11 Types of Japanese Knives | Guide To Japanese Knives

by Erika Shinomoto
types of japanese knives

Japanese knives are world famous for their efficiency and durability. Check out the different types of Japanese knives before you purchase your next knife! 

Japanese knives are one of the most progressive and innovative knives that you will find. They started off as simple knives with heavy blades. Now, they have transformed to become one of the most well-thought-of knives with precision that will make you a cutting expert in the kitchen. 

Japanese knives are regarded as one of the finest culinary tools that are loved and revered by chefs all across the globe. A Japanese knife can make all the difference in the kitchen. Working with a Japanese knife can actually make it fun working in the kitchen. I have seen tremendous change when I started using different types of Japanese knives. 

It has improved my chopping skills so much. The various types of Japanese knives can make choosing one for your needs and kitchen very difficult. 

Here, you will find all the different types of Japanese knives. Find your perfect fit and have a wonderful time in the kitchen.

Types of Japanese Knives

Yanagi

Japanese Slicer knife

This is one of the known traditional Japanese knives that is named after the shape of a willow leaf.  As the willow leaf appears long and thin in size, in the same way, this knife is also long and very thin. 

This one is a single bevel knife with a sharp side that is basically used by chefs in cutting sushi. With a hollow ground back, it is easy to handle and hence the person is able to cut through soft meats precisely and without any discomfort. There are other ways to use it as well, such as to skin the fish.

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Takohiki

Japanese Octopus Slicer

Takohiki knife, which is also known as octopus slicer, is another very common knife of Japan. Structure-wise, it is short in height and is absolutely blunt from the top. It is extremely sharp so as to get thin slices. 

The motive of using this knife is to get the pattern of the meat visible in the slices which eventually looks beautiful in terms of looks. The back is made in such a way that it provides a balanced cutting and slicing experience. Now, whenever I cook, with taste intact, it also looks good.

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Deba

Japanese Butcher Knife

This knife is another one of the traditional Japanese knives that are used to slice fishes. With a wooden handle, which provides perfect grip, it is easy to use with a heavy single bevel blade. 

As soon as I got to know about this knife, I purchased it and trust me I am having a good experience till now. This easily cuts the fish bones with perfect edges that look clean. Since the angle of the bevel is less, the sharpness is also good. So, if you are looking for this type of knife, give this one a try.

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Honesuki

Japanese boning knife

With various knives available, this one is another type that is a great help for meat cutters. It is also known as a boning knife but is not suitable for cutting bones but only the soft ones. 

Using this knife will just make your task easier and better. It is sharp from both sides and basically, helps in taking out as much skin or meat from the bone as possible. The structure is made in a way that slides very smoothly in the joints and cartilages to make the process of cutting easy. Most Japanese chefs use this knife.

Usuba

Japanese vegetable Knife

If you are looking for a vegetable knife with amazing features and something that will not make you feel tired, then you can go for this Usuba knife. The name itself means thin blade which is made with absolute perfection so as to give a better and amazing performance. 

Also, it is easy to use and can be sharpened easily. Since I do not have experience using traditional Japanese knives, my friend suggested that I use Usuba knife as it is perfect for beginners because of its handling capability.

Mukimono

Best Japanese Knife for Decorative Vegetable Carving

Mukimono knife is another knife that specializes in cutting vegetables and fruits in different decorative shapes. In terms of its appearance, the knife looks short and thin and requires soft handling. 

This one helps in cutting vegetables in a smooth motion while also giving perfect shape and thinness to it. You can easily carve and cut the vegetable to give it an intricate design with the help of its pointed tip. I love salads and when it is beautiful, it just makes my day. I use this knife to shape different vegetables and get myself a beautiful plate ready.

Kiritsuke

Japanese Slicing Knife

Have a look at this sword-shaped knife, named Kiritsuke, This knife doesn’t hold a specific way of cutting and is basically known for its versatile nature. You can use it for any purpose you want. 

If you are not a fan and do not want to get confused with multiple types of shapes and bevels, get this one right away. I own one and it does all my work nicely. It is a k-tip single bevel knife with a wooden handle and is a perfect choice for beginners.

Sushikiri

Japanese Sushi Knife

Do you often prepare sushi and just mess it up while slicing the pieces with an unprofessional knife? Well, now you won’t mess it up as this knife is made to do that job in the most precise manner.

This one is a long knife with a symmetrical curve that helps in cutting without affecting the rice at all. I came across this sushi cutter at my friend’s place in Japan and after looking at the perfectly cut sushi, I had to order it.

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Gyuto

Japanese Chef’s knife

Here is a knife that comes in the category of double bevel knife and the name Gyuto means a cow sword. It is a meat knife and is used by butchers and also home cooks to cut the meat. The shape of this knife is like a sword which has a thin edge and requires a lot of attention while using as it can hurt you if you torque the blade. 

It is versatile in nature and can be used for different other purposes in the kitchen. Some chefs do consider this as a main knife among the others as it is quite easy to handle for professionals.

Santoku

Japanese Multi purpose knife

Santoku means three virtues in Japanese and so does this knife. All you need is this amazingly built knife that can help you with slicing meats, fish, and even vegetables. This one is quite famous in Japan as it does all the job perfectly. 

With its unique shape, it is able to slice meat pieces, chop vegetables, fruits, and dry fruits, and can also be used to do thin slicing. Its multiple usages make it the king of every Japan’s home kitchen.

Menkiri Bocho

Japanese Knife to Cut Noodles

Here is a knife that helps in cutting udon and soba noodles. Just one perfect stroke and you will have noodles strips in their perfect shape. This knife is easy to use as its weight helps in putting the pressure and which also keeps you away from chipping yourself. It has a good grip and can be handled easily.

How to choose a Japanese knife?

You may want to note down the following points when choosing the best Japanese knife:

Grip

The first thing that you need to check in a knife is the grip that it gives you. You need to know how the grip feels. Is the handle too big or is it too small? The grip should be just comfortable and should not feel like your fingers are awkwardly bumping into each other.

Weight

The next thing that you need to check is the weight of the knife. The knife should not feel too heavy or too light. You need to check that your hands and arm do not feel too tired after holding the knife for 15 minutes. You should know your preference. Some like light knives whereas there are others who prefer heavy knives.

Length

The blade should also be checked, whether it is too long or short. If you have smaller hands, you need to use blades that have a small blade. 

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Material

The next preference is the material that is used to make the knife. You need to check if you prefer a blade made of Hagane or stainless steel. Hagane needs you to invest time in maintenance. Stainless steel, on the other hand, does not need to be sharpened quite often. It is also quite easy to take care of.

Culinary skills with Japanese knives

japanese knife

Japanese knives can truly change your complete outlook. The extreme precision and craftsmanship of Japanese knives can make you a complete culinary expert. Believe me, I have literally felt changes in the way I chopped items in the kitchen. These knives just make me feel a little extra fancy. 

If you are trying to ship up those gorgeous Japanese dishes, or simply want to amp up your tool, you should really consider these different types of Japanese knives. 

Also Read

  1. Types of Japanese Swords

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