Whether you are an entry or professional sushi chef, you will definitely need a sushi knife to assist in the preparation of sushi.
These knives are essential tools, which are perfect for cutting the ingredients you need to prepare your sushi, as well as cut through your sushi for the perfect presentation.
However, there is one challenge that most of us face—choosing the best sushi knife since there are hundreds of choices in today’s market.
Here are the Diaries of a Master Sushi chef to show you what you can do with the right tools:
When choosing the best sushi knife, you will need a knife that feels good in your hands, as well as one that’s made of good quality and durable materials.
I’ll take you through the top choices here first, and after that, I’ll give you some background information on the different types of knives and these top brands:
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|Best bones and cartilage cleaver (Deba-bocho): Sane Tatsu Japanese Yasugi||
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|Best vegetable knife (Usuba-bocho): Shane Classic Nakiri Knife||
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|Best Sashimi knife (Yanagiba): Yoshihiro Yanagi knife||
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|Budget Sashimi knife: Kai Wasabi Black||
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|Best long Sashimi knife: Mercer Yanagi||
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|Best Ceramic Sashimi knife: Kyocera Kyotop||
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Also read our post on Sushi for beginners
Different kinds of sushi knives
So, how do you choose the best sushi knife?
First, you need to know the different sushi knives available.
This is a heavy-duty meat cleaver, and it is ideal for cutting through the cartilage of fish and bones. The sushi knife is not ideal for home sushi makers.
Mostly, it’s used by pro sushi chefs who spend most of their time preparing a whole fish for sushi.
The Seba Bocho has to be sharp and heavy, and this Sane Tatsu Japanese Yasugi Forged steel knife is the best you can get.
It’s a single-bevel, high-end pro-knife that is ideal for slicing through steak and fish bones with lots of ease. Its extraordinarily thick blade, of up to 6mm, is designed to last for several years.
The Yasugi Forged Steel is specifically designed to cut through steaks, fish, as well as handle any other tough job.
It has been forged from high-grade chromium-molybdenum stainless steel, which means the knife cannot rust, unlike other blades.
This knife is handcrafted using top-grade steel, which means it meets the highest standards of top quality sushi knives.
This is a vegetable knife uses for peeling, fine cutting, slicing, and chopping. Usuba can be translated to a thin blade, that’s used for slicing and chopping thin sheets from veggies.
Nakiri is Japanese for ‘vegetable knife’; and with this Classic 6.5-inch Nakiri Knife, Shun delivers a vegetable knife that combines the beauty of an elegant design with the practicality of a sharp, clean and durable kitchen tool.
They created these patterns in the Damascus steel by grinding and bead-blasting until they had the perfect form to fit with the more classic lines of the D-shaped handle.
The result is a great looking but extremely functional knife with an ebony PakkaWood grip.
The Nakiri makes sure any fruit or vegetable you’ll be slicing with this knife will always cut through with a single push, so it is great to lighten the strain on your hands from other types of knives.
This is the standard sashimi knife, ideal for slicing raw fish and fish fillets.
Yaginaba is the ideal knife used for preparing sashimi and sushi that is required to meet certain requirements in Japanese sushi cuisine.
These knives are designed for precision slicing of sashimi.
You’ll want to look out for a knife suitable for professional chefs who have been looking for fine Yanagiba or Deba Bocho, but less maintenance than traditional high carbon made Bocho.
A knife like this Yoshihiro Yanagi Sashimi knife, which has a rosewood handle for extra comfort and precision when cutting.
Processing and fluorine coating and concave to fit the balance between the cutting edge and the handle of the knife features a rosewood non-slip handle.
Yoshihiro knives have a long history in Japan.
The Yoshihiro Hongasumi Yanagi is perfect for Sushi and allows you to enjoy high-grade edge retention, as well as carbon steel sharpness.
This knife has easy-of-care, and it’s very durable. Its blade is made of a VG stainless steel material, with HRC 62 – 63. One notable thing about the knife is that it has a traditional grind, as well as a 9.5” single-edged blade.
The knife comes with a flat rim on its back, fully flat ground, and concave ground on the front.
Its handle is made of handcrafted Japanese Octagonal Rosewood, for light and well-balanced design.
The design of the handle makes it ideal for people who work for long hours in the kitchen. You will always find this handle very comfortable, even if you work for long periods of time.
The handle doesn’t wear so easily, and it maintains its grip, even after extended periods of use.
The Yoshihiro VGYA240SH Stainless Hongasumi Yanagi Sushi Knife is one of the most popular sushi knifes you will ever find because of several reasons.
One of the reasons is that the knife comes with a lacquer-coated magnolia-wooden sheath. In addition, you can use the knife to cut pieces of sushi and sashimi.
Lastly, the best knife for both entry, intermediate, and professional level chefs, regardless of its limited lifetime warranty.
- This knife will give you lasting sharpness with its carbon steel and stainless steel durability.
- It’s a 9.5-inch single-edged blade and has a traditional hold
- It has a simple, yet elegant design and has octagonal Rosewood Shitan handle which is handcrafted.
- To protect your purchase, it comes with a knife sheath made out of magnolia wood.
- You should only wash this knife by hand, not in the dishwasher, and always sharpen it using quality whetstones, but it is ready for use out of the box.
- 100% handcrafted in Japan
A company founded by a master sword maker, whose desire was to make the greatest living blades in his country. Yoshi Hiro trained with the top sword makers of his day and made a name for himself that is still known in present-day Japan.
Even though he is no longer alive, his company is still carrying on his tradition of making the best swords and knives possible, each which is made with beauty and elegance.
Yoshihiro knives are high-quality blades of forged steel sold at very affordable prices.
Beautiful pieces for both professional chefs and cooks at home In Japan, metal forging is appreciated as art, rather than work. The forging of blades is an ancient technique that is still employed today.
Also read: 5 main types of traditional Japanese sushi
The process yields stronger products than does metal casting due to the constant beating of the metal.
Budget Sashimi knife: Kai Wasabi Black
The traditional Japanese Yanagiba style designs the single-sided and ultra-thin Kai Wasabi Sushi knife.
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This is one of the best sushi knives you will find out there in the market, specifically because of its notable characteristics, as well as its affordable price.
The core of this knife is made with a superior Daido 1K6 high-carbon stainless steel, with remarkable edge retention when compared to other knives.
The designers of this sushi knife use bead-blast to give this knife a striking blade finish.
This Kai Wasabi sushi knife has a distinctively new handle material, bamboo powder blended with polypropylene.
In addition, the handle is joined using an antibacterial object, which makes it completely safe for food handling.
The sushi knife is hand washable, as well as dishwasher safe—and air drying is recommended. It 100% Japanese product, and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty. This is one of the best sushi knives that you will find in less than $100.
- Japanese style yanagiba knife, used for slicing ultra-thin slices for dishes such as sushi and sashimi.
- It has a Daido stainless steel blade made from 1K6 high-carbon which gives it superior edge retention.
- Unique, single-sided blade design and it even has the Japanese character for wasabi on the blade.
- They used bead-blasting to create a beautiful finish to it.
- It’s got a very durable handle made from a polypropylene blend.
- It is dishwasher safe as one of the few brands, though washing it by hand is strongly advised.
- Limited lifetime warranty and is made in Japan.
TUO Yanagiba Damascus Sushi & Sashimi Knife
This sushi knife is one of the best knives for entry-level users. It comes with an 8.5” long blade, which is created with superior Japanese stainless steel (VG10), which comes with 33 layers of quality soft steel.
The blade’s core is vacuum heat-treated to improve its hardness to 62 HRC, and also make it corrosion and rust resistance.
Because of the heating and cooling style, the TUO Cutlery Yanagiba Damascus Sushi Sashimi Knife has remarkable edge retention, unlike other carbon steel knives.
Its blade has been crafted using a beautiful electrical park logo, and it’s one side angled, and its opposite side is plane ground. These types of blades give their users full control when it comes to delicate slicing.
To create its ergonomic and attractive handle, TUE Cutlery uses high-quality black ebony wood, which extremely durable and tough. Its octagonal shape increases the knife’s skid resistance and boosts it’s holding comfort at the same time.
The knife has been designed to prepare sushi, raw fish, as well as sashimi.
It comes with an ultra-thin, long, razor-sharp blade, which allows you to cut through any type of fish without having to use any extra pressure.
When you get this knife, you need to understand that it’s best suited for slicing, not chopping. This knife comes with a limited lifetime warranty, and you will get it at less than $100.
- The knife is designed to prepare raw fish like sashimi
- Its handle is made with top-grade black ebony wood—which gives it an attractive appearance
- Designed with Japanese VG10 stainless steel, with 33 layers of top quality stainless steel
- Angled only from one side with the other side of the blade being flat, allowing control in the blade angle for delicate cutting and allows for ease of sharpening
Best long Sashimi knife: Mercer Yanagi Sushi Knife
This is a single-edge blade knife, which is taper-ground with its stone finishing.
That’s the reason why the Mercer Yanagi Sushi Knife can easily cut through meat, fish, and different types of veggies without snagging or dragging.
It comes with a 12-inch blade with 58 HRC carbon steel material. Its carbon stainless steel material is razor-sharp and resistant to corrosion, discoloration, as well as rust. It has a straight blade, with smooth finishing.
The knife has been designed using the traditional balsam wood handle, which is non-slip, unique, and durable.
Its design includes a fully forged construction, thus giving the knife the resemblance of a normal utility knife.
Also, it is possible to get the Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Yanagi Sushi Knife with a slip-resistant Santropene handle, which is NSF certified. This knife comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
It is the ideal knife for chefs who are serious about preparing true Japanese foods, as well as other Asian foods. This left-handed knife is 100% Japanese product, and you will get it at a considerable price.
- Razor-sharp, high-carbon steel material,
- The stainless steel blade is rust-free and prevents discoloration
- This single-edge blade is tapered and hand finished
- You can get it in a more traditional style wooden handle, or go for the special made slip-resistant handle that has been made out of Santoprene
- Limited Lifetime warranty
Yoshihiro Shiroko Sashimi Chef Knife
This sashimi chef knife is seemingly the best bargain when compared to other knives in its category.
The Yoshihiro Shiroko Sashimi Chef Knife is made using Japanese white high carbon steel and comes with a single-edged 9.5-inch blade.
Its blade comes with a authentic grind shape and has a 62-63 Rockwell hardness. The Yoshihiro Shiroko Sashimi Chef Knife’s blade has a fully flat ground shape on its front, and a concave ground shape, which has a place rim on its back.
One notable thing with the Yoshihiro Shiroko Sashimi Chef Knife is its simple and beautiful Japanese rosewood D-shaped handle.
In addition to this, its Shitan bolster gives the knife a well-balanced and lightweight framework. Furthermore, the Yoshihiro Shiroko Sashimi Chef Knife comes with a Mongolian made sheath, Tsubaki knife oil, as well as a rust eraser.
To get the best performance from this knife, hand wash and air drying are recommended. Also, you need to make sure that use a premium-quality water stone in sharpening and honing the knife.
The Yoshihiro Shiroko Sashimi Chef Knife comes with a limited lifetime warranty, and it’s the best choice for both new and intermediate sushi chefs. You will get this sushi knife at less than $200.
- This knife has a hardness on the Rockwell scale of about 62 or 63, and that comes from its number 2 white steel iron forging. This also resulted in the beautiful Kasumi mist patterns.
- It’s specifically created to cut through fish for sushi and sashimi with ease and create very thin slices. The thin blade has been designed to be able to slice through the fish in long and uninterrupted cuts making it ideal for the craftsmanship you need for sashimi.
- It comes with a flat grind on the front and a concave grind with a flat rim on the backside. This combination makes sure the blade will be able to cut your food with minimal damage to the food cells themselves, which might ruin the taste and texture of your dish.
- It’s a 100% Japanese product.
Shun Pro Yanagiba Knife
The knife comes with a 9-inch razor-sharp blade, with a width of 1” – 0.5” and a thickness of 2.5 mm.
Its core is made of super stainless steel VG-10 material, with 60 HRC. One thing you will note with the Shun Pro Yanagiba Knife is that it has higher edge retention than other knives out there in the market.
Another interesting thing about the Shun Pro Yanagiba Knife is that its blade is designed with an artistic graffiti-imprint on the blade, which gives it a classic appearance.
Before buying the Shun Pro Yanagiba Knife, you need to note that it’s a left-handed, wide-bevel blade sushi knife, which means you can sharpen it very easily using a fine-grit whetstone.
Its classic D-shaped handle is made out of premium-grade Pakkawood. The D-shape design gives the knife a secure grip, which means you don’t have to exert a lot of pressure when cutting items.
Even though this knife is dishwasher safe, hand wash and air-drying are recommended.
- 9 ½- inch blade
- Single-edged and ideal for creating razor-thin slices of fish and soft meats for sashimi
- Constructed with VG-10 stainless steel that takes and holds a sharp edge longer than comparable knives; wide blade bevel is easily sharpened if you have a whetstone
- Sturdy and durable pakkawood handle in a classic d-shape to nestle comfortably into the curves of the palm, offering a secure grip
- Dishwasher safe, but hand wash and air drying recommended
- Limited lifetime warranty
If you have never prepared sushi, then you need to note that the key part in a sushi dish is the sashimi, also known as raw fish.
Even though you can use a general sushi knife in the entire preparation process, pro chefs prefer having a sashimi knife, and Dalstrong SS-S-10.5inch-Yanagiba is one of these knives.
The Dalstrong SS-S-10.5inch-Yanagiba features a slender and long silhouette, associated with sushi knives.
The design of the Dalstrong SS-S-10.5inch-Yanagiba will blow you away. Its single-bevel, 10.5-inch, the hand-polished blade is made using Japanese AUS-10V super steel and comes with an amazing pattern—which will definitely capture your eye.
The handle is designed from military-grade G-10 material, which is combined with red rosewood.
Also, the Dalstrong SS-S-10.5inch-Yanagiba comes with a handmade wooden sheath, which ensures its long-term protection.
The craftsmanship used to design this knife will definitely amaze you.
The Dalstrong SS-S-10.5inch-Yanagiba is one of the famous knives used by pro sushi chefs—thanks to its spectacular service and quality.
This knife has a durable and extremely durable blade, which should provide you with precise cuts every moment.
- The crafting of this knife is a true art form, nut still very innovative using advanced technology.
- It has a great looking design.
- There are no less than 67 layers of stainless steel used in the creation of this knife, which gives it this incredible durability and strength.
- The edge of the knife is just razor-sharp, and this is mostly due to the hand-finishing to get that 15° degree angle sharpening. The method they used is called the “3-step Honbazuke method”.
- You might think the pattern of the knife is just for looks, but what they call a “Metal-Storm” pattern is actually in place to be able to cut through food more easily and reduce friction from the knifes blade on the food.
- They made the knife so it would be in perfect balance when wielding it in the kitchen. The pattern and the tapered blade make sure it cuts through food without having residue stick onto its surface, which makes it even easier to clean.
- They kept the handle a bit more traditional in an octagon shape made out of a fiber-glass type of material which is actually military-grade. Then, combined that with a beautiful Red Rosewood. The octagon handle was designed for control. You can see this in the slight taper towards the end of the handle. This gives the knife some extra control when used in small cutting movements.
- And of course a lifetime warranty.
Read more: how to get started in sushi making
Best Ceramic Sashimi knife: Kyocera Kyotop
At times, choosing a sushi knife can be a challenge. While some chefs prefer high-carbon Japanese steel knives, others opt for ceramic blades because of their convenience.
If you are after long term sharpness, then you should opt to buy the Kyocera Kyotop (KT-200-HIP-D) sushi knife.
When you unpack this knife from its box, you will find one of the most beautiful knives you will ever see.
The Kyocera Kyotop (KT-200-HIP-D) has a stunning finishing, which is inspired by the traditional Japanese Damascus pattern.
This knife has a length of 14 inches, a ceramic blade of 8.25 inches, and weighs just 1.75 ounces. In spite of its lightweight, the Kyocera Kyotop (KT-200-HIP-D) is very balanced in all the steps of sushi preparation.
This is one of the most costly sushi knives, and you should expect the price to match its quality. It comes with an advanced blade, which created with a hot-isostatic pressing technology.
According to the manufacturer, its hardness is close to diamond. As a result, the material used to manufacture this knife gives it remarkable edge retention.
If you want a ling and satisfying product life, ensure that you ship this knife to Kyocera whenever you need to re-sharpen it.
- These isostatic pressed ceramic knives are made from a proprietary material, which is zirconia and is specifically produced for its great quality and nice finish
- A distinctive etched knife blade and Pakka wood handle design with 3 stainless steel rivets
- These super-sharp knives can maintain their edge up to 15 times longer because of the ceramics than steel blades can
- They are very light and super easy to clean and do not rust. On top of that, you don’t need to look out for certain acids found in food because they are very well resistant
- Perfectly balanced, Kyocera knives are great if you need to cut through anything but bone, from fruit and vegetables to any kind of boneless meat. You should not use these on any frozen food or bones as you might damage the blade
How much is a Japanese knife?
Japanese knives are quite different from each other and so are the prices. There are a few smaller ones for specific tasks as well as razor-sharp cleavers. On average, you should expect to pay around $150,- for a decent Japanese knife.
How to take care of your sushi knife
Before buying any sushi knife, you need to understand that they are very special, and they require specialized care if you need to get the best results from these knives.
In addition, you will need to pay a considerable amount of money to get the best sushi knife, which means you have to take good care of your knife. Here are a few things that you need to do to take good care of your sushi knife:
- Although many sushi knives are categorized as dishwasher safe, never use a dishwasher
- Always ensure that you put back your sushi knife in its case/sheath, and then store it in a separate space—this can be a drawer or a rack. Use soapy water to clean your knife, rinse it thoroughly, and then dry it using a towel. This is an important thing, especially if you are using a carbon steel knife as it can rust very fast.
- Never use a sharpening steel to sharpen your sushi knife—just use a water stone
- Ensure that you frequently wipe your sushi knife, especially if you use to cut acidic foodstuffs like lime or lemon
- Never cut frozen food with your sushi knife!
Why are Japanese knives so good?
Japanese knives are so good and world-renowned because of their sharpness. The reason you can get them this sharp is because of the quality steel with which they were forged and this allows them to be sharpened at a better angle than most knives. Sharp knives like these cut through almost anything with ease and remove the need for the chef to use a lot of pressure.
Are Japanese knives cheaper in Japan?
Japanese knives are substantially cheaper in Japan itself compared to America, or other western countries. A lot of this has to do with the fact that they don’t have to be shipped to be able to be delivered to you. The other, that they are just knives over there and we mostly pay a bit of a premium here, just because of the name and we think they’re cool.
Is a Santoku knife good for sushi?
The Santoku is a good knife for sushi, but you can do better. If you’ve bought a Japanese knife, chances are you have a Santoku knife. It’s the most versatile knife Japanese chefs can have and it’s suitable to use for a lot of dishes, but sushi chefs want to use the best knife for the job and will choose a separate knife for each individual task in preparing sushi.
As highlighted earlier, you will need a sushi knife whenever you are preparing sushi—if you need to achieve perfect results.
These knives we have described above are the perfect tools—but the one you choose will entirely depend on your preference.
If you are a beginner, just ensure that you buy a budget-friendly knife to start with, before proceeding to buy the most expensive ones.
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However, you need to understand that the perfect sushi presentation doesn’t depend on the knife only—you will also need some additional tricks.
Read more: all the different kinds of Sushi explained