I have a sibling who collects and uses very specialist knives from Japan. They are world-renowned for being of extreme quality, their sharpness and as collector pieces which retail their value if kept over time.
I had decided to purchase a Japanese Knife for my sibling's birthday this year and threw myself into this niche world to try and learn what he may really appreciate. I came across a number of websites on Google and saw some that I thought would be perfect for him. For some reason, I paused when I was putting my card details in to check out if there were any reviews - or youtube videos talking about it.
Thankfully (for me) I learned that many of the Japanese Damascus steel knives being sold in the UK, and on amazon, are not always from Japan. Many of them are 'Japanese Style' knives made in China. While some of the quality is very good, they are not as authentic as they first seem.
So, I decided to do a deep dive to see if I could find any real Japanese knives - or at very least very high-quality Japanese-style knives- and where I could buy them. Today, I am sharing this with you today.
What is a 'Japanese Knife'?
What we are talking about today is a 'Japanese Kitchen Knife' - used for the preparation of food and mostly using traditional Japanese blacksmithing techniques. There are four categories which are used to distinguish the knife designs: the handle, and blade grind, steel used (stainless or Hagane - used to produce Japanese Swords or Carbon) and construction.
Traditionally the handles are produced using wood (cherry, ebony) however, more modern styles use resin.
Blade: there are lots, and lots of blade variations and each does different things. the most common are katsuobushi-kiri, Gyuto, Santoku and Nakiri. Some of the blades are designed for meats and fish (Santoku for example) and others are designed for vegetables (Nakiri).
The Best Japanese Knives UK & Where to Buy Them
The hassle it has taken to get my hands on a real, authentic and genuine Japanese knife in the UK has been unreal. Thankfully, I write nonsense for a living. After so much research I have found a few that are genuine, and offer authentically excellent knives that will last you a lifetime.
- Kai Seki Magoroku
Tsuki by Vogue
I managed to get my hands on some Tsuki series 7 by Vogue. While they are Japanese-style knives, they are excellent and have an unbelievably good reputation with chefs and kitchen professionals globally. So, I thought they would be a good inclusion within this article.
I got myself a full knife set but you really only need to get the chef's knife as it is big enough and versitile enough to achieve everything you need to in one go.
The knife has a Japanese VG-10 stainless steel core which has been hardened up to 60° Rockwell rating - so it is very durable and can be used for years (why chefs love it). It is also made with two layers of Damascus steel which covers the core to protect against corrosion and also make it look nice too.
The handle is also made from Micarta resin so it isn't the fanciest, but it is easier to hold and grip than some of the traditional Japanese handles.
I made the mistake of buying mine in a shop, but the cheapest place to pick up one of these knives is Amazon.co.uk.
The Miyabi story starts in Seki, where a German lead company purchased a knife factory. Zwilling combined German excellence with the heart and craft of Japanese knife making.
They are a world-renowned Japanese kitchen knife brand and have one of the best reputations in the Japanese knife-making world. They are known for their exceptional sharpness, durability and quality materials.
Each of the Miyabi knives are handcrafted in Seki and undergoes 100 stages of production which take at least 40 days to craft each knife.
Miyabi are a global brand but the best, and easiest (and most trusted) place to purchase their range of Japanese knives, wets-stones and accessories is Amazon.co.uk.
Syosaku - Damascus Steel Chef Knife
It is true that authentic Japanese kitchen knives can be expensive. The Syosaku Japanese Knives are no different. The Syosaku brand seems to be much bigger in the USA, but you can buy their range of Japanese Chef knives in the UK on Amazon.
The brand was established by Toshi Sekiya in 2017 and has quickly gained a reputation for producing a beautiful blade of exceptional Japanese quality.
There are multiple styles of knives from the brand: all different blade types, steel (including Damascus) and handles. While there are some traditional Japanese handles, a lot of the handles are made with heavier wood - more suited to a western audience.
The whole range can be found on their website https://syosaku-japan.com/ - however, to buy the Japanese Knives in the UK you'll need to visit amazon UK
Kai Seki Magoroku
When I was doing my research I found out that it was extremely difficult to find a good Japanese knife for less than £100. Anything that looked authentic was at least this value and many of the "best Japanese knives" articles were filled with either Chinese-made knives or super expensive imported knives.
The one that stood out to me was the Kai Seki Magoroku with a redwood handle. It was just under my budget and had a mention on Reddit which suggested it was a good purchase. I knew this knife was never going o be 'the best' but I knew it was authentic, extremely high quality and be a perfect gift.
So, that is why it has been included on this list. We're happy with it - so you may be too.
I picked up the knife from this website, which has a whole range of real authentic kitchen knives from japan: https://www.knivesfromjapan.co.uk/
Sharper Edge - Gyuto Knife GYUTO KNIVES
Sharper Edge is a very interesting company and not what you would expect from an authentic Japanese knife brand. They are based in Solvenia but they have their knives produced, sourced and crafted in Japan.
They offer a Gyuto Knife for a very decent price indeed, and it is the style of knife that can be used for almost everything. It's purpose is as a 'Chef knife' meaning that you can cut meat, vegetables or fish with the same level of precision and ease, all while the knife remains strong and unchipped.
Sharper Edge offers custom handles, finishes and blades for their Guyto knives and will deliver them to the UK
You can check them out on their website: https://sharpedgeshop.com/
The Seisuke Hamono Japanese knife brand can be found in Tokyo, where it has a few shops, and in Portland USA. Each of the knives are crafted by different blacksmiths with a range of different feels, styles and handles. Each with an authentic Japanese style and quality.
Where Seiuke knives shine is their value for money. You do not need to sink multiple hundreds of pounds to get hold of an authentic Japanese kitchen knife.
Even with the knives at the lower price point (£50 or so) they are light and super strong. As long as you take care of the knife, then it will last you a lifetime.
You can't get a Seisuke knife directly from the brand in the UK, but they are stocked on: