August 15, 2022 / by Danny Mavis

With their exquisite, intricate design, Japanese knives are a beautiful addition to any kitchen. They provide thin, accurate cuts and gorgeous presentation, similar to that found in a five-star sushi restaurant.

The very reason Japanese knives are essential to Japanese cuisine, namely to enhance and preserve the ingredients and accentuate the dish flavour, is also why they have gained such global recognition. Read on to learn more about these unique kitchen assets and how to buy the best knife set to make cooking enjoyable, giving your kitchen a purpose.

The History of Japanese Knives

Japan has been the world’s centre for the highest calibre chef’s knives since the fifth century A.D. Each knife is designed specifically for each task, including deboning chicken, filleting fish, and thinly slicing any vegetable you can think of.

cutting lettuce with knife

The knife is more than just a tool in Japan; it’s a way of life. The exquisite craftsmanship of Japanese blades is admired worldwide, from legendary samurai swords to the handcrafted culinary cutlery of today. However, they’re much more than just attractive looks. They are also a skilled powerhouse in the kitchen.

Different Types of Japanese Knives

While searching for a durable Japanese knife set, you’ll notice there are different Japanese knife styles. What is the best type of Japanese knife? The answer is: it’s the one that works best for you. Here’s what you need to know about each style, so you can choose a knife set that features the types you need and prefer in your kitchen.


The Gyuto knife, which means “beef sword” in Chinese, is the Japanese equivalent of a chef’s knife. It serves multiple purposes, just like a chef’s knife. It’s excellent for slicing all types of meat and cutting fish and vegetables.

The answer to almost all kitchen tasks, a Gyuto knife maintains an edge better than its heavier and thicker European competitors. Gyuto knives, such as the F Dick Premier Plus Gyuto 18cm, have a curved blade as opposed to traditional Japanese knives, allowing for rocking cuts.


santoku knifes

The Santoku is a staple on every list of Japanese knives. The phrase “three virtues” refers to its three cutting, dicing, and slicing capabilities for meat, fish, and vegetables.

Compared to the Gyuto, the Santoku knife has a taller blade, making repetitive up-and-down chopping motions simpler and less prone to rocking. It functions similarly to the Gyuto but is smaller, flatter, and less pointed at the tip. It can be helpful to have one if you have a small workspace.


Japanese knives come in a variety of weights. The Deba is a large, thick-spined knife that you can mainly use to fillet fish and cut crustaceans. You can also cut poultry with an option like the 16cm Tojiro Pro Flash Damascus Deba Knife.

The Deba’s thick spine and weight make it possible to remove a fish’s head and cut through the fish bones. The Deba still has a thin single bevelled edge, making it extremely sharp and fragile despite the blade’s weight and the spine’s thickness.


nakiri knife

The Nakiri, which resembles a miniature Chinese cleaver, is particularly useful for cutting into produce with thicker skins and precisely dicing and slicing vegetables. The Nakiri is the typical vegetable knife used at home in Japan. It has a broad double-edged blade with a square tip and a flat cutting edge.

However, it is lighter, thinner, and smaller, and, if used on a bone, it would probably chip. For thick, tough vegetables like squash that the Gyuto might find challenging, the broad Nakiri blade comes in handy.


Usuba is the Nakiri of the working class. It’s the most traditional Japanese vegetable knife, more frequently used in commercial kitchens rather than in private homes. Literally translated, it means “thin blade,” and boy is it thin! Because it is single-bevelled, it’s harder to use than the Nakiri. It’s excellent for exceptionally delicate work and makes beautifully fine and precise cuts.

Reasons for Buying a Set

The biggest dilemma when purchasing kitchen knives is deciding whether to buy knives one by one and gradually increase the collection or a kitchen knife set. The best option for you will depend on various factors, but primarily on your current knife collection.

Good Starter Pack

You probably don’t have many knives and other kitchen necessities if you’re just starting to cook or just moved into a new apartment. Alternatively, you might not have any at all. Most Japanese knife sets come with the elementary knives you need to start.

japanese knife set

Less Expensive

Almost always, purchasing a set of knives is less expensive than buying each knife individually. That’s especially true for premium models, which can be pricey when purchased separately. The explanation is simple: manufacturers may provide a discount if you purchase multiple items from them.

The goal is to find something that meets your needs without emptying your budget. Also, the number of knives in a set doesn’t always indicate its value or quality. Even though a 7-piece kitchen knife set may cost the same as a 5-piece set, the former will typically provide better value.

Worth Extras

Most kitchen knife sets come in attractive packaging, such as paper, cardboard, or even wooden boxes. Knife sets are therefore not only thoughtful presents for chefs and home cooks, but they are also practical for storing knives.

Your priceless Japanese blades are safest and best protected when kept in their original packaging. Bulk orders can reduce the amount of packaging waste, which is a great way to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

Some knife sets come with wooden blocks or magnetic stripes that are an attractive addition to the style of any kitchen countertop and a practical storage option. Simply put, investing in a Japanese knife set is the best use of your money.