Best Yanagiba Knives from Okingjoy

Best Yanagiba Knives

“ Like many aspiring yeast bread bakers, I too have been searching for ways to improve my cooking skills.  Instead of turning to my regular chef's knife, I sought inspiration in the nameless heroes of my knife collection. Among all the Japanese knives I own, Yanagiba Knives have allowed me to develop new culinary techniques and turn my sushi-making dreams into a reality."

As always, the key to delicious Japanese cuisine lies in fresh ingredients and proper tools. If you want to create sushi that rivals restaurant quality, investing in a sharp and flawless traditional Japanese knife, especially the Yanagiba Knife, is an absolute necessity. 

Understanding your tools and their uses is crucial. First, let's learn what Yanagiba Knives are and how they differ from any old regular kitchen knife. Next, we'll explore all the ways Yanagiba Knives can be used in the kitchen. Then, I'll share my recommendation for the best sushi knife. You'll be slicing sashimi in no time.

1. What is a Yanagiba Knife?

The Yanagiba knife, originating from the Kansai region of Japan, is one of the most glossy and elegant Japanese knives you can find. The term "Yanagiba" translates to "willow leaf" in Japanese, which perfectly describes the knife's long and narrow blade resembling a willow leaf.

The Yanagiba's uniquely slim and elongated blade shape is ideal for smooth and uninterrupted slicing, making it the dream knife for every sushi chef. Without a long knife like the Yanagiba, it would be impossible to elegantly and smoothly slice through raw fish from top to bottom.

Typically, the blade is only sharpened on one side, which is why it is also referred to as a single bevel knife. The Yanagiba's single bevel blade ensures precise cuts, fluid movements, and clean slices every time.

If you are looking to achieve the perfect sushi slice or simply appreciate the artistry behind Japanese knives, the Yanagiba knife is a must-have. Its glossy and elegant design, coupled with its exceptional slicing capabilities, make it a prized possession for any chef or culinary enthusiast.

2. What is a Yanagiba Knife Used For?

When it comes to slicing sushi, the Yanagiba knife, also known as a sashimi knife, is the ultimate tool. Its long, thin blade is specifically designed for creating thin slices of raw fish, making it ideal for both sashimi and nigiri sushi. For those unfamiliar with sushi, sashimi refers to thinly sliced raw fish, while nigiri consists of a layer of rice topped with a piece of raw fish.

Japanese sushi chefs unanimously agree that the Yanagiba knife is essential for preserving the flavor and texture of raw fish. You will find this type of knife in the best sushi kitchens as well as in the homes of sushi enthusiasts like myself. However, this versatile knife can also be used for cutting large cuts of festive meat, such as roast beef or ham, skinning fish caught for daily consumption, or slicing certain types of meat sauce into thin strips.

With the growing popularity of Yanagiba knives in the Western world, they are increasingly being used to cut foods like pork tenderloin, steak, and poultry. If you desire paper-thin, clean-cut slices, the Yanagiba can be used to cut almost anything. Furthermore, these knives are incredibly delicate and sharp, allowing you to even debone or cut through a whole chicken with precision when necessary.

3. How to Use a Yanagiba

When utilizing a Yanagiba (or Yanagi) knife, it is crucial to exercise caution. These Japanese blades possess exceptional sharpness and possess the ability to effortlessly slice through any variety of fish, provided they are properly maintained and sharpened using the appropriate whetstone.

To achieve a precise slice with a Yanagiba, employ a smooth and continuous motion, as a sushi chef would when cutting through tuna or salmon. This guarantees a confident and clean cut that will not leave your raw fish fillet in disarray.

Unlike a paring knife, a Yanagiba is not designed for dicing. Slicing is the primary objective. Firmly grasp the handle with the sharp stainless steel blade facing downwards, and exercise extra care with your fingers while utilizing this knife.

Execute a single fluid motion from tip to end, bearing in mind that the slender blade facilitates an effortless one-motion chop. If you are slicing something other than sushi, you will have a bit more leeway to work with.

4. Recommendations for the Best Yanagiba

Whether you are a fan of sushi or not, having a Yanagiba knife (also known as a Yanagi knife) in your kitchen collection is essential.  Slightly thicker than a Sujihiki knife, it is the ideal tool for slicing sashimi, serving as a graceful and reliable kitchen utensil.  With its long sleek blade, this knife brings prestige to your culinary domain.  The slim and elegant design of its willow-like blade is both visually appealing and daunting to those who lack confidence in their knife skills, yet it proves to be the perfect companion for those who are skilled in the art of slicing.


Yanagiba Slicer 11” | Okingjoy

Look no further than this impressive knife if you desire style and a sashimi slayer. Crafted from Japanese high-carbon VG10 steel, this Yanagiba knife is the ultimate choice.

The knife's exceptional quality is due to its three main grinds, each of which contributes to its superiority, making it ideal for sashimi. It minimizes drag and provides a smoother surface, reducing the risk of tearing or pulling.

This Japanese steel is of the highest quality, thanks to cryogenic tempering with liquid nitrogen. As a result, the knife retains its flexibility while becoming sharper and stronger.

This Yanagiba knife stands out as the most attractive among all those I have seen. Its hot-forged pattern and chic handle have the power to elevate even the most lackluster of kitchens when you unveil this culinary tool.


5. Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a Yanagiba knife?

The Yanagiba knife has traditionally been used by Japanese chefs for slicing sashimi and other types of food. However, it is now commonly used for slicing various proteins such as pork, chicken, and steak.

What is the typical size of a Yanagiba?

Yanagiba knives can vary in size, with blade lengths ranging from 8” to 14”. However, the most common sizes are usually between 9.5-11”. The size of the knife depends on the chef's personal preferences, but I personally prefer a slightly smaller blade.

Is a Yanagiba knife necessary?

Absolutely. Even if you don't regularly consume sushi, this knife is more versatile than it may seem. Owning different styles of knives or a high-quality knife set allows for more experimentation in the kitchen. So, whether you plan on becoming a sushi chef or not, I highly recommend adding one of these beautiful Japanese knives to your collection.

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