In the US we love Asian food, especially Japanese, but it has struggled to make its way into the home kitchen of many Americans.
Asian cuisine often requires some more specific cookware and utensils in order to enact the specific techniques required to get the authentic taste of Asia.
For instance, many Asian dishes cooked in a wok, a rounded pan with a flat bottom, get a very unique flavor known as ‘wok hei’ which is only really possible with the use of a wok, unless you deconstruct each step.
In any case, it is much easier to cook many Asian delicacies with the help of cuisine specific cookware.
This is true for many Asian cuisines beyond Japan, but a good Japanese cook set can also enable you to cook many other foods from our friends in the East.
Moreover, Japanese cookware sets are recognized for their high quality.
That's why Japanese knives often dominate the high quality kitchen knife market but they also produce many other great kitchenware as well as authentic crockery.
In this article, I have found some of my favorite Japanese Cookware Sets to meet different requirements of what you want to do in the kitchen, as well as some useful tips for buying a kitchen set.
Here are the best Japanese brand cookware sets on the market. Meshiagare!
OUR TOP PICK
Best Cutlery Set
Before we get into the pots and pans specific to Japanese cuisine, it would be a fruitless endeavor if you didn’t have some authentic Japanese crockery and cutlery to eat your Asian creations from.
This set is ideal for almost any Japanese dish: ramen, pho, soup, tempura, onigiri, almost anything you would want to make from the great country of Japan.
Of course, the set includes everything you would want from a Japanese cutlery set: 4 bowls, 4 soup spoons, 4 sets of chopsticks, as well as four stands for your chopsticks.
The bowls are red on the inside and black on the outside, invoking the classic colors we relate with the east, but maintaining a modern and sleek look that would blend into any American kitchen.
The cutlery, the chopsticks and the soup spoons, is a very clean black color that invokes the minimalism we love from the Japanese restaurants we frequent.
The bowls remain at a really great size, being able to hold around 32 oz of volume, the normal large Japanese serving size.
Allowing you to scale your dishes down with ease but also being able to woof a big bowl of noodles down just like Naruto.
- Ideal for most Japanese dishes for those who want to cook Japanese cuisine
- Good size for large families
- Minimalist design to suit your American kitchen
- Reasonably Priced to save money
- No cooking utensils or drinking vessels can restrict usage at home.
Best Sushi Set
If Sushi is what you are looking to make, then this steamer and sushi set could be the ideal purchase.
To make authentic sushi you don’t need any crazy pans or knives or anything, you simply need a sushi roller, and potentially steamer, as is included, for more specific types of sushi.
In addition to having everything you need to make sushi, the bamboo steamer is a really good and high quality addition to the set.
This means that in addition to making sushi you can also make many Japanese dishes such as steamed dumplings, gyoza, maki rolls, and more!
With this simple steamer you could even explore Asian cuisine further and make things like bao buns, steamed rolls.
Or simply use the steamer in normal cooking practice to steam vegetables and even fish.
The steamer on its own is a pretty good piece of kit, even if you didn’t want to make Japanese food you could use this in the kitchen for multiple cuisines and different uses within the kitchen, so it's a worthwhile purchase.
On top of the steamer and the sushi roller, you also get two sets of chopsticks, as well as a little sauce dish and a metal steamer ring.
This brings the price into consideration, while a little on the pricey side this is exactly the sort of kit that you will need to make sushi and for a one-time investment and the right care this could last a while.
- Everything you need to make sushi at home, in one kit
- Sustainable bamboo so you can be eco-friendly while enjoying your food
- Reasonably priced so you don’t burn a hole in your pocket
- Can be used for other cuisines in your repertoire
- Bamboo can be easy to break at home
Best Knife Set
This Japanese knife set is a good one if you want to try out the Japanese style of knives.
The set includes a Japanese style 5-inch utility knife, a 7-inch nakiri knife, a 7-inch santoku knife, as well as an 8-inch Japanese style chef’s knife.
These are the classic Japanese knives used for different kinds of Japanese cuisine: Sashimi, certain fish cuts, and for sushi.
If you want to get into Japanese cooking then this is a good place to look as Japanese chefs are often particular about their knives which have been specifically engineered for Japanese dishes.
Each knife is made from a steel core of high-quality steel and forged with three additional layers of composite steel, which illustrates how long-standing and high quality these knives are.
Having multiple layers of steel can make the blade stay sharper for longer and can create a mild serrating action, which is helpful for cutting.
Moreover, the 16-degree V shaped blade makes the knife additionally sharp as well as cutting easier and more comfortable.
The rosewood handle adds a classy aesthetic to the knives, helping them blend into other cookware and kitchen tops, but they have a practical purpose to help with grip and ergonomic comfort.
With these four knives, you will be set in the kitchen for basically any cuisine, but these knives can help you complete your Japanese kitchen in style.
- High quality steel forging means it won’t break easily or chip
- Ergonomic handle makes cutting easier
- Well-balanced knife is easy to use
- Could include a knife rack or knife wrap to safely keep the knives.
Best Wok Set
For those who are looking for a wok set that can prepare them with everything they need to cook with a wok, then this is it.
A wok is an essential part of Asian cooking, Japanese or otherwise, and should be a necessary investment for anyone who wants to get into this type of cuisine.
This is a clever investment of your money as you are not only investing in a high-quality wok but everything else that comes within this set.
In the set you will find a 13-inch carbon steel wok with wooden handle, large wok chopsticks, a wok brush for cleaning, a wok ring for cooling, an oil rack to drain.
As well as a wok spatula, slotted spatula, noodle spoon, slotted spoon, rice spoon, soup ladle, carving fork, as well as a wooden cover lid for your wok.
If you want to get into this type of wok cooking, then this is the ideal set to buy.
It has everything you need and more, and you will never feel underprepared.
One thing we love is that additions are just thrown in, all the utensils are made specifically for wok use, so the spatula has a rounded edge so that you can really get to grips with your wok.
Another useful feature is a detachable handle of the Wok which allows you to keep the handle fresh when cleaning as soaking the wood in water all the time can lead to general wear.
The flat-bottomed wok is ideal for almost any type of stove top, induction, conduction, or gas.
In order to achieve this ‘wok hei’ this is highly specific to Asian cuisine, you will need a gas burner.
The carbon steel material also means that the pan is great at conducting heat as well as keeping the heat in the middle of the pan.
Finally, the honeycomb design of the wok adds an extra element of durability, helping to prevent scratches, meaning the wok is made to last for a long time.
- Set is good value as comes with many extras
- Wok is made to last, so you don’t have to buy another
- Detachable wooden handle means you can washa safely and use in the oven
- Reasonably Priced compared to other brands
- Metal utensils could potentially cause scratches
Best Yukihira Pan Set
The Yukihira pan is a staple within both home and restaurant Japanese cooking.
It is a style of pan mainly used to cook Japan for soups and simmering vegetables.
Authentically the pan is hammered manually by the maker giving it a dimpled feel like a golf ball.
This helps heat circulation around the pan as well as making it very durable.
If you want this kind of pan, one of the few pans and pots they use in Japanese cooking, then this is an ideal purchase.
The simple pan comes in some different sizes depending on which you would prefer, including 1.7 quartz, 2.2 quartz, and 3 quartz.
No matter what pan size you get, the pan comes as a set alongside a glass lid with a steam hole.
This lid is great as it doubles up as a strainer to drain water from the pan.
The material is made from stainless steel which has ideal conductivity for this type of pan.
- Has uses outside Japanese cuisine, so it has multiple uses
- Easy to clean at home
- Simple design means less can go wrong
- Stainless steel could get marked up with metal utensils
There are some things worth considering before you choose to purchase a cookware set.
Having a think before you buy can really save you a lot of time and potentially money once you can hone in on what you really want as well as what you need.
There are many other things to consider that you may not have thought about before, which can prevent any annoying hiccups with your product down the road.
Of course, all different cookware will often come in many different materials to suit different needs.
Carbon Steel is a great material for pans and is often used for woks, such as the featured wok, in order to conduct heat well which is a pivotal design requirement in a Wok.
It is also durable and lasts a long time.
A stainless steel wok would burn food onto easily, for instance, while a non stick may not conduct so well.
Another great material choice that is quite common is the non-stick pans that promise a non-stick surface from the get go.
These non-stick pans can often be made from Teflon, but the materials can change.
They are often cheaper than cast iron, but this non-stick coating can also lose its sheen and non-stick if not treated properly or kept well.
Another popular material is stainless steel.
Yukiharas, such as the one featured, are almost always stainless steel as they want to absorb heat well to boil and simmer liquids.
It can be one of the best conductors of heat but can require some cooking skill to be sure not to burn it, they aren’t non-stick nor can they gain a non-stick coating, but manual skill is often required to not burn it.
Items Within A Set
It’s important to consider what you actually want with your kitchen set.
If you are looking to revamp your whole kitchen utensil draw, then there are often sets which include many different utensils and tools for this purpose.
If you simply want pans, or a wok set, then consider a product that only offers these items in order to save money.
If knives are what you’re looking for, first consider how many knives you want, some sets can offer single knives fit for a purpose while others will offer a large knife set.
If you want to cook something specific and want the necessary utensils, it’s often possible to buy these specific items within a set or on their own.
For instance, the cookware sets included are specific to Japan, so they will include other Japanese items most of the time, which is desirable.
If it includes other American tools, there may be better choices out there.
Cutlery sets are often not included with a kitchenware set, so if you want cutlery, be sure to look for these specifically.
Obviously, some sets will be more expensive than others.
It’s worth spending the money on authentic Japanese stuff rather than paying loads for something that includes 1 million utensils you already have.
Pricing can be affected by how many things there are included in the set, so consider what you need and what can be considered superfluous in order to save money.
Pricing can also be affected by quality, if you plan on using these sets for a long period of time and revamping your kitchen with them then consider something higher quality and more expensive, otherwise you might be left with something that can deteriorate quickly.
You want to hit that sweet post of a good quality set that provides you with what you need, which should find you in the ideal price range.
As you can see, there are many types of Japanese cookware sets out there for different types of dishes.
It’s clear that Japanese cooking requires these specific utensils for specific applications, so making sure you are getting good value for your money when purchasing is important.
Whether you want knives, pots, crockery, or specific kitchenware, this article has you covered for most Japanese dishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Most Used Utensil In Japan?
Unsurprisingly, the most used utensil in Japan is chopsticks.
While some Americans find them impossible to use, you are raised to use chopsticks from a very early age in most Asian countries.
In Japan, chopsticks are known as ‘Hashi’
What Is A Santoku Knife?
Santoku means ‘three virtues’ or ‘three uses’ in English.
This refers to the multi-use of the one knife, which is commonly known as the chef’s knife in Japan.
The three virtues can either be interpreted as slicing, chopping, and dicing, or they can be interpreted as the ability of the knife to chop fish, meat, and vegetables.
The knife is essentially a multipurpose one that is used popularly in Japanese kitchens for its ease of use and multiple applications.
Many Western chefs have now adopted the knife into their kitchen as it can be used for many applications, on many materials, as well as being durable.
Traditionally, and when well crafted, the santoku knife has a perfect balance between the blade and handle; the blade’s width and weight is exactly similar to the weight of the tang and the handle.
This perfect balance enables serious handling abilities when cutting through anything and is another reason chefs love to use this knife for many things as well as Japanese cooking.