Filleting fish is always fun and games until you use the right knife because not every knife is for filleting. Professionals generally use either Japanese or German knives to fillet fish. The best Japanese fillet knife is different from a German knife considering the shape and blade features. And I am biased towards using Japanese knives due to their high-quality and amazing craftsmanship.
To find the best Japanese fishing knives, I usually opt for the one with a combination of flex and a stiff blade. And most importantly, I find the sharpest Japanese knife with a 6-7 inches long blade and a complete slip-proof handle. However, a single-bevel (blade sharpen on one side) Japanese knife is more precise at filleting than a double-bevel blade. So, choose the knife wisely.
After thoroughly researching the Japanese fillet knives available in the market, I tried several Japanese knives for fish. And considering all the above features and my personal experience, I have shortlisted the best Japanese steel knives. The Yoshihiro Shiroko Deba knife is our top pick and best japanese fillet knife among all these knives. Because the knife has every quality of the best Japanese knife, if you’re in a hurry and can’t read the complete reviews, you can trust this one for its unmatchable features.
Japanese knife VS German knife
|Features||Japanese Knives||German Knives|
|Blade Thickness||Japanese fish knife blades are thinner.||German blades are, although thin, still thicker when compared to Japanese blades.|
|Blade Sharpness||Japanese steel blades are thin, which makes them quite sharper.||They usually don’t have a better edge than Japanese knives.|
|Edge Retention||They keep a great edge and are easier to sharpen.||German steel knives have a better blade edge durability feature.|
|Flexibility||Most Japanese knives are harder and stiffer.||They are softer and more flexible than Japanese knives.|
|Blade Construction||Japanese tuna fillet knife blades are built straight and mostly halfway into the handle.||German fillet knife blades have curved tips and are generally full-tang (single steel from tip to bottom)|
|Functioning||Japanese fish knives make precise cuts and fillets, especially when they are single-beveled.||German knives are not as precise and fine as Japanese knives.|
Buying Guide For Best Japanese fillet Knife
Japanese knives are more expensive than other knives. Here is what you should look for to get the best Japanese knife at a fair price.
1. Blade Flexibility
Japanese blades have a high ratio of carbon which makes them less flexible. However, many Japanese fillet knives are stiff and flexible at a time. So, it is better to find one of that type.
2. Blade length
Japanese filleting knife has a blade size range of 6-7 inches which is smaller than other fillet knives. But the sharpness and quality of Japanese steel make the knives perfect for all fish sizes.
Handle material matters when filleting a fish because of its slime. If the handle material is not slip-proof, your safety is at risk. So, choose the knife with a non-slip and comfortable grip (preferably wooden) handle.
4. Double or Single-Bevel
Most traditional Japanese knives are single-bevel (blade sharpened on only one side). Single-beveled knives help in making precise cuts effortlessly and are incomparable at filleting. However, some Japanese knives are also double-beveled, which is not wrong; you can opt for the one you prefer.
Best Japanese Fillet Knives Reviews
Please read the reviews of the best Japanese knives with their pros and construction, based on my personal experience and point of view.
1. Yoshihiro Shiroko Kasumi Deba Fillet Knife: Overall Best Japanese Knife for Filleting Fish
- Blade length: 6.5 inches
- Blade material: Stainless steel
Filleting fish was never easy until I found Yoshihiro Shiroko, one of the best Japanese fillet knives.
The knife comes with a deadly sharpened blade that you can start filleting right off the delivery. The sharp edge helps in filleting all fish sizes within moments. Don’t worry about the sharp blade because the full grip handle will save your hand every time.
The Yoshihiro fillet knife has a wooden blade cover to store it in a drawer without risking your safety. Plus, the knife doesn’t require much sharpening, but I prefer keeping all my blades extremely sharp at all times. And the white steel blade makes sharpening the Deba knife very effortless.
Yoshihiro Kasumi is the best Japanese Deba knife you can get at this rate. The cheaper ones don’t match its qualities and the ones with the same features are more expensive.
- An extremely sharp single-bevel blade
- A 2in1 fillet and boning knife
- Easy to sharpen white steel
- Solid finish and exceptionally amazing craftsmanship
- Expensive Japanese Deba knife
I love every feature of the Yoshihiro Kasumi Deba knife. From an extremely sharp blade and slip-proof handle to its blade cover. And full marks for its premium Japanese craftsmanship. Although the knife is expensive, but it’s best Japanese fish knife offering excellence with the best qualities and longer durability for the price.
2. Shun Cutlery Premier Boning & Fillet Knife: Best Japanese Boning and Fillet Knife
- Blade length: 6 inches.
- Blade material: Stainless steel
I was always looking for a Japanese knife that lasts long, and my search definitely ended here.
Shun cutlery premier is a durable knife with an ultra-sharp combination (stiff and flexible) blade. It is one of the best fillet knives with the sharpest blades I have come across, and I use it for both boning and filleting fish. It requires very less effort; move your wrist and slide the knife smoothly into the meat. Please make sure not to cut yourself.
The Shun Japanese fishing knife is lightweight with a well-balanced construction, making it easy to handle. I find it easy to use for any job, including cutting veggies, filleting fish, and boning meat.
Shun Premier is exceptional in filleting fish because of the sharpest blade and non-slip handle. I can even use it with closed eyes; you don’t try it, please; it was a joke. It’s just that the knife lets you enjoy the filleting process without the fear of your hand slipping.
- An ultra-sharp-edged knife
- A non-slip handle ensures safety
- A great balanced Japanese knife
- Professional craftsmanship
- No sheath
Suppose you’re looking for a professionally crafted knife with an aesthetic appearance, then it is the one. Shun cutlery premier fillet knife offers a low-angled sharp edge of the blade. Although expensive, a lifetime investment for sure. Invest once and enjoy for the rest of your life.
3. JapanBargain, Set of 3 Japanese Knives: Best Affordable Japanese Knives Set
- Blade length: Different for all three knives
- Blade material: Stainless steel
A set of three Japanese knives for this money? Unbelievable, right? Believe it or not, JapanBargain offers a set of three exceptional knives:
- Santoku (for cutting chicken and veggies), 7 inches blade.
- Nakiri (a cleaver knife for chopping fruits, veggies, and meat like pork and chicken), 6.5 inches blade
- Sashimi (single-bevel blade for seamless fish filleting), 8 inches blade.
Santoku and Nakiri knives are double-beveled and are easy to handle and control. Both the knives are sharp out of the box. I don’t recommend chopping or cutting bones with them because it might damage or chip the blade.
The Sashimi knife is a long and sharp blade knife for filleting a whole large fish in a single go. It is the flawless knife I found for making sashimi and the thinnest fillets. And the handle has a unique design to give an ideal fit and comfortable grip.
I was doubtful when buying these knives because of their low cost, but you can invest in them considering my wonderful experience. The knife set is premium steel with a great razor-sharp edge. Moreover, they are easy to clean and fit perfectly in the sheath. What more can I ask?
- A set of three premium knives at a very affordable price
- Highest quality Japanese steel blades
- Non-slip and full-grip handles
- Blade sheaths included
- Not suitable for cutting and chopping bones
All three knives are razor-sharp with a comfortable grip handle, making cutting and filleting a fun task. The knives arrive well packaged, and I would love to get such an amazing gift. The JapanBargain set proves that spending a lot of money is not essential to get premium quality Japanese knives. And you will find it hard to find the best japanese fish filleting knife at this price where you are getting three.
4. KYOKU Samurai Series – Yanagiba Knife: Best Japanese Fillet Knife for Large Fish
- Blade length: 10.5 inches
- Blade material: Japanese steel
I was searching for a Japanese fish fillet knife with a long blade look; I found this legendary knife.
KYOKU Yanagiba knife is the best razor-sharp knife that helps me make the thinnest fillets, excellent sashimi, and sushi. And the single-bevel blade does every job very smoothly and precisely. The sashimi knife has a solid construction and holds the edge very well.
The thing I like the most about the KYOKU Japanese fish cutting knife is the comfortable feel of the wooden handle. I was unsure about the knife when buying it, but now I’m very pleased. I love to fillet and skin large Salmon, which is a few minutes of business for this salmon fillet knife.
One thing I learned the difficult way is to keep my hand away from the pointed tip at all costs, or else it will hurt me again.
- A large razor-sharp blade
- Wooden handle supplies smooth grip
- A solid knife with great durability
- Blade cover included
- The handle should be a few ounces heavier to provide a better grip
The KYOKU Japanese knife is the bang for the buck. It offers every quality of a good knife at an affordable price. The solid construction knife having a perfectly sharpened blade with a full grip wooden handle is all I need from a Japanese knife. And I will not hesitate to give my business to KYOKU when buying Japanese knives in the future.
5. Shun Cutlery Kanso Boning and Fillet Knife: The Sharpest Japanese Fillet Knife
- Blade length: 6.5 inches
- Blade material: Alloy steel
Shun cutlery Kanso fillet knife is one of my favorite go-to knives for skinning, deboning, and filleting fish. I was amazed at how sharp the blade had arrived. Thankfully I was very carefully unboxing it. Otherwise, I would have surely cut my hand. The blade is of superior quality, and its sharp edge-keeping feature is unreal.
Shun Kanso Japanese knife for filleting fish is a professionally handcrafted knife that can last for decades. The knife is very lightweight and easy to handle with good balance. The knife offers a great wooden handle that will never let you lose grip.
Shun fillet knife is the best saltwater fillet knife a professional chef or butcher can find, which can pull off any fish-related task effortlessly.
- Very sharp blade out of the box
- Premium non-slip wooden handle
- It offers a great balance to hold easily
- No blade cover
Shun is known for the best Japan knives they manufacture while providing excellent features. Shun fillet knife offers value for the money. From its ultra-sharp premium blade and comfortable grip handle to great craftsmanship, the knife has everything anyone can desire in a fillet knife.
6. Kessaku Flexible Fillet Knife – Spectre Series: Best Flexible Japanese Filleting Knife
- Blade length: 7 inches.
- Blade material: Stainless steel
Unlike many other Japanese steel knives, the Kessaku fillet knife is flexible. It has a thin, super-sharp blade, making skinning and filleting large fish a cakewalk. Don’t be deceived by its smooth-looking blade edge because, in reality, it is razor-sharp. I can’t demand anything more at this price.
The pakkawood handle of the Kessaku fillet knife gives a nice feel in hand and ensures easy and comfortable handling. Plus, the blade doesn’t lose the edge even after a whole day of using it on different fish. I’m hoping it to be my forever go-to fillet knife.
The beautiful construction and elegant packaging of the Kessaku fillet knife make it the best Japanese fillet knife gift.
- Excellent sharp and flexible blade
- Great value for money
- Non-slip premium pakkawood handle
- Blade sheath included
- Well-balanced and solid construction
- The sheath quality should be a little better
The Kessaku flexible fillet knife offers the qualities of expensive knives at an affordable price. The sharp and durable blade edge make this knife exceptionally user-friendly. Plus, I love the handle’s complete grip feel; flying colors for the amazing craftsmanship.
Related Guides on Fillet Knives:
Q1: Is a single-bevel knife suitable for lefties?
Single-bevel (one side edge) knives are usually not meant for lefties. These knives have an edge on the blade’s left side, which is why they become more suitable for right-handed people.
Q2: How to sharpen my Japanese fish fillet knife?
Japanese steel knives have great edge retention and keep their blade sharp for a long period. They don’t need much sharpening, but I like my knives razor-sharp and shiny, and a few fine-grit whetstone strokes are enough. Click here to get my favorite whetstone for Japanese knives.
Q3: Why are Japanese knives expensive?
The blades use high-quality Japanese steel and are constructed by a forged welding technique to achieve good hardness. Moreover, Japanese knives are mostly handcrafted; these factors eventually make them expensive.
When I struggled to fillet fish, I thought the best Japanese fillet knife was all I needed. And after using the Yoshihiro Shiroko Kasumi Deba fillet knife, I think I wasn’t wrong. Once you start using Japanese fishing knives in your daily cooking, there is no way you’re shifting to any other knife. Please ensure to keep your hands safe from those sharp and pointed tips. And keep your knives clean and shiny sharp at all times.