The Best Japanese Kitchen Knives for 2023

Japanese Knife Set Damascus Pattern Senken Knives
  1. Why are Japanese Knives the Best?
  2. What To Look for when Buying a Knife Set
  3. Best Kitchen Knife Set for Your Budget
  4. Our Top Knife Set Pick for 2022
  5. Best Magnetic Block for your Knife Set
  6. Keeping Your Japanese Knife Set Sharp

1. Why Are Japanese Knives the Best?

Originating from the days of the Samurai, fine blade-making is an art deeply rooted in Japanese culture and tradition. Many of today’s top chefs prefer Japanese blades for their unparalleled sharpness and precision, as well as their ergonomics, and even their aesthetics.

Crafting the perfect Japanese Chef’s Knife requires a fusion of experience, most of which has been passed down from master to pupil over hundreds of years, as well as premium high-carbon steel, which lends itself to a sharper, hardier blade.

2. What To Look for When Buying a Knife Set

There are a number of important aspects to consider when looking for the perfect kitchen knife set. No doubt, you want to look for a complete knife set that will cut effortlessly, feel good in your hand, and even look great in your kitchen. Here are the most important factors to keep in mind.

Steel Composition

Traditionally, Stainless Steel has been the go-to choice of steel for mass produced kitchen knives because it is affordable and "dummy-proof" - it's resistant to both stains as well as chipping from inexperienced users.

High-Carbon Steel, which was once the metal of choice for Japanese swordsmiths, has been exploding in popularity due to its added hardiness and sharpness, insomuch that high-carbon steel has become the premier choice of many professional chefs. It's certainly worth trying out a High-Carbon Steel Knife Set if you haven't already; you will feel the difference immediately, and you will likely never go back to your old stainless steel knives.

You may have also heard of Damascus Steel, which has also become extremely popular due to shows like the History Channel's Forged in Fire. Damascus Steel is not a material, but rather a method process used to combine and fold multiple layers of steel for added hardness and exquisite natural beauty. Damascus Steel has the additional benefit of retaining its sharpness for a very long time, which means you have to spend less time sharpening your blades.

If you're looking to upgrade your kitchen knife set and take your slicing and dicing to the next level, then High-Carbon Steel Chef Knives are the way to go, whether or not you opt for Damascus-forged knives.


High-Carbon Steel Knives are considerably sharper than traditional stainless steel knives, which makes them very useful for cutting more efficiently and effectively. High-Carbon Steel is a little more expensive than stainless steel, and also requires more care and maintenance, though any professional chef will tell you it's well worth it.

Variety of Knives

Ideally, you're looking for a complete set of knives that allows you to handle any cutting task in the kitchen. This generally includes an 8" Chef's Knife, as well as other specialized knives including a Bread Knife, Carving Knife, Cleaver, Boning Knife, and Paring Knife.

Weighting & Balance

The weighting of your knives is more important than you think (the 'weighting' should not be confused with the actual 'weight' of the knives, which is generally not an important factor). Having the right weighting, or balance point, on your knives will allow the knife cut the most effectively with the least amount of effort from you.

For longer knives, like your 8" Chef's Knife, the balance point should be right where the blade meets the handle. For smaller knives, like your 3.5" Paring Knife, the balance point should be skewed towards the handle, in order to give you greater control and allow for finer, more intricate movements.

Cutting Angle

Most Japanese Kitchen Knives have a cutting angle of 15-17°, which is considerably different from Western knives' cutting angle of 22-25°. This makes the blade incredibly sharp and precise (just like the traditional katana), so extra caution is recommended. If you're looking for the sharpest set of knives that you can find, you will definitely want to go with a 15-17° cutting angle.


Whether you're a professional chef or simply love cooking at home, you will want a set of knives with ergonomic handles, which keep the hand and wrist in a neutral, comfortable position, while also giving you a strong, sturdy grip that won't slip.


Let's face it - who doesn't want an awesome looking set of knives to cook with while also impressing guests? Damascus patterns are all the rage these days, and for good reason - they look absolutely stunning in any lighting and make chopping that much more enjoyable.

3. The Best Kitchen Knife Set On a Budget

If you're looking for a new kitchen knife set either for yourself or as a gift, here are the best sets for any budget.

Under $500

If you're looking for a truly unique and special Damascus Steel knife set that is equally effective as it is gorgeous, then check out Senken Knives 'Tsunami' 7-Piece Damascus Steel Knife Collection. The 'Tsunami' Set is a true work of craftsmanship in both design as well as function, for only a fraction of the price that most in-store retailers would charge for a Japanese Damascus Steel knife set.

Tsunami Japanese Damascus Steel 7-Piece Chef Knife Set

Under $300

If your budget is closer to $300 and you're looking for authentic Japanese VG10 Damascus Steel, your best bet would be Senken Knives 'Shogun' 6-Piece Damascus Steel Knife Collection. The 'Shogun' Collection features the 6 most important professional chef's knives with a beautiful, ergonomic Full-Body G10 Handle.

Shogun 6-Piece Japanese Damascus Steel Knife Set

Under $150

If you're looking for a set that's great quality and won't break the bank, then without a doubt Senken Knives 'Imperial' 8-Piece Japanese Knife Collection is the set for you. The 'Imperial' Collection contains a complete 8-piece knife set made of high-carbon steel with a beautiful laser-etched Damascus pattern.

$150 Budget Japanese Kitchen Knife Set

The same set is also available with brilliant blue-resin handles for only an extra $10. Check out Senken Knives 'Imperial Blue' 8-Piece Japanese Kitchen Knife Set

$150 Budget Knife Set Blue Resin Handle

Under $100

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a high-quality complete knife set with a budget under $100. Therefore, if your budget is under $100, you should instead look for a high quality 8" Chef's knife, as this will be your most versatile tool in your kitchen. Senken Knives offers some truly unique and wonderful Japanese Chef Knives under $100 which also make great gifts.

Here is Senken Knives 'Raikiri' Japanese Damascus Steel Kiritsuke Knife

Raikiri Lightning Blade Shadow Japanese Damascus Steel Kiritsuke Knife

This beautiful chef's knife comes in a gift box and includes a custom-fit knife sheath. It also comes in Ruby and Azure styles which are equally as beautiful

Raikiri Ruby Red Kiritsuke Knife Damascus Steel SplashRaikiri Azure Blue Kiritsuke Knife Damascus Steel Splash 1000x1000

If you're looking for a knife that's truly yours, check out Senken Knives "Ryujin" Japanese Damascus Steel Chef's Knife - each knife is uniquely made so there will never be another one like it.

Ryujin Japanese Damascus Steel Chefs Knife

Finally, here is Senken Knives 'Hidama' Japanese Damascus Chef Knife

Hidama Japanese Damascus Steel Chef Knife

4. Our Top Knife Set Pick for 2022

If you're looking for the overall best value, Senken Knives 8-Piece Imperial Collection is the way to go. The Imperial Collection is made of premium high-carbon steel for unmatched sharpness and hardiness, along with ergonomic Pakka Wood handles and a beautiful Damascus pattern.

The set contains all 8 knives you will ever need in the kitchen:

  • 8" Chef Knife
  • 7" Cleaver Knife
  • 7" Carving Knife
  • 8" Bread Knife
  • 7" Santoku Knife
  • 6" Boning Knife
  • 5" Santoku Knife
  • 3.5" Paring Knife

Senken Knives Imperial Collection SpecsSenken Knives Imperial Collection 5 Piece on Cutting Board


5. Best Magnetic Block for your Knife Set

Magnetic Knife Blocks are a modern and aesthetic way to display your new blades, as well as allowing easy access to and storage of your knives.

Senken Knives Acacia Hardwood Magnetic Knife Block holds up to 8 full-length knives on the front side (with additional magnetic storage on the backside).

Magnetic Knife Block Stand


6. Keeping Your Japanese Knife Set Sharp

Keeping your new knife collection sharp as ever is as simple as using a professional-grade knife sharpening rod up to several times per month, depending on how frequently you use your knives. Senken Knives Diamond-Grain Knife Sharpening Rod offers a classic, easy-to-use design, as well as an ergonomic rosewood handle.

Diamond Grain Knife Sharpener Sharpening RodDiamond Grain Knife Sharpener Sharpening Rod Close Up