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Kitchen Essentials: The Different Types of Japanese Knives

The kitchen is where delicious food and meals are prepared, so it should be clean, organised, and well-stocked. Of course, you will need tools and equipment to ensure your kitchen is functional, which is vital to create tasty food. One example is knives used to cut, dice, and mince ingredients.

Many knives are available in most home appliance stores, so plenty of choices will suit your needs and preferences. However, many chefs prefer Japanese knives, known for their sharpness and durability. They are also lighter than Western-style knives, allowing for more precise and efficient cutting. However, the tricky part lies in what to get because not all Japanese knives are equal. For this reason, one must get to know the different types of Japanese knives, and these include: 


The Gyuto is a type of kitchen knife with a thinner blade than its Western counterparts. The blade is usually crafted from harder steel and features a double bevel. These knives are traditionally designed for cutting through large pieces of meat, which translates their name to "cow sword." They come in various lengths from 150-390mm, but are most commonly found between 210-270mm long and with a blade thickness of 1.5-5mm.  A traditional variant, the Wa-gyuto, has Japanese handles for a more traditional look.


Bunka knives are notable for their versatility, so they are considered multipurpose. The handle of this knife has a broad shape, allowing for a comfortable grip. The blade is curved so that it can be used to make either long or short strokes, while the back side remains flat, and the tip is thin and precise, making it ideal for intricate food preparation.


The Deba is a Japanese knife with a thick, traditional blade designed for demanding cutting assignments such as fish and poultry. Measuring between 165 and 210mm in length and up to 9mm thick, Deba knives feature a chisel ground edge and a Japanese handle. Although they may appear powerful enough to break through bones, they are pretty delicate and can easily chip, so a Cleaver is advised for such tasks.


A Petty knife is a small, versatile knife that is perfect for carrying out delicate tasks in the kitchen. It's usually about 120-150mm long and is great for peeling, paring, decorating and cutting out cores of apple quarters and removing eyes from potatoes. It's a must-have tool in any kitchen and is often much easier than a larger knife. 


A Nakiri knife is a specialised knife for cutting vegetables. It has a thin rectangular blade, much like the Usuba, and is primarily used in home kitchens. The blade is typically between 165-180mm and is double-bevelled. It is designed to make quick and precise cuts, and its name, "Nakiri", translates to "knife for cutting greens". 


The Santoku is a Japanese knife designed to be an all-purpose tool. It is sometimes referred to as the "three-virtue" knife, which is meant to be suitable for cutting meat, fish, and vegetables. The blade of the Santoku is usually double-bevelled, and the size usually falls between 165-180mm. It can feature a traditional Japanese or European-style handle and is popular in many parts of Europe, known as Santuko.


Usuba knives are a type of Japanese-style knife specifically designed for cutting vegetables. They are distinct from Nakiri knives in that they are chisel ground and feature a classic Japanese handle. There are two main types of Usuba knives: Azumagata and Kakugata. Azumagata Usuba knives have a rectangular tip, while Kakugata Usuba knives feature a semicircular tip. The latter is associated with the Kansai region and is used for cutting various vegetables. Regardless of the shape of the blade tip, Usuba knives are designed to make vegetable preparation easier and more efficient.


A Yanagiba knife is a Japanese knife with a long, thin blade traditionally used for slicing raw fish, specifically when making sushi. Today, it is also used for cutting larger pieces of meat, such as steaks, as the blade is ideal for precision. These knives usually range from 240-360mm in length and come with a Japanese handle and chisel ground blade with a slight angle. Yanagiba gets its name from the Japanese word for willow, as the blade looks very similar to a willow leaf. 


Knives are an essential tool in any kitchen, and Japanese knives are among the best because of their precision and craftsmanship. Plenty of variants are available, so you can find one or more that suits your cooking needs. All that matters is finding a comfortable knife that is also easy to use.

If you’re looking for Miyabi knives, Bronx Homewares has what you need! We offer various products to help you make finer, better cuts for affordable prices. Mail us today at and allow us to help you!

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