Yoshihiro Knives Review: Are They Quality Knives Or Not?

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The Japanese have been a quiet and humble leader in the cutlery industry, as they have been making some of the most incisive and most beautiful knives for hundreds of years with very little marketing fanfare.

If you are considering shifting to a Japanese brand or are thinking of getting just one piece, you might want to go for a Yoshihiro.

A Brief Background of the Brand

The katana has long been a symbol of efficient craftsmanship in Japan that only a select few are the go-to bladesmiths every century.

In the 1500s, one of these masters was Yoshihiro.

His katanas are said to be superb, many historians and connoisseurs today would pay an exorbitant amount for his creations from long ago.

The good thing is, his grandchildren have continued his craft, although they have turned to a tool that is more domestic – the trusty kitchen knife.

The modern-day brand that is Yoshihiro may not be led by the descendants of the famed bladesmith, but his tradition is definitely respected and strictly adhered to by the company.

Best Yoshihiro Knives & Knife Sets (Editor’s Choices)

Related:

Are Yoshihiro Knives Worth Your Money?

Since this is an honest review, we will not hesitate to say that these blades are incredibly expensive. A piece can go for over $200 – way pricier than well-known Japanese and Western brands.

But the question is: are you getting your money’s worth for when you buy one of these?
You’ll be glad to know that the answer, without a doubt, is a resounding YES!

Backed by one hundred years of perfected process and seconded by the fact that they only use the best raw materials, you’ll be amazed at the fruits of their labor.

To understand what we mean, check some of these out below.

Reviews of the Best Products

7-Inch Santoku Chef’s Knife

-10% Sale
Yoshihiro VG-10 Damascus Santoku Multipurpose Japanese Chef...
  • Santoku Chefs knife is a traditional Japanese Multipurpose chefs knife...
  • 3 Layer construction with a VG-10 Japanese stainless steel center core...
  • An elegant 16 layer hammered outer steel is a stylish yet functional...

Knife Construction
As the title implies, the piece is made from VG 10 steel core (HRC 60) and then layered with 16 sheets of (an unidentified) steel on each side.

From the spine down to the middle, the blade is lightly hammered. From the middle towards the edge, it has finer Damascus waves.

The spine is 2mm thick. Although the edge sharpness is not indicated, this is double-beveled.

The handle is made of dark mahogany.

Form and Function
This knife has a combination of traits from a Western-style Chef’s knife and the Santoku: the spine and belly are mostly parallel to each other like the latter but it has a pointier, upward-facing tip just like the former.

Like Western-style knives, this has a bolster (albeit just half) and has the triple-riveted Yo handle (albeit a narrower, slightly rounder one).

Value for Money
At a little over a hundred bucks, this is considered by some as an entry-level Yoshihiro.

Damascus 8-Inch Gyuto With Saya

-16% Sale
Yoshihiro VG-10 46 Layers Hammered Damascus Gyuto Japanese...
  • The VG-10 Hammered Damascus Series has been a perennial best seller,...
  • [[TRADITIONAL GYUTO STYLE] The most versatile and essential of all...
  • The Gyuto is a Japanese chefs knife with a curved blade that smoothly...

Knife Construction
Just like the first in this list, this Gyuto’s blade is made of VG 10 core and then hammered with 46 layers of the same steel.

You can feel the Tsuchime or the shallow craters from the spine as it transitions to the smoother Damascus waves in the middle and ends in a dark-colored edge.

Double-beveled, each side is sharpened to a 10 to 11-degree angle.

Form and Function
Gyutos, invented after foreign powers started to do business in the country, are the Japanese version of Chef’s knives so it almost has the conventional shape of the all-rounder Western knife.

This particular Yoshihiro has the Wa (octagonal) handle made of light-colored Rosewood.

It also comes with a Saya (wooden sheath) made of Magnolia.

Value for Money
Although some think of this as a basic knife, this costs way more at over $200. However, you can get this for less in certain online stores.

NSW Damascus 7-Inch Santoku Chef’s Knife

Yoshihiro NSW 46 Layers Hammered Damascus Santoku Japanese...
  • Grade : NSW Damascus / Knife Type: Santoku( Multipurpose Chef ) Knife
  • Steel Type: 46 Layers VG-10 Hammered Damascus High Carbon Stainless...
  • Blade: Double-Edged (50/50) / Blade Length: 7 IN (180mm)

Knife Construction
This knife is also forged using the premier VG 10 steel core and clad with 46 layers of high carbon stainless steel to come up with the hammered finish from the spine transitioning to the beautiful Damascus rosettes in the middle and ending with a dark grey edge.

The handle is made of Shitan Rosewood and the Saya or sheath is of natural Magnolia.

Form and Function
The straight spine, slightly curving belly, and high heel corresponds with the traditional Santoku profile. But compared to those, this has a more angled, almost reverse tanto tip than the sheep’s foot type.

The traditional Wa handle is dark-colored and octagonal than round.

Value for Money
A more special variant, this costs a bit more than the first two described.

VG 10 Hammered Damascus 6.5-Inch Nakiri

-10% Sale
Yoshihiro VG-10 16 Layer Hammered Damascus Stainless Steel...
  • Forged and hammered with 16 layers of steel in the Damascus tradition...
  • One of the most popular knives that a cook can have today is a...
  • Reminiscent of a small cleaver, this knife is cherished for its...

Knife Construction
This is also made of VG 10 core and then layered with 16 sheets of steel on either side. And like the two above, the top half has the Tsuchime pattern while the bottom has finer Damascus waves.

The spine thickness is measured at 2mm and the edge is double-beveled.

The handle is made of dark Mahogany wood.

Form and Function
This Yoshihiro vegetable chopper and shredder follows the usual Nakiri profile: rectangular with a high, straight heel, spine, and belly that is parallel to each other, and a flat tip.

This has a partial bolster and a triple-riveted contoured Yo handle.

Value for Money
Similar to the first in this list, this is priced at a little over a hundred bucks – a good enough deal for a modern Japanese blade.

8-Inch Gyuto and 5-Inch Petty Knife Set

Yoshihiro VG-10 16 Layer Hammered Damascus Stainless Steel...
  • Forged and hammered with 16 layers of steel in the Damascus tradition...
  • The most versatile and essential of all knives a cook can have is a...
  • Sometimes called a utility knife, the Petty is a smaller version of a...

Knife Construction
These two blades have the same VG 10 core and 16 layers of stainless steel creating the Tsuchime finish on the top half and the fine Damascus pattern on the bottom half.

The strikingly dark edges are sharpened on both sides. The spine is 2mm thick.

The handles are made from dark Mahogany wood.

Form and Function
If the Gyuto is the Chef’s knife, the Petty is the Japanese version of the utility knife. And both have pretty much the same form as their western counterparts.

The same is true with the partial bolsters and the triple-riveted contoured Yo handles.

The difference, of course, is in the thinness of the blade and the beautiful Damascus finish as discussed above.

Value for Money
This high-end two-piece ensemble can be had for $200 or so.

8-Inch Gyuto and 6-Inch Petty Knife Set with Saya

Yoshihiro 46 Layers Hammered Damascus Gyuto Chef Knife and...
  • Forged and hammered with 46 layers of steel in the Damascus tradition...
  • The most versatile and essential of all knives a cook can have is a...
  • Sometimes called a utility knife, the Petty is a smaller version of a...

Knife Construction
Just like the two-piece ensemble above, these two have the same VG 10 core. However, it has not just 16 but 46 layers of steel on top of the base metal, giving this the distinct Tsuchime finish transitioning to the fine Damascus pattern and clean polished 10-degree (per side) edge.

The handle is made of medium brown Ambrosia wood while the Saya or sheath each knife comes with is made of cream-colored Magnolia.

Form and Function
Except for the dimensions, this is all in all quite similar to the Gyuto and Petty described above.

The other distinct difference is the Wa handle or traditional octagonal handles – these two have. And since that is the case, these two do not have bolsters either.

Value for Money
Compared to the set above, this is way pricier at nearly $300.

VG 10 Hammered Damascus 6-Piece 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...

Inclusive of the Following
This has all the must-haves in a modern Japanese kitchen: the versatile Gyuto, its smaller version the Petty knife, the slicer Sujihiki, the vegetable cleaver Nakiri, and the multi-purpose Santoku. They also added a Chef’s knife to complete the six.

Knife Construction
Just like all the knives described so far, these also have VG 10 core and 16 layers of cladding creating the Tsuchime and Damascus finish on the blades.

The handle is made of mahogany.

Form and Function
All these, even the Western Chef’s knife, have the standard blade profile.

These are given Yo handles which are contoured and triple-riveted. Since that is the case, these also have partial bolsters.

Value for Money
Save up for this set because it costs a pretty penny at over $700.

Pros of Yoshihiro Knives

Entry-Level Pieces are Great for Newbies

Although Yoshihiro is known for its traditional, single-beveled pieces, their double-beveled modern-style knives can be used by first-time cooks very easily.

Top-Tier Variants Will Last for a Very Long Time

Japanese knives in general are known for their quality but Yoshihiro offers so much more.

Since most of the steel used in construction is handmade and many of the steps in their manufacturing process are manual, expect the result to be incredibly hard-wearing and enduring.

Available in the United States

Yoshihiro has a physical store in Los Angeles which is a good thing for Americans who are gradually liking the idea of owning and using Japanese knives.

So Many Options to Choose From

All the pieces and collections described above are made of VG 10 – a pretty good type of steel used by other top brands like Shun and Miyabi.

But you’ll be surprised to know that they have nearly a hundred different creations made from over a dozen different steel blends including Namiuchi, R2 / SG2, Hongasumi, Kuro Uchi, and so many more so you have a varied selection when shopping.

Cons of Yoshihiro Knives

So Many Options to Choose From

That last advantage is also construed by some as a drawback.

It can be challenging to choose just one that suits your style when there are so many names and blends that can be quite complicated for a first-time home cook to comprehend.

Exorbitantly Priced

Only a very few are willing to pay for a set of 10 that costs over a thousand dollars when there are similar sets that can be had for a couple of hundred dollars or so. Then again, if you save for this, paying that much is worth it.

High Carbon Steel is Hard to Maintain

Most of the steel blends they use are high in Carbon which means that these tend to rust and stain easily. If you’re not meticulous with maintenance and are the type who just wants to throw stuff in the dishwasher, Yoshihiro is not for you.

Notable Collections

Of all the ones listed above, the 6-piece ensemble is the best if you are planning to change your current set at home.

If you’re not ready to spend that much, those single knives. A Santoku or a Gyuto can do so much for you already since these are remarkably versatile in the kitchen.

If you want a more affordable Yoshihiro, go for their Inox variants. These are no-nonsense knives that may not have the pretty Damascus finish but are offered at just $70 or so.

Are You Ready for a Yoshihiro?

Granted, this brand is incredibly expensive.

But as we keep saying over and over, the money you spend on a piece is worth it because you will see the difference between a Yoshihiro and the lackluster knife you probably own now.

Also, you won’t need another one ever when you’ve got this in your hand.

Last Updated on October 11, 2021

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.