There are a bunch of Japanese knife & cutlery manufacturers both inside and outside of Japan. You might have heard some of them. But you don’t know which Japanese brand is worth your money & which one is more suitable for you.
Well, this is a debatable query. But, we are here again to kill your curiosity. In this guide, we will discuss the Best Japanese Knife Brands along with their best knife.
Basic Quality of the best Japanese knife:
Most usual, the Japanese knives are single bevel & they usually have an angle of 12-16degrees, neither less nor more than that.
Japanese knife masters use forged high carbon steel which is considered for budget knives, or they use Stainless steel & it’s more expensive. Chicago Cutlery is another great budget knife brand making Japanese designed razor-sharp knives.
No matter what the actual composition a steel has, it could be Damascus, Japanese, or even European made steel. Usually, the best manufacturers opt for Damascus or Japanese, because Damascus steel is way stronger & harder (HRC 65+) than European or Japanese steel, plus they are expensive as well.
However, Japanese steel is easy to sharpen as compared to Damascus. But, Damascus steel has a longer life than both European or Japanese.
It is not necessary to use single-layer/non-layer steel, or double-layer steel material because the ultimate process they will be going through is forging.
Forging makes the steel’s microstructure denser & makes the steel pretty hard & unable to break. This makes the Japanese knives keep working for decades with little to no rusting at all.
15 Best Japanese Knife Brands
So, now you have realized the need for Japanese knives in your cooking journey & you are now looking for the best & branded Japanese knife. We have crafted this exclusive list of brands with their best-selling knife that is popular, trusted by people & working for a quite long time.
Topping our list, we have the best brand for Japanese knives & cutlery the Shun. It’s a Japanese word, means of being fast & super in delivery, especially for food. The same goes for their trademark because they do deliver what they promise.
If you are one of our loyal readers, you will notice that Shun’s tools are listed in almost every guide on our website. Each of our lists seems to be incomplete without Shun’s knife. Because, This is one of the best Japanese brands worldwide for knives and cutlery.
Read More: List of Best Shun Knives
Shun has a history of more than 110 years in the ancient (now the modern one) city of Seki which is famous for knife manufacturing skills for at least 800years. The company first established themselves in Japan, & later they marketed the cutlery & especially their knives to the western world.
All of their knives are razor-sharp, & shun itself claims that each tool takes at least 100 steps in manufacturing. Most of these procedures are manual. This makes their knives award-winning every year. There are ten’s of knives in their fleet but we’ve already tested and reviewed their best models in this Best Shun Knives article.
One of the most successful & universal knives by Shun. Just like any other tool from the house of Shun, this knife is also using a premium quality of steel known as VG-Max. This is some sort of Super steel, which has an extra pinch of carbon to improve sharpness, reduce corrosion to increase durability & versatility.
This Gyuto knife has its siblings with just a difference of blade length only. Every member comes with a pre sharpen blade, a waterproof (Pakka Wood) handle, & one of them comes with a Sharpener out of the box. Shun Classic is a little bit expensive knife but you can opt for the Shun Kanso which is a comparatively less expensive knife.
You can use this chef knife for various cutting operations which may include all types of cutting, chopping, rocking, mincing, dicing, & rough cutting for sure. This knife is ideal for professional hands because this is a bit heavier.
The best thing only Shun has an edge is that they offer free sharpening service for most of the users located in the United States. So, sharpening is not an issue though. It’s not that hard anyway, the second Shun has made it even easier. Thanks to their service.
- Single bevel blade
- Flawless & quick cutting
- Free sharpening service
- Waterproof handle
- A bit heavier knife
The most popular Japanese brand itself in Japan & Far East Asia. Now, Yoshihiro is getting popularity in the rest of the western world, especially in the United States, & western European countries.
You can say it for sure, that there is a strong competition among the Shun & Yoshihiro. We were deciding before publishing the guide, which one to put at first between these.
Yoshihiro is a close successor of various Japanese brands from the middle ages. It has a very long history spanning several centuries from the time of the Imperial House of Japan/Ancient Japan, for the Yamato Dynasty.
Yes! This is that much old.
Find more about them in this Best Yoshihiro Knives Review
At that time, Yoshihiro was manufacturing defensive materials for their Royal Military, such as Katana, Gunbai, Tekken, Samurai swords, & a lot of other things. After the Surrender of Imperial Japan in WW2, Yoshihiro started focusing on making Japanese knives. Later in the early 21 st century, they began to market their knives to the world.
In the United States, they are now offering more than 600 premium Japanese knives successfully. Yoshihiro claims that their knives can last for a lifetime, & they usually provide a replacement warranty for 30 days.
Yoshihiro’s VG-10 is giving a tough time to various competitors. This steel is just like VG Max of Shun’s cutlery apart from the addition of Vanadium & Molybdenum. The steel in this Gyuto is Damascus’s 16 layers, along with a traditional core blade.
This is a composition of high carbon steel, that has almost the same properties as Stainless Steel & this is why Yoshihiro claims this a Stainless steel, which is barely possible at such a price. But, this is not stainless steel itself.
This Gyuto is a chef knife that comes in different blade sizes. All of these knives are versatile at their point that somehow owns pretty awesome resilience in their blade.
Handle is using Mahogany, which is not that water-friendly, but comfortable in use. This takes a bit of effort in sharpening, but once it is done, its sharpness can last for weeks. You can use it for any kind of soft & some specific sort of rocking.
- Pre sharpen blade
- Comfortable handle
- A Versatile knife
- Smooth & accurate cuts
- Pretty Expensive Sheath
Another most popular Japanese knife brand, which comes with a masterpiece of professional craftsmanship. Miyabi is a child but successful company of the famous Zwilling that has a history of more than 2 and a half decades.
At first, they were used to make their knives in Europe, but later in the 21st century, they came to have a famous Japanese manufacturer from the City of Seki in Japan. Since then, they are making all of these knives at their production house in Japan.
As they have a german parent, some amateur marketers claim that it’s a European company. But, we have told you the whole scenario. They are now distributing Japanese knives to more than 100 countries all over the world, & mainly in Europe & America.
Miyabi claims that it takes more than a month to make a single knife of their trust. Almost 90% of the manufacturing is skilled by manual but professional hands. They will be following the batch production process to make some profits at least. Miyabi and Shun both are a few of the greatest brands.
Surprisingly, Miyabi is using the most strange & unique type of steel in its manufacturing.
The tool is using Alloy steel, which consists of Steel with a relatively higher share of iron, vanadium, silicon, magnesium, nickel, manganese, molybdenum, copper, and chromium a little bit. All of these elements support the microstructure of its blade, which skyrockets the sharpness of it.
The type of steel is not actually meant for it. It has a high caliber of use for machining. This makes it surprising at least for me. But yes, it’s neither Damascus, neither layer. However, sharpening the knife might require professionalism.
Overall, the knife is pretty sharp due to its lower single bevel angle, the handle is gorgeous & comfortable. Plus, it is newbie-friendly due to its decent balancing, less width, & pretty lightweight.
- Newbie friendly & practical knife
- A Long-lasting & durable tool
- Delivers Precise & sharp cutting
- Magnificent & comfortable Handle
- Sharpness is challenging for novices
A universal serving brand of Japanese knives since World War II. But the story is even earlier when the Imperial emperor amended the armed laws for the civilians & nationals of Japan at that time in the late 19th century.
The people diverted themselves to modern weapons & the Seki city started off manufacturing the knives. Yaxell started from Seki, & turned themselves to being a universal brand for Japanese knives.
Now, the company is one of the most popular manufacturers all around the world. Although there were many knife manufacturers in Japan, Yaxell got more exposure from the public due to their extreme level of durability & craftsmanship.
Now, the company is amongst the most reputable in western kitchens, mainly by household chefs who are always trying to make sushi. The brand is offering the most comfortable handle in their knives, which makes it more diverse.
One of the most popular points of interest for Yaxell is their affordable & impressive pricing. The same goes for the Tsuchimon knife. This knife is using genuine Japanese steel from the ironic lands of Formosa.
This is an above than average & near to premium type of Japanese steel. Yaxell is using layer steel for its every tool, this is among those tools. The Tsuchimon series is using 3 layers of VG 10 steel that doesn’t need to be praised.
This tool is itself hard, durable, sharp & using a Tsuchime pattern on its blade. The dimples are not that deep but still provide enough clearance to the products that are going for cutting.
The handle is typical western style, yet comfortable. It is using a D shape tip & also has two rivets because the knife is a full tang. Overall, the cutting itself is pretty sharp & smooth. We can say this a mid-ranger for both professional & amateur chefs.
- Lightweight & a sharp knife
- Using Tsuchime clearance
- A Budget-friendly knife
- Smooth & deep cuts
- Mediocre edge retention
The company got live for the first time in 1955, after making a stainless steel knife for household usage, that has just an average quality & performance even being Japanese. Now, Tojiro’s knives are one of the sharpest knives in Japan at least.
Despite being Japanese, they prioritize using modern technologies, apart from opting for manual & traditional manufacturing methods, that takes way more labor, time, & ultimately become expensive.
This makes their knives more cost-effective, & sharp at its extreme. Most of their knives got adorable design awards due to the craftsmanship which they are putting into it.
Check out: Tojiro Knives Review
Tojiro is now a universal brand, with more than 700 types of products shipping across the globe, mainland Europe & North America. Strategically, they have a great balance in both of their innovation & traditions in manufacturing.
This knife is traditionally a double bevel European knife, that does come in Japanese as well. But, you will barely see a major difference between their sharpness even after a long time of usage.
The knife is using VG-10 Stainless steel, which is a high carbon steel, because you can never expect real stainless steel at such a low to mid-price bracket. I don’t know why it isn’t mentioned.
Even this knife (European traditional knife) is made in Japan, so you can always expect a fairly better performance in terms of quality & longevity. The knife is using a laminated handle, which is comfortable & water-resistant at the same time.
The knife blade is full tang from edge to handle, that is fixed with rivets in the handle. For the performance, this knife can work fine for veggies, fruits, cooked but normal meats with no bones.
- 50/50 double bevel angle
- Simple & sleek knife
- Easy to sharp & use
- Laminated handle
- Sharp & versatile
- Passable edge retention
6. MAC Knife
An unbeatable Japanese knife brand for better edge retention. With a MAC knife, you can expect a quite better edge retention, with little to no corrosion that also stays sharp longest.
MAC was launched back in 1964, when Tokyo hosted the 18th Summer Olympics. Their knives are one of the sharpest knives as per MAC’s wording, & they have sold millions of knives since then.
MAC’s knives are entirely made in Japan, & most of the process is completely manual. Making a single knife takes some weeks, which is not the same for each tool. Their knives are undoubtedly sharp & versatile. Most of the chefs found their knives pretty easy to sharpen.
We found their knives partially forged & stamped, which some chefs don’t like that much. But we don’t believe any compromise on its sharpness, durability, or any other performance. Forging makes the production quite slow & expensive as well.
This tool is using a high-quality High Carbon steel, which has a composition of Chromium, Nickel, Copper, Vanadium, Molybdenum, & steel off course. The edge retention is at its extreme due to the versatility & material being used.
The MAC knife is off-centered throughout its end, which helps in rocking, stability & balancing. You even with your shorthands, can manage to use this guy without any problems.
On its blade, there are 17 dense dimples near to its sharp edge, that provides clearance to the products that you are going to hit. It is using a fingertip handle, which has 03 rivets & using Pakkawood. Now, this handle is not waterproof but can resist water for quite a long time.
- Best for amateur chefs
- Take Deep & long cuts
- Better edge retention
- Pretty Versatile knife
- Sharp out of the box
- Could begin chipping
If you are fond of western knives but looking for Japanese knives to give them a try, you could never be happier with Global. This is a relatively new brand, but from the late 20th century by Sir Komin Yamada.
Being quite a modern brand, they still follow traditional methods of Japanese knife manufacturing, which is quite impressive. Now, Global is considered as one of the best Japanese knife brands in the western world.
Global knives are best at their edge retention, versatility, craftsmanship on handle, balance & easy to sharp in most of the cases. The brand is now exporting their knives to over 80+ countries & mostly in Europe & America. Some people might compare Global VS Shun, which is worth it to some extent though!
You can imagine their popularity. Most of the time, you will find their products quite limited in stock. Restocking their store takes quite weeks because of their manual production process. But, they offer a lifetime warranty.
See this detailed Global Knives Review
Global is using a hard but strong Cromova 18, which has stainless properties due to a dense composition of Chromium, Vanadium & Molybdenum. It helps the knife to provide better edge retention, resistance again rusting & decent versatility.
Nonetheless, the knife is sharp, that you can use for almost any type of cutting especially Vegetables, Soft meat & fruits. They mostly provide a longer life if taken care of properly.
- Off-centered edge for balancing
- An easy to sharpen & use knife
- A professional & sharp knife
- Cannot say anything about it
If you want to see the craftsmanship at its best, Misono will fascinate you without any doubt. Can you imagine, this is a universal knife manufacturer making almost 1,50,000 knives every year with just 50 skilled workers?
Being less populated, they are still providing the quality & an immense level in their products. It’s awesome man! A Durable & supreme build quality, extreme craftsmanship, best edge retention, comfortable handle & an ever-shining blade, what else do you want?
This is the first & probably the only manufacturer on the list, who tests each & every job of their house, before getting into the market. The rest of the brands just follow the batch inspection model to ensure quality.
This Santoku has a 7-inches long & 3-inches wide blade, that is ideally for right-hand usage. The knife is using high-quality European steel, which is undoubtedly durable & rust-resistant.
Misono provides better edge retention & this is damn true for UX-10 Santoku that we have got it here. Although the knife is not a full tang, it does balance well due to the bolster plate down to its handle.
The knife is meant for cutting all types of chopping, dicing, slicing, & mincing vegetables, meat & fruits. Its blade is dual bevel at 30 on the left while 70 on the right side, this is why it is best for right-hand chefs.
- Razor Sharp out of the box
- Easy to sharp & use tool
- Using anti-rust material
- Better edge retention
- Bit expensive
Mercer is an American brand from the early ’90s that manufactures Japanese knives with the help of professional masters all over the world & from Japan as well. This is partially an innovative manufacturer, which is using some modern & traditional manufacturing techniques.
Mercer isn’t likely to be a Native Japanese brand, but as a matter of fact, they have a professional team, because without them, making an accurate knife could never be easier. More, you can find about the brand in this detailed Mercer Knives Review.
All of their knives come with NSF certification, which ensures that their knives are safe for use. Plus, the brand has affiliations with the American Culinary Federation, the National Restaurant Association & some other organizations as well.
This gyuto is using European high carbon steel, which is best for protection against corrosion, some good sort of durability & versatility & pre sharpen but more than average blade for the price.
The knife is way easier to sharpen due to the gradual taper edge that makes it able to run along a honing rod & whetstone. But, if you want a long sharpen & shining blade, it’s better to always use a whetstone with different grits.
The knife is more likely to be on a western type because the blade is plain without any Tsuchime or any other progressive patterns. Now, this thing both has its pros and cons.
A plain knife provides a better cleaning experience while Tsuchime takes a little bit more. However, the Tsuchime pattern provides better clearance to food that a plain knife couldn’t.
Mercer’s Genesis comes with a whole fleet of siblings. All of it has several blade sizes & each type differs from the other. This specific knife has a short bolster fitting on a full tang blade.
- An entry-level knife
- Pretty Sharp knife
- Easy to sharp
- Easy to use tool
- Sharpness is not long-lasting
A brand that does not need to be praised, but for the theme of the guide, it’s necessary to introduce you. Dalstrong has successfully got the trust of over 3,50,000 chefs worldwide, making it one of the most popular knife manufacturers.
Surprisingly, dalstrong is not that old if we compare Dalstrong VS Shun and some other manufacturers. They began their first in just 2012, & within just 8-9 years, they have achieved the level of flagship brands like Shun, Yoshihiro, Miyabi, Yaxell, & Kai Seki. Hats off to them for that much success.
Although the brand itself is Chinese, you can’t underestimate its value preposition with so much trust. They are making Japanese knives, which is undoubtedly the best one in the market.
Dalstrong is the only brand that offers a 100% money-back guarantee along with a lifetime warranty & special discounts to its customers. Plus, you will find their pricing quite competitive. It has been in a great competition with Zelite. Take a look here to find out Zelite VS Dalstrong debate.
The shogun series is one of the most successful & attractive lineups in Dalstrong’s entire store.
Shogun series is a result of high carbon stainless steel, which is again not the actual stainless one. This steel is known as AUS-10, which has a core that has got an HRC 62 for hardness. The knife itself is durable & sharp though. However, it does have a coat of stainless steel on its blade.
This also comes with a sheath, to protect you from hitting it, & the knife itself from rusting. Dalstrong has an exceptional balance that you can feel yourself when holding it. A good thing, Dalstrong knives work fine for both professionals & beginners.
Each of the knives is a single bevel with just an 8-degree angle. The edge retention is also awesome, which gives it a long life. Overall, the knife is robust, durable, sharp & comfortable to use.
- Works for meat & veggies
- A Cost-effective knife
- Sharp out of the box
- Comfortable knife
- Not an easy to sharp
11. Masahiro knives
Masahiro knives are the best knife which is quite easy to sharpen. Most of the time, you will be getting a phenomenal & consistent sharpening level each time when sharpening.
Masahiro is an underrated brand for online purchases. Besides their ease of sharpness, these knives are also best at edge retention. The brand is Japanese, found at the Seki City Japan, & they are majorly domestic currently.
Masahiro is completely following the traditional manufacturing techniques, which makes their knives hard to find often. But, they do market their brand internationally somehow.
The MV Series stands for Molybdenum & Vanadium. The entire series is using high carbon steel, which consists of both Molybdenum & Vanadium, which makes the blade completely anti-rust & enhances the edge retention.
The knife itself is way heavier, if you are a professional cook you might find it, but handling for beginners is a bit difficult. Luckily, the knife is a single bevel, which means you will be getting a sharp blade, due to less angle. If you want, you can also treat this as a double bevel, but as long as you use it, you will figure it out.
Its handle is using resin, which can handle water but it’s not necessarily meant for this thing. You will have to keep dry instantly to avoid any long-term issues. But yes, the handle is comfortable & a full tang. Dealing with any sort of veggie, fruit & some meats will not be an issue.
- Better edge retention
- Easy to sharp knife
- A Multipurpose knife
- Single bevel blade
- A sharp & durable knife
- Pretty heavy knife
12. Kai Seki
Here comes the parent company of Shun. Rather, you should say this brand is a kingmaker for its honor. It is one of the most respectful & the senior-most Japanese knife brands from the Imperial time.
Kai Seki is best in almost every aspect that a knife should have. For the quality, Kai is impressive, for durability, Kai is majestic, for edge retention, Kai is Nobel, for the design language, Kai is gorgeous & for everything, this brand is at its best.
All of the knives from the house of Kai Seki, are coming from Seki, the powerhouse of Japanese knives. Just like some other flagship brands, they are also considering the quality to be impressive. Almost every step in manufacturing is completely manual. TUO cutlery is another sibling of Kai Seki in terms of budget performance and quality.
This gyuto has nothing best when compared with its siblings. All of the knives are completely worth it. You may never find any flaw in any knife. The Magoroku is using Damascus steel, How real it is, nothing can be said. But, yes it is durable & stiff.
The knife is likely to be western-style because of its less wider blade. But, it still does not lack any sharpness. This blade is a full tang, that makes the overall knife pretty versatile & resilient.
By using this knife, you can peel all kinds of vegetables, fruits & some sort of meat, if it’s boneless, & not frozen. The knife handle is using a woody texture, which makes it more adorable & modern. Plus, it is using lamination to prevent water.
- Damascus VG-10 steel
- Full tang & versatile blade
- Completely Flawless knife
- Modern & attractive design
- No sheath is available
The brand that never prioritizes quantity over quality. This is a small manufacturer that was started by siblings with a slogan of quality tools for quality food. The hidden faces are more likely to be European if not Americans, but I am pretty sure they are not Japanese technically.
Kuma claims to be a Japanese manufacturer, but nothing in information is officially available. The brand itself is pretty new & struggling toward massive success. But some of the points it has got due to its multi-purpose tool, that we will be discussing here.
This is a chef knife, which is known as Gyuto, that has a slightly lower taper angle as compared to the Shun’s or Yoshihiro’s knives. But, this gives the texture of both European & Japanese sides.
Kuma’s gyuto comes in both sets & a single piece as well. But, economically the set version is more cost-effective. This includes a 3 piece & a 5 piece set along with a single one as well. The handle is riveted thricely.
It is using a high carbon & near to stainless steel, which provides a better edge retention, anti-rust & long-lasting sharpness eventually. As the knife has an 8-inches long blade, this makes the whole full tang blade to be versatile & more resilient.
The steel is the easiest to sharp, right after the Masahiro’s knives. This makes the knife have a strong resistivity against corrosion & natural acids such as onion & chilies. Cutting any food with sharpness is not a big deal for this guy. However, the knife is using stamping instead of forging.
- A Razor sharp knife
- Anti-rust properties
- Pretty easy to sharp
- A full tang blade
- Might does not do well with meat
This is an entry-level Japanese brand for beginners chefs either professional or domestic. Kyocera has been making these knife blades since the 1980s, which is not that old. A couple of Cangshan knives performs relatively better that you can find them in this Cangshan Knives Review.
They usually manufacture Ceramic knives, because some European nations have been using this for a while. These knives do not rust, neither dull, but they can cause chipping in some cases.
This is a Santoku, which is especially meant for all-purpose knives to make it easy to handle for newbies or learners. The knife is not entirely built in Japan, if that happened, it would cost you more.
If you are on your cutting training, you will have to practice the knife on vegetables like Onion, Potatoes, and tomatoes more often. Using steel knives can cause rusting, but ceramic knives don’t.
Kyocera will be giving you a way better edge retention, a rust-resistant & comfortable handle. The knife is ideal for any kind of light & plain cutting, except for meat & frozen stuff.
- Japanese made blades
- Pretty lightweight knife
- Acid & rust resistant
- Best for learners
- Could cause chipping
Lasting our list of Best Japanese knife brands, we have got a Hong Kong manufacturer known as Okami. The brand is not very popular yet, but it’s taking a step forward slowly.
Okami claims that producing a Japanese knife takes somewhere 02 weeks. They are partially following traditional techniques, which is okay for new brands. All of their knives are pretty cost-effective and some best at their price.
Okami’s gyuto is using VG-10 Japanese steel, to give it a completely native touch. This steel is a bit lighter as compared to European steel, but yes, no one can beat the class of Damascus & this is non-Damascus.
For the price, I would say it’s worth it. The sharpness is more than average for the price & the knife is comparatively easy to sharp. The handle is Pakkawood, but this is not waterproof. It can bear water, but again, it does not necessarily mean this.
The D shape handle is full tang, which makes the stability pretty fine but not that obvious for small hands. So, it’s better to put some effort into practicing after getting this out.
- Easy to sharp knife
- Long sharpen life
- Affordable tool
- A sharp blade
- The blade could have been better
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Japanese Knife Brands:
The Bottom Line: Best Japanese Knife Brands
With so many Japanese knife manufacturers out there in the market, it is quite hard for an amateur chef to figure out the best Japanese knife brand that is worth buying. Some new manufacturers usually make Japanese style knives, which are not the Japanese but follow the same design.
They usually use Japanese in their titles & a bit of it in their marketing, which confuses most of the first buying chefs. Later when they use it, They get frustrated because the knife does not seem to be satisfying due to their cheap build quality & they are not so sharp as well.
Here in this guide, we have listed some of the best Japanese knife brands, which are the trusted & Japanese in reality, providing the best price without trying to oversell, & owns the best knives with sharp edges & supreme build quality. We recommend you to stick to them, whenever purchasing a new one, or replacing the existing tool in your kitchen.