High carbon steel is a type of metal alloy providing a substantial ratio of carbon to iron. Such blades have been traditionally prioritized for kitchen knives, and to this date, the high carbon steel knives are ruling kitchens worldwide – both professional and residential.

Japanese carbon steels are one of the most celebrated kitchen knife steels in the market. These blades are unmatched in the assessment of hardness, sharpness, and edge retention equally. Because of the exceptional hardness it offers, the sharpness lasts for a long time, and the resharpening process is very swift too. High carbon steel can take a super sharp edge very fast, as it doesn’t lose edge very often, so you won’t have to repeat the process soon after being done with these once. They are also more durable and can stand abuse better than most other steel types of market. Read more to learn about the best Japanese carbon steel knives in the present market.


The Best Japanese Carbon Steel Knives to Buy

  1. Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set

The classic 6-piece set includes the primary knives that a beginner chef might need, an 8-inch chef’s knife, 7-inch santoku, 3.5-inch parer, 9-inch honing steel for on-spot resharpening, a pair of shears, and a slim 8-slot dark woodblock for storing these pieces.

All the knives are forged from VG-MAX steel, offering enhanced resistance to corrosion than other such steels. The high HRC score of 60-61 also contributes to sturdiness, longer edge retention, and effortless resharpening. The Damascus cladding on the blade enriches both the aesthetics and sharpness.

The black handle made from pakkawood is smooth, thus comfortable to hold. Yet provides a firm grip that’s unlikely to slip out. The straight spine and half bolster design bring stability to the construction enabling maximum utilization of available features.


  • Long-lasting build.
  • Hand-honed ultra-sharp blade.
  • Includes come apart shears.
  • Offers left-handed options.


  • Poor quality control.
  • No serrated blades.


  1. Miyabi Mizu SG2 7-piece Knife Block Set

This luxury knife block set features superior quality knives at a steep price. The thoughtfully designed models allow you to gain over-the-top functionality with attractive visuals as well. You get a 9.5-inch serrated bread knife, 5.5-inch utility, 8-inch chef’s knife, 3.5-inch parer, 9-inch tungsten honing steel, shears, and 13.5-inch-long bamboo block with 10 knife slots; feel free to use the extra slots for other useful knives.

The triple-layered SG2 micro-carbide powder steel ensures unyielding balance and strength; using the Tsuchime method. The 63HRC score implies the extraordinary edge retention capability of the knives, enhanced by Cryodur ice-hardening technology to provide longer life of blades. It’s initially sharpened via the 3-step Honbazuke process, hand-honed 9-12 degrees at each angle. The D-shaped Micarta handle with mosaic highlights is comfortable to hold due to the sufficient outline it provides.


  • Sturdy full tang build.
  • Covered by a lifetime warranty.
  • Features katana-like edge.
  • Metallic endcap with embedded logo.



  1. Yoshihiro Mizu Yaki Blue High Carbon Steel Gyuto

Anyone who cherishes strength and quality should definitely check this Japanese chef knife, aka Gyuto out. Perfect for everyday use at restaurants and professional kitchen and able to withstand heavy work abuse.

The 8.25-inch long gyuto boasts Warikomi styled steel with a high carbon steel core. The knife is constructed through the Mizu Yaki process that uses pure water flow to refine the sharpness and hardness of steel. The rugged look of the blade comes from the Kurouchi finish, heat-treated for better corrosion resistance. The high HRC 63-64 score this knife displays guarantee surgical sharpness without any hassle. The octagonal handle is handcrafted from rosewood and designed to provide a secure grip which will also reduce hand fatigue.


  • Super durable construction.
  • Prevents rust formation.
  • Extensive edge retention.
  • Handcrafted construction.
  • Comes with a wooden sheath.


  • May rust if not maintained properly.


  1. Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife

If you don’t need the whole block set from Shun or are just in need of a good chef’s knife of the same design then this unit is here to the rescue. This chef’s knife is ideal for cutting foods at a rocking motion due to its straight spine and balanced cutting edge.

The knife was handmade in Seki, Japan; from the durable VG-MAX steel core, measuring about 8-inches in length. It’s enriched with extra tungsten, cobalt, and chromium, ensuring that the knife stays razor-sharp for a long time, robustness, and decent resistance against corrosion. The maintenance requires manual washing with warm soapy water and drying immediately afterward.

The ebony pakkawood handle ensures a comfortable grip with smooth yet non-slip textures. The half bolster and metallic endcap stabilize the construction for the better. Refrain from putting this knife in the dishwasher.


  • Long-lasting performance.
  • Multi-functional knife.
  • One-piece build.
  • Comfy water-resistant handle.


  • Prone to brittle after a while.


  1. Miyabi Fusion Morimoto Edition Chef’s Knife

The Morimoto series from Miyabi attempts to fuse the Japanese style with western ergonomics. Thus, accomplishing this laudable line that features weight just perfect for optimum maneuvering, accompanied by an ergonomic handle, using this knife is the ultimate kitchen experience.

The 8-inch chef’s knife flaunts a Japanese-style slim profile; the blade is constructed of high-quality VG-10 steel with 64 layers of Damascus steel. The blade is high in chromium and carbon properties that affect the knife’s ability to resist rusting & staining and holding & taking edge respectively. Miyabi banked on the traditional honbazuke method to hand-sharpen the double-beveled blade 9.5-12 degrees at each edge.

The sturdy handle is crafted from glass bead enhanced polyoxymethylene with red highlights; it’s stabilized with triple rivets and a metal bolster. The contours ensure a safe grip overall.


  • Aesthetically pleasing flower-patterned Damascus.
  • Super sharp katana edge.
  • Provides great blade-to-handle balance.
  • Suitable for ambidextrous use.


  • The finish feels sloppy.


  1. Yoshihiro Mizu Yaki Aogami Santoku Knife

Like the previous Yoshihiro knife, this santoku knife packs everything a versatile knife should include. Starting from the black forged Kurouchi finish to the Mizu Yaki processed blade.

The 7-inch Santoku is forged from high carbon steel with an exceptional hardness score of HRC 64-65, indicating its’ superior tenacity strength and potential for edge retention and ease of resharpening. The knives of this series are handmade by experts from top to bottom; therefore, no two knives will exactly be the same. The shape & sharpness of the blade makes it super easy to curve meat or cut fish fillets for sushi, sashimi, katsu tataki, etc.

The octagonal rosewood handle grants a secure grip that won’t slip out of your hand even when wet. Sharpening it is also pretty simple; water whetstones are recommended exclusively.


  • Features greater hardness.
  • Handmade handle in Wa-style.
  • Rich carbonized finish.
  • Ergonomic D-shaped handle.


  • No left-handed option.


  1. Shun Sora 7-inch Hollow Ground Santoku

Shun designed this Santoku knife to be your go-to knife in the kitchen. The lean figure ensures agility and lightness while using; beginners find such models helpful early on while learning about knives.

The VG-10 Santoku knife measures 7 inches in length, known to deliver an impressive score in rust resistance and edge retention. Sharpen at the initial 16bevel to ensure a precise cutting edge; its carbon properties make resharpening easier and take fine edge smoothly. The Sora series focuses on bringing the durability of traditional knives to modern cutting-edge functionality within an affordable price range.

The single bolstered PP/TPE polymer handle feels nice in hand due to its balanced and comfortable fit. Longer work sessions won’t put a strain on the wrist with this model.


  • Moderately priced.
  • Manufactured in Japan.
  • Hollow-edged blade.
  • Modern themed visual.


  • May not be an endgame type.



Q: Why’s high carbon steel preferred for Japanese knives?

A: Japanese kitchen knives prioritize sharpness the most as they deal with protein foods very often. As high carbon steel delivers extensive hardness, they’re super sharp and retains edge longer than any other type of blade. Resharpening high carbon steel blades are a lot easier too. Sharp cutting edge comes in handy while dealing with meat fillets, etc.

Q: How to care for Japanese high carbon steel knives?

A: Not to downplay facts, but high carbon steels are high-maintenance. They must be tended to regularly as they’re vulnerable to rust and corrosion; you’re required to manual wash the blades, never in a dishwasher, and wipe dry them thoroughly before storing. Oiling from time to time does wonders to preserve the vigor of the blades.


Final Verdict

Japanese high carbon steels are the best companions of chefs and professionals. They’re enriched with some of the best features that are preferred in cooking knives, and on top of that, they come sharp as a razor. However, to buy the best Japanese carbon steel knife for your kitchen, whether it’s for home or restaurants, you need to check out a few things before going for one set. This review is an elaborate attempt to present some of the best knives available now and what they have to offer. Hope they’ll be as helpful to you as we intended. Happy shopping!

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