10 Japanese Cleaver Types

Japanese cuisine has become increasingly popular in the last few decades, and many of us have fallen for its healthy yet flavorful dishes.

But what if you don’t know how to cook? You can still enjoy Japanese food by preparing it at home with a set of good knives.

The most common type of knife used in Japanese cooking is the cleaver; there are various types, depending on your needs! In this blog post, I will cover what they are and what to use them for.

1. Sujihiki (or Slicer)

A Japanese slicer is a variation of the traditional Western-style slicer/bread knife and has an extremely sharp thin blade for cutting meats and vegetables with ease and precision.

The Western version of this knife comes in handy when you need to cut large roasts or prime ribs, while the Japanese version is perfect for smaller, more delicate cuts.

2. Yanagiba Bocho (or Fish Slicer)

A yanagiba bocho is a traditional Japanese knife used to slice sashimi and sushi.

This type of knife has a long blade with a slight curve and is designed to cut down and through fish without removing any bones or skin.

Yanagiba bocho knives run the entire length of the blade and are viewed as heirlooms in Japan due to their painstaking sharpening process.

3. Tako Hiki (or OctopusKknife)

A tako hiki is a Japanese specialty knife used to slice octopus tentacles. It has a long, thin blade that curves towards the point and is sharpened on only one side.

The tako hiki is also great for slicing other types of seafood, such as squid and shrimp.

This type of knife is also used for deveining and slicing fish, but it’s most commonly used in Japanese kitchens to prepare octopus.

4. Usuba (or Veggie Knife)

An usuba is a traditional vegetable-cutting knife that has a long and narrow blade with a rectangular tip.

It can be used to cut straight cuts on fruits, vegetables, and meats. The long blade allows the cook to slice several items at once, making it a great choice for those who want to save time in the kitchen.

This knife is also used to shave thin slices of vegetables for a garnish.

5. Nakiri (or Chef’s Knife)

A nakiri is a Japanese-style kitchen knife with a slender blade with almost no curve and an extremely sharp tip that makes this type of knife perfect for cutting straight lines on vegetables.

It does not have the versatility of a chef’s knife, but it is great for those who want to cut and chop vegetables quickly and easily.

6. Nakiri Bocho

One of my most favorite is this knife. This multipurpose knife is good for slicing vegetables, mincing garlic and ginger, cutting through fish bones, etc.

The blade of the nakiri bocho can be either straight or slightly curved; it’s typically thin and lightweight with a rectangular edge.

Be careful when using this type of cleaver to cut ingredients with a hard exterior, such as winter squash or sweet potatoes, as the blade can become wedged.

7. Petty (or Paring)

A petty is a small Japanese knife with a thin blade and a pointed tip for peeling, shaping, or intricate work.

This versatile knife is also perfect for detailed tasks such as peeling fruits and vegetables or trimming meat and poultry.

It’s similar to a paring knife in Western culinary terms but much smaller.

Although it may be difficult to use at first due to its size, it is extremely versatile in the kitchen when preparing vegetable garnishes or delicate cuts.

8. Gyuto (or Chef’s Knife)

A gyuto is the all-purpose Japanese chef’s knife that has a medium-length blade and a curved edge.

It can be used for slicing, chopping, and dicing vegetables, fruits, and meats. Because of its versatility, it is the most commonly used type of knife in a Japanese kitchen.

9. Santoku (or 3-in-1)

A santoku is a general-purpose Japanese knife that has a medium-length blade and an angled tip for cutting meat, fish, or vegetables.

The santoku is similar to the Western chef’s knife because it can be used for most tasks in the kitchen, but its unique shape and size make it perfect for small tasks such as mincing garlic or chopping vegetables.

The flexible blade of this knife is also perfect for use in deboning small cuts of meat.

10. Usuba bocho (or Veggie Cleaver)

An usuba bocho is a Japanese version of a Chinese knife used by chefs in East Asian countries to chop and slice meats, fish, and vegetables.

It has a long, flat blade with a straight edge perfect for cutting through large pieces of meat or push cuts (when the knife is pulled towards you).


These are just a few of the most common Japanese knives used in the kitchen.

Keep in mind that each knife has its unique purpose and should be used accordingly.

With a little practice, you’ll be able to use these knives like a pro and create beautiful and delicious dishes in your kitchen.