Many agree that Japanese knives are hard to beat in terms of quality. Some of the methods used in their manufacture reach back thousands of years, but the combination of these age-old techniques with the modern advents of high-carbon stainless steel and liquid nitrogen treatments for the blades has made Japanese knives even more impressive.

This article takes a close look at some of the leading Japanese knives available on the market today. We profiled each so that you can easily learn more and determine which blade might be best for your kitchen.

  • VG-10 Steel cutting core
  • 61 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale
  • Micarta black canvas handle for comfort and grip
  • Double-beveled edge for left or right-hand use
  • Handcrafted in Japan
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Weight: 8 oz

  • The blade is layered 67 times for core strength
  • Black G10 handle
  • Sharpened using the 3-step Honbazuke method
  • Full tang
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Dimensions: 16.9 x 4.1 x 1.4
  • Weight: 9.6 oz

  • The blade layered 67 times and made from high-carbon stainless steel
  • Rockwell Hardness Scale of 61
  • Liquid nitrogen cooled for corrosion resistance and added hardness
  • Full tang
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Dimension: 13.4 x 0.9 x 2.2
  • Weight: 1.65 lbs

  • The blade is layered 67 times for core strength
  • High-carbon stainless steel
  • Full tang
  • G10 handle
  • Ergonomically designed for comfort and ease of use
  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 0.9 x 1.8
  • Weight: 9.9 oz

  • Sharpened using the 3-step Honbazuke method
  • Full tang
  • 62+ on the Rockwell Hardness Scale
  • Ultra-premium G10 handle
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 1.8 x 0.1
  • Weight: 8.5 oz

  • Ergonomically designed Pakkawood handle
  • Rust and corrosion resistant
  • 62+ on the Rockwell Hardness Scale
  • High-carbon stainless steel blade is layered 67 times for strength
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Dimensions: 13.1 x 1 x 1.8
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs


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Enso 10-inch Large Chef’s Knife

This Enso knife has a high-carbon steel blade for improved strength and scores a strong 61 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale. It is handcrafted in Japan and has a double beveled edge for left and right-handed people. It also has a lifetime warranty, so you’ll have peace of mind when buying this knife.

Pros

  • 37 layered stainless steel blade
  • Handcrafted in Seki City, Japan
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Black canvas Micarta handle

Cons

  • Not quite balanced
  • Expensive to buy

Dalstrong is a name familiar to cooks and chefs alike. Their knife ranges are among the best selling knife products on Amazon, and for a good reason. This Shogun series is layered 67 times for superior core strength, and the 3-step Honbazuke method of sharpening ensures that the blade remains scalpel sharp. It has a full tang and a lifetime warranty, so there’ll be no issues if you’re not completely satisfied.

Pros

  • The blade is layered 67 times
  • Black G10 handle
  • Honbazuke Sharpened
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Metal can chip during use
  • Question marks over Damascus patternation being etched on

LIke Dalstrong, Zelite dominates the kitchen knife market with significant sales figures. This knife is layered 67 times for added strength and has a 61+ score on the Rockwell Standard. The Blade then gets cooled with liquid nitrogen for added corrosion resistance and strength. It also comes with a lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Cooled with liquid nitrogen for strength
  • 61 on the Rockwell scale
  • Full tang
  • Lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • Blade dulls easily

This is the second listing for Zelite in the review, and this 7-inch knife is a worthy addition to any kitchen. Again, it’s layered 67 times for the core strength, and because it’s made from high-carbon stainless steel, it’ll last the distance too. The G10 handle and overall ergonomic design make this knife a pleasure to use.

Pros

  • 61 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale
  • High-carbon stainless steel blade
  • Ergonomic design
  • Full tang

Cons

  • Poor build quality
  • Blade dulls easily after softest use

This Shogun series knife has the coolest name, and because the blade is layered 67 times, it should have one of the toughest cutting edges too. It has a G10 ergonomic handle and scores 62+ on the Rockwell Hardness Scale. It also has a full tang and a lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Layered 67 times for super-tough blade
  • 62+ on Rockwell Scale
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Full tang

Cons

  • Could be sharper
  • May need to continually sharpen before use
  • Blade chips too easily

This knife is an excellent addition to the kitchen. It has an ergonomic Pakkawood handle for comfort and grip, and the blade has been layered 67 times to give the knife a Rockwell Hardness score of 62+. It is rust and corrosion resistant and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Ergonomic Pakkawood handle
  • Rust and corrosion proof
  • 62+ on the Rockwell scale
  • High-carbon stainless steel blade

Cons

  • The handle is hard to grip
  • Questionable whether it is full tang

Japanese Knives Buyer’s Guide


When it comes to selecting the best Japanese knife, it’s all about the strength of the steel. There are two ways that the blade gets strengthened: Through multiple layers, and through the mixture of steel used. Most Japanese knives are usually layered 67 times to improve the core cutting ability, and most stainless steel blades contain a percentage of carbon to boost the hardness of the metal. Look out for knives that have been cooled with liquid nitrogen, because that protects the blade from corrosion and hardens the metal in the cooling process. Beyond these aspects, let’s review a few additional considerations that might help inform your purchase:

Functions

A good knife should have a double-beveled edge for left and right-handed people. It should also perform many tasks with ease, such as cutting, slicing, and dicing. And an ergonomic design helps when using it to make it a comfortable experience.

Styling

Japanese knives have a distinctive style of their own. There is a nod to tradition here. Some of the blades are stunning, with Damascan steel patternation and hammered finishes. Whatever style you want, Japanese knives are sure to look good in any kitchen environment.

Clever Technology

It is the strength and hardness of Japanese knives that have earned them respect the world over. Modern versions are no different, with the blades crafted from high-carbon stainless steel to increase the performance and liquid nitrogen cooled steel for anti-corrosion and added durability.

Product Warranty

You’ll be pleased to know that every single manufacturer on this list offers a lifetime warranty. It means that confidence in the product is high, and if something goes wrong, the knife is covered.

Reliable Brands

Two brands stand out on Amazon, both in regards to sales numbers and customer satisfaction: Zelite and Dalstrong. Check out the reviews on Amazon to get the full picture of how well these knives perform.

FAQ

What is “Damascus Steel”?

It’s hybrid steel created around 300 BC, in the city of Damascus. Wootz steel was mixed with pure steel to create powerful weapons that purported to be shatterproof. The patternation is a byproduct of the manufacturing process and is highly prized.

Is a carbon steel knife sharper than a ceramic knife?

It depends on how well you treat the carbon steel knife. If sharpened correctly, it can be as sharp as a ceramic knife; however, ceramic knives are very brittle, whereas carbon steel blades are incredibly robust.

What is the best way to sharpen a carbon steel knife?

You can use an electric sharpener, but you will achieve the best results with a whetstone and water. An electric sharpener may damage the cutting edge because it sharpens indiscriminately, rather than in a manner that benefits that specific knife and blade patternation.

Final Thoughts

Nothing is more frustrating than a blunt knife. The chore of sharpening them before every use is a real pain too. From this perspective, buying a Japanese knife is one of the best investments you can make. Say goodbye to ripping and hacking at your food, and say hello to neat and concise slicing, dicing, and cubing.

We like all of the knives listed here, but our favorite brand of Japanese knife is the Dalstrong Chef’s Knife-Shogun Series X. With great reviews and reliable sales figures, this knife will be an asset to any kitchen. It’s lovingly crafted, with multi-layered stainless steel, and then sharpened with the ancient Honbazuke method for the optimum cutting edge.

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