Best Shun Sushi Knives: The Art of Cutting and Slicing

If you fancy quality Japanese knives that are razor-sharp and extremely durable, then you need to check out what the best Shun sushi knives are offering. It is no secret that you can find a mass-produced knife economically priced that you can use for everyday cooking. However, you are missing out on something great; the ones that are handcrafted with passion, experience, and history. In my opinion, eastern recipes require traditional tools. Extreme sharpness is a necessity when you are dealing with raw fish; a golden rule for preparing authentic food like sushi.

Shun is a popular name in the cutlery business. The brand belongs to the Kai Group. It is incredible that they have been in operation for the last 110 years, making decorative and practical knives that stand out with unique features. These exceptional cutleries are manufactured in the city of Seki, which is also famous for being the sword and knife capital of Japan. It takes over 100 handcrafted steps to make a single Shun knife.

Once you get a grip onto one of them, then the perfectly balanced, and the razor-sharp blade will let you know why it is so popular among chefs. Shun means the perfect state of any food in Japanese, and Shun knives mean perfect slices and cuts that you will elaborate on in your cooking adventure.

The following lists include the best knives that Shun offers for making sushi and sashimi.

Shun Cutlery Premier — 9.5 Inch

Shun Cutlery Premier 9.5-inch Slicing Knife; Create Thin,...
  • Create thin, beautiful slices every time with the Shun Premier 9.5-Inch...
  • Blade glides through poultry, pork, beef, venison, fish with less friction...
  • Hammered tsuchime finish helps release food easily when cutting;...
  • Whether slicing a roast for an intimate dinner, large family gathering, or...
  • Simple and easy to use for everyone: host, hostess, chefs, moms, dads,...

You need to be extra selective when you are shopping for a versatile chef’s knife. Note that it can either make your sushi look gorgeous, or turn it into a disaster. So, it is a good idea to learn what kind of a chef’s knife you need for making delicious sushi and sashimi. The first rule is the level of sharpness; it is a necessity, not a luxury. I just don’t like knives that tear the raw meat and make a mess while you are trying to slice as the juices from the meat and vegetable pass on to rice and change its color.

The Shun Premier knife is sure not one of them. Your sushi will never get squeezed. What you get is a premier knife that glides like a razor super smoothly. However, it should not come as a surprise for this hand sharpened monster to be that way since the blade also has hammered Tsuchime finish on it. It makes the knife very decorative, but most importantly, it makes it easy for the food being cut to get released fast.

The walnut colored, easy-grip PakkaWood handle is so soft to touch and I feel like it relaxes my wrist when I overwork with it for long hours. Most Japanese knife companies prefer to use PakkaWood handles since these are durable, but the best part is the fact that they don’t harbor any bacteria at all. I think this is important because we are dealing with raw fish while preparing sushi, and better hygiene is greatly appreciated.

Shun cutlery applies several different production technologies to its outstanding knives. There are seven different ones used according to the needs of the particular knife. This one is produced with their VG-MAX cutting core steel. You cannot find this type of material from any other brand as it is specifically produced according to Shun’s strict guidelines. It is basically an advanced steel with extreme resistance against corrosion. The long-lasting edge is incredibly sharp, and extremely thin. Plus, you get 16° degree cutting edge. So, you better watch out your fingers.

Cleaning and maintenance of the Shun Premier knife are pretty important if you want to keep it around for a while. You have probably heard before that Eastern knives do need special care. If you want a piece of good advice, then just never put them in the dishwasher, as this would severely damage them. Instead, use hot water and gentle dish soap.

You need to stay away from the acidic soaps that contain lime and similar ingredients. Also, do not use steel wire scrubs, or tough brushes. Another reminder; it will get rusty if you let it sit in the sink. Wash thoroughly and rinse fast. Make sure you dry it well with a towel afterward. If you do not follow these instructions, then your knife can get corrosion and might chip while you are cutting. But, if you do, then you can be sure that it will last a long time.

Shun Cutlery Premier 9.5-inch Slicing Knife; Create Thin,...

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  • Blade is 9.5 inches
  • Total length is 14.5 inches
  • Weighs 13.6 ounces
  • Damascus cladding
  • Heat treated
  • Handcrafted in Japan


Shun Dual Core Yanagiba — 10.5 Inch

Shun Dual Core 10.5-inch Yanagiba with Ebony PakkaWood...
  • Chefs, especially those specializing in raw proteins, sing praises of the...
  • Dual Core blade is comprised of 71 layers of two alternating,...
  • Handle is PakkaWood, a genuine hardwood infused with resin for a durable,...
  • Shun Dual Core 10.5-inch Yanagiba comes with a traditional Japanese saya,...
  • A worthwhile investment, the Shun Dual Core Yanagiba makes an ideal gift...

The steel used on a knife is probably one of the most important features. The 10.5-inch, dual-core Yanagiba is made from premium quality stainless steel. This is what I call unmatched mastery of swordsmanship. From the bolster to the tip, this knife is a fascinating piece of art. You might as well hang in it on your wall for exhibition purposes; it is that good. The only drawback might be the price. Do not get me wrong; it is not overpriced with all these extraordinary features. However, you definitely need some budget for this beauty.

There are many quality chef’s knives in the market, but things do change when it comes to making authentic food. Any sushi chef could easily fall in love with the Shun Yanagiba. In short, it is the perfect sushi knife, and a little more than that. It is composed of 71 layers of two alternating premium stainless-steel. What that means for the novice cooks is that it will glide through the raw meat like the chopper of a helicopter cuts air. The rigidity that the blade provides is incredible when you are working on raw food. I like that it is a little heavy since it is the only way to get a good balance.

This stunning knife is designed for right-handed use. Please check with the company before you buy if you are left-handed. However, they state that most of their left-handed users have no issues. The traditional PakkaWood handle is octagon shape and gives you a secure grip. It is water resistant and easy to clean. Never put it in the dishwasher, hand wash only. You need to dry it well to protect it from rust and corrosion.

This is your tool if you are after professional grade cuts. You get 16°- degree, high carbon, high chromium steel blade for precise slicing. It is a good investment for any kitchen enthusiast. It comes with a traditional sheath.

Shun Dual Core 10.5-inch Yanagiba with Ebony PakkaWood...

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  • Blade is 10.5 inches
  • Total length is 16 inches
  • Weighs 9 ounces
  • Includes traditional Japanese Saya (sheath)
  • VG10 and VG2 steel
  • Handcrafted in Japan


Classic Hollow Ground by Shun Cutlery — 9 Inch

Shun DM-0720 Classic 9-Inch Hollow-Ground Knife, Handcrafted...
  • Classic Hollow-Ground Slicing Knife’s long, narrow blade allows cleaner...
  • Blade features Shun's proprietary high-performance VG-MAX stainless steel...
  • Attractive, comfortable PakkaWood handle is intended for consistent and...
  • Blade is hand-sharpened to 16-degree angle, double-bevel cutting edge;...
  • Narrow profile and hollow-ground indentations to help blade glide through...

Here is a talented slicing knife that you can use for preparing sushi. Another classic handcrafted Shun blade that is perfect for thin cuts. You get to keep more of the meat’s juices and flavors when you use a narrow slicing knife like this. First thing you will notice on the blade of this razor-sharp cutter is the hollow ground indentations. Note that the hollows are on both sides. This allows for less friction by creating tiny air-pockets between the knife and the food you are cutting. The final result is the easily removed meat from the blade with each slice.

Shun’s high performance VG-MAX stainless-steel is used on this item along with 68 layers of Damascus stainless-steel. What you get is incredible edge retention, and outstanding sturdy edge. It is hand sharpened to 16°- degree, meaning you can glide fast with one move. Again, the handle is PakkaWood made from genuine hardwood with resin as in other Shun cutlery products. It sure stands against moisture.

Although it is labeled dishwasher safe, I still suggest you keep this and other Shun knives away from water as much as you can. Turn it into a habit to dry them well after you wash and rinse. These are precious knives that will remain sharp for a long time as long as you provide the proper maintenance. Just never leave them sit in the sink and you will extend their lifespan enormously.

You can also use this knife for carving and other general cutting tasks. However, slicing raw fish thinly should be its primary usage as it is an extra sharp Eastern knife. Hint: it makes great sashimi.

Shun DM-0720 Classic 9-Inch Hollow-Ground Knife, Handcrafted...

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  • Blade is 9 inches
  • Total length is 16.9 inches
  • Weighs 12.8 ounces
  • Scalloped blade design
  • Dishwasher safe
  • VG-MAX and Damascus stainless steel
  • Handcrafted in Japan


Shun Classic Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core — 8 Inch

Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core...
  • VG-MAX steel is a formula exclusive to Shun with extra tungsten for a...
  • Handle is ebony PakkaWood; PakkaWood is a hardwood infused with resin for a...
  • For proper slicing, push the knife forward and down while cutting through...
  • “Shun” the Japanese word indicates a food’s peak ripeness; Shun draws...
  • The 8-inch Chef’s Knife is a staple kitchen utensil and a great gift for...

If you are looking for a more affordable Shun sushi knife, then you may consider this 8-inch classic with VG-MAX cutting core. It is an all-purpose blade that you can use for cutting and slicing a variety of food items besides sushi and sashimi. Regardless of the price, you will notice unparalleled quality and talent in all handcrafted Shun products.

They are all perfect for preparing traditional Japanese food. However, some advanced sushi chefs may need additional features since they produce a lot of them in a typical day. Another reason would be that some cooks get more detail oriented over time. If you are one of them, then I would suggest the options above for optimum results. On the contrary, if what you need is a practical chef’s knife that can help you make fancy sushi at the same time, then you found it.

You get many of the same features as the other Shun products like the PakkaWood handle. It is the same quality with others; keep your knife away from bacteria, and protect against moisture. The knuckle protective bolster is in there too. This knife features a curved blade for easier cuts.

How sharp is it? Well, in addition to the VG-MAX formula with extra tungsten, they added chromium, cobalt and carbon for advanced durability and edge. However, the knife is pretty lightweight at 7.2 ounces. I usually do not like light knives as they are not balanced well. But this one is not of them; it is extremely well-balanced and convenient for cooks of all ages.

This knife comes in different sizes ranging from 6 to 10 inches. It is another hand-crafted blade with 16°- degree sharpness from Shun’s high-quality chef’s knife series. It is also one of the best sellers.

Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core...

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  • Blade is 8 inches
  • Total length is 15 inches
  • Weighs 7.2 ounces
  • Damascus layering
  • VG-MAX
  • Handcrafted in Japan


Shun Sora Chef’s Knife – 8 Inch

Shun Sora 8 inch Chef Knife, NSF Certified Cutlery...
  • The must-have kitchen knife - handcraft in Japan
  • Steel: proprietary composite blade technology; VG10 san Mai cutting core;...
  • VG10 is clad with one layer of stainless steel on each side to create the...
  • Handle: traditional Japanese handle design in easy-care, textured PP/TPE...
  • Hand wash only, blade length is 8 inches. Steels are permanently joined

The Sora chef’s knife has some unique features when compared to other Shun knives. For starters, the handle has a traditional design with a curve that provides a perfect grip and balance. So, you get a secure feeling the second you grab this sword-like knife. The company named this series as Sora, which means ¨Sky¨ in Japanese to highlight the sky like features of the knife. You don’t have to lift it much while slicing since it has less curve on the blade, unlike the western style chef’s knives.

The material used is VG10 three-layer plus Japanese 420J stainless steel. It is hand-sharpened to a 16°- degree. So, what you get is a very sharp and durable chef’s knife that is also versatile to be used in many different food preparations besides sushi. It is not dishwasher safe; hand-wash only for longevity and protection against rust. It is economically priced that also makes it an excellent choice for those who are new to the world of talented eastern knives.

I think it would make for a great intro if you do not have much experience with single sided, extra sharp blades. You can also check out these other sushi knives from different manufacturers for different yanagi options. Learn how to choose the best sushi knife and get best one according to your needs.

Shun Sora 8 inch Chef Knife, NSF Certified Cutlery...

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  • Blade is 8 inches
  • Total length is 14 inches
  • Weighs 6.6 ounces
  • Gyuto style
  • Composite Blade Technology


What Knife is Best for Sushi?

Sushi making requires a very sharp slicing blade that is narrower than a regular western type chef’s knife. Your knife should enable you to glide through the raw fish in one single step, otherwise you would mess the meat. Sushi does not only taste good; it also looks cool and very decorative. Dull knives can never give you that sharp edge to prepare yummy looking sushi rolls.


Why is Shun Cutlery Different?

Shun makes exceptional Eastern knives abiding Japanese sword and blade traditions. The company is known to exceed its own technology regularly. It is easy to realize that innovation and continuous improvement is part of Shun’s corporate culture. In comparison to heavier European knives, the Japanese versions are lighter, but the steel used in the blade is much stronger. Indeed, they can hold their edge for longer while being much sharper. Western knives are honed on both sides, while the Eastern knives are honed only on one side with sharper degrees. You would notice that European knives have degrees in the range of 20° to 25°, while the Japanese sharp blades range around 15° to 16°.

Can You Sharpen Shun Knives?

You can sharpen Shun knives with the Shun honing steel. It is necessary to sharpen your professional knives on a regular basis as it prolongs their lifespan. You basically put a fresh edge on the blade when you remove metal by sharpening. This in turn improves the longevity of the knife enormously. Make note that the company also sharpens your some Shun knife models free of charge, all you need is to check with an authorized Shun/Kai dealer.

In Conclusion

Best Shun sushi knives are great examples of Eastern style Japanese cutlery. Produced in Seki, Japan, they are perfect for making sushi. The mastery behind these traditional knives is out of this world. They are much harder, lighter, and sharper when compared to western-style blades. You get a piece of handcrafted art that is produced with more than 100 steps according to the old-world sword and knife manufacturing techniques when you get one of these. The 9.5-inch Shun Premier Cutlery is a great option that can work wonders when making Sushi. If you have the budget and in need of a more advanced one, then I suggest you go with the Shun Dual Core 10.5-inch as it can also fulfill the needs of a highly skilled and experienced sushi chef. Remember, you can use any of these as a chef’s knife for preparing other western-style foods too.

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