Best Japanese Pocket Knives “Higonokami”: 5 Factors to Consider
Japanese pocket knives are awesome, but choosing the right “higonokami” (肥後守) can be a little tricky.
Let’s look at some of the best ones and how to choose the perfect one for you. I’ll also include some tips on how to use it safely. Let’s get to it!
Let’s take a look at the top choices real quick. After that, I’ll go into each in more detail:
Best professional Japanese pocket knife
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Choosing the Perfect Japanese Pocket Knife: A Comprehensive Buying Guide
- 2 Best Japanese pocket knives Reviewed
- 3 Conclusion
Choosing the Perfect Japanese Pocket Knife: A Comprehensive Buying Guide
When it comes to pocket knives, size matters. The blade length can make a huge difference in terms of convenience and ease of use. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right blade length for your needs:
- Smaller blades (around 2-3 inches) are great for everyday carry and allow for easier carrying in your pocket.
- Medium-sized blades (around 3-4 inches) are a good choice for those who need a larger blade for certain tasks, such as cooking or outdoor activities.
- Larger blades (over 4 inches) are usually found in kitchen knives or larger outdoor knives and are not suitable for everyday carry.
Blade Material: Understanding the Craftsmanship and Production
The type of steel used in the blade is extremely important when it comes to the quality and performance of the knife. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right blade material:
- Japanese steel is known for its impressive craftsmanship and is a popular choice for pocket knives.
- Traditional Japanese production methods, such as forging and sharpening, allow for an extremely sharp and durable blade.
- The ultimate choice of blade material depends on your personal preference and the intended use of the knife.
- Some popular materials used in Japanese pocket knives include VG-10, AUS-8, and 440C.
Handle Design: Choosing the Right Grip
The handle of a pocket knife is just as important as the blade itself. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right handle design:
- The handle should be strong and durable, able to withstand extreme conditions and prevent the blade from breaking.
- A versatile handle design allows for a comfortable grip and easy use of the knife.
- Some Japanese pocket knives have unique and natural handle materials, such as wood or bone, that add a sweet and pretty touch to the knife.
- A locking mechanism is an important feature to consider, as it prevents the blade from accidentally closing on your fingers.
Convenience and Versatility: Making the Right Choice
When it comes to choosing the perfect Japanese pocket knife, there are a few other factors to keep in mind:
- Research the different types of knives and their intended uses to make sure you choose the right tool for the job.
- Consider the convenience of carrying the knife and make sure it is legal to carry in your country or state.
- Look for knives that are built to last and have internal mechanisms that allow for easy maintenance and sharpening.
- Certain sets or designs may offer extra benefits, such as a complete range of blade shapes and sizes for a wider range of tasks.
Best Japanese pocket knives Reviewed
This portable folding knife has quickly become my go-to tool for camping, BBQs, fishing, and even daily cooking at home.
The 440A stainless steel blade is incredibly sharp, thanks to the meticulous hand-sanding and wire-drawing treatment it undergoes.
This process not only ensures a clean and precise cut but also adds an aesthetically pleasing finish to the blade.
One of the standout features of this knife is the natural rosewood handle. Expertly hand-polished and crafted by professional artisans, the handle boasts a beautiful texture and feels great in my hand.
It’s also incredibly durable, which is essential for a knife that sees so much use.
Measuring 4.8 inches in blade length, with a full length of 10.2 inches and a folded length of 5.4 inches, this knife is the perfect size for portability without sacrificing functionality.
Weighing only 180g, it’s easy to slip into my pocket or backpack without feeling weighed down.
The moving liner lock mechanism ensures that the blade stays securely in place when opened, making it safe to use for both right and left-handed cooks.
And while the knife doesn’t come with a sharpening stone, it’s easy to maintain its sharpness with a Japanese-style water or oil lubricated whetstone, sharpening steel, or ceramic rod.
In terms of origin, the accessories are imported from Japan, and the knife is hand-polished and assembled in China. The package includes the knife itself, a storage bag, and a knife wipe.
I’ve tried other folding knives, such as the Miki knife, but I find the SENBON to be superior in terms of folding mechanism and overall quality.
This knife has truly transformed my outdoor cooking experiences, and I’ve even purchased a few as gifts for friends.
If you’re in need of a versatile, portable, and high-quality folding chef’s knife, look no further than the SENBON 440A Stainless Steel Super Sharp Japanese Pocket Folding Chef’s Knife.
From the moment I first held the Higo no Kami 7 Pocket Knife by Nagao Seisakusho, I knew I was experiencing something truly special.
This authentic, handcrafted knife boasts a 3-inch Warikomi steel blade that is both sharp and durable, while the 4-inch Parkerized black satin handle provides a comfortable grip and a sleek, stylish appearance.
One of the first things I noticed about this knife was the absence of a locking mechanism.
However, the handle is riveted to the blade quite tightly, ensuring that it stays in place during use. This may be a concern for some, but I found it to be a non-issue during my tests.
As a genuine Higo no Kami knife made by Nagao Seisakusho, the last remaining manufacturer of this trademarked knife, I was pleased to see the proper kanji markings on the blade, as well as the original paper box it arrived in.
This level of authenticity is important to me, and it’s clear that this knife is the real deal.
The steel used in this particular model is laminated SK steel, which, while not quite on the same level as the premium blue or white paper steels, is still of high quality and more than suitable for everyday use.
I found the blade to be sharp and easy to maintain, requiring only light oiling and sharpening to keep it in top condition.
The handle, which does not feature the image of a samurai often seen on imitation versions, is made of brass and requires minimal maintenance.
It feels solid and well-balanced in my hand, making for a comfortable and enjoyable user experience.
In my tests, I used the Higo no Kami 7 Pocket Knife for a variety of tasks, from opening packages to cutting rope and even whittling wood.
In each instance, the knife performed admirably, with the blade staying sharp and the handle providing a secure grip.
In conclusion, I wholeheartedly recommend the Higo no Kami 7 Pocket Knife by Nagao Seisakusho to anyone in search of a high-quality, authentic Japanese pocket knife.
Its combination of craftsmanship, durability, and performance make it a standout choice that is sure to impress.
This is one of the most well-built and beautiful knives I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. With a closed length of 4.5 inches and a total length of 7.5 inches, this knife is the perfect size for everyday carry.
The handmade D2 tool steel blade features a double bevel, making it incredibly sharp right out of the box.
I was able to shave with it effortlessly, which speaks to the quality of the blade. The satin finish on the blade adds a touch of elegance to the overall design.
One of the standout features of this knife is the bamboo style G10 handle. G10 is a thermoset plastic laminate made from layers of fiberglass mesh cloth impregnated with an epoxy resin binder.
This material is not only durable but also provides a comfortable grip. The traditional Japanese style thumb lever allows for easy one-handed opening, which I find incredibly convenient.
The pocket clip on the handle ensures that the knife stays securely in place when not in use.
I also appreciate that the handle grips can be easily removed by taking out three small screws and the pivot bar. This allows for customization with your own wood grips if desired.
Although the knife is not stamped “D2,” I have no doubt that it is made from D2 steel. The blade takes an edge and behaves exactly the same way as my other D2 steel knives.
I trust that the manufacturer would not be deceptive about the quality of their product.
In conclusion, the KATSU Handmade D2 Steel Blade G10 Handle Bamboo Style Japanese Razor Pocket Folding Knife is an exceptional piece of craftsmanship.
It is not only visually stunning but also highly functional and practical for everyday use. I highly recommend this knife to anyone looking for a high-quality, modern Higonokami.
I can confidently say that this knife is a true work of art.
The craftsmanship and attention to detail are evident in every aspect of this knife, from the 3-inch warikomi steel blade to the 4-inch brass satin handle.
The fact that this knife is handmade by the last remaining manufacturer of this trademarked knife only adds to its charm and uniqueness.
One of the first things I noticed when I received my Higo no Kami 10 was the beautiful brass handle. The satin finish gives it a sophisticated look while also providing a comfortable grip.
The handle also features a lanyard hole, just like in the pictures, which adds a practical touch to the design.
The blade itself is incredibly sharp and durable, thanks to the warikomi steel construction.
I’ve put this knife through its paces in various cutting tasks, and it has never failed to impress me with its performance.
It’s also worth noting that the blade and thumb lever are a single piece of steel, which speaks to the quality and sturdiness of this knife.
As with any high-quality knife, proper care and maintenance are essential to keep the Higo no Kami 10 in top condition.
Fingerprints can corrode the blade, so I always make sure to keep a protective oil on the surface.
When it comes to sharpening, I’ve found that using a whetstone yields the best results, although a Spyderco stand-up sharpener can also be used as an alternative.
The characters on the handle and blade add an extra layer of authenticity and intrigue to this knife.
They translate to “Higonokami” (the brand), “fixed,” and “horse.” Although the meaning of the last word is unclear, it could possibly refer to the knife itself.
In conclusion, the Higo no Kami 10 Pocket Knife by Nagao Seisakusho is a remarkable and reliable tool that showcases the beauty of traditional Japanese craftsmanship.
The handmade nature of this knife, combined with its high-quality materials and performance, make it well worth the investment.
If you’re in the market for a unique and functional pocket knife, I highly recommend giving the Higo no Kami 10 a try.
KATSU Titanium & Carbon
- Japanese Style Thumb Opening Lever & Ball Bearing System
- VG-10 Steel stonewashed blade
- Pretty heavy for most as a pocket knife
From the moment I first held the KATSU Camping Pocket Folding Japanese Knife, I knew I had found something truly special.
The 5-inch closed, 9-inch total length knife is a perfect blend of form and function, with its Titanium & Carbon Fiber Handle providing both an anti-rust property and a comfortable grip.
The Frame Lock ensures that the blade stays securely in place while open, and allows for easy one-handed closing.
The Japanese Style Thumb Opening Lever & Ball Bearing System is a game-changer, enabling users to open the knife with one hand quickly and smoothly.
The 3.9-inch VG-10 Steel stonewashed blade is not only solid but also visually stunning. The beautiful titanium pocket clip is the cherry on top, making this KATSU titanium knife well worth the price.
In terms of maintenance, it’s essential to keep the blade clean and sharp.
Regularly rinsing the folding mechanism and applying a water-displacing substance, such as WD-40, will help prevent rust and ensure the knife’s longevity.
Hand-sharpening with a diamond sharpening steel and a fine ceramic hone will keep the blade in peak condition.
The KATSU Camping Pocket Folding Japanese Knife is manufactured in Japan, which is known for its high-quality craftsmanship.
Weighing in at a comfortable medium-sized cell phone weight, this knife is perfect for those who are used to carrying essential items in their pockets.
The blade is made of VG-10 steel, offering excellent durability and sharpness.
While there are no washers on this knife, it is designed to flip open one-handed using the tab on the blade.
If you ever encounter any issues with the knife, such as a missing screw, KATSU’s customer service is known to be helpful and responsive.
In conclusion, the KATSU Camping Pocket Folding Japanese Knife is an exceptional piece of craftsmanship that offers a perfect balance of style, functionality, and durability.
It is a must-have for anyone who values a high-quality, reliable, and visually stunning pocket knife.
An exceptional tool that has exceeded my expectations. From the moment I held it in my hands, I could feel the premium quality of the materials and craftsmanship that went into creating this masterpiece.
The carbon steel blade is incredibly sharp and durable, making it perfect for a wide range of activities such as camping, hunting, and even light cooking.
I’ve used it on numerous outdoor excursions and have been consistently impressed with its performance.
The brass grip and sheath not only provide a comfortable hold but also add a touch of elegance to this versatile tool.
One of the things I love most about this knife is how easy it is to maintain its sharpness.
A simple honing on a whetstone brings the blade back to its razor-sharp edge, allowing me to continue using it for years to come.
The fact that it’s handmade by skilled Japanese craftsmen only adds to its charm and allure. I’ve even used this knife to trim bamboo strips, and it handled the task with ease.
In conclusion, the SHOTO Pocket Knife is a must-have for anyone who appreciates high-quality, versatile tools.
Its combination of premium materials, exceptional craftsmanship, and outstanding performance make it a tool that I will continue to cherish and use for years to come.
I highly recommend giving it a try – you won’t be disappointed.
Japanese pocket knives are great for everyday carry, and you need one for all those little tasks. You should consider the size of the blade and the type of steel used in the blade.
So, don’t be afraid to dive into the world of Japanese pocket knives and find the right one for you!
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.