As time passes, more and more people are coming in touch with their hidden culinary expertise. With these introspective discoveries, aspiring home cooks are stocking up all the quality utensils a pro needs in their kitchen, including essential Japanese fillet knives, which are the trickiest tool to inspect before purchase.
Buying the best Japanese fillet knife isn't something you can do on a whim while browsing through online stores or your local shops. Many factors come into play when considering a quality knife, including sharpness, maneuverability, user comfort, and more.
Thanks to our team of researchers, you won't have to go far with your search for the right knife. We've compiled the following list of the top 10 Japanese fillet knives as chosen by verified consumers internationally to bring you the best options.
10 Best Japanese Fillet Knife Reviews
Every home cook needs to have the proper fillet knife in their arsenal, but it can get tough to find an affordable one without compensating for the quality and performance of the blade in exchange. So, we've only included picks that suit your budget without any low quality.
1. Shun Kanso 6.5-Inch Boning/Fillet Knife
Starting off with our top picks is the dual boning and filleting knife from Shun. This alloy steel blade allows you to make swift cuts without roughening up the structure of the meat.
This knife is part of Shun's Kanso series, which gives it the perfect blend of traditional and modern designs. As per tradition, the knife carries a simple build that makes utility easier and does not get in the way of your culinary creativity.
As for the modern aspect, the blade is razor-sharp with a grip that provides maximum balance.
Because of this design, this knife is very comfortable to use. Especially when cutting tough meats, the blade can glide through and reduce prep time considerably. So, you can expect the most in minimal movements.
This knife can get it done in mere moments, whether it be deboning, chopping, slicing, filleting, or anything that requires a precise cut.
It's a downside to having a slightly uneven blade. But luckily, it's nothing a little reshaping can't fix. Overall, this knife is great if you're looking to upgrade from regular knives to something a bit more professional without spending a fortune.
2. DALSTRONG - Phantom Series Fillet Knife, 6.5"
Dalstrong is known for its highly durable kitchen utensils that do not stray away from traditional design. That's why this knife, out of its impressive Phantom series, is second on our list.
Aside from its sleek and elegant design, the blade itself is thin and irrevocably sharp. It enables the knife to carry out expert performance with every slice and make precise cuts with little to no drag, reducing prep time.
The blade is designed to perfection to resist as much flexibility, damage, corrosion, chipping, and wear and tear as possible. That makes it an exceptional tool in the harsh conditions of a busy kitchen.
We recommend this Japanese fish filleting knife to home cooks that don't want to keep replacing or resharpening their knives and need a utensil to rely on for a long time. We're sure this one will impress you with its high durability.
3. TUO Damascus 6 inch Boning Fillet Knife
Another highly praised filleting knife from our research is this pick from TUO. Along with its rustic appearance, the knife delivers brilliant precision with long-lasting performance.
The blade is made of highly durable forged Japanese AUS-10D and 67 layers Damascus, making it stand out among other fillet knives usually made of stainless steel. This material makes this knife impressively sharper than usual filleting utensils.
Moreover, this particular material of the knife enables it to resist most forms of damage that a regular kitchen knife would be weak to. It includes resistance from water damage, corrosion, abrasion, and more. That means this knife can easily be washed in the dishwasher, eliminating the need for washing by hand.
Plus, this knife also allows the user to make delicate slices with the utmost comfort with little to no tearing or damage to the meat's structure.
We found it hard to find actual downsides to this exceptional Japanese filleting knife. It's widely liked by aspiring cooks, and considering its impressive, long-lasting performance, we agree with them.
4. DALSTRONG Fillet Knife - 6" - Shogun Series
Next up on our list is another pick from Dalstrong, but it's from the Shogun series this time. This knife is praised for its revolutionary performance, with the sharpness of a scalpel.
The angled blade is nitrogen cooled to deliver excellent performance, with resistance to bending, corrosion, abrasion, and other kinds of damage. This sleek blade withstands the harshest kitchen conditions without faltering quality, making it a brilliant long-lasting utensil.
Additionally, the blade is tapered exceptionally to a sharp tip allowing precise cutting and an angled edge to aid quick slicing without jagged edges on the meat. The AUS-10V Japanese super steel material enables the blade to move through any meat without stressing the user's hand.
Also, the handle is triple-riveted, which enhances the blade's ability to move with minimal drag, and provides maximum user comfort for increased hand control.
This is by far one of the best Japanese fillet knives we've come across that has long-lasting performance, razor-sharp precision, and stabilizing features altogether without being costly. You might need to resharpen it sometimes, but it will never cease to impress you regardless.
5. TUO Damascus Boning Fillet Knife 6 inch, Ring R Series
Made entirely of high carbon steel, this filleting knife by TUO delivers expert durability that can withstand the harshest kitchen environments.
This mighty 6-inch blade comes from TUO's Ring series, which means it's built for high agility and impressive, long-lasting features. The blade's material enables it to withstand the damage of almost all ranges, including abrasion, rust, fading, bending, etc.
The edge of the blade is paper-thin but incredibly sharp, making it able to dice, chop, slice, carve, or cut any meat or vegetable with little to no resistance. So, if you're looking for a Japanese knife for filleting fish effortlessly, this one is the best choice.
This knife definitely takes a bit of practice to get used to, but its filleting features are unmatched, making it an excellent pick for preparing Japanese cuisine meals.
6. TUO Damascus Boning Fillet Knife 6 inch
For our sixth pick, we have another option from the TUO Ring R series. The knife is made of indestructible traditional high carbon steel from Japan, making it a hard-working utensil in the kitchen.
Tough meats, especially red meat that requires thorough cuts, can be cut like butter with this knife. The blade is angled to perfection to provide a steady cutting motion for the most hand control. Plus, the edge is sharp enough to go through meat without the need for a second cut.
This single riveted blade may look like any other kitchen knife. Still, it is carefully tapered with a lifted base made of light yet durable material so that each and every cut is effortless and puts no strain on the user's hand.
Most knives tend to be on the thicker side, so we don't see this as a negative for this knife. Because of its traditional design, this is a perfect Japanese knife for filleting fish because it was manufactured carefully to carry out this specific function due to its classic design.
7. Shun Classic 7-inch Flexible Fillet Knife
Prepping meat and vegetables can take a painstakingly long time, especially when you're in a time crunch and need to get things done quickly. Keeping this in mind, Shun manufactured this prep time reducing fillet knife that chops up various ingredients in a flash.
The blade is made of alloy steel, which is an excellent damage-resistant material, especially against corrosion, abrasion, and the harsh conditions of a busy kitchen. After cooking, this material makes it easy to hand wash the blade without retaining a "fishy" odor.
Moreover, the blade itself is angled so that the tip ends with a sharp point for precise cuts and effective deboning. It's thin, so you won't have to worry about tiring out your hand by lugging on a heavy knife.
Plus, the handle is comfortable and easy to carry, making the most out of its maneuverability feature.
This is by far the best Japanese fillet knife we came across that is perfect for filleting fish. Due to its flexibility, it can effectively detach the meat from bones without crushing the structure of the flesh, which many fillet knives struggle with.
8. Shun Premier Gokujo Boning Fillet Knife
Another option from Shun that consumers around the world really liked is this traditionally designed filleting knife.
With this knife, you're getting 6 inches of highly damage-resistant stainless steel patterned with a rippled design and an angled edge.
In fact, the spine of the knife is curved alongside the edge of the blade to optimize the cutting motion so that you adopt a steady and quick slicing pattern without having to exert much effort.
The handle is made of Pakkawood, and as we've discussed before, this material is ideal for maintaining a good grip while cutting and also lets you take more control of the blade for added precision.
Unlike with the other Japanese fillet knives in our list, we struggled to find more than one negative aspect. The structure of the blade is perfected to require minimum effort to bring out the most precise cuts, which is ideal for a fillet knife.
9. TUO Sashimi Sushi Yanagiba Knife
Last on our list is another excellent option from TUO and its highly acclaimed Vesper series. Out of all the fillet knives on our list, this one's the longest, with up to 8.25 inches, giving you the most cutting space.
The blade is made of TUO's signature AUS-10 stainless steel, cutting through the toughest meats like paper. As for the edge of the knife, it's angled for carefully detaching flesh from bones without roughening up any surfaces of the meat.
Even though the handle is single riveted, it is designed with a spiral pattern to provide a comfortable grip, letting you take complete control of the blade. With this, the user can move the edge according to their speed and style without the hilt slipping out of their palm.
We recommend this pick for aspiring cooks opting for a more professional Japanese filleting knife, as this one is built perfectly for beginners.
Why Is a Japanese Fillet Knife So Expensive?
A good Japanese fillet knife can carry a hefty price tag of up to 900 dollars. This is primarily due to their extensive history in culinary arts as well as culture. Japanese artisans spend decades perfecting their skill to bring out the most durability and sharpness to these fillet knives.
Japanese fillet knives can take hours, sometimes even full days, to produce, unlike regular kitchen knives.
Most of the time, they're handcrafted by professional knife makers who have inherited a special family secret on making the best quality knife. This is why the material of these knives differs drastically from that of regular knives.
Once a slab of this material has been cut, it is put into the oven and heated until bright red. By then, the artisan begins the hammering process, which continues for an extended period of time until the knife is flattened into a desirable thickness. Then the artisan spends another long period sharpening and testing the knife for durability.
You can easily tell the difference between a regular knife and a traditional Japanese fillet knife by the texture of the blade. The top of the edge has many small indentations from the extensive hammering, symbolizing the hard labor of the artisan.
Because of the long and rich history behind the traditional Japanese filleting knife and its unmatched sharpness, its cost is significantly higher than the knives we're used to.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best Japanese knife for filleting fish?
In the traditionalist way, the best Japanese knife for filleting fish is the 'Deba' knife. However, these knives can be very costly to get ahold of. So, we recommend any of the 10 affordable and high-quality filleting knives listed above.
2. What is a Japanese fillet knife called?
A Japanese fillet knife is called the 'Deba,' which is a term used by the traditional artisans and skilled knifemakers of Japan. These knives are known for their thickness and razor blade sharpness, which is ideal for filleting fish.
3. What knives do Japanese butchers use?
Japanese butchers use more than one knife when it comes to handling different meat. Some notable Japanese fillet knives are Gyuto, Yanagiba, Hankotsu, Chspmomo, and Honesuki.
4. How do you fillet a Japanese fish?
You will need a Deba knife for filleting a Japanese fish. Grabbing hold of one pectoral fin, slice under on both sides to cut off the head.
Now, you have the option of cutting across in a straight line down the stomach or spine; regardless, you should end up with two equal parts of the midbody.
Finally, cut as close to the skin to remove the scaly layer from the meat. You should now have two to three pieces of boneless meat.
5. Can you fillet with a Yanagiba?
After filleting, a Yanagiba knife is usually used to slice the meat into thin pieces for sushi or sashimi. However, considering the sharpness of the blade, it can easily be used to fillet a fish.
6. What is a Sujihiki knife?
The Sujihiki is designed to slice boneless meat. When slicing, the blade's small height provides less friction, and it effortlessly slices through fish and meat.
The best Japanese fillet knife is not determined by how expensive it is. Sometimes, it just has to do with sharpness, durability, and long-term performance. Luckily, all our picks have these qualities, so you are free to make any pick and be satisfied.