5 of the Best Japanese Chef Knives in the World

Deciding on a new knife purchase is often one of the hardest decisions professional chefs and cooking aficionados have to make. There are many factors to consider like cutting ability, overall price, blade lifespan, and more. One type of blade style many professional chefs regularly use is Japanese chef knives.

This article is going to offer a brief overview of Japanese chef knives. It will also cover five of the best Japanese chef knives available for purchase sorted by popularity.

An Introduction To Japanese Chef Knives

To adequately appreciate the amount of craftsmanship that goes into the construction of Japanese chef knives, you must fully understand the differences between them and their western counterparts.

Chef knives from Japan are generally much lighter weight than other varieties. This is typically due to the handle construction as well as the metal composition of the blade. As far as blade composition goes, the blades are typically comprised of VG-10 steel. VG-10 steel is known as the “gold” standard in terms of stainless steel due to its comparatively high carbon content. In addition to superior metal composition, these chef knives typically have much sharper cutting angles than what you would typically see in western varieties. The blade angle can vary anywhere from 8-16° on each side of the blade.

The main reasons professional chefs continue to use Japanese blades is that they provide superior cutting ability, have an increased blade lifespan, and they are very lightweight. They are also extremely easy to care for and are very stain resistant. Japanese chef knives come in a variety of different styles and are perfect for just about any cutting need. However, the most common knife that is used by most chefs today is the Gyuto variety. The second most popular version is the Santoku variety.

Top 5 Japanese Chef Knives

1. Dalstrong Chef’s Knife

Dalstrong Chef’s Knife set
Image Source: Amazon

This Dalstrong model is perhaps one of the best Japanese chef knives available. The knife features an ergonomically designed cutting handle that is naturally sloped to provide enhanced comfort during extended use.

One of the main strong points about this blade is that it has 67 different layers of composition. This helps guarantee that the structural integrity of the blade is much stronger than that of many other competitors. It also comes with a beautiful sheath for easy storage when you are not using the blade.

  • Blade size: 8 inches.
  • Blade material: VG-10.
  • Blade angle: 8-12°.
  • Warranty period: Lifetime warranty against defects.
  • Price: $129.43.

2. Zelite Infinity Santoku Knife

ZELITE INFINITY Santoku Knife 7 Inch
Image Source: Amazon

Zelite’s Infinity series is another one of the top Japanese chef knives you can purchase today. The blade is composed of VG-10 steel to help better maintain its sharpness. The knife comes in a beautifully designed case that showcases the blade’s stunning finish and exquisite details.

The knife itself is made with 67 layers just like the Dalstrong model. However, the cutting angle is slightly inferior to the Dalstrong knife. Even with the slightly duller blade, this is still an excellent choice for both professional chefs and amateur cooks alike.

  • Blade size: 7 inches.
  • Blade material: VG-10.
  • Blade angle: 15°.
  • Warranty period: Lifetime warranty against defects.
  • Price: $119.97.

3. Gyuto Chef Knife By Okami Knives

Japanese VG10 Stainless Steel by OKAMI KNIVES
Image Source: Amazon

The Gyuto model by Okami is another one of the best Japanese chef knives available. It is made with superior VG-10 steel just like the other knives reviewed so far. What separates this one from them is that this knife is made in a western style with Japanese materials.

Even with its western style, the knife is still extremely lightweight and very sharp. It is an excellent choice for chefs who prefer a more sturdy hilt. It also comes with a protective cover that makes storing the knife a breeze when not in use.

  • Blade size: 8 inches.
  • Blade material: VG-10.
  • Blade angle: 12-15°.
  • Warranty period: Lifetime warranty against defects.
  • Price: $84.90.

4. Yoshihiro Japanese Chef Knife

Japanese Chefs Knife 8.25 in by Yoshihiro
Image Source: Amazon

The Yoshihiro model is probably one of our top picks for those of you who are looking for handcrafted Japanese chef knives. It features an elegantly designed mahogany wood handle, VG-10 steel composition, and an extremely lightweight design.

This blade is perfect for a variety of functions including dicing and slicing. Unfortunately, the blade composition is comprised of only 16 layers compared to the 64 of most other options. However, this is to be expected since these knives are handcrafted and not mass produced. Unfortunately, warranty and blade angle information are not currently listed.

  • Blade size: 8.25 inches.
  • Blade material: VG-10.
  • Price: $129.99.

5. Shun Sora Chef’s Knife

Sora Chef's Knife 8-Inch
Image Source: Amazon

The Shun Sora model is definitely one of the better Japanese chef knives available for a budget. The blade is comprised of strong VG-10 steel and is very easy to clean and polish. For best results, the manufacturer recommends washing the blade by hand only.

Unfortunately, the blade does have two major drawbacks. The main one is that the handle is comprised of a type of polymer. The second issue is that the blade is only comprised of three layers. This leaves the blade feeling somewhat cheap when compared to some of the other models. However, it’s still an excellent choice for those shopping on a budget.

  • Blade size: 8 inches.
  • Blade material: VG-10.
  • Blade angle: 16°.
  • Warranty period: Lifetime warranty against defects.
  • Price: $59.95.

Summing Up

All of the Japanese chef knives covered in this article do an excellent job. They are all made of superior VG-10 steel and have very impressive cutting angles. There are also plenty of budget friendly options as well to consider. Feel free to share your experiences regarding these Japanese style chef knives in the comments below. We would also love to hear about any knife recommendations you may have as well.