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Japanese kitchen knives are a pleasure to use in the kitchen because of the knives’ quality and blade sharpness. Choosing a Nakiri for your kitchen is a decision you will not regret to make processing fruit, vegetables, and herbs for your cooking a breeze. We will showcase our selection of 4 Nakiri knives that we recommend as good options for your kitchen and your budget.
Japanese Nakiri knives are designed for processing fruit, vegetables, and herbs. The rectangular cleaver-style blade has a straight or non-curved cutting edge, making it ideal for this purpose. The double bevel of the Nakiri makes it easy to sharpen, and the traditional handles provide a good balance.
Nakiri knives are traditional Japanese vegetable knives that are characterized by their rectangular blade. It is often used for cutting vegetables into thin slices and can also be used for other tasks such as mincing and dicing. We will recommend some of the best Nakiri knives for your kitchen based on factors such as price, blade design, and more.
If you are interested in checking out the best Nakiri knife made by Hayate Yoshihiro we recommend and personally use you can find it by clicking here (Amazon link).
Is A Nakiri Knife Worth It?
When it comes to Japanese-style kitchen knives, there are a lot of different options to choose from. But if you’re looking for a specific kitchen knife that can handle vegetables like a pro, you may want to consider a Nakiri knife.
Nakiri knives are designed specifically for chopping vegetables, and they’re usually quite thin and lightweight, which makes them easy to maneuver. They also have a sharp, rectangular blade that’s ideal for slicing through tough veggies.
Japanese knives are purpose-built for specific tasks in the kitchen. This means that each Japanese kitchen knife is designed to perform exceptionally for its intended purpose.
The blade has features that make processing the food easy and almost effortless, which is one of the attractions of Japanese knives for discerning chefs.
Since the Nakiri is designed for the express purpose of processing herbs and vegetables, you will find no better tool for this purpose than a quality Nakiri knife!
So, if you’re looking for a versatile knife that can help you prep veg faster and more efficiently, then a Nakiri knife is definitely worth considering. Plus, they’re relatively affordable, so you won’t have to break the bank to get one.
Are Nakiri Knives Good?
Nakiri knives are a style of Japanese knife that is created for the purpose of cutting vegetables and herbs. They are often used by professional chefs in Japanese restaurants, but these beautiful knives are accessible by any cook, even home chefs!
Nakiri knives are made with rectangular blades with a straight or flat cutting edge, which makes them ideal for slicing vegetables.
The blades are relatively thin compared to other Japanese kitchen knives, such as the multipurpose Deba. The thin steel on the blade makes the knives agile and easy to use. The blade is designed to cut all the way through vegetables vertically without exaggerated push or pull motions.
This cutting action serves to preserve the integrity of the vegetables being cut, preventing bruising of the ingredients and allowing the sliced vegetables to retain their shape for improved presentation.
You may wonder if a Nakiri knife would be useful in your kitchen, which we can answer with a resounding” Yes!” Nakiri knives can be a great addition to your kitchen, no matter your cooking skill level.
They are sharp and can make it easier to prep vegetables. If you are unsure about what to look for when purchasing a Nakiri, we have some advice that will be helpful and some recommendations on some quality Nakiri knives for your kitchen!
TIP: The Nakiri, or more accurately, the Nakiri bocho, is one such purpose-built knife in the Japanese kitchen knife style. Find out the main reasons why you need nakiri knife in your kitchen:
10 Reasons You Need A Nakiri Knife (Honest Review)
What To Look For When Buying Nakiri Knife
When choosing a Nakiri knife, you should keep a few things in mind. Nakiri knives come in a range of sizes, and you need to make sure you are buying a Nakiri with the right blade geometry.
The Japanese name for the Nakiri is the Nakiri Bocho, which literally means “knife for cutting greens,” and is one of the few Japanese knives designed with a double bevel blade.
A double bevel blade, or ryoba in Japanese, means the steel tapers to the edge on both sides of the blade.
There is another Japanese vegetable knife, called the Usuba bocho, translated as “thin knife,” which is shaped similarly to the Nakiri. The significant difference is that the Usuba bocho is a single-bevel knife.
This means that only one side of the blade tapers to the sharp cutting edge. The other side, or the flat side, has a slight hollow grind. These knives are sharper than a double-bevel blade but are much more difficult to sharpen. These knives are used mainly by professional Japanese cuisine chefs.
When looking for a Nakiri, be sure you do not buy a Usuba by mistake. The knives look very similar but will have different implications for the user or owner.
The second consideration is the size of the Nakiri knife. It is important to select the right size Nakiri that will suit your build. We have more information on this in the section dedicated to choosing the right size Nakiri.
Thirdly, think about the blade material used in the Nakiri. The best Nakiri knives are made from high-carbon steel or stainless steel. Some are also made from Damascus steel, but the core steel should be high-quality carbon or stainless steel, such as VG-10.
Finally, take into account the handle material. The best Nakiri handles are made from wood, usually Japanese wood, such as “ho-wood,” which is from a camphor tree.
Most authentic Japanese knives will have a wooden handle, called a Wa-handle, some of which will have an octagonal cross section, while others will have the “D-shape,” or oval handle. With these factors of knife design in mind, you should be able to find the perfect Nakiri knife for your kitchen.
TIP: Are you looking to buy a new whetstone? Check out our recommendations (we personally use the first three ones):
Our PRO choice whetstones combo (Amazon links):
- Fixing stone: Whetstone SHAPTON Ceramic KUROMAKU #320
- Sharpening stone: Suehiro CERAX soaking whetstone: Medium #1000
- Finishing stone: Whetstone SHAPTON Ceramic KUROMAKU #5000
Our budget choice (Amazon link): Sharp Pebble Extra Large Sharpening Stone Set
What Size Nakiri Knife is the Best?
Nakiri knives are designed for cutting vegetables and are typically 6 to 7 inches in length. While a longer knife may offer more precision, a shorter knife is easier to control. The best size Nakiri knife for your kitchen depends on your personal preference and stature.
Nakiri knives typically range from 4.7 inches to 9.5 inches or 120mm to 240mm in length. The right length to choose will depend on your stature. If you are small, don’t choose the largest knife; likewise, if you are tall, go for one of the longer versions rather than a shorter option.
The most popular lengths of Nakiri are the knives, with sizes ranging from 6.5 inches to 7 inches or 165mm to 180mm. These Nakiri knife lengths would be the most appropriate for average height and build people.
TIP: Japanese knives are well-made and extremely sharp but are generally constructed for a particular purpose. Check out the explanation for all Japanese knife types in the article below:
All Japanese Knife Types Explained (Purpose, Usage & More)
Best Nakiri Knives Under $200
Japanese kitchen knives are known to be expensive knives, and many people think that it puts these knives out of their reach.
We have selected two top-quality Nakiri knives that are priced under $200, making them very affordable, high-quality knives that any person would be proud to use in their kitchen.
Best Pick: Yoshihiro Hammered Damascus Nakiri
Yoshiro is a renowned Japanese knife manufacturer, making authentic, high-quality Japanese knives for the international market.
This Yoshihiro Hammered Damascus Nakiri (Amazon link) is made from 46-layer Damascus steel, using VG-10 stainless steel. This means the knife is as hard as any high-carbon steel Japanese knife but has stainless steel stain and rust resistance.
The steel is hardened to 60 HRC on the Rockwell scale, making it an extremely hard blade, ideally suited to its purpose and able to retain a razor-sharp edge. The blade on this Nakiri is 6.5 inches or 165mm long.
The blade has a double bevel, making it easier to maintain and sharpen, and the handle is the traditional Wa-style octagonal-shaped wooden handle made from Ambrosia wood.
The Yoshihiro Hammered Damascus Nakiri comes with a traditional blade sheath, called a saya, made from Magnolia wood and with a licking pin to keep the knife secured in the sheath.
Alternative: Shun Cutlery Classic Nakiri Knife
Shun, pronounced “Shoon,” is another popular Japanese knife brand known for its high-quality traditional Japanese knives.
The Shun Cutlery Classic Nakiri (Amazon link) is a Damascus steel knife with stainless steel used as the outer 68-layer cladding and tough VG-MAX stainless steel as the core and the cutting edge!
The stainless steel used provides an excellent cutting edge and is stain- and rust-resistant, ensuring your knife will look good for years with basic maintenance and care!
The handle on the Shun Classic Nakiri is D-shaped for comfort and can be used by left or righthanded chefs. The handle material is Pakkawood with an ebony finish. Pakkawood is a wood impregnated with a resin material, making it durable, beautiful, and incapable of harboring bacteria in the wood grain.
The Shun Classic Nakiri will be an excellent addition to your kitchen knife collection, and once you own one of these knives, you will wonder why you waited so long to experience the quality of Japanese knives!
Best Nakiri Knives under $100
Nakiri knives under the $200 price mark may still be out of the price range for some people, but we also have some quality Nakiri knives that we can recommend that fall into the category of under $100 knives.
These knives are still quality, but the difference in the price is that they are not traditional Japanese knives. They can be considered Japanese-style Nakiri knives but break from the traditional design and materials used in authentic Japanese kitchen knives.
Best Pick: Wusthof Nakiri Knife
Wusthof is a German knife brand with a long history of producing quality Western kitchen knives. Western-style knife makers have seen the popularity afforded knives crafted according to the Japanese style and have created certain knives in their range to emulate Japanese designs.
The Wusthof Nakiri Knife (Amazon link) is not a traditional Nakiri knife but a Nakiri-style knife made in the quality and style of other Wusthof knives.
The 7-inch or 180mm blade is made from precision forged stainless steel, providing corrosion and stain resistance. The steel is hardened to 58 HRC on the Rockwell scale, which gives the blade excellent edge retention.
The edge is a double bevel, making it easy to sharpen, and features a scalloped Granton edge to help prevent ingredients from sticking to the side of the blade.
The handle has a sculpted design to reduce fatigue when the knife is used for long periods. The handle material is thermoplastic, which is durable and bacteria-resistant. The surface of the plastic handle is textured to increase grip on the handle and prevent slipping on wet hands.
Even though this is not a traditional Nakiri knife, it has all the features to give you that Japanese knife experience in the kitchen!
Alternative: Kyocera Revolution Nakiri Knife
Kyocera is a Japanese company, so you may be surprised that we do not consider this knife to be a traditional Japanese Nakiri.
The break from tradition in the creation of the Kyocera Revolution Nakiri Knife (Amazon link) is in the material used in the blade.
The black-colored blade is made from ceramic material, which is Kyocera’s specialty. The company uses proprietary zirconia produced in Japan to create high-quality ceramic knives.
The Revolution Nakiri exemplifies this material in the ultra-sharp edge, which will retain its sharpness up to 10 times longer than steel. This 6-inch blade will slice through your vegetables, herbs, and fruit with ease!
This ceramic Nakiri is stain-proof and rustproof and will not oxidize any ingredients and cause them to turn brown. The ceramic blade is lighter than steel, giving the knife a more lightweight feel and reducing fatigue for prolonged use.
The Kyocera Revolution Nakiri handle is contoured for comfort and is coated with a non-slip plastic covering, making it easy to clean and maintain.
While this knife is not a traditional Nakiri knife, it is affordable and offers excellent kitchen performance.
Why Choose A Nakiri Over Other Knives
When it comes to kitchen knives, the choices can be overwhelming, especially with the plethora of styles available. Among these, the Nakiri knife, a traditional Japanese vegetable knife, stands out for its unique features and specific advantages over other types of knives, including regular chef’s knives and other Japanese knives.
Here’s why you might consider choosing a Nakiri for your culinary tasks.
Specialized Design for Vegetables
The Nakiri knife is specifically designed for cutting vegetables. Its straight blade is perfect for slicing through vegetables with precision and ease. Unlike the curved blade of a chef’s knife, which requires a rocking motion, the Nakiri’s straight edge allows for clean, straight cuts.
This design is particularly beneficial for making uniform slices of vegetables, which is not only aesthetically pleasing but also ensures even cooking.
Ease of Use and Precision
Nakiri knives are typically lighter and have a thinner blade than many Western chef’s knives, making them easy to handle and maneuver. This can be a significant advantage when you need to make precise cuts or work with delicate vegetables.
The ease of use also makes the Nakiri a great choice for those who may find the heft and size of a regular chef’s knife to be cumbersome.
Safe and Comfortable
The design of the Nakiri, with its broad blade, provides a good amount of knuckle clearance, making chopping and slicing safer and more comfortable.
This feature is particularly useful for those who spend a lot of time prepping vegetables and are looking for a knife that minimizes hand fatigue and the risk of accidents.
Superior Performance for Specific Tasks
While a chef’s knife is a versatile tool, the Nakiri excels in tasks that involve vegetable preparation. Its blade is designed to make full contact with the cutting board, allowing for efficient chopping without the need for horizontal pulling or pushing.
This results in less damage to the vegetables, preserving their texture and appearance.
Cultural and Aesthetic Appeal
Beyond its practical advantages, the Nakiri knife holds a cultural significance in Japanese culinary tradition. It represents a blend of craftsmanship and functionality, often featuring beautiful designs and patterns on the blade.
For enthusiasts of culinary arts or those who appreciate the aesthetic aspects of cooking tools, a Nakiri knife can be a cherished addition to their kitchen.
Choosing the Right Knife
The decision to use a Nakiri knife should be based on your specific cooking habits and preferences. If you frequently prepare vegetables and appreciate precision and ease of use, a Nakiri could be an ideal choice.
However, if your cooking involves a wide range of tasks beyond vegetable prep, a chef’s knife or another versatile type might be more suitable. Ultimately, the right knife is one that feels comfortable in your hand and suits the majority of your culinary needs.
The Nakiri knife offers a combination of efficiency, safety, and specialized design for vegetable preparation, making it a standout choice for home cooks and professional chefs alike who prioritize these aspects in their cooking.
A Nakiri knife is an excellent specialist knife to add to any kitchen, and with the wide range of sizes and prices available, there is sure to be one that suits your needs.
The design is intended for the specific purpose of processing herbs, vegetables, and soft fruits without damaging or crushing the ingredients.
Using our experience with Japanese knives will help you to make the proper selection and find the best Nakiri knife for your kitchen and budget.
TIP: Patience, attention to detail, and some basic knowledge will get you sharpening your Japanese knife like a pro in no time! Check out the complete step-by-step guide in the article below:
Sharpen Japanese Knife Like A PRO (Single & Double Bevel)