Tips for Caring for Your Japanese Knives

Posted by Amanda Delatorre on

Thanks to their exceptional sharpness, Japanese kitchen knives give you great control and precision in food preparation. Japanese knives perform well throughout extended use thanks to their ability to stay sharp for a very long time.  With proper maintenance you can keep your knives in great condition and  prolong the life of your edges even longer.  We recommend the following tips to help your knives last a lifetime.


The blades of many Japanese knives are thinner and harder than other styles of knife.  Because of this, there are some tasks that Japanese knives are not suitable for.  You should not cut through frozen foods or large bones (chicken joints are fine).  Designed for precision, you should never twist or use the knife to force or pry apart two pieces of an ingredient.  These kinds of actions can cause chips and fractures.  Using cutting boards with a soft surface like wood, rubber, and soft plastic will maximize the life of your edges.  Stay away from cutting on glass, metal or ceramic surfaces. 


Good knives should never be left in the sink for safety reasons, but also because your knives should remain clean and dry as much as possible.  Wash with soap and water and then dry them with a towel as soon as you are finished.  Carbon steel should be wiped down between slices and especially when cutting acidic foods, this will prevent rust from forming. Some knives are clad with a stainless steel layer to discourage rust formation, but the edge may still be made from carbon steel, so we recommend keeping all your knives dry as much as possible.  Never put your knives in a dishwasher.


Treat your Japanese knife with more care when it comes to storage as well. If stored in a drawer, be sure to use a blade protector.  Wooden sayas (knife covers) are great for this, since they allow no moisture to remain near the blade.  If storing on a magnetic strip, be careful with metal to metal, especially where moisture remains.


Sharpening is the final and most important aspect of caring for your Japanese knives.  We recommend using a whetstone as the edge becomes duller.  Honing steels can re-align edges on some softer steels, but do not remove any metal and therefore do not restore edge sharpness. Sharpening stones come in different grits, for general maintenance we recommend starting with a #1000 grit for re-establishing the edge and then a #4000 or finer stone to refine and polish. 

Shop our website for a wide selection of handcrafted Japanese knives, including multipurpose, vegetable, and Japanese butcher knives, contact Chubo Knives and visit our website.

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