Japanese Vegetable Knives

Nakiri, Bunka, and Usuba Vegetable Knives

Our Japanese vegetable knife collection is made up of nakiri, bunka, and usuba knives. These three Japanese vegetable cleaver styles offer similar functionality with a few differences. 

Perhaps the easiest to use and most commonly used by a home cook in the kitchen is a nakiri. Nakiri vegetable knives are generally 50/50 balanced and are the perfect tool to cut hard vegetables like squash, pumpkins, and potatoes. Because of their straight blade, nakiri knives are best suited for precision cuts such as julienne, brunoise, and allumette. Nakiri knives are also often used for paper-thin cuts, such as for creating garnishes for sashimi.

Although ideal for precise vegetable cuts, a bunka is often used as a multi-purpose knife for dicing, chopping, mincing, and slicing. These are similar to the Western-style chef's knife but with an angled tip. bunka knives are a cross between nakiri, gyuto, and santoku knives, with flat profiles, a compact shape, and pointed edges.

Lastly, usuba knives are thin, single-edged, and designed for the extreme precision required for preparing vegetables in the culinary tradition of Japan. These knives typically have rectangular blades and straight cutting edges. They also have heavier blades and typically a longer blade length than nakiri.

Discover the top Japanese vegetable knife styles of nakiri, bunka, and usuba kitchen knives, from globally renowned knife makers in our collection above. Choose from double or single bevels and steel types such as Damascus steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, powdered steel, and SLD. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are any Japanese vegetable knives suitable for boning?

A: While you could use a vegetable knife to separate meat from bone, especially a bunka knife with its pointed tip, we recommend a knife specifically made for boning, like a hankotsu or honesuki.You should never use a vegetable knife to cut through bone.

Q: What’s the proper method for using a straight-blade kitchen knife?

A: Because of their flat profiles, the best method for using a Japanese vegetable knife is a push-forward and pull-back motion rather than the rolling movement you would use with a curved blade.

Q: How do you prevent dulling on a vegetable knife?

A: Always use a high-quality cutting board made of wood, plastic, or rubber. You should never use your blade on glass, ceramic, or stone, as this will quickly dull a vegetable knife and can cause damage to the edge. 

Q: Are knives available in both right-handed and left-handed variations?

A: Yes, most of our vegetable knives are 50/50 balanced and available with an ergonomic handle for both right and left-handed users. For single edged knives like an usuba, please contact us to special order a left-hand model.