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Kai Shun nakiri: cut your vegetables like a Japanese chef

The nakiri knife is a traditional Japanese vegetable knife suitable for many kinds of vegetable and fruit. A Kai Shun nakiri knife has a distinct look; with its rectangular blade, this knife is perfect for precise cutting tasks. Please note: this knife is not suitable for chopping through bones.

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Features of Kai Shun nakiri

Kai Shun nakiri blade

A Kai Shun nakiri is characterized by its straight blade that enables you to use the entire cutting surface. The edge is wafer-thin and razor-sharp. This allows you to cut very precisely. Most nakiris have a double-sided grind which makes the knife great for both left and right-handed use. However, there are exceptions so pay close attention whether you are dealing with a single or double-edge grind when purchasing a nakiri.

Usuba or nakiri?

Usuba knives and nakiris are very similar knives: both are vegetable knives and look like a bit like an axe because of their rectangular blade shape. However, usuba knives and nakiris are not the same! The difference between these knives can be found in the blade and the way it has been sharpened.


This vegetable knife has a one-sided grind. As a result, the blade is thicker and heavier than a nakiri. Since the knife's sharp edge is located on only one side of the blade, it's possible to cut very thin slices of food. Usuba knives are often used to prepare traditional Japanese dishes like keiseki and sashimi. These knives do require a bit more maintenance because of their one-sided grind.


A nakiri has a double-sided grind, which makes it thinner than a usuba. Because of this, a nakiri is lighter than a usuba, but also a bit more fragile. Use it to cut softer vegetables. This knife is not suitable to cut through bones. Thanks to the thin grind, these knives are perfect for cutting thin slices of vegetables. Maintaining your nakiri is quite easy, thanks to the double-sided grind.