Having the best tools is a great way to improve your home-cooking experience. The santoku knife, originating from Japan, is one of such tools: excelling in precision and utility. This guide will bring to your attention some essential information about the Japanese santoku knife. Having a Japanese Santoku knife can help you in many ways, whether you are an experienced chef or new to cooking.

What is a Japanese Santoku Knife? 

The term “Santoku” can be translated to “three virtues” or “three uses” in English, reflecting the knife’s exceptional versatility in slicing, dicing, and mincing with ease. Typically, a Japanese Santoku knife measures between 5 to 7 inches in length. Its blade is usually crafted to be lighter and thinner, improving its efficiency in slicing, dicing, and mincing with minimal effort. This knife is highly favored in both professional and home kitchens for its adaptability to everyday cooking tasks. Another distinctive feature of the Santoku knife is the series of indentations along the blade, which can help prevent food from sticking to the blade.

Key Features to Consider When Looking for a Japanese Santoku Knife 

Before you look for the best Japanese Santoku knife, there are some factors that you should think about for making a good choice. 

1. Strategically Arranged Indentations

The hollow-edge design of a Japanese Santoku knife often catches the eye first. Pay attention to the depth and spacing of the indentations. Generally, deeper and more widely spaced grooves allow food to release more easily from the blade, reducing drag during cutting.

2. Blade Materials: High-Carbon Steel or Stainless Steel

Beyond the hollow-edge design, the material of the blade is a crucial aspect not to be overlooked. High-carbon steel and stainless steel are preferred due to their sharpness and rust resistance. Ceramic blades are another option, though they require careful maintenance.

3. Proper Cutting Angle

It’s essential for a Japanese Santoku knife to maintain a sharp cutting angle. A cutting angle larger than 20 degrees might be too blunt for effective slicing. Aim for a blade with an angle between 15 and 20 degrees for optimal performance.

Top Santoku Knives on the Market

The market offers a variety of Santoku knives, each with unique features. Here Kyoku will recommend some excellent Santoku knives of different series to you. You can explore these options to help you find a knife that best fits your cooking style.

1. 7" Japanese Santoku Knives Damascus Steel | Shogun Series

This Santoku knife of the Shogun series is made from 67 layers of stainless Damascus steel. It has a sharp and long-lasting blade with a beautiful herringbone pattern at the base of the tang. Besides, the appropriate arrangement of indentations on its blade not only makes the blade look better but also makes food less likely to stick to it.

2. 7" Santoku Knives 440C Steel | Daimyo Series

The very sharp 13–15 degree edge and 440C stainless steel construction give this Santoku knife of the Daimyo series accuracy and strength. With a rosewood handle that can stay easy in many kitchen settings and a unique mosaic pin for an elegant look, this knife is sure to impress you. The sheath and case that come with it can also make it easy to store and take care of. 

3. 7" Santoku Knife VG10 Damascus Steel | Gin Series

This Santoku knife of the Gin series is made of VG-10 steel that has been treated with cryogenics to make it stronger and more durable. Moreover, the ionic silver coating on it can also keep it clean and free of germs. It is made with a full tang and has a fiberglass handle. It is perfect for cutting meat, fruits, and vegetables precisely.

4. 7" Santoku Knives | Koi Series

The unique koi scale design on this Santoku knife of the Koi series makes it stand out. The pattern not only makes the knife look better but it also helps keep food from sticking to the blade. The knife is made from Japanese VG-10 stainless steel, which will not rust and can still keep its edge well, making it a good choice for everyday kitchen jobs. 

How to Maintain Your Japanese Santoku Knife? 

Taking good care of and maintaining your Santoku knife is important to keep it working well and make it last longer. To keep your knife in great shape, here are specific steps for cleaning, storing, sharpening, and using the right cutting surfaces.

1. Clean and Store Your Santoku Knife

After each use, you can wash your Japanese Santoku knife by hand in warm and soapy water to get rid of any food particles and stop germs from growing. To keep the knife from getting water spots or rusting, dry it right away with a soft cloth after washing it. Use a knife block, a magnetic strip, or a fitting sheath to store your knife. These ways of storing the blade keep it straight and unharmed by keeping it away from water and other cooking tools that could dull it.

2. Techniques for Sharpening

It is important to keep your knife sharp for safety and efficiency in the kitchen. You can use a whetstone, ceramic rod, or diamond rod. Put the blade against the sharpening surface at an angle of 15 to 20 degrees. Carefully pull the knife from the heel to the tip, making sure to cover the whole length of the blade. This method keeps the edge and makes sure that the sharpness is the same all over. 

3. About Cutting Boards

The cutting board you choose is also very important for keeping your Santoku knife sharp. If you can, use boards made of wood or plastic. These materials are softer and have a surface that responds quickly, which keeps the edges from wearing down. Glass, metal, and stone are all hard things that can dull your knife, making it need to be sharpened more often and possibly hurting the blade.


This guide helps you know what a Japanese Santoku knife is used for, its key features, Kyoku’s Japanese Santoku knives of different series, and how to maintain Santoku knives. If you want to buy a  Japanese Santoku knife that best fits your style now, check Kyoku’s website for it or for more kitchen tools. Get better at cooking with the right tools. A great Japanese Santoku knife is a good place to start. 

Edward Thompson
Hello, my name is Edward Thompson and I'm a writer who loves Japanese food and culture. I went to a great cooking school in New York and have been to Japan several times to learn more about Japanese cooking and knife culture. I know everything there is to know about Japanese knives, from their past to how they are made to how to use them every day.