6 Japanese Knife Sets in 2021: Complete Review & Buyer’s Guide

Japanese knife sets, or gyuto sets, are the most traditional expression of cutlery in Japan. They are composed of knives that are used to prepare food in Japanese cuisine, and they are being used by professional chefs in Japanese restaurants around the world.

A Japanese knife set or Japanese kitchen knife set is a must-have in every kitchen. It is a whole complete package of different types of knives that have different uses, so you can complete all your kitchen tasks with just one kitchen knife set.

6 Japanese Knife Sets Reviewed

So, the Japanese kitchen knife set is a complete kitchen tool that every chef should have. And I’m going to help you choose the one for you with these Japanese knife set reviews below.

  1. Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set – Best Overall
  2. Yaxell Mon 6-piece Knife Set – Runner-up
  3. Enso HD 16 Piece Knife Set – Premium Option
  4. Enso 7 Piece Damascus Japanese Stainless Steel Knife Set
  5. Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series 12-Piece Japanese Steel Knife Set
  6. Tojiro DP 2-piece Chef's Knife Set

1. Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set – Best Overall

The Shun Classic Knife Block Set is a set of knives that are handcrafted with blades made of stainless steel with a layer of Damascus stainless steel, which is a type of steel that provides incredible edge retention.
It is a set of high-quality knives that are both durable and sharp. I find it the best Japanese knife block set.

The set includes:

  • 8″ Chef’s Knife
  • 7″ Santoku Knife
  • 3.5″ Paring Knife
  • 9″ Combination Honing Steel
  • Multi-Purpose Kitchen Shears
  • 8 Slot Angled Knife Block

Shun Classic knives are high-quality knives that are durable and easy to maintain, and the knives are made of a beautiful Damascus steel that is resistant to corrosion. They also come with a block that has extra slots for other knives that are available in the Shun Classic line.
These knives are stylish, sharp, and beautiful. The blades are masterfully crafted, and durable. The set is a great addition to anyone’s kitchen.

2. Yaxell Mon 6-piece Knife Set – Runner-up

This Yaxell Mon Knife Set is a quality set of 5 knives made with VG10 steel blades. The knives in this Japanese cooking knife set are manufactured from 3-layer Japanese Cobalt Molybdenum Vanadium VG10 superior stainless steel clad by high quality stainless steel from both sides.

The 3-layer stainless steel cladding is Seki City’s famous cobalt steel that has been around for over 100 years and is considered to be one of the finest quality stainless steel.

The blades have a sand-blast finish and Katana sword wave line that gives an impressive appearance. The black resin and linen canvas Micarta handles with two stainless steel rivets provide stability and balance that is perfect for any chef.

The set includes:

  • 8” Chef’s Knife
  • 6.5” Santoku Knife
  • 4.75” Utility Knife
  • 3.25” Paring Knife
  • 9” Bread Knife
  • 5” Dark Ash Slim Knife Block

The knives, made with superior stainless steel, are handcrafted in Seki City, Japan and have a lifetime warranty.

3. Enso HD 16 Piece Knife Set – Premium Option

This 16-Piece Knife Set by Enso has been carefully designed to provide the sharpness and balance needed to provide an unparalleled cooking experience.

The blades are crafted from the finest Japanese steel for an edge that will stay sharp for years to come. The blades meld seamlessly to the handle, providing a lifetime of balance and comfort. In this on of Japanese chef knife sets, the blades are also coated with a durable stainless steel, which guarantees a longer-lasting knife that won’t rust or corrode over time.

The set includes:

  • 3.25″ Paring Knife
  • 5.5″ Prep Knife
  • 6″ Utility Knife
  • 6.5″ Santoku Knife
  • 8″ Chef’s Knife
  • 9″ Bread Knife
  • 9″ Slicing Knife
  • Six 4.5″ Matching Steak Knives
  • 10″ Honing Steel
  • 17-slot Knife Block
  • Stainless Steel Take-Apart Kitchen Shears

These knives are the perfect addition to any kitchen. The Dark Ash Wod block is one of the most ergonomic japanese knife blocks. With a sleek, durable design that provides a lifetime of use, you’ll find that the price tag is worth it.

With a comfortable and balanced design, these knives feel weightless in your hand, and are a joy to use.

4. Enso 7 Piece Stainless Steel Knife Set – Best Japanese Damascus Knife Set

Enso 7 Piece Damascus Japanese Stainless Steel Knife Set is a high-quality, handmade knife set that features premium Japanese VG10 37-layer stainless steel blades.

The set includes:

  • 8″ Chef’s Knife
  • 6.5″ Santoku Knife
  • 3.25″ Paring Knife
  • 6″ Utility Knife
  • 9″ Bread Knife
  • Forged Stainless Steel Take-Apart Kitchen Shears
  • 6-slot Slim Knife Block

The blades have a stunning hammered (tsuchime) finish and are ground to a Rockwell Hardness of 61 degrees. The knives feature a full tang, which means the blade extends from the handle and is fully supported by the bolster (the metal collar encasing the blade).

The high-grade stainless steel makes the Enso knives durable, yet easy to sharpen, and the hammered finish gives the blades a beautiful and unique visual appeal. The knives of this professional Japanese chef knife set are handcrafted in Seki City, Japan and are backed by a lifetime warranty.

5. Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series 12-Piece Japanese Steel Knife Set

Gourmet Chikara Series Knife Set is the perfect knife set for any aspiring home chef. The knives are one piece, Japanese Steel, and come with a Lifetime Limited Warranty for the best in quality.

The knives are expertly crafted and come with a unique, modern design. They will arrive sharp and stay sharp for a long time.

The set includes the best in quality knives for all your cooking needs. It includes:

  • 8” Chef’s Knife
  • 7” Santoku Knife
  • 5” Utility Knife
  • 3.5” Paring Knife
  • 5” Serrated Utility Knife
  • Shears
  • Honing Rod
  • Four Steak Knives
  • Bamboo Block

Gourmet Japanese Steel Knife Set features perfect knives for any serious home cook. This set is made of Japanese Steel and is forged for balance and to last. It also features a stylish bamboo block to store the knives separately so they can be used for many years to come.

6. Tojiro DP 2-piece Chef’s Knife Set

Are you just learning about knives or do you want a great starter set? This set includes an 8.25” Chef’s Knife and a 4” Paring Knife. The knives are made of 3 layers, with a VG-10 steel core encased in two layers of stainless steel.

Tojiro DP 2-piece Chef’s Knife Set has Micarta handles and a 60 degree Rockwell hardness. The knives are 12 degrees at their edge to make for a more comfortable use.

The Tojiro DP series of knives are manufactured in Japan from high-grade stainless steel. The stainless steel used is clad on both sides by a softer layer of rust resistant metal. The knife has a full tang, triple-riveted handle and a 60-degree Rockwell Hardness for the blade. This chef’s knife is an excellent choice for amateur chefs.

Japanese Knife Set Buyer’s Guide

Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Forged

A good Japanese knife set is a great investment, but not everyone is an expert in the field. This guide will help you find the best Japanese knife set for your needs.

Japanese knives types

Gyuto is the Japanese word for chef’s knife, and it is the most important knife in any Japanese knife set. It is also known as gyuto hocho or sushi hocho in Japan, and it refers to a single-edged knife, while the term gyutou can also refer to a double-edged equivalent.

Typical gyuto knife is a long, wide, and thin blade that is about 210mm long and has a hardness of around 60HRC. The blade is made of high-carbon steel, and it is sharpened to a single bevel. The handle is long enough to provide a comfortable grip, and it is made of wood.

The other knives in a typical gyuto set include deba, usuba, yanagi, and tako hiki.
Deba is a short, heavy, and wide blade that is used for cutting fish. It can also be used for other purposes, but the blade is not suitable for cutting delicate ingredients.

Usuba is a long, thin, and light blade that is used for slicing. It is roughly similar to a yanagi knife, but it has a shorter blade.

Yanagi is a long and thin blade that is used for filleting fish. It is a delicate knife that should be used for slicing raw fish.

Tako hiki is a small and heavy blade that is used for cutting octopus. It is similar to deba, except that it is shorter and thinner.

The blades of the deba, usuba, and tako hiki are harder, while the blades of the yanagi and the gyuto have a softer edge.

How to Choose the Best Japanese Knife Set

In order to choose the best Japanese knife set for you, you will need to consider five different factors.

The knives in the set

There are many types of Japanese knives that are designed for specific tasks. A Japanese knife set typically consists of a chef knife, a santoku knife, a bread and butter knife, and a utility knife. The set usually includes a few additional knives as well: a paring knife, a carving knife, a cleaver, and an especially sharp blade for cutting fish.

I’ve described some types above. If you missed that part, read the “Japanese knives types” block.

Steel type

Japanese knives are often made from steel, with two of the most common types being carbon steel and stainless steel. Carbon steel has a natural non-stick quality, so it is typically used in high-end knives. Stainless steel has a relatively low cost, which is why it is often used in lower-quality knives. Carbon steel provides a sharper edge but is not as durable.

High-carbon steel types such as 1095 are durable and will take a very sharp edge quickly. Stainless steel knives, such as 440a, are lighter and easier to sharpen. However, they may not hold an edge quite as well.
The best Japanese knives are made of high-carbon steel.

Handle

The best Japanese knife set should have a comfortable handle. You should be able to keep a secure grip on the knife as you are cutting, slicing, or dicing. Japanese knives typically have a wooden handle that is wrapped in a piece of vine. Wooden handles are more comfortable than plastic ones because they are easier to grip.

Blade style

Japanese knives typically have a single blade that is either flat or curved. Curved blades are used for cutting and slicing food while flat blades are used for scraping food from the cutting surface. The knives of a typical Japanese cooking knife set are characterized by a flat blade and a tapered edge sharpened on one side.

Price

There are many different options for price, depending on the number of knives and type of steel. It is recommended to find a set that suits your needs while also staying within your budget.

Japanese Knife Set FAQ

Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Knife Set

Still have questions about Japanese kitchen knives? I realize that there is still a lot of confusion and questions about the subject and that is why I decided to write this FAQ. Below I have tried to answer the most common questions that I get asked. If you have any more questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Are Japanese knives worth it?

Yes, if you know how to use them. If you’re not used to using a Japanese knife, they can be a bit of a challenge.

This is because of two factors: The type of steel used – most Japanese knives are made from a type of steel called high carbon steel. This is much harder than stainless steel and needs to be maintained.

The second point means that Japanese knives can be a bit tricky to use at first because of their sharpness. In fact, they are the sharpest type of knives (they may be hardened to an HRC rating of 60-64), which is why they are many people’s favorite.

Why are Japanese knives expensive?

Knife prices in Japan are not always much higher than in other countries. In fact, in some cases, Japanese knives are actually cheaper than they are overseas.

The reason that many Japanese knives cost a lot more than comparable knives made elsewhere is that craftsmanship is valued above all else. It’s common for a single knife to take several months to make, and when you factor in the cost of the materials, labor, and the time spent on the knife, the price can really add up.

In other words, the price you’re paying for a Japanese knife is mainly a reflection of the work and skill that went into making it.

What are Japanese knives best for?

Virtually all Japanese knives are best for preparing ingredients for cooking. Most popular is the Santoku or Asian Chef’s Knife, which is designed specifically for this purpose. Not only is it good for chopping, slicing, and dicing vegetables, but the Santoku is also a great tool for cutting meat and fish.

The Japanese knife is also very well suited to preparing sushi. The thin, sharp blade allows for precision cuts that are necessary to create the bite-size portions of raw fish and vegetables that make sushi such a delicacy.

Japanese knives are also effective for cutting and slicing boneless meats and fish.

How often do you need to sharpen Japanese knives?

If you’re the type of person who sharpens your knives once a month, then Japanese knives are probably not right for you. Even the best Japanese knives will need to be sharpened on a regular basis – usually after a couple of uses. It is recommended to sharpen your knife every 3-5 uses. Japanese knives are designed to be sharpened with water stones. This keeps the knife-edge very sharp and prevents it from rusting.

Conclusion

Knife sets are a great way to get a quality knife for a lower price than if you were to purchase each piece individually. They are also nice for people who like to cook or are just getting started with their first knife set.

The Japanese knife set is a must-have for your kitchen, as well as Japanese cutlery set that you’ll use regularly on a daily basis. It will help you prepare delicious meals in no time. Found something for you? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Justin Gingrich

Justin is a professional chef with more than 20 years of experience. Knives are his hobby and as a chef, he knows how important it's to pick a decent knife.

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