The Best Japanese Kitchen Knife Sets For Your Money – Which One Would You Choose?

Anybody who is experienced with cooking and knows the ins and outs of the kitchen would understand the importance of a good set of knives.

And it doesn’t get much better than Japanese cooking knives. 

These knives cut like no other and are well-known all around for their thin-edge and virtually unparalleled sharpness.

But with those benefits come some cons as well.

Japanese cooking knives tend to break easier since they’re very thin, especially if you don’t take care of them.

Another thing about these knives is that sets can be costly and choosing the right one is very tough.

If you’ve been having trouble finding the best Japanese knife set for you, this list might help you out.

In this article, we take a look at some of the best Japanese kitchen knife sets you can find on the market today, and maybe by the end of it, you’ll know which set is right for you!

Keep reading to learn more.

The Best Japanese Kitchen Knife Sets – Quick Comparison

Related:

Reviews of the Best Japanese Knife Sets for Your Kitchen

1. Tojiro DP 2

Tojiro DP 2-piece Chef's Knife Set
  • Set includes 8.25-inch Chef's Knife (210mm, Item F-808) and 4-inch...
  • 3-layer clad construction with a full Japanese VG-10 steel core,...
  • Full tang triple riveted Micarta handle

Some people may be quick to dismiss this set because there are only two knives that come in it.

While that may be a valid criticism, there is a lot that can be done with these two.

Included in this set is an 8.25” chef’s knife and a 4” paring knife, which are some of the most important tools for any home cook or professional chef.

The knives in this set are of very high quality, and it honestly seems like they belong in a much more expensive knife set.

They are forged and not stamped, and they also have a hybrid design that seamlessly combines Western and Japanese style handles.

This makes cutting and using the knives very easy, making it perfect for home cooks everywhere.

The main selling point of this Tojiro set is the superior quality of their blades.

Right out of the box, they are very sharp, so you don’t need to worry about taking out your whetstone before use.

It’s hard to beat this knife set when it comes to quality, especially if you consider its price point.

If you’re looking for two basic knives that will get almost any kitchen job done, you might have just found them in this Tojiro set.

Pros:

  • Full tang
  • Forged construction
  • Triple-riveted design
  • Has a Rockwell Hardness rating of 60
  • Is very sharp right out of the box

Cons:

  • Only has two knives in the set
  • Doesn’t come with a storing block

2. Mac Superior Santoku Set

Mac Knife Superior Santoku Knife, Set of 2
  • Razor-sharp edge
  • Superior Series
  • Pakka wood handle

Next up, we have another basic two-knife set.

This set comes with a 6.5” Santoku and a 5” mini-Santoku.

Ask any Japanese chef out there, and they might testify that these are the only two blades you will need in the kitchen.

These specific knives are constructed with high carbon stainless steel, which gives them an extremely sharp edge that will last a while.

That means you won’t have to sharpen these pieces too much, which could be great for both home cooks and professionals who don’t want to spend too much time on maintenance.

However, it needs to be noted that to keep the edge on these blades, they have to be washed and dried immediately after use to prevent rust.

It’s a small sacrifice that’s well worth it.

They also come with a Pakkawood handle that feels very comfortable in the hand and can make cutting, slicing, and chopping so much easier.

Like most Japanese Santoku sets, this one doesn’t come with a storage block, but you can easily get a compatible magnetic knife block out there to keep the blades safe.

Pros:

  • The blades are made of high carbon steel
  • Extremely sharp
  • Great for fans of the Santoku
  • Full tang
  • The knives hold their edge extremely well

Cons:

  • Only comes with two knives
  • Doesn’t come with a block

Related product reviews:

Cuisinart CEK-30 electric knife

Cuisinart 8-inch chef knife

Cuisinart 7-inch santoku knife

3. Global Kabuto Block Set

Global Kabuto Knife Block Set, 7-piece
  • Set includes: 3-inch Paring Knife, 4.5-inch Utility Knife, 5-inch...
  • Cromova 18 high carbon stainless steel blade construction; stainless...
  • Blade edge is ground on each side creating a straight sharp edge;...

These blades have stamped blades, not forged blades.

And while that’s usually an indicator of sub-par quality, but the quality control and the standards of the Global brand are very high which results in this very useful, very high-quality stamped knife set.

There are 7 blades included in this set which include an 8” chef’s knife, an 8.5” bread knife, a 3” paring knife, a 4.5” utility knife, a 5” chef’s prep knife, and a 5.5” Nakiri knife for vegetables.

This set also includes a 7-blade storage block for you. 

They are very sharp, which is a testament to Global’s standards, but one of the main perks is the lightweight and ergonomic design.

This allows you to cut easily and quickly, which could mean all the difference in the kitchen.

It also contains all the standard knives you’ll need in the kitchen minus steak knives.

They are also constructed to make sure the edge remains sharp despite the lower hardness rating.

All in all, this is a great choice for anyone who needs a complete set in their kitchen.

Pros:

  • Very sharp right out of the box
  • Comes with 7 knives
  • Easy to clean and sharpen
  • Lightweight and modern design
  • Very balanced

Cons:

  • The blades tend to spot quicker
  • Doesn’t come with steak knives

4. Shun Cutlery Classic 7-Piece Essential Block Set

-44% Sale
Shun Cutlery Classic 7-Piece Essential Block Set; 11-Slot...
  • 7-Piece Essential Block Set provides must-have pieces of kitchen...
  • In addition to key pieces like the Shun Classic Paring, Utility and...
  • Laminated bamboo block has extra open slots so users can expand their...

This knife set comes with a 3.5” paring knife, 6” utility knife, 8” chef knife, 9” chef knife, 9” bread knife, an Acacia storage block, and a set of kitchen shears.

The tools that come in this set are all you’ll need in the kitchen and more, except for steak knives.

They are forged and not stamped, and are also made of Damascus steel.

This gives the knives a lot of durabilities and a very sharp edge that doesn’t need too much sharpening.

The blades in this set are all well-balanced and very sharp, which makes them a joy to use in the kitchen.

Using these knives can make any cutting and slicing job much easier, and since they’re lightweight, you don’t have to worry about a sharp learning curve when using them.

The set comes with a high price, and some might say the price is too much for five knives and a set of kitchen shears, but since everything in the set is of such high quality, it’s easy to see why it demands that price.

So if you’re willing to spend a bit for a set of very high-quality knives, the Shun Cutlery Classic Set might be your best bet.

Pros:

  • Comes with 5 knives
  • Comes with a storage block
  • Forged and not stamped
  • Made of Damascus steel
  • Full tang

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with steak knives
  • It’s a small set for its price

5. TUO Cutlery Set

TUO Cutlery 8-PCS Knife Set with Wooden Block, Honing Steel...
  • 🔪【WORLD-BEST KITCHEN KNIVES AWARDED】 TUO Cutlery Fiery Phoenix...
  • ✅【SUPER STEEL】Adopted German High-carbon Stainless steel, it...
  • ✅【PREMIUM PAKKAWOOD HANDLE】The full tang handle is made from our...

This set is one of the prettiest in the list.

The Pakkawood handles look great and feel very comfortable in the hand.

This makes chopping and slicing with this set very easy, which can save you a lot of time and effort in the kitchen.

It comes with a 7” cleaver, 7” Santoku, 9” bread knife, 8” chef knife, 4” paring knife, kitchen shears, honing steel, and a block.

These knives cover all the essentials in the kitchen, and if you’ve been getting tired of seeing the same black-handle construction, this might be your best pick.

They have a truly unique look to them because of the Pakkawood handle, but they perform at the highest level as well.

Pros:

  • Beautifully Pakkawood designed handle
  • Comes with a honing steel and storing block
  • Forged not stamped
  • Full tang
  • Comes with a set of 5 blades

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include steak knives

6. Yoshihiro Hammered Damascus Set

YOSHIHIRO- Hammered Damascus Chef Knife 6PC SET - MADE IN...
  • Forged and hammered with 16 layers of steel in the Damascus tradition...
  • A complete set of all the essential culinary knives you need in any...
  • Preparing delicious meals starts with taking wholesome ingredients and...

Next up we have this set from Yoshihiro that contains a 9” chef knife, 8.25” chef knife, 9.5” Nakiri knife, 6.5” utility knife, 5.3” Santoku, and a 9.” Sujihiri.

All these knives are great at handling all the essentials in the kitchen, especially if you work with a variety of ingredients often. 

They are made of Hammered Damascus steel, which is incredibly strong and can retain its edge very well.

For those who want a set that looks elegant while performing very well in the kitchen, this might be the one for you.

This is also an ideal set for chefs who want to begin their careers as the set is very high quality and is relatively affordable.

Pros:

  • Made of Damascus steel
  • Western Style handle
  • Incredibly sharp
  • Full tang
  • Well balanced

Cons:

  • Maintenance can be tricky

7. Enso

Enso Knife Set - Made in Japan - HD Series - VG10 Hammered...
  • Knife Set includes 3.25" Paring Knife, 6" Utility Knife, 6.5" Santoku...
  • Knives crafted of premium Japanese VG10 37-layer stainless steel for...
  • Rockwell Hardness 61°; blades are hand-ground to approximately 12°

In this set, you’ll find a 6” utility knife, 8” chef knife, 6.5” Santoku knife, 9” bread knife, kitchen shears, and a knife block.

All the blades are made of forged stainless steel, which is an indicator of high-quality blades.

This set is ideal for those who do a lot of slicing and dicing.

So if you work with a lot of fruits and vegetables in the kitchen, this set will be ideal.

They also come with a very nice knife block to keep your tools safe.

It’s important to note though, that because of their high-quality, some care has to be taken with these knives.

For example, after every use, make sure to hand wash and dry the knives to keep them in tip-top shape.

Pros:

  • Double-beveled edge for right-handed and left-handed users
  • Very high-quality knives constructed in Japan
  • Triple-riveted handle
  • Very sharp out of the box
  • Full tang

Cons:

  • Need to be hand-washed and dried immediately after every use

8. Miyabi Morimoto 6-Piece Block Set

Miyabi Morimoto Edition Knife Block Set, 6-piece, Black...
  • Authentic thin Japanese blade profile
  • Hand-honed using the three-step Honbazuke process to 9.5 to 12 degree...
  • Special formula, high-carbon German stainless steel

As you can tell by the name, this set comes with a knife block and honing steel, along with a 3.5” paring knife, 6” utility knife, 8” chef’s knife, and kitchen shears.

This set doesn’t contain the most knives and that can be somewhat of a con, but all the other tools it comes with make it a great fit in any basic kitchen.

They have a Rockwell hardness rating of 57, which is very high, which can help the blades retain their edge, which is very sharp straight out of the box.

The design of these knives is very basic, but it also has options.

You can choose between the classic black handle or a design that features red details.

For anyone looking to build a basic setup in the kitchen, these knives are a great place to start out.

Pros:

  • Has a limited warranty
  • Knives are very sharp
  • Low maintenance
  • Full tang

Cons:

  • Doesn’t contain steak knives

9. Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series

Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series Forged 19-Piece Japanese Steel...
  • These Ginsu Chikara forged knives are one piece of premium Japanese...
  • These Ginsu Chikara forged knives arrive razor sharp and stay sharp...
  • These Ginsu Chikara forged knives are expertly balanced to give you...

This is probably one of the best budget knife sets you can get today.

It’s a 12-piece set that has four steak knives, a 5” serrated utility knife, a 3.5” paring knife, 5” utility knife, 7” Santoku knife, 8” chef knife, a honing rod, kitchen shears, and a knife block.

It’s also a very affordable set, with its price point staying below the $150 mark.

But with the low price comes a slight dip in quality.

While these knives are still great tools built very well, they lack some of the sophistication and sharpness of the other sets in this list.

That being said, if you’re looking to build a full set (with steak knives) on a budget, you should definitely take a look at this set from Ginsu.

Pros:

  • Very sharp right out of the box
  • Comes with a very nice bamboo block
  • Forged with Japanese stainless steel
  • Full tang
  • Has almost anything you need
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Quality may not be as high as other sets in this list

10. Miyabi Birchwood GS2 7-Piece Set

Miyabi Birchwood GS2 7-pc Knife Block Set
  • Includes 3.5" Parer; 7" Santoku; 8" Chef; 9" Bread; Stainless Steel...
  • Authentic thin Japanese blade profile
  • Hand-honed using the three-step Honbazuke process to a 9.5 to 12...

Wrapping up our list is arguably one of the best sets you can get on the market today.

All the knives have a traditional Japanese handle made of Birchwood, which is great for those who are used to Japanese-style knives.

The blades are also forged using Damascus steel, which gives the knives that unique look.

Included in this set are a 9” sharpening steel, an 8” bread knife, a 7” Santoku knife, a 9” chefs knife, a 6” utility knife, kitchen shears, and a bamboo block.

There was a lot of attention put into the construction and the details of these knives, which is part of the reason they demand such a high price.

But if you’re looking for a premium product and you’re willing to spend on it, this set from Miyabi should be put under consideration.

Pros:

  • Durable  
  • Has a core of GS2 steel which is laminated by 101 layers of Damascus
  • The knives come with a Birch handle
  • One of the best Japanese knife sets on the market today
  • All knives are incredibly sharp and retain their edge

Cons:

  • The set can be pretty expensive

How to Choose a Good Japanese Chef’s Knife Sets

best japanese kitchen knife sets

When buying knife sets, there are a couple of things you should be looking at, and we get into them in this section.

1. The Knives

First of all, you should be looking at the knives that come in the set.

Now, in today’s market, you can find small 2-3 piece sets and larger 7-12 piece sets.

While having more tools is essential, sometimes, you’ll find that all you’ll need in the kitchen is two knives.

So it’s important to understand what tools you’ll need before going out and buying a set.

2. Build Quality

Once you’ve determined how many knives and what kind of knives you need, you also need to look at how they were built.

Check if they are full tang, which gives you a lot of balance and is almost necessary for a high-quality knife.

It’s also important to know the material being used in constructing the knives and what maintenance is needed.

3. Storage

If you already have a proper storage procedure in your kitchen, you probably won’t need a set that comes with a block.

However, large sets that come with storage blocks can be a huge help in the kitchen.

Safely keeping all your knives in the same place will ensure that you don’t lose anything and the knives maintain their quality.

4. Price

When looking at knife sets, it’s important to have an understanding of how much you’re willing to spend.

Prices for sets can vary greatly, and knowing the amount of money that you can spend on knives can help out a lot when it comes to narrowing down your options.

FAQ’s

1. What Are The Best Japanese Chef’s Knives?

Answers to this question will vary, but our top pick for Japanese Chef’s knives are those made by the Shun brand.

These knives are very sharp and are known to retain their quality for a long time, but they can also be pretty expensive.

2. Are Japanese Chef’s Knives The Best?

This will depend on your preference, however, there are a lot of chefs all around the world that will say they prefer Japanese style knives over Western-style ones.

3. Are German Or Japanese Knives Better?

As mentioned earlier, this all depends on your tastes, preferences, and needs. 

Japanese knives are more precise.

They are thinner, usually sharper, and are great for making precision cuts in ingredients.

While this is a great feature, these knives can also be easy to chip and break if not taken care of properly.

German knives, on the other hand, are stronger and tougher, best for cutting through dense foods. 

4. What Knives Do Japanese Chefs Use?

Japanese chefs typically use a whole array of knives.

But their top choice and the usual go-to knife in a Japanese kitchen is the Santoku.

These knives are designed to cut through meats, vegetables, and fish, which gives the user a whole range of options.

5. What Are Japanese Knives Best For?

Japanese knives are best for precision.

They are thinner, which gives you more control over the blade.

That’s why they are commonly used for fruits, vegetables, and cutting up meat into smaller sections. 

6. What Makes Japanese Chef’s Knives Good?

Japanese chef’s knives usually are constructed with a lot of precision and attention to detail.

This gives the knives a uniquely elegant look while also making them much sharper and easier to control.

7. What Is The Best Brand For Japanese Knives?

If you’re willing to spend extra money on very good knives, blades from either Shun or Miyabi will serve you well.

Both these brands are renowned for their high standards and very sharp blades, which makes them very popular amongst chefs and home cooks. 

Conclusion

So there you have it.

A list of the top Japanese chef’s knife sets out there.

All of these sets have their unique pros and cons, but they all contain high-quality knives that will be a joy to use in the kitchen.

So if you’ve been looking to elevate the tools in your kitchen, this is a great place to start.

After all, any chef out there will tell you that the knife is the most important tool you can have in your arsenal as a cook. 

And now that you know which sets rest on the top-tier, all that’s left to do is choose the right one for you!

Further reading:

How Japanese Knives Are Made | Serious Eats

In the Details: The Art of Japanese Knife Design – Core77