Nakiri vs Usuba Knives: Which One You Should Buy?

Are you new to the Japanese cutlery world? Getting confused with the unusual names? If that wasn’t enough, comes Nakiri vs Usuba knives, to add up more to your confusion. So here we are to clear up all your confusion about these.

The main distinctions, similarities, advantages, and disadvantages of Nakiri and Usuba knives – we have outlined all that for you. So you can finally find out which style best fits your needs, budget and regular demands.  

In light of all of this, let’s begin!

Usuba – The Expert in Exquisite Vegetable Garnishing

Usuba knives, which are actually Japanese, are really amazing. The term “Usuba” depicts a “thin blade,” and they are famous for having a sharp edge. You will also this as a “single bevel” because it has only been sharpened and polished on one single side.

As a result, the knife is comparatively sharper and has a smaller angle at the edge. However, a single-bevel knife built for right-handers; appears to pull slightly to the left while cutting straight down. Single bevels that are for left-handed would incline toward the right. It will take you some time to learn to control it; but once you master it, you can use it the best.

Because of its exceptional performance, this blade is generally used by skilled Japanese cooks. Since this knife’s edge is like razor-sharp, it is the ideal instrument for extremely thin and precise slicing.

2 Types of Usuba Knives

Usuba knives come in two main categories, and both are typically between 180 and 240 millimeters in length.

1.    Kanto Usuba

This knife features a blade with a square-shaped edge. Sometimes the blade’s tip can change, appearing as a rectangular one or a semicircular one. Even though it’s smaller, it looks like a meat chopper.

2.    Kamagata Usuba

The KamagataUsuba is an Osaka native from the Kansai area. Its tip is very slightly pointy. This knife’s sharp tip allows it to do more delicate tasks. You can easily \ prepare fruits and vegetables with sharp cuts and carvings.

Pros of Usuba Knives

  • The Usuba’s razor-sharp edge and tiny blade angle make it ideal for cutting through hard vegetables with precision.
  • The Usuba is hefty and weighty. This indicates that it may effectively cut downward without requiring you to apply excessive pressure or back-and-forth sliding.

Cons of Usuba Knives

  • If you are a beginner at cooking, Usuba is not a good knife for you. It requires good skills to sharpen and use. It is difficult and requires patience and expertise to achieve a consistent and precise angle across the blade.
  • It has a very thin blade, which makes it more difficult to create than using and maintaining it. A high-quality Usuba will therefore be more expensive than a Nakiri.
  • Left-handed and right-handed people will need to use different Usubas. It makes the knife less flexible.

The Nakiri – The Best Vegetable Knife in Japan

It is a very powerful blade along with being super adaptable and simple to use. The word “Nakiri” translates to “Leaf Cutter”, which somewhat expresses its task. This one is tall and has a very flat edge. This indicates that you don’t need to follow each stroke as the entire blade is making contact with the cutting board. You can easily master this knife with a short amount of practice.

Nakiris are double-beveled knives, which means they are symmetrically ground and sharpened, which you will see in the majority of knives in North American or European kitchens. If you compare it to their single-beveled ones, these are easier to use and sharpen.

Pros of Nakiri Knives

  • Nakiris are usually affordable knives. Even premium models will generally cost you between $100 and $200.
  • Both right-handed and left-handed cooks can use the Nakiri’s double bevel knife
  • The Nakiri is adaptable as you can slice different things with various methods. Beginners can effectively use this knife without any specialized training because it is very easy to use.

Cons of Nakiri Knives

  • Compared to a single bevel, double bevel blades will always have a wider angle. So a Nakiri cannot be the sharpest one.
  • It doesn’t create the need because most of the cuts can be duplicated with another expert knife.

3 Key Differences Between Usuba and Nakiri to Know About!

The length and precision of both knives are more than sufficient for handling any vegetable that comes across your kitchen counter. They are exceedingly precise, reliable, and constant.

In the following section, you will find the qualities of the Nakiri and Usuba that make them different from each other.

1.   Cutting Edge and Bevels


The major difference between both the Usuba and the Nakiri is here. The Usuba’s cutting edge is single-beveled. The end product is an incredibly thin and sharp one. The disadvantage of this knife is that it is not suitable for opposite-hand usage. It means you will need to get the left-handed one, or right-handed one, and use it with only that one arm.

You will face another problem with this knife. It has a very sharp edge, which means the blade becomes the thinnest at the edge. Usually, steel knives tend to be harder, but this one is actually fragile. The thin edge makes it easily breakable and chips quite easily as well.

Be careful to understand traditional Japanese cutting skills, and make sure to use the superb technique. Besides, you must have a great cleaning and upkeep routine for your knives and only use the kind of e best cutting boards for them.


The cutting edge is the key distinction between Nakiri and Usuba. The edge in the case of Nakiri is double-beveled. This indicates that you get both sides of the cutting edge have been sharpened. But, unlike Usuba, you can use the knife no matter if you are right- or left-handed, which has several effects as well.

The cutting edge comes to a point that sits in the center of the knife and offers a very intuitive and familiar cutting line. If you’re relatively new to Japanese knives or professional knives, the Nakiri knife is the safer and more enabling choice for starting with.

The knife’s middle part, where the cutting edge ends, provides a cutting line that is both intuitive and well-known. However, the Nakiri knife is the safest and more practical option to start with if you’re just started working with Japanese knives or professional knives.

2.   Price range


Usuba knives are among a few of the priciest among highest performing knives available right now on the market. You most likely won’t locate a good Usuba that doesn’t sell for an absurdly high price. These knives are expertly made by skilled craftsmen using centuries-old hand-forging methods, which automatically raise their value.

You are receiving top-of-the-line performance and quality with this knife as soon as you pay attention to the detail. Usuba knives are typically seen in commercial kitchens where skilled experts utilize them because they have a huge stack of knowledge and the muscle memory required to fully use the potential of this knife.


There isn’t much of a price difference between Usuba and Nakiri. Even while the Usuba knife is slightly more affordable, a decent Nakiri knife will still cost you a good amount of money. Each knife is made from steel and hand-forged by skilled forgers after a backbreaking and complex forging procedure.

To increase the high-grade steel’s resistance to rust and corrosion, they mix the steel with various substances, which raises the cost. A nice Nakiri knife will bring out a significant sum of money. You will need to spend extra if aesthetics are essential to you; collector’s edition models are no different in the case of pricing.

3.   Skill Requirement


It will take a lot of time and effort to gain perfection with the Usuba knives because it is so really difficult. Besides, they are difficult to sharpen and can get deformed if you work with them in the wrong way. The materials required to sharpen these blades are quite costly, and the sharpening process gets costly as well.

Also, you must make sure the knife you are choosing the knife that fits your dominant hand. Spend some time developing the muscle memory needed to get extremely precise and thin slices. You’ve got a lot of work to do if you are thinking of learning all the unique traditional cutting techniques with this knife. Once you get adept with this knife, you can produce results of the highest quality


The skill requirement for Nakiri knives is not as high as it is for Usuba. The double bevel and the way the knife slices are mostly responsible for this. You’ll discover that it’s really simple to use, particularly if you haven’t polished your chef knife techniques well.

This knife is excellent for laying the groundwork, so you don’t need to bother about mastering any complicated methods already. With this knife, you may attain expert results that are comparable to what you would get from an Usuba once you complete on learning level.

Usuba vs Nikiri Knives: Which Should You Buy?

Usuba knives are perhaps more appropriate for you if you are more confident in your knife-handling abilities. In addition to its exceptional cutting ability and ultra-fine edge, it also produces a more sensitive result that is intended to enhance the abilities of people working in the culinary business.

You will need to spend money on one tailored for your dominant hand, though, to meet your demands. You could want to check into this if you are a chef or kitchen expert. The Nakiri knife merits consideration for people who are just starting their culinary adventure or who merely wish to improve their home cooking skills.

Apart from fitting with everyone, this knife’s flexibility makes it a useful item to have around the house in general. And, when the surface is broader, you get more area for the knuckles to control the blade while cutting. Additionally, despite frequent honing, the Nakiri blade does not shrink or lose sharpness over time, which makes making it a worthwhile investment.

To Wrap Up

That’s all from the detailed discussion regarding between Nakiri vs Usuba knives in detail, their features, and, pros and cons. Now it’s up to you to choose the best one for your kitchen, depending on your requirement.

But before that, no matter what knife you are choosing, make sure you are using it only after perfecting the skill. As it is not only necessary for your cooking, but also your own safety.


Check out the below most commonly asked questions if you have anything to clarify about regarding the topic:

What are Usuba knives for?

Usuba, which literally translates as “thin blade,” is necessary to cut hard vegetables into precise slices without breaking them. Usuba is also used for specific cuts like katsuramuki, which involves slicing vegetables into a thin sheet with their height and straight edge.

Is a Nakiri knife worth it?

Nakiri knives are definitely worth their cost. They can easily handle simple tasks like cutting herbs and mincing garlic, but they can also dig into a thick stack of kale or a five-pound head of cabbage. This knife is going to be your best friend especially when you are a vegan and cut vegetables only.

Can you use a Nakiri knife for everything?

Yes, you can if you want as this knife is considered an all-rounder. Slicing, dicing, mincing, and chopping – all these are excellent uses for this knife. Also, you can use it on both meat and vegetables if you want. But as it has a very thin edge, it would be better not to use it for meat.

Is a Nakiri knife good for meat?

Well, you can cut meat with this knife; it is not the best option. Nakiri knife has a very sharp edge that makes the cut smoother, but the sharpness can make it fragile too. So, while cutting meat, you may end up deforming your knife. Therefore, you should avoid cutting meat with it even though it offers a great set of cuts. 

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