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How to buyKitchen knives

How to buy… Kitchen knives

Beverley Milner

Behind pottery, Kyushu’s second most famous export is its knives. The area’s kitchens knives – fashioned by hand from local steel - are famous for their durability, strength and, when properly cared for, incredibly sharp blades. Kiyoyuki Miyamoto is a third generation blacksmith whose blades cut quite a reputation. Here he offers his tips on what to look for when choosing a knife.

Don’t be fooled by price – the most expensive blades aren’t always the best, particularly in the big towns. If you can buy directly from a blacksmith then you can usually be assured a fair price.

Look for the wave – a good Japanese blade should have a wave effect from the quenching process. You should be able to see the faint outline of this ‘wave’ around three quarters of the way up the blade. The quenching process (when the temperature of the steel is rapidly decreased) is vital to a good knife - the secret to Kyushu’s knives is that they are quenched in the local clay water. An unquenched knife will crack easily

On a double-bladed knife check that the depth of the steel is even on both sides

The tip of your knife should be ever so slightly curved, a square blade will chip.

When you examine the blade you should be able to see the three layers of steel used to create it.

The handle should be dark wood – it won’t rot

Make sure you have the right knife for the job. There are subtle differences between a knife for fish and a knife for meat etc. If in doubt as

If all else fails… Look for my mark


YAMAGUCHI KNIFE, 3604 Kayakimachi, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki, 851-0401
Telephone +81 95 892 0069

Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.



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