Japanese Knife Sharpening and Maintenance Guide

Japanese knives are known for their quality, durability, and design. They are made with the best of techniques, and they are made to last for a lifetime. The best Japanese knife can take a beating because of the heavy usage and lack of care. What we mean to say here is that you need to take good care of your Japanese Knife so that it can last long enough. Apart from the maintenance, it is also important to sharpen the knife at regular intervals. Today, we are going to share some general maintenance tips along with the detailed guide to sharpen the knife.

Maintenance Guide for Japanese Knife

Below are all the tips related to the maintenance of the Japanese Knives.

  • Usage of Knife– There is one tip for all the Japanese Knives. Do not use them to cut the bones or anything that is very hard. This can damage the edge of the knife and it can also make the metal brittle. The edge of the Japanese knives is very thin and hence you may end up chipping the edge because of the hard bones.
  • Washing and Drying the Knife– It is vital to wash the knife after every usage and it is even more important to dry the knife after using it. Never put your knife in the dishwasher even if it is dishwasher safe. The best way to clean the knife is to use a soft sponge, hot water and soap to clean the knife. Once this is done, dry the knife using a soft towel.
  • Using Cutting Board– You must always use a cutting board while using the Japanese Knife and ensure that the cutting board is made of soft material. The best ones are those that are made of rubber or Sani-Tuff. You can also use the soft plastic boards if you are looking for something in a low budget. Just avoid buying the boards made of hard material like granite, hard plastic and bamboo.
  • Storage– You must take special precautions after washing and drying the knife. Yes, we are talking about the storage of the knife. The ideal way to store the knife is on the magnetic strip. You can also use the knife block to store your Japanese Knife. A lot of people may store their knives in the drawer, but you need to ensure that the blade stays protected while you are storing the knife in the drawer.
  • Traveling with Knife– If you are a professional chef, then we assume that you will also be traveling with your knives. In such a case, you must invest in a good quality knife roll bag that will enable you to carry your knife and protect them while you carry them. Some of the best knife roll bags are made of leather

Sharpening Guide for Japanese Knife

In this section, we are going to talk about the basics of sharpening the Japanese Knife. We do not recommend the usage of automatic sharpening tools or honing rods as they can damage the blade profile. Check out more information below.

  • Using Whetstone– Below are the steps that you need to take care of while using a whetstone. This requires some practice but it is the best way to sharpen your Japanese Knife.
  • Prepare the whetstone– Before you start sharpening the knife, ensure that you have the equipment ready. To prepare the whetstone, soak it in water for 10 to 20 minutes and the stone is ready to use when there is no bubbling. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions here. Also, have a towel handy with you to wipe the blade when it is required during the process of sharpening. Before you begin the process, place the whetstone on a flat surface that would not slip while you apply force.
  • Prepare the Blade– The next step is to ensure that you are using the right side of the blade on the whetstone first. Place the thumb on the blat surface of the knife and use your index finger to support the spine of the knife. The other three fingers should be holding the handle. This will prepare your knife to be sharpened and you can now move on to the next step.
  • Finding the Right Angle– This is yet another important point that you need to know before you touch your knife on a whetstone. Ensure that you have the knife touching the whetstone at the right angle. The angle should be such that the knife should not slide easily and it should not face a lot of resistance while you move the knife either. Different knives have a different bevel angle and you need to find the correct one for your knife. Ensure that you use the same level throughout the process.
  • Sharpening the Knife– After finding the correct angle, use both your hands to slide the knife on the whetstone. Use your left hand to apply slight pressure. Ensure that you are using the same angle. Check the blade after every few strokes. You will notice murky water on the stone during the process and you must not remove that. Also, ensure that there is always enough water on the stone. Follow the same process on the other side of the knife
  • Testing the Edge– Now, you can remove the burrs from the knife and test the sharpness in the newspaper. Ensure that the edge feels smooth. Try cutting a roll of newspaper or cork to test the sharpness of the blade. You can also use higher grit whetstone to get the desired finish.
  • Cleaning the Knife – The last step is to clean the knife. You can use the instructions listed in the maintenance guide on this page while you are cleaning and storing your knife.


It is really important to take proper care of your Japanese Knife so that you can use it throughout your life. These are some of the best investments that you can make for your kitchen. For any other information, write to us and we will help you in getting the answer.

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