Finding a top-quality Japanese knife that’s also affordable? Now that’s a tough challenge. But if you want to prepare the best Asian food, a quality set of knives is essential.
Kamikoto knives are supposed to provide superb performance at a friendly price point. But are they all they’re hyped up to be?
I’ve broken down the pros and cons of all the knives on our list, as well as provided an alternative.
Which Kamikoto knife is right for you? Read this Kamikoto knives review to learn more.
Kamikoto Knives Brand Guide
Steelmaking is at the center of Honshu Island, the main island of Japan. From traditional techniques to modern technologies, Japan has quite the reputation in steel production and metal craft. Kamikoto seeks to preserve this rich tradition through knife-making.
Kamikoto is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The company sources its steel from steel mills on Honshu Island. Every Kamikoto knife goes through a 19-step process. Expert blacksmiths forge and shape the blades before sharpening them to a fine edge.
Kamikoto knives are made using one of two steels: the Genten series or the Ganjo series. The Genten steel series is a softer steel but has excellent corrosion resistance. This steel is better for those who don’t mind sharpening their knives periodically with a whetstone. The Ganjo steel series is harder and lower maintenance, but it’s more susceptible to corrosion and chipping.
Kamikoto’s blades are made by either Japanese or Chinese artisans, depending on the exact product.
It is worth noting that the Kamikoto website has a confusing pricing scheme. The full price, which is extremely high, is slashed through with a heavy discount. This appears to be somewhat of a sales gimmick. In spite of that, these Kamikoto knives actually offer good quality and value.
Japanese Kitchen Knife Buying Guide
High-carbon stainless steel is the most common material for knives. High-carbon steel is more durable and sharpens to a finer point than stainless steel. However, it will lose its edge more quickly, meaning you’ll need to sharpen the blade frequently.
Stainless steel is also a popular choice, although not as common in Japanese knives. It’s a softer metal that won’t get as sharp. But it will resist rust and hold its edge longer.
Basically, high-carbon is the better option but requires more maintenance. Stainless steel won’t give you the same performance but is easier to maintain.
When knife experts discuss blade sharpness, they refer to the angle to which a blade is sharpened. The lower the angle, the sharper and more precise the knife blade. A larger angle makes a blade suited for heavy-duty tasks that require more strength than precision.
A knife blade’s shape influences its performance for certain types of cuts. For instance, a Nakiri knife’s rectangular blade makes it well suited for vegetables but not for meats.
A Yanagiba or sushi knife’s long, thin blade is better for fish but not for hard foods like potatoes. A Deba knife’s flat blade and pointed tip make it great for cutting meat, while a Santoku’s shape gives it the versatility to cut veggies or chicken.
In addition to the shape, the bevel of a knife is also important. Single bevel knives are sharper and great for delicate or precise cuts. A double bevel is great for vegetables, chopping, or dicing. It won’t get quite as sharp as a single bevel, however.
Both the handle shape and material can play a big role in making the knife durable and comfortable to use. Wooden handles are beautiful and timeless, but they are more likely to expand and contract. African pakkawood is a common handle material.
Popular synthetic materials include G-10 or a resin-based material. Both options are stable and feel comfortable in the hand. They may not offer the beauty of a wooden handle, but they can look sleek in the kitchen.
It all boils down to personal preference.
Kamikoto Knife Review
Kamikoto 7-Inch Santoku Chef Knife: Best Single Knife
This Kamikoto 7-inch (178 mm) Santoku is an all-purpose knife. This knife features a single-bevel blade made from Japanese Honshu steel. It’s designed for right-handed users and comes in a beautiful ash wood box.
Customers raved about the weight and handling of this Santoku. They said it was well-balanced and comfortable. The grip was sturdy, even when wet. Users also confirmed that this knife is razor-sharp. They used it for meat, veggies, and more.
Several users did emphasize proper technique. Traditional Santoku knives feature single-beveled blades, but many Western companies make them with a double-bevel blade.
If you’re used to a double-bevel Santoku, this Kamikoto version will come with a learning curve. Knowing the proper cutting technique for a single-bevel blade is important.
Another essential is sharpening. Traditional Japanese knives like this one are quite sharp, but they’ll lose their edge quickly. It’s best to frequently sharpen your Kamikoto knife with a whetstone.
As far as cleaning, it’s best to hand wash this Santoku chef knife. A dishwasher could damage the blade.
This Kamikoto is a high-quality knife, but it’s also pricey. This is best for those with a flexible budget.
- High-quality Japanese steel
- Extremely sharp
- Well-balanced knife
- Must know how to use
- Not for left-handers
Kamikoto Kanpeki Knife Set: Best Overall Kamikoto Knives Set
This Kamikoto Kanpeki knife set comes with three knives, including a 7-inch Nakiri knife (178 mm), an 8.5-inch slicing knife (216 mm), and a 5-inch utility knife (127 mm).
The Kanpeki set features single-bevel blades that are tapered on one side and hollow ground on the other. These elegant knives have a satin finish on both the handle and the blade. The set comes in a wooden box for safe storage.
Each knife is precision-balanced and hand-forged from Honshu steel. These Kamikoto knives are made in China, which disappointed many users. They expected the blades to be made in Japan.
However, the Chinese manufacturing does contribute to the affordability of these Kamikoto knives.
Several customers did say that this knife set was very sharp and held an edge well. As more than one review mentioned, this set will require periodic sharpening.
- Extremely sharp
- High-quality steel blades
- Well-balanced, comfortable
- Made in China
- Hand wash only
Kamikoto Kuro Series Knife Set: Most Attractive Set
Kuro is the Japanese word for black, and these beautiful knives have a sleek black finish on the blade. These Japanese knives are made from zirconium dioxide and offer maximum hardness with superior edge retention.
The Nakiri knife is a vegetable knife, while the Santoku and utility knife are for more versatile tasks. Kamikoto does warn against using these knives for carving or boning cuts of meat and cutting hard or frozen items.
Even though these Japanese blades offer maximum hardness, it’s important to use caution. The Kuro blades are susceptible to chipping or snapping if excess pressure is applied to the flat surface of the blade.
On the other hand, these blades do feature a double bevel, meaning the blade is sharpened on both sides. That makes this Kuro set more user-friendly for those accustomed to Western-style blades.
So if you were hoping to debone a chicken or crush garlic with these kitchen knives? Think again.
This Kuro Series set is more expensive than other Kamikoto knives. Based on the reviews, it’s only worth it if you want an attractive-looking set that works well with softer fruits and vegetables.
- Great edge retention
- Sleek black finish
- Good for vegetables
- Double bevel
- More expensive set
- More brittle blades
- Not for cutting meat
Kamikoto Steak Knife Set: Best Double-Beveled Set
This Kamikoto steak knives set includes four 5-inch (127 mm) knives in a beautiful wooden box. These steak knife blades are made from Japanese steel and sharpened to an astounding 11 degrees on each side.
Traditional Japanese knives have a straight blade versus a serrated blade. For reference, a serrated blade is the type with sharp “teeth” on the edge of the blade.
This Kamikoto steak knives set has a straight blade like most Japanese knives. The problem is that most people cut steak using a sawing motion. Serrated edges perform better when cutting back and forth. So in this case, a straight edge is not the most advantageous.
Still, these blades are sharp. The low blade angle makes them better for slicing through meat than for chopping. At this sharpness, it’s better to sharpen the blade with a whetstone. A whetsone can cut the steel without being too agressive.
Customers loved their Kamikoto steak knife set. They said they were beautiful and super sharp. One user said they put their Kamikoto knives in the dishwasher, but I would recommend against that. Hand washing is a safer cleaning option.
- Double-bevel blade
- Japanese steel blades
- Non-serrated edge
- Requires sharpening stone
Kamikoto Kensei Knife Set: Most Versatile Set
This Kamikoto Kensei knife set includes a 6.5-inch boning knife (165 mm) and a 9.5-inch (241 mm) Kirtsuke knife. Both of these Kamikoto knives are single bevel knives, so they’re only sharp on one side.
These Kamikoto knives have maximum versatility. The Kiritsuke slicing knife is used for both slicing fish and also for vegetables. The boning knife is used for slicing meats and fish. Between these knives, you can cut almost anything in the kitchen without trouble.
Like other Kamikoto knives, users loved the balance and feel of these blades. The high-carbon forged blades are corrosion-resistant and suited for a variety of tasks. This offers a similar value and versatility to the Kamikoto Senshi Dual Knife Set, another popular Kamikoto offering with a classic style.
Some said Kamikoto’s blades weren’t as sharp as they were expecting, while others said they were beyond sharp.
In this video Chef Chris Grare explains why he uses the Kensei set:
- Sharp blades
- Japanese steel
- More expensive
- For right-handers only
Alternative: Shun Classic 6-Piece Slim Knife Block Set
If you’re in the market for a Japanese knife, there are alternatives to Kamikoto knives. One of the most recognizable Japanese knife brands in the industry is Shun. Shun is known for its high-end knives and durable blades.
This Shun Classic knife set includes a paring knife, Santoku, Chef’s knife, honing steel, kitchen shears, and slim-design dark wooden display stand.
All the knives in this set feature a VG-MAX cutting core with 34-layers (each side) and stainless Damascus cladding. This type of steel is top-of-the-line for Japanese knives.
Each knife is handcrafted in Japan, and the D-shaped handle provides the ultimate comfort and security.
One Shun Classic knife set review said that these knives are worth the splurge. The craftsmanship of Shun knives is superb, all the way down to the details.
- Made in Japan
- High corrosion resistance
- D-shaped pakkawood handle
- Hand wash only
Do Kamikoto Knives come with a lifetime guarantee?
Yes, Kamikoto Knives do come with a lifetime guarantee. However this only covers manufacturing defects not normal wear and tear. I would treat this as a normal warranty – if you have a problem in the first few months, return it, otherwise I wouldn’t count on this lifetime warranty.
Where are Kamikoto Knives made?
Kamikoto knives are made in Japan and China. Which country depends on the knife set you buy,
However, don’t be afraid of Made in China as Kamikoto knives are made by a select group of experienced blade experts.
Kamikoto Knives Review: Final Thoughts
Despite the gimmicky website, which is just a marketing tactic, Kamikoto makes good knives from high-quality steel. If you buy Kamikoto knives, you should get a nice addition to your kitchen. They are a decent knife brand.
If you can only get one knife, I’d go with the Kamikoto Santoku knife. It provides the most bang for your buck and can handle both vegetables and meat.
If you want a set, I’d go with the Kanpeki Knives set.
If you can manage the splurge, Shun knife sets are unbeatable in terms of quality and performance. But the price reflects that, so that’s definitely a consideration.