This guide is to help you select the best Japanese knives suitable for your needs.
Although we all like to have choice, majority of work (~70%) you do in the kitchen is done on one or two knives – usually these are the gyuto (chef’s) and petty (utility) knives.
Knowing that will guide you to focus on selecting and trying your must-have. Next time you are in the kitchen notice that whenever you need to use a knife, you probably have and choose between one or two of your favourites.

When buying a new knife, it’s not a wise idea to go for a set of knives because of their aesthetic value.
Also, quality always trumps quantity. Rather than buying a set of knives – some of which are either used very rarely or at all, it’s best to buy a couple of really good knives that you enjoy using all the time.
Once you feel like it’s not enough, you’d like to experiment with different knives for a particular purpose (sushi anyone?).

We always advise our clients to select the knives they need and are comfortable with. Life is about choice and preferences, so while majority of people like Guyto (chef’s) knife of 210mm, you may prefer a knife that is longer, shorter or bit narrower than the one with “bestseller” tag. Or, you may find a slightly different paring or utility (petty) blade more comfortable.

In choosing the best kitchen Japanese knife you should pay particular attention to the type of steel used in the blade.  Steel is really the essence of the blade and primarily responsible for how the knife performs.  Steel is essentially an alloy (i.e. a mix) of carbon and iron that is often enriched with other elements such as nickel to improve certain characteristics depending on the desired application.

In the knife industry different types of steel are created by varying the types of additive elements as well as how the blade is rolled and heated (i.e. the finishing process). Refer to our Knife Steel Composition Chart for more details on these elements.
To understand the process of making traditional Japanese knifes, read this article.

Ultimately, the different types of steel used in knife blades each exhibit varying degrees of these five key properties: