The 7 Best Japanese Knife Sets For Precise Cuts

December 1, 2022
by Dan Skewes
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Spending time in the kitchen to create something delicious for the ones we love is a rewarding experience that just so happens to end with a full stomach and thankful tastebuds. 

However, the cooking process can become an arduous affair when you are dealing with a knife set that can only be described as tired.

Not only will tired knives make your time in the kitchen harder, longer, and more dangerous, but they will also give you a reason not to cook. 

There is a way to overcome this blunt hurdle and that answer is a Japanese knife set. Japanese knives are renowned for their precise cuts, beautiful designs, and elegant curves.

Bringing a set into your life and kitchen is a surefire way of making it known that you mean business and that the recipe book shelf is your limit.

Against popular belief, Japanese knives do not need to cost an arm and a leg and the sets below will prove it. Check out the 7 best Japanese knife sets to add to your kitchen arsenal.

Yatoshi 13 Knife Block Set

Yatoshi 13 Knife Block Set - Pro Kitchen Knife Set Ultra Sharp High Carbon Stainless Steel with Ergonomic Handle

This 13-knife block set by Yatoshi is a beautiful representation of the undeniable craftsmanship behind Japanese knife making.

The high-carbon stainless steel blade on each knife ensures the set is professional-grade through construction. 

Getting down to the nitty-gritty on numbers, these knives feature 0.6-0.75 carbon between them.

In comparison, other knives in the same class contain no more than 0.3 carbon, making these sleek creations twice as hard.

Talking shop on design, this set by Yatoshi has it all.

The uniquely woven pattern on each blade is striking, while the hardwood Pakka handles benefit from a smooth finish and real-wood grain.

Pakkawood is also water-resistant, and super durable and the handles have been ergonomically shaped and weighted to be graceful in control and cut. 

Included in the set you will receive one 8-inch chef’s knife, one bread knife, one 7-inch Santoku, one slicing knife, one 5-inch Santoku, one utility knife, one paring knife, six steak knives, a pair of scissors, and a Pakkawood block.

Putting their craftsmanship where their knives are, Yatoshi has slapped a lifetime warranty on the entire set for your peace of mind. 

Pros

  • High-carbon stainless steel - twice as hard as regular knives
  • Comprehensive 13-knife set - ticks all the boxes
  • Lifetime warranty - confidence in construction

Cons

  • Expensive

FAMCÜTE 4-Piece Japanese Chef Knife Set

FAMCÜTE Japanese Chef Knife Set, 3 Layer 9CR18MOV Clad Steel w/octagon Handle and Block Wooden Holder for 4Piece Kitchen Knife Set (8” Gyuto Knife, 7” Nakiri Knife, 7” Santoku knife, 5” Utility knife)

FAMCÜTE's Japanese cheffing knife set is a premium 4-piece set perfect for the avid home cook.

The set includes one 8-inch chef knife, one 7-inch Nakiri knife, one 7-inch Santoku knife, and one 5-inch utility knife.

Each of the knife blades is constructed of high-quality steel to slice through even the toughest vegetable skin (pumpkin, we’re looking at you).

The blade edges have been angled in such a way that extends the life of your knives. 

The blade’s clad dimples ensure an easy release on particularly sticky foods.

The entire set has been ergonomically designed to capture and inspired the mysticism and beauty of cooking.

The knife handles have been crafted out of African rosewood, complementing the sleek blades like it was meant to be.

The handles will feel stable through every slice, allowing you to cut with confidence. 

Each knife’s balance point has been placed heel to spine up the billet.

This translates to an extra-comfortable grip that ensures a precise cut every time. It also means your hands will be thanking you as they will be kept intact, with less wear and tear.

Coming with a sleek and stylish knife block, this knife set may be low in numbers, but it is high in quality and ready to cut. 

Pros

  • High-quality steel construction - built to last
  • Clad dimples on blades - easy release
  • African rosewood handles - beautiful and practical

Cons

  • Only four knife set

Traditional Japanese 4-Piece Knife Set

Traditional Japanese Professional Kitchen Chef Knife Set - Premium Gyuto Santoku Nakiri Petty High Corrosion Resistance Full Tang Knife Set

With traditional Japanese symbols inscribed on the side of each blade, there is no confusing this Japanese knife set from the next.

Traditional by design, traditional by construction, you will enjoy looking at, holding, and cutting with these knives.

The blades have been crafted out of 420HC stainless steel for durability’s sake.

The high-grade steel has been heat-treated to optimize its hardness and edge retention. Heat treatment also means the blades can be sharpened effectively to a razor’s edge.

The steel has been selected for its high corrosion resistance which helps to prevent oxidation when coming into contact with food and for everyday use. 

Featuring the holy trinity of Japanese knives in the Gyuto, Santoku, and Nakiri, you will benefit from the traditional means of Japanese food preparation with this set in your home.

The fourth knife is a small utility knife that goes by the name of the Petty.

It will be tasked with skinning small fruits, vegetables, and fresh herbs, where precision isn’t just recommended, it is required. 

The handles are made of premium traditional rosewood for a sleek finish.

Rosewood is the industry standard for Japanese knives as it has a natural affinity with strength, while, at the same time, maintaining an effortless polish.

Treating yourself to this premium Japanese knife shows clear intent to the world that you take your cooking (and eating) seriously.

Pros

  • Traditional Japanese symbols - design-led craftsmanship
  • Heat-treated steel blades - optimized hardness and edge retention
  • Rosewood handles - traditional Japanese wood

Cons

  • Only four knife set

Ailuki 21-Piece Kitchen Knife Set

Knife Set,21 PCS Kitchen Knife Set with Block Wooden,Japanese Stainless Steel,Professional Chef Knife Set Manual Sharpening Ultra Sharp Full Tang Handle Design Knife Block Set

If you are after a price-focused set of knives of Japanese quality, Ailuki’s 21-piece kitchen set has got your number.

While it may not be entirely Japanese, the blades have each been constructed of high-carbon Japanese steel.

What this means is that you can pick up a premium set of knives without the premium price tag today, with no more to pay. 

The set features a chef knife, slicing knife, bread knife, Santoku knife, utility knife, paring knife, kitchen scissors, kitchen sharpener, six steak knives, and a stained wooden storage block.

On top of all that cutting potential, the set includes five practical kitchen items like a peeler, whisk, and pizza cutter to ensure it meets every one of your kitchen needs. 

Each high-carbon blade is rust-proof by nature and has been forged with precise tempering and hand-polished edges.

What this means is that the knives have the perfect balance of precise slicing and flexibility to help you achieve the perfect cut every time.

The handles benefit from a full-tang wood grain that increased durability and aids an ergonomic sensibility.

Beechwood is the wood of choice for the handles and it has been weighted to deliver a controlled cut.

The Pakkawood storage box ensures effective and efficient storage for this all-inclusive 21-piece set.

Ailuki offers a 12-month replacement service for the entire set to serve you shopping confidence. 

Pros

  • Japanese stainless steel blades - quality made
  • 21-piece set - equipped for all cuts
  • Beechwood handles - hardwood built to last

Cons

  • Not as well made as premium knife sets

Jikko 6-Piece Japanese Knife Set

JIKKO New 67 Layers Carbon Steel Japanese Knife Set - Original Series - Kitchen Knife Set with Walnut and Mahogany Wood Handles - 6 Japanese Chef's Knives with Exceptional Sharpness - HRC60 Approved

This 6-piece set by Jikko is as enjoyable to look at as it is to cut with.

The knife blades have been forged with a traditional Japanese technique using 67-layer VG10 steel.

This style is regarded for its superior sharpness and extreme sharpness that is light years ahead of standard industrial steel. 

The 6-piece set includes a 13-inch chef’s knife, a 13-inch bread knife, an 11-inch Nakiri knife, a 10-inch boning knife, an 11-inch cleaver knife, and a 6-inch slicing knife.

The knife handles have been crafted out of walnut and mahogany to offer them a striking aesthetic and durable construction.

Perfectly balanced, the handles have been made to suit both left and right-handed home chefs. 

Where the majority of Western knife blades are angled at 25 degrees, these knives have been angled at 15 degrees. 15-degree blades are razor sharp to offer fast and efficient cuts.

The blades have also been liquid-nitrogen treated, with the addition of carbon making them four times more durable than a standard steel knife kitchen set.

If you are unhappy with the set in any aberration of the word, Jikko will give you a no-fuss refund or replacement for up to 90 days from purchase.

This gives no reason but to trust your instincts and pick up this premium Japanese knife set today. 

Pros

  • 25-degree angle on blades - super sharp and efficient cutting
  • 90-day refund and replacement policy - offers you peace of mind
  • Forged using a traditional Japanese technique - premium construction

Cons

  • No mention of warranty

Dalstrong 6-Piece Japanese Knife Block Set

DALSTRONG Knife Block Set - 6-Piece w/Magnetic Knife Stand - Phantom Series - Japanese High-Carbon - AUS8 Steel - Pakkawood Handle

A choice in Dalstrong is a choice in the best. Dalstrong knives are beautiful pieces of kitchen equipment that offer high levels of cutting precision and performance.

Seriously, if you are a home cook who enjoys cooking and doesn’t mind parting with a fair chunk of cash to have a seriously premium set of Japanese knives, it is time to invest in these puppies. 

Described as being “mercilessly sharp”, the Phantom series’ blades have been crafted by knife-making experts at a razor-sharp 13-15 degree angle.

What this means is that you will be slicing and dicing your way through pork shoulder, and racks of beef ribs without a worry in the world.

The blades have also been nitrogen cooled to increase their hardness, corrosion resistance, and flexibility. 

The blade has been forged from ice-tempered, high-carbon, Japanese AUS-8 steel with a 58+ Rockwell hardness rating.

In layman’s terms, this translates to an insanely sharp blade edge that will hold its sharpness for a long, long time.

Each blade has been engraved with an impactful lineup of Japanese symbols which blend seamlessly with the hand-polished spine finish. 

A rich Pakkawood handle has been fused onto each blade to create a deep tapestry of design and style.

The handles have also been hand-polished and laminated to create a heavenly grip unlike any other.

These features do wonders for handle durability as well. Boasting a traditional D-shape, the handles have been crafted to perfectly tuck into your hand’s palm for limitless control.

A brass and copper mosaic pin has been included to offer a distinct look of refined luxury.

Coming with a lifetime warranty against defects, it goes without saying that choosing to cut with Dalstrong is a choice for life. 

Pros

  • 13-15 degree edge angle - razor sharp
  • AUS-8 high-carbon Japenese steel blades - super durable
  • Traditional Japanese D-shape handles - comfort-focused cutting

Cons

  • Expensive

Buyer’s Guide

knife block with 6 knives

We have put this buyer’s guide together to help make your final knife-edge decision on which set is the best fit for you.

Japanese knives are crafted to last and built for precision but there’s no denying that some are better than others.

Consider the points below your own personal guide to find the finest Japanese knife set on the internet. 

Blade

One aspect of Japanese knives that make them stand out from the standard knife crowd is their blades.

Though 99% of kitchen knife blades are constructed of stainless steel, that is where their similarities start and end.

You will find that the best Japanese knives in the business will have a high carbon content.

Anything around 0.6 or higher of carbon is considered high carbon and, subsequently, high quality. 

Other indicators on steel quality control include mentions of being heat-treated, nitrogen-cooled, and ice-treated.

Stainless steel that has been pre-treated is going to be more durable and keep its sharp edge for longer.

Talking about edges, the degree at which the blade edge is set matters.

Japanese knives are known for their precision cutting and razor sharp edges. To get the edge as sharp as it can possibly be, Japanese knives are set at a 13-16 degree angle.

This is considerably less than the industry standard for kitchen knives which can range from anywhere between 15 and 20 degrees. 

The last but certainly not least thing to consider for your Japanese knife set’s blade is its stainless steel rating.

AUS-8 is one of the highest grade stainless steel available on the internet, while 420HC is also very respectable.

If there is no mention of the rating of the blade’s stainless steel, this is when you should be asking questions about quality. 

Handle

In a similar vein to the blade quality of your knife set, the handles need to tick the right boxes as well.

Look for a knife set that features hardwood handles and you will be off to a good start.

Hardwoods like Pakkawood, mahogany, walnut, and rosewood are all commonly used for premium Japanese knife set handles.

Beechwood is another popular hardwood that you will find in slightly more budget-friendly sets. 

Have you heard the word full tang being used to describe a knife’s handle but never known what it means?

Full tang handles are handles that wrap around an additional piece of stainless steel that is connected to the blade.

Full tang, therefore, it a high-quality style of handle that ensures more cutting leverage and power.

Instead of the hardwood handle being fused onto the blade in the middle of the knife, two become one, and that equals strength. 

Another sign of a traditional Japanese knife is its handle benefiting from a D-shape design.

D-shapes have been a popular type of knife handle in Japan for centuries because of their ergonimic sensibility.

Do you know the saying “fits like a glove”? Well, the saying rings true with a D-shape handle design.

Slipping straight into the hand like it was meant to be (because it was), you will feel cutting comfort in a traditional Japanese D-shape handle. 

Design

It’s true, the design of your new knife set may not be as important as the quality of its blades and handles, but it is still important.

Sure, style may not be everything, but if you want your Japanese knife set to look as good as it cuts, there are certain things to consider.

Traditional Japanese symbols are a surefire way to ensure nobody confuses your set with the mundane kind.

Unique grain patterns in the handles are another inditacor of quality in design.

Though not every knife set has one, the block that your knives are placed in should look the part too.

There is little point in having an elegantly designed knife set if the block that they are stored in doesn’t look the part.

Seek out Japanese knife sets that come with stained hardwood blocks. If the block just so happens to have curved edges, then even better. 

Conclusion

So there you have it. You are now all the wiser on the best Japanese knife sets on this side of Tokyo.

Whether you are looking to invest in something extra special. Or, you simply want a practical, budget-friendly Japanese knife set.

One that is going to deliver you precision cutting without the punch to your back pocket. We hope there was a knife set within this list to help serve you dinner. 

You might also be interested in: Honest Cangshan Knives Review [And Our Top 4 Favorites]

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