10 Best Japanese Vegetable Knives (Sharp & Affordable Nakiri)

Japanese vegetable knives have carved a niche for themselves when it comes to culinary artistry. They are renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship and unparalleled precision.

Whether you are a seasoned chef or an enthusiastic home cook, having one of them at your disposal can elevate your vegetable preparation.

But then, getting your hands on the right one can be a challenge especially because there are several “junks” available in the market today. However, there is still a chance.

We have carefully selected the best Japanese vegetable knives based on our experience and testimonies from several users. They are simple yet powerful vegetable cleavers available. We hope it helps you find what you are looking for.

What to look for in Japanese vegetable knives

1. Blade material

Most Japanese knives are often crafted from high-carbon steel which offers excellent edge retention and sharpness. Aim for ones made from high-quality Japanese steel, such as shirogami, aogami, or stainless steels like AUS-10, or VG-10.

2. Edge bevel

Japanese knives come in two different blade designs. The single bevel (usaba) and double bevel (nakiri). For most beginners and for cutting vegetables, nakiri is usually the best option. But consider the single bevel blade if you’re already skilled and have a knack for more precision.

3. Balance and weight

A well-balanced vegetable knife reduces strain during a prolonged cutting session. So, neither the blade nor the handle should feel excessively heavy. Additionally, ensure you select a weight that you’re most comfortable with.

4. Maintenance and sharpening

Since you’re settling for Japanese knives, you must be aware too, that they require regular maintenance to retain their sharpness and longevity. Consider whether the knife is easy to sharpen and comes with routine maintenance guidelines.

5. Price and quality

Oftentimes, quality Japanese knives come off as an investment. But they can last a lifetime with proper care. However, it is always important to find the perfect point between quality and budget. You might need to spend more for superior quality, authentic craftsmanship, and trusted brands.

Top 10 Must-Have Japanese Vegetable Knives

1. Kai Pro Wasabi Nakiri Knife

Best Japanese Vegetable cleaver

If you are in dire need of a vegetable and fruit prep Japanese knife, then the Kai Pro Wasabi Nakiri is one to consider. It is crafted from high-carbon steel which makes it razor-sharp, easy to sharpen, and maintains decent edge retention.

The knife comes with a 6.5-inch plain blade with a 16-degree cutting edge. With this angle, it is easier to achieve sharper and smoother cuts. Kai Pro wasabi comes in both single-bevel and double-bevel blade designs

It also features a symmetrical but synthetic handle styled like a traditional Japanese knife for easy and comfortable handling. With a weight of 0.49 lbs, this nakiri knife would be quite balanced for most people.

Why we like it

  • The quality meets the price.
  • Well-balanced with normal weight.
  • Good edge retention and prolonged sharpness.
  • Perfect for cutting delicate herbs and vegetables with ease.


  • Not the best quality of steel

Price: $48 on Amazon

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2. Kai Seki Magoroku Damascus Nakiri

Best Japanese vegetable knife

Crafted from  Damascus stainless steel, this model of Seki Magoroku is a piece you want to have among your knife set.

It features a 6.5-inch long blade that is thin and razor-sharp with a single bevel design. As such, it cuts through any size of vegetables or fruits with ease. But as a stainless steel blade, it definitely needs to be maintained more often to keep it sharpened and optimally functional.

The handle is made of laminated reinforced wood and didn’t fail to come in the traditional Japanese D-shape design. This makes it easy to grip and use.

If your ideal Japanese vegetable knife is something super sharp right out of the box, well-balanced, and properly weighted, then this Damascus nakiri knife would be the right fit.

Why we like it

  • Very sharp and produces precise cuts.
  • Well-balanced knife.
  • Solid design and easy to use.
  • Cool-looking knife with a sense of luxury.


  • You will need to maintain it to retain a super sharpness.

Price: $73.5 on Amazon

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3. Kai Seki Magoroku 15000ST Nakiri

Japanese vegetable knife

This is similar to the Damascus seki magoroku but in this 15000ST model, the blade is made from high-carbon stainless steel and a high-grade cobalt steel cutting edge. With this, the performance and durability seem to be better.

It comes with a 6.5-inch single bevel blade that is sharp right out of the box. But with frequent use, you will need to sharpen it to keep enjoying smooth vegetable prepping sessions.

On the blade is a wavy design created by contrasting colors that adorns its overall look. The handle is made out of reinforced composite wood and bears the D-shape Japanese knife signature.

Weighing about 0.7 lbs, it is quite easy to handle and use. If you’re looking for the best Japanese vegetable knife that retains the unique tradition, stylish and functional, then consider the Seki Magoroku 15000ST.

Why we like it

  • Exceptional sharpness.
  • Well-balanced and easy to use.
  • Easy grip and durable handle.
  • A combination of stylish and traditional Japanese knife design.


  • Don’t get careless with it, or else it might rust.

Price: $90 on Amazon

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4. Yoshihiro Hammered Damascus Nakiri

Hammered Japanese vegetable knife

Now, here’s something more exquisite! The Yoshihiro Damascus nakiri is perfect for those looking to upgrade their set with a revered Japanese vegetable knife that eliminates imperfect cuts.

The knife is crafted from Japanese VG-10 steel core and 16-layer VG-10 hammered Damascus steel; a combination that makes it beautiful and a high-performance knife.

It comes with a 6.5-inch long double-edged blade. This makes it suitable for both new and skilled chefs, as well as right and left-handed users. With a Rockwell rating of 60 HRC, this knife has excellent edge retention and superior sharpness.

Weighing only 0.4 lbs, comes well-balanced and properly sized. But unlike a regular Japanese knife, this one features a Western-style handle made from mahogany wood.

Why we like it

  • Ruthlessly sharp and maintains good edge retention.
  • Ergonomic and comfortable handle.
  • Sturdy and good-looking Damascus steel knife.
  • Lightweight and easy to use and maneuver.


  • VG10 steel knives are sharp, and retain edges but can be brittle if not handled well.

Price: $150 on Amazon

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5. Kessaku Spectre Series Vegetable Knife

Kessaku Japanese vegetable knife

Precision, sharpness, balance, and grip are all valuable features of an ideal vegetable knife. This piece from Kessaku was definitely crafted to meet these unwavering demands.

First, it is made from a corrosion-resistant high-carbon Japanese steel called AUS-8. The steel has a staggering Rockwell hardness of 58 which ensures good edge retention, flexibility, and durability.

The blade is 6 inches long and is cut 14 degrees on both sides to achieve a double bevel design. This makes it thin and utterly sharp. So whether you’re a starter or pro, left or right-handed user, you can achieve your desired cuts right out.

Talking about the handle, it didn’t fail to feature the traditional Japanese D-shape design. This handle is of Pakkawood and is designed to fit firmly in your palm. The entire knife weighs about 0.45 lbs.

Why we like it

  • Well-balanced and easy to use.
  • Excellent sharpness and good edge retention.
  • Comfortable and ergonomic handle.
  • Beautiful design and luxury appeal.


  • It is hard to spot the ugly side of this knife.

Price: $50 on Amazon

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6. Shun Premier Grey Nakiri

Best Japanese Nakiri for cutting vegetables

Shun knives are quite popular among professional chefs because of their excellent sharpness and lightness. The Premier Grey nakiri is no different. 

This 5.5-inch Japanese vegetable knife comes with a VG-Max steel cutting core and a 68-layer stainless Damascus steel. It also features a double bevel blade design and a 16-degree cutting edge. This makes it razor-sharp and resistant to stain and corrosion.

The Shun Premier Grey comes with a pakkawood handle that provides a comfortable grip and allows for easy maneuvering. It weighs about 0.56 lbs and is quite balanced for easy and precise slicing.

Generally, the craftsmanship is unbeatable with the hammered tsuchime finish, thin and delicate blade, and mirror-polished handle.

Why we like it

  • Ruthlessly sharp and easy to sharpen.
  • Maintains good edge retention.
  • Stainless Damascus steel that improves durability.
  • Designed with a sense of luxury and high performance.
  • Well-balanced and properly weighted.


  • You will be more careful with high-carbon steel knives because they are more brittle.

Price: $140 on Amazon

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7. Miyabi Kaizen II Nakiri Knife

Kaizen II Japanese vegetable knife

This 6.5-inch blade nakiri is probably the best Japanese vegetable knife on this list. It comes with an FC61 steel core, which probably is the toughest of all steels. As such, it boasts of high edge stability, maintains excellent sharpness, and is easy to sharpen.

The knife is clad with 48-layer stainless Damascus steel which leaves a flowery pattern on the blade. This further improves its durability and performance.

Miyabi Kaizen II features a thin blade with a 9.5–12 degree cutting edge. This allows it to slice through dense root vegetables effortlessly.

It weighs 0.6 lbs which won’t feel heavy for most people. And lastly, it doesn’t fail to feature the regular Japanese knife D-shaped pakkawood handle.

Why we like it

  • An extremely sharp blade that doesn’t chip.
  • Well-balanced and easy to use.
  • Thin high-quality blade with beautiful Damascus steel layers.
  • Lightweight and comfortable.
  • The quality meets the price.


  • We couldn’t spot the drawbacks of this knife.

Price: $180 on Amazon

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8. Enso Hammered Nakiri Knife

Japanese Damascus vegetable knife

The Enso nakiri is another beautiful piece that speaks volumes of the expertise and precision-drunk Japanese craftsmen.

This knife is crafted from a VG-10 steel core and 37-layer hammered Damascus steel clad that leaves a beautiful tsuchime finish on the blade.

It comes with a 6.5-inch long blade which is ground to about 12 degrees. With a Rockwell hardness of 61 HRC, the blade comes excellently sharp out of the box and maintains a prolonged sharpness and edge stability.

Just like every other Enso knife, this nakiri features a black Japanese-style handle with a stainless end cap that covers the full tang. The knife is quite light as it weighs only 0.51lbs.

Why we like it

  • Very sharp and stays so.
  • Excellent edge retention.
  • Top-notch balance.
  • Unrivalled beautiful design.
  • Comfortable to handle.


  • It checks all our criteria.

Price: $140 on Amazon

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9. Zhen Damascus Cleaver

Zhen Japanese vegetable cleaver

Looking for a Japanese cleaver to cut through vegetables easily? The Zhen Damascus cleaver might just be all you need.

The knife comes with a VG-10 Japanese steel cutting core and 67-layer stainless Damascus steel on the outside. With an HRC of 60–62, the knife has supreme sharpness, exceptional edge retention, and is also easy to sharpen.

It has a full tang design that runs through a pakkawood non-slip and comfortable handle. This model of Zhen vegetable cleaver comes in three blade sizes, from 6.5 to 8 inches, and weighs between 0.55 lbs to 0.75 lbs.

Considering the Mass/Size relationship, it is a lightweight vegetable cleaver suitable for both pros and newbies.

Why we like it

  • Lightweight and easy to use.
  • A razor-sharp blade that won’t go blunt easily.
  • Comfortable handle.
  • Broad blade suitable for cutting dense and thick vegetables.


  • This is a vegetable cleaver. Using it on meat with bones will ruin the blade.

Price: $126 — $140 on Amazon

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10. Kyoku Gin Series Nakiri Knife

Kyoku Japanese Vegetable Knife

This is a 7-inch nakiri knife by the Kyoku brand, designed for cutting vegetables, fruits, and boneless meat with precision. Crafted with a Japanese VG-10 steel core and 66-layer Damascus steel clad, this knife is optimized for performance.

It features a double bevel blade with a cutting-edge angle of 12 degrees. So whether you are a home cook or a professional chef, it’s definitely something you can maneuver with ease.

The blade is Japanese steel but the handle isn’t. Rather, it has a Western style with a full tang running through it. However, it has an ergonomic shape that helps to improve grip and comfort.

If you must stick to a knife that is entirely a Japanese style, then you would want to look away from this one. But then, it is stylish and modern.

Why we like it

  • Maintains razor-sharp edge for long.
  • Quite easy to hold and use.
  • Stylish and modern design.
  • More durable because of the stainless Damascus steel clad and silver ion coating.


  • Did quite well under scrutiny.

Price: $96 on Amazon

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Pick One and Move!

The truth is, there are lots of amazing Japanese vegetable knives out there. But you don’t need to be overwhelmed and feel stuck over what to choose. Pick the one that best fits your budget and goals.

Any of these knives discussed above will do well for slicing and prepping vegetables and fruits. You just have to settle for one.


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