Design
92
Ease of Use
92
Performance
97
- Best £ -
5

Sane Tatsu 240mm Gyuto Japanese Pro Chef Knife

90
Read review
Value for Money
90
Design
85
Ease of Use
90
Performance
95
- Best £ -
6

Global G-48 18cm Fluted Santoku Slicer Chefs Knife

88
Read review
Value for Money
85
Design
86
Ease of Use
90
Performance
91
- Best £ -

1. Kasumi Japanese Chefs Knife

Best Japanese Chef Knives - Kasumi Japanese Chefs Knife review

10
This best chef knife knife earns our top spot because it epitomizes the classic Japanese technique of sword making. It’s very sharp, with high carbon stainless steel that’s repeatedly folded during forging to create the classic Damascus pattern. The black laminated handle looks sleek, and it balances evenly with the blade.

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Strengths

  • Made with traditional Japanese swordmaking techniques
  • Layered Damascus creates a harder blade that maintains sharpness longer
  • Black laminated handle to handle a heavy workload
  • Made in Seki, Japan, which is renowned for blacksmithing
  • Forged with V-Gold No.10 high carbon stainless steel which is designed specifically for knives

Weaknesses

  • Expensive for a hobbyist chefs knife
  • Unforgiving sharpness, use extra caution with this knife

Price

Kasumi Japanese Chef’s Knife – While we ranked the Kasumi number one on our best japanese chef knives list, it’s not even the most expensive. Truth be told, the cost difference between this knife and others on the list is not very much. When you consider the high level of craftsmanship and the reliability of the Kasumi name, you can’t go wrong with this japanese chefs knife.

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2. Wusthof Classic 17cm Oriental Cooks Knife

Wusthof Classic 17cm Oriental Cooks Knife review

9.6
The Wusthof Classic is a top pick for at home chefs because of its above average performance and smaller price tag. Wusthof is a German company, and this Japanese styled blade does have a few European influences. It’s a santoku style blade, so it’s great for thin slicing, but it has the heft for heavy duty jobs as well. The handle provides enough weight to balance nicely with the German steel blade.

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Strengths

  • Santoku style blade is ideal for very thin slicing
  • Hefty German steel allows this blade to perform heavier duty work
  • Triple riveted handle fits seamlessly and securely with the rest of the knife
  • Hollow edge prevents slices from sticking to the blade
  • Exceptional balance for easy control

Weaknesses

  • There is no finger guard between the handle and blade
  • Must be sharpened more acutely than a traditional Wusthof blade

Price

Wusthof Classic 17cm Oriental Cooks Knife – We counted this as one of the best chef japanese knives because it will fit in nearly anyone’s budget. It’s the least expensive on our list, but you wouldn’t know by looking at it. Many chefs will be impressed by its looks, and be even more happy with how well this knife cuts.

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3. Mac Santoku 6.5 Inch Chefs Knife

Best Japanese Chef Knives - Mac Santoku 6.5 Inch Chefs Knife review

10
This japanese chef knife by well-renowned knife maker Mac is a premium example of a Santoku. The 6 ½ inch blade is razor sharp, and the handle is appropriately weighted. Plus, there’s a bolster for extra balance. Cook’s Illustrated Magazine recommends this blade, so it’s one of the more popular, best japanese chef knives.

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Strengths

  • Sharp japanese stainless steel
  • Bolster for increased balance and grip
  • Lightweight
  • Dimpled blade for easy release of food
  • Granton edge

Weaknesses

  • Very thin blade that’s susceptible to chipping
  • Not designed for heavy duty work

Price

Mac Santoku Knife W/Bolster – This is a world-class japanese chef knife and the price reflects that, as this is the most expensive in our guide. With that being said, these is a chefs knife that will maintain it’s sharpness very well with minimal sharpening required.

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4. Seto Iseya I-6 Nakiri Kitchen Knife / Vegetable Chefs Knife

Seto Iseya I-6 Nakiri Kitchen Knife - Vegetable Chefs Knife review

9.425
Out of all of the best japanese chef knives reviewed, this one stands out with its traditional design and classic appearance. It’s forged with VG 10 stainless steel and 33 layers of Damascus, giving it a Samurai sword attitude. The red sandalwood is a nice touch alongside the bolster.

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Strengths

  • Made in the  legendary knife and sword manufacturing city of Seki, Japan
  • Damascus creates a strong, aesthetic appearance
  • Handle and bolster fit comfortably and balanced
  • Hammered finish helps release food

Weaknesses

  • The spine makes using the pinch-grip more challenging
  • Large branding on the side can detract from the blade’s beauty

Price

SETO Japanese Chef Knives: Damascus Forged Steel – This is one of the less pricey options, which is one reason that makes this blade worth considering. What makes this one of the best japanese chef knives is the high quality blade,  forged with traditional methods. It cuts as well as knives that costs much more.

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5. Sane Tatsu 240mm Gyuto Japanese Pro Chef Knife

Sane Tatsu 240mm Gyuto Japanese Pro Chef Knife review

9
This japanese chef knife made by Sane Tatsu can perform just as well in a commercial kitchen as it can in your home. It has a very sturdy, triple-riveted mahogany handle, that’s laminated for protection and grip. The blade is sturdy too, strengthened by 16 layers of Damascus. The hammered finish also helps prevent stains and food slices from sticking.

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Strengths

  • Very sharp, very hard VG 10 stainless steel
  • Sturdy mahogany handle is aesthetic as well as secure
  • Hammered finish to prevent food from sticking to the blade
  • Added bolster for balance
  • This knife is as visually impressive as it is effective

Weaknesses

  • Handle is on the small side for a knife of this size
  • The protective sheath is very thin

Price

SANE TATSU  Japanese Pro Chef Knife – This japanese chefs knife sits right in the middle of pricing, and that’s a fair spot. This blade does have a few features that let it fit in with higher end models, like the beautiful blade and the eye-catching mahogany handle. It’s fairly priced for a well built, good looking chefs knife.

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6. Global G-48 18cm Fluted Santoku Slicer Chefs Knife

Best Japanese Chef Knives - Global G-48 18cm Fluted Santoku Slicer Chefs Knife review

8.8
As per Global standards, the G-48 is as impressive looking as it is sharp. The blade is fluted, leaving small indentations along the blade, creates air pockets that help prevent food from sticking. You’ll also notice at first glance the stainless steel handle. The handle is dimpled and molded, providing a secure and comfortable grip.

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Strengths

  • The molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel used is lightweight
  • The long taper helps edge remain sharper longer
  • Handle is designed for comfort, balance, and grip
  • High tech materials create a stain/rust resistant blade
  • Forged in one single piece

Weaknesses

  • Thin blade not suited for heavy duty chopping
  • The blade is not as sharp as some of the other best japanese chef knives
  • Molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel is lightweight but tends to need more frequent sharpening

Price

Global G-48 18cm Fluted Santoku Slicer- The Global G-48 is correctly priced, right in the mid range. It does a few things very well – it’s ideal for thin, precise slices. It’s not the greatest all around japanese chefs knife, but it’s an acceptable investment for most chefs and deserves a spot on the best japanese chef knives list.

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Conclusion – Best Japanese Chef Knives

We rate the Kasumi Japanese Chefs Knife as the overall best Japanese chef knife we have reviewed and it rightly takes our top spot in the best Japanese chef knives product test.  Why?  In terms of quality, it is superb in every detail, from the blade manufacturing techniques to produce an incredibly sharp knife to the handle which is perfect for a commercial chef – it’s comfortable in hand, and the laminated Pakkawood provides an excellent grip under any condition. Plus, it’s balanced enough to minimize the strain on your wrist.  Overall, an excellent chefs knife that is a joy to use occasionally at home or all day long in a professional kitchen.

Honourable mention – The Kasumi takes our top spot and rightly so, but, if you are looking for a great knife to use at home, take a look at the Wusthof Classic 17cm Oriental Cooks Knife, at nearly 1/3 of the price of the Kasumi it really does deliver bang for your £.

However, that being said.  If you choose any of the knives in our top Japanese chef knives list, you will not be disappointed, they are all terrific knives in their own rights.  Our review criteria is based on knife quality, ease of use and price.  All of these knives offer a great balance of those criteria and we would be delighted to use any of them in our kitchens at home or at work.  Whatever you choose, enjoy!