Your kitchen is only as convenient as the array of utensils and equipment you have in it. So, if you’re considering investing in quality knives, you’ll want to go for the best Japanese chef knife. The Shun Classic 8” Chef Knife is the overall best, but depending on your needs, you might prefer any of the other five knives on the list below.
Japanese knives are highly sought after for their gorgeous and detailed design, as well as the excellent cuts they create. Their blades are usually thin, long-lasting, and of high quality. They produce thin, precise cuts and gorgeous presentations, similar to what you’d expect at a five-star Japanese restaurant.
That said, there are tons of Japanese chef knife types out there, and it can be overwhelming to make a choice. Luckily, we’ve researched, compared, and compiled a list of the top Japanese chef knives in the market.
Top 6 Japanese Chef Knives
Best Budget (Affordable) Japanese Chef Knife
Best Damascus Japanese Chef Knife
Best Hollow Edge Japanese Chef Knife
Best One-Piece Japanese Chef Knife
1. Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife – Editor’s Choice
This Japanese chef knife is made from a single piece of high-grade stainless steel. With the taper-ground edge, the entire tang blade is rust-resistant, allowing for better precision when precisely slicing vegetables, meats, and fruits.
Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife comes first as the editor’s choice because it is the overall best Japanese chef knife in reviews, ranking, features, and quality. It is the all-in-one choice. The Shun Classic 8” costs $130 to $150.
This shun brand knife is well-balanced, with a forged blade made from carbon steel, and it comes with a double bevel. It is straight and has a full tang. The handle, made with Pakkawood, is black with an asymmetrical rounded shape. The blade angle is 16 per side and its HRC (Rockwell hardness) is 60-61, which is pretty impressive.
Its total length is 15in/38.1cm, while the blade length is 8 inches. The weight, which is another major advantage, is 7.1Oz/201.28Gr. The blade is made in the USA and comes with a limited lifetime warranty + lifetime free sharpening. That said, keep in mind that it has to be hand-washed.
- It’s an all-purpose knife.
- Its size and weight make it comfortable.
- It comes with a lifetime of free sharpening.
- It cannot be dished washed.
- If used on heavy boards, it might chip.
Tip from Reviews: Don’t send it for free sharpening. You’re better off taking it to a local knife maker.
2. DALSTRONG Chef Knife – 8″ – Gladiator Series – Best Budget (Affordable) Japanese Chef Knife
The DALSTRONG Chef Knife – 8” is the ideal combination of all-around use, superb quality, a one-of-a-kind renowned brand, and the best pricing. Superbly comfortable and ergonomic, this tool is great for carving, slicing, and chopping meat and a variety of other items. The blade is broad, sharp, and long enough to cut through a variety of foods.
The DALSTRONG Chef Knife – 8” is the best affordable Japanese chef knife on this list. It is sleek, sturdy, and gorgeous. The knife is made with high-carbon German steel and is a full tang knife with an incredibly sharp edge. It is designed to perfection with a 56+ Rockwell hardness.
What’s more, it’s well-balanced and flexible for any slicing and cutting purpose in the kitchen. That means it is most suitable for all-around functions. It slices excellently, cuts with precision, and is also perfect for chopping. It comes with a forged blade made from Thyssenkrupp HC German steel.
The DALSTRONG knife will cost you $60-$70 and it has a high value for money. It has a double bevel and a straight blade with Ergonomic, high maneuverability black Pakkawood for a handle. That said, the blade angle is 23-25 degrees, and no; it is not dishwasher safe. Its total length is 16 inches/40.64cm, and its weight is 10.4Oz/294.83Gr. The blade’s thickness is 0.08 inches and is 7 inches long. It is made in China and also comes with a lifetime warranty against defects. Also, it is not dishwasher safe, so you have to hand-wash it.
- It is not so pricey.
- It is an all-around knife.
- It is sleek and easy to handle.
- It does not come with a lifetime of free sharpening.
- It is not dishwasher safe.
- If used on hard boards, the edges might chip away.
3. Shun Classic Chef Knife 6 Inch – 2nd Best Overall Japanese Chef Knife
Because of its amazing design and utility, this knife is a top pick for both professional and novice chefs. The razor-sharp high-carbon stainless steel blade is coated with chromium for longer-lasting sharpness. The triple-riveted handle is made of Pakkawood, which gives it a great aesthetic without sacrificing comfort or safety. It’s a heavy-duty knife that’s great for chopping, precision slicing, filleting, and dicing.
The Shun Classic Chef Knife 6 inches is another great product from the Shun brand. It’s a smaller version of the 8 inches Shun Classic, but their prices are almost the same. This 6 inches version will cost you $130-$150, but the quality makes it worth it. Even with its smaller blade, it provides exceptional power for hassle-free kitchen use.
The knife is well-balanced with a forged blade made from VG-MAX Steel. It is also super flexible, full tang, straight, and double bevel. What’s more, it is designed to handle chopping with a 61+ HRC blade. The handle, made from Pakkawood, is ebony, asymmetrical, Ergonomic, and safe.
The Shun Classic 6 inches knife is 11.63inches/29.54cm long, and it weighs 4.7Oz/133.24Gr. The blade is 0.75inches thick, 6inches long, and it does an all-around excellent job, including chopping, slicing, dicing, cutting, mincing, pairing, and cubing. For maintenance, hand-wash it, and avoid dishwashers. The knife is manufactured in the US and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
- It is lightweight and highly maneuverable.
- It is an all-purpose blade.
- It is stain-resistant.
- It’s a bit pricey.
- It is not dishwasher safe.
- Heavy bones and chop boards might cause it to chip away.
4. DALSTRONG Chef Knife – 10.25″ – Shogun Series – Best Damascus Japanese Chef Knife
The Shogun Series is a clinical beauty. It slices through just about anything in front of it. The knife also comes with a design that makes it difficult for food items to stick on the blade. The handle has a great feel and after slicing, dicing, cutting, and mincing, it is super easy to clean.
This longer version of the DALSTRONG chef knife brand is not only made with the best materials but also has outstanding craftsmanship. It is one of the best Japanese knife types when it comes to design and efficiency. The blade cuts with precision and escapes without stains.
If you’re looking for the top Japanese chef knife brands, DALSTRONG is one of them and this Shogun Series is one of their best products yet. The knife costs $120-$145. It is well-balanced and comfortable to use for slicing, dicing, chopping, mincing, and cutting. It comes with a forged blade made with Japanese AUS-10V Super Steel. It is also full tang, plain and ultra-flexible.
The blade is 62+ HRC and straight for the ultimate convenience when cutting and chopping. The blade is 0.1875 thick and 6inches long with 8-12 angles. Also, the total knife weight is 15.8inches/40.13cm and its total weight is 8Oz/226.8Gr. Another impressive feature is the black Ergonomic handle, made with G-10 material. It is sturdy and has a comfortable feel. The knife is made in China and it offers a lifetime warranty against defects. Also, it is not dishwasher safe.
- It is versatile and has exceptional cutting powers.
- The design helps reduce drag and minimize stuck-on items.
- Cleans easily with minimal maintenance.
- It’s a little bit pricey.
- It’s not entirely non-stick.
- A bit longer than other knives on the list.
5. Mac Knife Professional 8 Inch – Best Hollow Edge Japanese Chef Knife
Most suitable for
Especially good for sticky food like potatoes,
apples, and summer squash
because of the dimples on the blade
If you’re looking for the perfect knife to handle any kitchen job, this knife is your go-to. It is lightweight, comfortable, and all-purpose. Its hollow edge and dimples are another reason a lot of chefs go for it. The dimples allow the knife to move in and out of difficult foods like potatoes.
The Mac Knife Professional 8inches is one of the top Japanese chef knives and the best hollow edge Japanese chef knife you can find in the market. One of the most peculiar features of this knife is its design. The dimples help the blade glide seamlessly through sticky foods like summer squash, potatoes, and apples.
The knife costs $150-$180. It’s an all-around knife that is most suitable for slicing, chopping, cutting, mincing, pairing, and dicing. The blade is stamped and made from alloy steel. And although it is flexible, it is not as flexible as other blades mentioned above. That is said, the blade is hollow, straight, full tang. It is also 60-61 HRC.
The knife is 12.62inches/32.05cm long and weighs 6.5Oz/184.27Gr. Meanwhile, the blade itself is 7.88inches long and 0.098inches thick. The handle, just like other best Japanese knives’ handles is Ergonomic, made with Pakkawood, and is silver in color. It is not dishwasher safe, so you have to hand-wash it. Also, it comes with a limited 25-years warranty and it is made in the US.
- It is lightweight and has a comfortable feel.
- It’s an all-purpose knife.
- It features dimples for easy glides.
- The blade is only slightly flexible.
- It’s a bit pricey.
- It is made with alloy steel.
6. Global 8″ Chef’s Knife – Best One-Piece Japanese Chef Knife
This knife is a one-piece forged construction created with exceptional geometry and cutting-edge laser technology to provide peak performance and perfect slicing of meats, vegetables, and fruits with minimal effort.
The Global 8” Chef’s Knife is another amazing lightweight Japanese chef knife that is exceptional for its one-piece handle design. It has a sleek design made from high-tech molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel. It is exceptionally sharp and shaped for hassle-free cutting, dicing, chopping, and slicing in the kitchen.
The handle is made with stainless steel and riddled with dimples for a safe grip and comfort. Also, its lightweight makes it super easy to handle. The knife costs $110-$160. It is highly balance and full tang. Also, the knife can come in two blades model; it could be forged (the G1 model) or stamped (the G2 model). The blade is also straight, double bevel, and 56-58 HRC. The knife weighs 7.8Oz/221.13Gr and is 14.72inches/37.39 long. However, the blade itself is 3.46inches long and 0.94inches thick. It features a silver color Ergonomic handle that comes with a safe-feeling grip. It is handcrafted in Japan and comes with a lifetime warranty against breakage and defects.
- It is easy to clean and is dishwasher safe.
- Its 1 piece design makes it more sturdy and lasts longer.
- It is highly balanced.
- It is not flexible.
- Its HRC is lower than the rest on the list.
- The handle is a bit small.
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Buying a Japanese Chef Knife
It is one thing to know the best Japanese chef knife types in the market and it is another thing to know what to look out for when making a choice. While the first things that often come to mind when you’re investing in an item are quality and price, there is often more to consider. You need to watch out for maintenance, warranty, and convenience (type of handle).
Steel Type and Quality
This is the most important factor when choosing the best Japanese chef knife brand. Whether you intend to use your knife at home or in a restaurant, the first thing to look out for is the steel type and quality.
The best value Japanese chef knife must be made with high-quality carbon steel. This kind of steel keeps the blade sharp and study for a longer time. If you’re going for an affordable Japanese chef knife don’t ignore the steel type and quality.
Type of Handle
There are different varieties of knife handles, but they are all grouped into two categories; lighter or heavier. A knife’s weight mostly depends on the function of the knife and how it’s meant to be used.
For instance, choppers often come with heavy handles, while slicers typically come with lighter handles. Nonetheless, the best type of handle depends on your preference.
Japanese chef knives are generally easy to maintain, but some are easier to maintain than others. How you use your Japanese knives matter in its maintenance and you don’t always have to sharpen them – their sharp edges remain sharp for long.
Although when it comes to cleaning, not all Japanese chef knives allow dishwashing. For example, the overall best Japanese chef knife (Shun Classic 8″ Chef Knife) isn’t dishwasher safe. For storage, you can use a leather sheet before putting it in your knife block, or use a magnetic knife strip attached to your kitchen wall.
Not many people pay attention to the warranty, especially for an item as basic as a kitchen knife. However, products come with warranties for a reason – and a good one at that. The best Japanese chef knives are not the cheapest, so you’ll need a warranty to be sure you’re not wasting your money.
Therefore, we highly recommend that you choose a knife that comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
All the best Japanese chef knives listed in this review were well-researched and compared to others of an almost similar standard, so you’re pretty much safe choosing any of them. However, to choose from the six of them, you need to consider high-quality steel, maintenance, sharpness, and warranty.
Choosing the right knife depends on comfort and what you intend to use it for. That said, if you still can’t decide on which one to go for, remember that you can’t go wrong with the Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife. It is the best Japanese chef knife there is.
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