Best Japanese Knife Set Budget Knives Tested and Reviwed

So you’re looking for a new knife set because that multi-colored stamped-out steel set from Costco just isn’t cutting it anymore… get it? Cutting it?

Anyways they may be completely dull and you’ve tried sharpening them but the stamped steel is just too soft and thin to hold an edge for any useful length of time. This may be where Japanese cooking knives come in. 

One thing the Japanese are known for is their craftsmanship and their sharp steel. At this point, the words ‘sharp knife’ is synonymous with Japanese knives.

For evidence look at the Katana, this legendary blade is widely considered one of the best blades of the extent of recorded history. The now pacifist nation hasn’t laid its blacksmithing and blade crafting skills to rest. They’ve simply transferred their skills to the culinary world.

Japanese kitchen knives are widely accepted as the highest quality kitchen knives in the world. Every chef will have at least one 8” or 10” Japanese chef knife in their collection.

They are renowned for their cutting ability, their steel quality, their edge retainment, and their sleek and professional looks. This doesn’t mean they are unobtainable to the humble home cook.

They’re actually becoming more accessible to people like yourself but so are the copies and fakes.

We’ll go through a list of the top 5 sets of Japanese knives currently available and include a buyer’s guide to arm you with enough knowledge to weed out the fakes and choose the best Japanese knives yourself.

Japanese knives require additional care to keep their edges sharp and corrosion-free. This is because they are made from highly brittle carbon steel (around 60 on the HRC). This steel keeps an edge against most usage but can be easily affected by water and acidic food.

You should never leave a Japanese knife wet or at the bottom of your sink with dishes piled on top. You should never use these knives on an unsuitable cutting surface, they should always be used on wooden chopping boards or soft polymer ones.

Finally, you should never use ‘instant sharp’ knife sharpeners, not only with Japanese knives but all knives in general. These easy sharpeners cause massive damage to the knife’s edge and remove way more material than necessary for a good sharpen.

We recommend always using Japanese water stones or Whetstones to sharpen your knives, they take a bit more time and some practice to get good results but the end product is always worth it.

A good Japanese set will always include a chef’s knife or Gyuto along with at least one of the following: a general-purpose knife or Santoku, a flat vegetable knife or Nakiri, a slicing knife or Yanagiba or Sujihiki, a bone knife or Hankotsu or Honesuki, and a paring knife or Petty Knife.

You may find other knives in your set but these are the basics you’d find in most Japanese households. 

Traditional Japanese knives also commonly have a 2 piece octagonal full tang handle. This is less important in westernized Japanese knives.

You should always look for the type of steel used in a knife, they will almost always use high carbon steel. Another aspect worth noting is that to increase accessibility some knives use Japanese steel but are actually forged in China.

The higher quality bespoke knives will be hand-forged in Japan but these knives can range from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars each.

In a rush?

Are you in a rush to get your salmon cut perfectly for your sushi or have you got a bushel of enoki mushrooms that are ready to go into your miso soup and you need your knife now?

Best Japanese Knife Set

Here are best budget knives in 2023.

Shun Classic 10-piece Knife Block Set

Amazon’s Choice
Best Japanese Knife Set

Shun Classic 10-piece Knife Block Set


  • Brand: Shun
  • Blade Material: Alloy Steel
  • Blade Edge: Plain

This knife set includes all the knives you could possibly need in the kitchen, it comes with a knife block and a couple of other useful kitchen tools.  

  • 7 knives, kitchen shears, and honing steel.
  • Included a knife block.
  • Damascus steel.
  • D-shaped ebony PakkaWood handles.
  • Crafted in Seki, Japan.

I’ve been looking for a good set of Japanese knives for a while now, and I finally found the perfect one: the Shun 10-piece Classic set. These knives are forged in Seki, Japan using high-quality stainless steel, and they’re absolutely stunning.

The set includes an 8-inch Chef’s Knife (Gyuto), a 7-inch Santoku Knife, a 9-inch Carving Knife (Sujihiki), a 6-inch Utility Knife (Kaiseki), a 5-inch Nakiri Knife, a 4.5-inch Honesuki Knife, and a 3.5-inch Paring knife. This means I have almost all my knife needs covered in one set.

The set also includes a honing steel for honing my knives after a couple of uses, and a pair of kitchen shears. I’m really impressed with the quality of the honing steel, and it’s definitely helped to keep my knives sharp.

The knives come in a beautiful 13-slot knife block, which is a great way to store them and protect them from getting dull. I also like that the knife block is made of wood, which is softer than steel and won’t damage the blades.

I’ve been using the Shun 10-piece Classic set for a few weeks now, and I’m really happy with it. The knives are sharp, durable, and beautiful. I highly recommend them to anyone who is looking for a great set of Japanese knives.

Here are some additional thoughts from me:

  • I love the way the knives feel in my hand. They’re lightweight and well-balanced, and the D-shaped handles are very comfortable to grip.
  • The knives are very sharp, and they stay sharp for a long time. I haven’t had to sharpen them yet, and I’ve been using them almost every day.
  • The knives are easy to clean. I just rinse them under hot water and dry them with a towel.

Overall, I’m very impressed with the Shun 10-piece Classic set. It’s a great value for the price, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a high-quality set of Japanese knives.


  • The 7 knives and 2 included tools make this a perfect set for any kitchen.
  • The 34-layer Damascus Stainless Steel makes the blades durable and aesthetically pleasing.
  • The full tang handle with a hand-forged collar increases comfort and balance.
  • A D-shape in the handle increases the grip and comfort during use.
  • Forged in Seki, Japan, and have a limited lifetime warranty from Shun.


  • Pricey for first-time buyers.

YARENH 5-Piece Japanese Chef Knife Set

2nd Pick
Best Japanese Knife Sets

YARENH Professional Chef Knife Set 5 Piece


  • Blade Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: High-carbon,Stainless Steel,Steel
  • Blade Edge: Plain

I’m really excited about the new 5-piece knife set from YARENH. The knives are made from Japanese steel in China, which reduces the overall cost of the set without compromising material quality.

The blade knives are produced in the world-famous “Cutter City” of Yangjiang in China, so I can be sure that they’ll be sharp and durable.

The blades are forged from 67-layer Damascus steel, which is known for its beauty and strength. The handles are made from Redwood PakkaWood, which is a durable and comfortable material.

The blades have a high carbon steel core with a hardness of 60 HRC, which means that they can be easily sharpened without deforming the shape of the blade. The Redwood handles are an ambidextrous oval shape, so I can use the knives whether I’m left or right-handed. The finished PakkaWood also increases my grip without making the handle uncomfortable.

The set includes an 8″ Gyuto Knife, a 7″ Santoku Knife, a 6 ½” Nakiri Knife, a 5″ Kaiseki Knife, and a 3.5″ Petty Knife. This is a complete set that will allow me to deal with any knife-related issues in the kitchen.

The set comes packed in a lavish gift box that can double as a storage box. Once the knives are cleaned and properly dried, they can be stored in the gift box and placed in a drawer or kitchen unit. The box is low profile enough to fit in a drawer while still protecting the delicate edges of my knives.

Impressed with the quality of the YARENH 5-piece knife set. The knives are sharp, durable, and comfortable to use. I’m confident that they’ll last for many years to come.


  • 5 knives in 1 set to cater to all kitchen needs.
  • The stippled Damascus steel looks amazing and keeps performance with proper maintenance.
  • The Redwood PakkaWood handle keeps grip even when wet and can be used ambidextrously.
  • The included gift box doubles as a storage crate for the knives when not in use.
  • YARENH offers an unconditional refund within the first month of usage for this set so you can purchase these without worry.  


  • The handles are not shaped for comfortable usage.

Finding Dynasty series Japanese Style Knife Set

3rd Pick
FINDKING Dynasty Series 4PCS Kitchen Knife Set

FINDKING Dynasty Series 4PCS Kitchen Knife Set


  • Blade Material: High Carbon Steel
  • Brand: FINDKING
  • Handle Material: Alloy Steel

I’ve been looking for a set of high-quality Japanese-style knives for a while, but I didn’t want to pay the huge cost of traditional hand-forged knives. Then I found the 4-piece set from Finding, and I’m so glad I did!

The steel used in this set is not Japanese, but the methods used to forge it are very similar to the Japanese methods. The blades are constructed from 9CR18MOV steel with an HRC of 60, which is a great all-around steel for knives. It’s easy to sharpen and holds an edge well.

Funding uses a 3-layer laminating system to forge the blades, which makes maintenance a little bit simpler. You don’t have to worry about pattern retention, but you do need to oil the blades after cleaning to help extend their life and reduce the risk of rusting. I use Tsubaki Oil, which is food grade and absorbs very well into raw steel.

The set includes an 8″ Gyuto Knife, a 7″ Santoku Knife and Nakiri Knife, and a 5″ Kaiseki Knife. The sides of each blade are embossed with a clad dimple effect that allows for easy release of the food while dicing or slicing.

The handles of these knives are carved from solid Rosewood and are formed into the traditional octagonal shape of real Japanese knives. This shape increases the comfort, stability, and precision of the knife.

I would recommend a set of decent quality Whetstones to maintain these knives. They won’t damage the core or the edge of the blades.

Overall, I’m very happy with the 4-piece set from Finding. They’re high-quality knives that are well-made and easy to maintain. I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a great set of Japanese-style knives.


  • A beautiful traditional-looking set of 4 knives.
  • All of the most commonly used knives are included in this set.
  • The Aesthetically pleasing octagonal Rosewood handles increase the comfort, stability, and precision of each knife.
  • The Full-tang allows for the knives to be balanced along the spine and allow you to maneuver the knife with greater control.
  • The steel and clad dimple effect forged into these knives make them perfect for longer cooking.


  • These knives are not forged in Japan and they don’t use Japanese steel.

Shun Cutlery Classic 5-Piece Starter Block Set

4th Pick
Shun Cutlery Classic 5-Piece Starter Block Set

Shun Cutlery Classic 5-Piece Starter Block Set


  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Blade Edge: Non-Serrated
  • Style: Classic

I’m a big fan of Shun knives, and I think their 5-Piece Starter Set is a great option for anyone who is looking for a high-quality set of knives at a reasonable price.

The set includes an 8″ Gyuto Knife, a 6″ Kaiseki Knife, and a 4.5″ Paring Knife. These three knives will cover most of your basic kitchen needs, and they are all made from Shun’s high-quality Stainless V10 steel.

Shun sharpens their knives to a much steeper 16° angle than most other knives, which means that they are incredibly sharp. However, the V10 steel also makes them very easy to sharpen, so you don’t have to worry about them losing their edge too quickly.

The blades in this set are forged in the same place as the knives in the first set I recommended, but this set is more accessible due to the price. I think it’s a great option for anyone who is looking for a high-quality set of knives without breaking the bank.

Here are some of the things I like about this set:

  • The knives are incredibly sharp.
  • They are easy to sharpen.
  • They are made from high-quality materials.
  • They are a good value for the price.

If you are looking for a high-quality set of knives that won’t break the bank, I highly recommend the Shun 5-Piece Starter Set.


  • The 3 Included knives can be honed to elongate the time between sharpening.
  • The 34-layer Damascus steel makes this blade more durable and beautiful.
  • The D-shaped handle increases grip even when wet.
  • The full tang handle with a hand-forged collar increases comfort and balance.
  • Forged in Seki, Japan, and have a limited lifetime warranty from Shun.


  • With only 3 knives in the set, you will not have a dedicated vegetable/chopping knife.

Ross Henery Professional 9 Piece Japanese Style Chef Knife Set

5th Pick
Ross Henery Professional Japanese Chef’s Knife Set

Ross Henery Professional Japanese Chef’s Knife Set


  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Brand: Ross Henery Professional
  • Handle Material: High-carbon,Stainless,Stainless Steel,Steel

The final set on our list is a 9-piece kit from Ross Henery. This set is another Japanese Style set that isn’t actually made from Japanese steel or in Japan.

This set does however offer you all the knives you would need, making it the most accessible kit on our list.

The single-piece construction is made from high carbon stainless steel which as stated makes up the whole of each piece from blade tip to handle.

The steel is corrosion resistant and retains an edge very well, as the whole set is made from this steel though, you will need to oil or maintain your knives quite often.

The set includes a 10” Carving Knife similar to a Takohiki, an 8” Gyuto, Fileting Knife similar to an Ai-Deba and Bread Knife, 7” Cleaver similar to a Chukabocho, a 6” Kaiseki, and a 4” Paring Knife.

Alongside the knives, this set also includes a meat fork, honing steel, and a canvas carry case.

This type of case is very often used by Japanese chefs to move their knives around. It works well for edge retention and protects your knives from some damage.

Each knife and the meat fork have a knurled western-style ergonomic handle that is forged from the same piece of steel as the knife blades. 


  • All knives included in the set make up all the knives you could need in the kitchen.
  • The single-piece construction increases the durability of the knives as the blade and handle aren’t separate pieces.
  • The high-carbon steel used holds an edge well and can be easily sharpened with Whetstones.
  • The included carry case can be used to easily transport the knives whilst also being perfect for storage.


  • These knives are not Japanese knives but are Japanese style.

Best Japanese Knife Set Buying Guide

If you’re looking to purchase a set of Japanese knives it means you’re no beginner in the kitchen. Japanese knives require a certain level of maintenance that makes them unideal for most novice of home cooks.

The work you put into these blades is however extremely worth it, these knives are the sharpest in the world and often the best optimized for their intended roles.

You will mostly only ever need 1 to 3 different knives in your kitchen but if you’re looking to make some complex Japanese dishes like sushi you’ll need the proper tools to prepare it. 

When seeking out the best Japanese knives there are a few things you should keep in mind whilst making your choice.

A good Japanese knife will always be made from harder carbon steel because Japanese knives are thinner and sharper than standard American or European knives and therefore need to be made from harder metal so as not to deform. 

The handle of a Japanese knife will almost always be straight, it may have cross-sectional variation but the overall shape should be straight.

Westernized Japanese knives are now made with more ergonomic handles but the traditional ones are octagonal and straight. This is because the balance of the blade can be more finely attuned if the handle is uniform. 

You should ask yourself if you have the time to maintain these knives, some of them require regular oil to resist corrosion. The other major type of maintenance needed is sharpening.

Japanese knives should only be sharpened with Whetstones or water stones. This protects the steel and ensures you don’t damage the blade edge or the inner core.

Sharpening any knife with Japanese Whetstones is the best way to do it and will elongate the life of any blade so it’s an invaluable skill to learn. 

You should also decide whether you need a whole set or if you could do with a single or even just 2 knives. With the Japanese knives the more you can spend the better the quality will be and for the price of a whole, you can ensure that you get yourself a very high-quality single knife.

Most professional western chefs claim that you only need 3 types of knives in a professional kitchen so it may be worth investing in a smaller set to increase the overall quality and longevity.

Now that you know what to look for, you’ll be making sushi in no time. Japanese knives are an investment, if treated right they will last you a lifetime.

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