Yanagiba Sashimi Knife
What is a Japanese Yanagiba Knife (Sashimi Knife)?
A Japanese Yanagiba is often referred to as a “Sashimi Knife” or “Sushi Knife”, because it’s used to slice through large slabs of salmon, tuna and other fish to make Sashimi for Japanese Cuisine.
Unlike Western style chef knives, Yanagiba Knives are long, thin and sharpened on only one side, usually the right-hand side. Its design evolved from the need to slice through the fish without damaging the delicate fibres and thereby ruining the flavour and mouthfeel.
The shape of a Yanagiba is like a willow leaf (Yanagiba) or iris leaf (Shobu) which why it is so named. The Yanagiba is one of the most common Japanese Knives in restaurants across Japan.
How to Choose a Yanagiba
To encourage long clean cuts, we recommend a 270mm to 300mm length Yanagiba for most professional chefs.
For home cooks we suggest around 210mm to 240mm as any kitchen knife above that length is quite awkward in a home kitchen.
Carbon Steel or Stainless Steel?
Carbon Steel is easy to sharpen, holds the best edge and cuts with ease. This steel is susceptible to rust though, so it requires more maintenance and care.
Stainless Steel is rust resistant and easier to maintain, but cannot match Carbon Steel's sharpness despite recent improvements. Stainless Steel Knives are also more difficult to sharpen than Carbon Steel, requiring more patience.
Our Recommended Yanagiba Knives
Japanese White Steel #2 (Shirogami 2) is the most popular High Carbon Steel among Japanese Chefs today. The Sakai Ichimonji White Steel #2 Tan Kasumi Yanagiba is made by forging a billet of White Steel #2 at low temperatures, keeping the steels grain structure fine and uniform so that the final blade has high edge retention and crisp slicing.
Note the White Steel #2 (Shirogami 2) is a High Carbon Steel and requires careful maintenance to prevent rust.
White Steel #1 (Shirogami 1) is the closest Japanese Knife steel to traditional Japanese Tamahagane Steel, which was historically used for Japanese Swords.
The Ichimonji White Steel #1 Montanren Yanagiba is forged by our expert craftsmen in Sakai. The forging process is difficult and requires a lot of skill on behalf of the craftsman to make a quality blade, but the end result is a high quality, very hard, sharp blade for slicing easily through a block of meat for Japanese Style cuisine.
Note the White Steel #1 (Shirogami 1) is a High Carbon Steel and requires careful maintenance to prevent rust.
Silver Steel #3 (Ginsan) is a traditional Stainless Steel that has been extensively used in the Japanese culinary world and has gained a reputation as being a high performing steel that is low maintenance and ideal for all kinds of kitchen knives and Japanese Cutlery.
This "Hakugin Series" is a high-end model made by skilled craftsmen who have completed all the processes from quenching to sharpening and attaching handles.
If you are looking for a stainless-steel knife that is sharp and resistant to rust, this is the one for you.
Various types of sashimi knife
Other than Yanagiba, there are many types of knives that are similar and used in the same way as Yanagiba such as Takobiki and Fugibiki knives. There are some slight differences on shape, size, and weight. Chefs can choose based on personal preference.
How to Choose a Japanese Kitchen Knife for Beginners
Japanese kitchen knives are famous for their design, history, and cutting performance. This guide will help you select the best knife for your needs.