Best Japanese Knife Sets

8 Best Japanese Knife Sets for 2021: Ultra-Sharpness & Lightweight

The thinness, lightweight, and ultra-sharpness of Japanese knives leave nothing to be desired, even for the most experienced cooks. Compared to their German counterparts, they are more susceptible to breakage, but they make the most precise cuts that can’t be achieved with other blade types. Today, we have gone through the multitudes of Japanese knives available, selected, and reviewed some of the best options. Here are some of the best Japanese knife sets you can get today.

Why Are Japanese Knives the Best?

The highlights of Japanese knives is that they’re thinner, harder, and sharper than most. The average German knife comes with a hardness rating between HRC 52 – HRC 56. On the other hand, a typical Japanese knife is rated HRC 58 – HRC 65. The improved hardness level makes for better sharpness retention.

Furthermore, the blades are made from strong alloys and steel materials. Of all kitchen cutting tasks, they are best suited for dicing, slicing, and other relatively light cutting tasks. The lightness and thinness of the blades render them unsuitable for heavy-cutting tasks.

Due to the hardness of the steel, the knives can be sharpened to a much finer angle, considerably reducing the effort required for cutting tasks.

Top 8 Best Japanese Kitchen Knife Sets to Buy

RankJapanese Knife SetBlade Material
1TUO Cutlery Set with Wooden BlockGerman X50CrMov15
2Enso Knife SetVG10 Steel
3DALSTRONG Shogun Series SetNitrogen-Cooled AUS-10V
4Kamikoto Kanpeki Knife SetHonshu steel
5Tojiro DP 2-PieceVG-10 steel
6Global Kabuto Block SetCromova 18 Steel
7Shun Cutlery Classic 7-Piece Block SetAlloy Steel
8Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Forged 12-Piece420J Steel

1. TUO Cutlery Set with Wooden Block – Overall Best

This is one of the best Japanese kitchen knife sets you can get today. ​The striking feature of this set is the eye-catching Pakkawood handles. More than the aesthetics of the handle, however, they are also very comfortable to grip. The set consists of a 4” paring, 7” Santoku, 9” bread knife, 8” chef knife, 7” cleaver, honing steel, kitchen shears, and a wooden storage block. The blades are made from a highly improved stainless steel material. They are not only sharp, but they also retain sharpness well.

Now to the handles. The handles are full tang for impeccable balance and are made with the unique and patent-pending high-tech Pakkawood. Asides from the durability of the handles, the ergonomic design makes them comfortable cut with. What’s better? All TUO cutlery products are covered by a limited lifetime warranty, so you can rest assured in the quality of their products.

Pros + Key Features

  • Aesthetically pleasing Pakkawood handles
  • Full tang
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Impeccable sharpness-retaining

2. Enso Knife Set

While this may not be the perfect option if what you need is the best budget Japanese knife set, the relatively high price is totally justified when you consider the several exciting features that come in the set. The package contains a paring, utility, bread knife, Santoku, kitchen shears, and a knife block. The variety of kitchen knives for the smoothest slicing and dicing experience. Crafted from premium Japanese VG10 37-layer stainless steel, you will struggle to find knives with a higher level of edge retention.

Furthermore, each blade has a hammered tsuchime finish for aesthetics and improved durability. It doesn’t matter if you’re left-handed or right-handed; the blades have double bevel edges that make them suitable for both. The black micarta handles are ergonomically designed and are comfortable to grip. Three stainless steel rivets fasten each handle to the knives. We also love the full tang construction of the handles, as it improves the overall strength and balance of the knives.

Pros + Key Features

  • Rockwell hardness of 61
  • Hand-ground to 12°
  • Hammered tsuchime finish
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Full tang for perfect balance

3. DALSTRONG Shogun Series

There are other reliable knife set series from Dalstrong, but the Shogun series is our pick as the best. A combination of outstanding blade design, cutting-edge technology, inspiring design, and superior materials birthed the several exciting cutting tools in this set. The set consists of a 7” Santoku, 8” chef knife, 6” utility, 8” bread, and a 3.75” paring. All these are safely secured in the premium acacia wood block when they are not in use. The high carbon Japanese AUS-10V steel is of immense quality.

Like you would expect from good Japanese knives, they all feature incredibly sharp scalpel-like edges. The blades have been hand-finished to a mirror polish at 8-12° on either side through the traditional Honbazuke method, vacuum-heat treated to 62+ Rockwell hardness, and nitrogen-cooled for improved flexibility and resistance to corrosion. The ultra-premium G-10 handles are military-grade, ergonomically designed, hand-polished, and specially engineered for superior control. Thanks to the tapered bolster and the full tang design of the blades, you get maximum balance and finger protection. To further assure you of its durability, the manufacturers have included a lifetime warranty.

Pros + Key Features

  • Non-slip handles
  • They are resistant to heat, cold, and moisture
  • Resistant to rust and corrosion
  • Tapered bolster

4. Kamikoto Kanpeki Knife Set

There’s nothing spectacularly grand about the Kamikoto Kanpeki Set, but it is only a case of less is more. You don’t necessarily need so many cutting knives to be able to handle your variety of kitchen cutting tasks efficiently. The set comprises a 7” Nakiri vegetable, a 5” utility, and an 8.5” slicing. All knives are made from high-quality Honshu steel. Asides from the established sharpness of Japanese knives, another highlight is that they are perfectly balanced and weighted.

The package does not come with the typical wooden storage block for storage. Instead, it comes with a nice-looking, natural-colored ash wood box to store and secure the knives when they are not in use. The blades and handles are all satin-finished to a subtle yet attractive luster. Additionally, the knives are sufficiently resistant to rust and corrosion that could arise from perpetual use. This may look simplistic, but they’re just as functional as you would require them to be.

Pros + Key Features

  • Corrosion resistance
  • Satin-finished handles and blade
  • High-quality steel blades
  • Each blade is tapered on one side, and hollow-ground on the other

5. Tojiro DP 2-Piece

If what you need is the best budget Japanese knife set, the Tojiro DP 2-Piece is one of the right ones for you. Now, you’ll have to sacrifice variety as the set features only two knife pieces. Nonetheless, the set is decent and versatile enough for a couple of cutting tasks. The package contains a 4” paring and an 8.25” chef’s knife. What stood out, for us, about the knife is the three layer clad build that features a Japanese steel core for utmost durability.

The steel core is surrounded by dual layers of durable corrosion-resistant steel alloy that only improves the overall durability of the knives. Thanks to the full tang design, you get perfectly balanced knives for more efficient cutting. The micarta handles are relatively comfortable to grip and cut with. Fastened by triple rivets, you can rest assured in the stability of the handles. If you have doubts about the quality of the utensils, the lifetime warranty offer should allay those fears.

Pros + Key Features

  • 60 Rockwell Hardness
  • Lifetime warranty offer
  • Perfect budget option
  • Triple-riveted micarta handles

6. Global Kabuto Knife Block Set

While many people are averse to stamped blades and prefer forged blades, this Global Kabuto Knife Block Set is so well made that the knives are just as durable as most forged-blade. Featuring as many as 6 knives, the set has everything you need to perfect your cutting tasks in the kitchen. It comes with paring, a vegetable knife, utility, a chef’s prep knife, a chef’s knife, and a bread knife. The blades are made from cromova 18 high carbon stainless steel and steeply ground on both sides for razor sharpness.

Furthermore, the knives feature stainless steel molded dimpled handles that are relatively comfortable and secure to grip. For storage, a plastic knife block comes with the package, and you can easily stow them away when they’re not in use. As the handles do not have bolsters, they are considerably easier to clean. The Rockwell hardness rating is a bit lower than those of similar knife sets, but they still have decent edge retention.

Pros + Key Features

  • 56-58° Rockwell Hardness
  • It comes with a lifetime warranty offer
  • Cromova 18 high carbon stainless steel blades
  • Aesthetically pleasing design

7. Shun Cutlery Classic 7-Piece Block Set

This set is not the Shun Cutlery Classic 7-Piece Knife Essential Block Set, but at its cost, you get the best quality and the highest level of functionality. At first glance, the exquisiteness of the cutlery is very noticeable. The set consists of a utility knife, a paring knife, a chef knife, a bread knife, and kitchen shears. It also comes with a laminated bamboo storage block that secures the knives when they’re not in use. The blades on the knives are all stamped, which is not a strong indicator of their sturdiness, but they are sufficiently durable.

We would also love to comment on the superior edge retention. The edges are extra-sharp, and they don’t lose that sharpness quickly. Moreover, the knives are lightweight and well balanced for quick and comfortable cutting. Thanks to precise heat treatment, the blades are finer-grained and considerably harder than they would be if untreated. If you need the best Japanese knife block set​and you can meet the price requirement, it is indeed one of the most exquisite sets you can get today.

Read more about Shun brand: Best Shun Knives & Knife Sets

Pros + Key Features

  • The blades are forged
  • They have full tangs
  • Laminated bamboo storage block
  • Comfortable handles

8. Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Forged 12-Piece

This Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Forged 12-Piece is perfect for those who require a set with several knives. The knives are quite similar in types to smaller Japanese knife sets; the only considerable difference is that it features four steak knives in addition to the other knife types. The blades are all forged, except for the steak knives that feature stamped blades. For storage, it comes with a sophisticated bamboo block. Perhaps, the most surprising thing about the set is that it is so reasonably priced.

They are well-balanced utensils, requiring minimal effort for continuous cutting tasks. Furthermore, the set are low maintenance and easy to clean. The full extended tangs further improve the balance of the knives, while the handles come with a streamlined design that makes them comfortable to grip and cut with. While the knives lack that exquisite look and feel, thanks to the low price, they are still sufficiently functional and a great choice for people who need the best Japanese chef knife set.

Pros + Key Features

  • It is relatively affordable
  • Full tang for perfect balance
  • Ultra-sharp knives
  • Lifetime limited warranty

Guide to Choosing a Best Japanese Kitchen Knife Set?

There are certain criteria that ought to be considered when choosing a Japanese knife set if you hope to make the right choice. Here are some of those criteria to consider.

Number and Variety of Knives

You’ll need to consider these factors when selecting your knife set. What you want to go for is a set that features all knives that are peculiar to your cutting requirements in the kitchen. Typically, the more expensive a knife set is, the wider the variety of knives one gets. Nevertheless, the number of knives should not be the ultimate deciding factor. Choose a set that has the right knives you need for particular cutting tasks.

Related: Best Japanese Steak Knives

Material

The durability of any knife, to a large extent, depends on the material with which it’s made. Like it was used in most of the Japanese knife sets we have reviewed, stainless steel is easily the best material to choose. It’s an added advantage if the steel has high carbon content. These knives may feature additional coating material, but it is essential that the core be made from high-quality material.

Blade Style

Japanese knives can either come with double bevel blades or single bevel blades. Nevertheless, the single bevels are the most predominant. For an amateur/occasional cook, single bevel blades will require some getting used to. If you’re not a professional cook or chef, you will most likely be better off with the typical double bevel blades.

Price

Japanese knives can be quite expensive, but there are relatively affordable options available. The important thing is to get the best value for whatever amount you spend acquiring the knife set. It will help if you establish how much you are willing and able to spend on a Japanese knife set before shopping for one.

Read other post: Best Knife Sets Under $100

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How sharp are Japanese knives?

Sharpness is one of the major highlights of Japanese knives. They are cut thinner and ground sharper than many of the western style knives. However, with this high sharpness level comes a high level of edge retention because of the hardness of the steel used for these Japanese knives.

2. Are Japanese knives better than German knives?

Japanese knives are not essentially better than German knives, but they are better suited to specific cutting tasks. As a result of the thinness, they are not suitable for heavy cutting tasks, but only light activities like slicing and chopping. The downside of Japanese knives is that they are more likely to break/chip easily, but when you use them for light cutting activities, you will safely avoid that. German knives are more formidable and can be used for more intense cutting activities.

3. Why are Japanese knives sharpened on one side?

Not all, but most Japanese knives are sharpened on one side, and there’s a good reason for that. As sharpness is one of the aims when making the knives, the manufacturers stick to honing the blades of one side, to create smaller and sharper angles. Western-style knives are typically beveled on both sides, and that’s why they are usually not as sharp as Japanese style knives.

4. How often do you sharpen Japanese knives?

Along with their sharpness, Japanese knives have good edge retention and are able to remain sharp for considerable periods. However, it would be best if you sharpened your knives based on how often you use them. Knives used daily in a busy kitchen will still require weekly honing, but you can space out the honing if you don’t use the knives regularly.

Read other reviews: Calphalon Knife Set Reviews

So, What is the best Japanese knife set?

That’s it! If you need a good Japanese knife set, these are some of the best options available on the market today. And our recommendation is:

TUO Cutlery Knife Set with Wooden Block

Whether you are a professional chef looking to expand your collection, or an occasional cook who needs decent Japanese style knives for different cutting activities, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing one of these options. They all feature durable and well-balanced knives that are guaranteed to improve your cooking experience. We have also discussed some of the essential features and factors to consider before making a final choice.

Further Reading:

Your Guide to Japanese Knives

How to Use Japanese Knives: Honyaki, Kasumi, and More

1 thought on “8 Best Japanese Knife Sets for 2021: Ultra-Sharpness & Lightweight”

  1. Another important aspect of what is the best kitchen knives brand is the manufacturing process. Some are created using traditional methods, while others are made with new technology. Many of the best kitchen knives brands use traditional hinge construction.

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