If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d know that my obsession with Japanese kitchen knives is indisputable – and the YASHA Santoku knife is an absolute game-changer.
I strongly believe that having a quality kitchen knife is essential in every home cook’s arsenal and this hand-forged kitchen knife is truly designed to take your skills to the next level.
Today I will be reviewing the Santoku knife by YASHA, a Japanese knife brand that creates kitchen knives hand-forged by Japanese artisans in Tsubame-Sanjo, a region with over 400 years of traditional metalwork experience.
Originating from Japan’s capital of metalwork, YASHA brings high-end Japanese kitchen knives for the world to experience.
Founded by a collective of artisans with decades of experience in knife-making, YASHA draws from the rich history of the Tsubame-Sanjo region to create knives that are hand-hammered and sharp-edged to the highest quality.
The cross between ancient tradition and modern technology
Each YASHA knife is hand forged using VG10 high-grade Damascus steel for durability, cutting precision, and performance.
The comfortable octagonal wooden handles are crafted from Japanese zelkova and roasted chestnut finished with a buffalo horn ferrule.
The iconic ‘demon’ symbol on the blade of the knife depicts Yasha, a Japanese yōkai that has a strong presence in the Tsubame-Sanjo region, known for protecting its people.
Upon receiving the knife directly from Japan, I was immediately stunned at the impeccable packaging and the attention to detail in each part of the design. The sleek packaging with the vibrant orange-black contrast immediately caught my eye, and the overall unboxing experience was a memorable one.
As soon as I unpacked the knife, I was blown away by its breathtaking design and the natural feel of the wooden handle. The exact product I received was the 180mm SANTOKU knife in Roasted Chestnut, which is a versatile, multi-functioning knife that can be used on your daily prep sessions whether it’s slicing, dicing, or mincing.
The box also came with a detailed pamphlet outlining everything from the background of the knife to details about its material, bolster, and handle, which was incredibly insightful prior to using the knife.
As the Santoku design is suitable for everyday cooking, I took the initiative to incorporate this knife into daily use for about 1-2 weeks to provide an honest insight with you guys. And without exaggeration, I was completely blown away by the quality of this knife.
One thing that’s important in a kitchen knife for me is the feel of a knife, specifically how comfortable it fits in your hands. Your knife in the kitchen is ultimately the extension of your hands during preparation, and for me, that cooks constantly throughout the day, this is highly important.
The natural feel
One of my favorite parts about this knife is how natural it feels in my hand, and also how perfectly lightweight it is for everyday use. Having used many knives in the past, the weight of the knife often was problematic for me, as I felt that my wrists were strained after long use if the blade or the handle was too heavy.
The weight of the Santoku knife, personally, was perfectly balanced between the handle and the blade, which made it incredibly comfortable to use on a lengthy basis. The precision edge of the blade, coupled with the properly distributed weight, enabled me to cut without demanding hard work from the arm.
After using this knife for about a week or so, I found myself constantly reaching towards this knife due to its natural grip. The chestnut wood handle is also incredibly smooth and durable, which further elevated my experience.
This YASHA kitchen knife is made of VG10 Damascus steel, which is extremely sharp and has the advantages of both carbon steel and stainless steel. It cuts exceptionally well like carbon steel, and like stainless steel, they do not rust.
I’ve used many kitchen knives in the past, but the edge and precision of this knife are truly remarkable from the day of opening to now, even after weeks of use. The blade is so incredibly sharp that it cuts tomatoes like butter, and was especially helpful when I needed to make precise cuts and especially when preparing sushi.
Making dishes that require that extra bit of control, such as the dragon roll, was an absolute breeze with this knife. I was able to get beautiful, clean cuts of the roll with minimal effort which in turn enhanced the overall presentation of the dish, reducing my efforts in the retouching process.
To maintain the sharpness of the knife, I plan to use my whetstone when needed, but it has not been necessary yet and probably won’t be for a long time.
YASHA Santoku knife: final thoughts
Overall, I am incredibly pleased with this knife and will continue to use it in my kitchen for a very long time.
Purchasing a high-quality knife is an incredibly worthy investment for anyone that cooks regularly in my opinion, as they do last a lifetime and have the power to completely transform your experience in the kitchen.
In my honest opinion, the Santoku knife by YASHA is easily one of the best knives I have ever used and truly lives up to its origin of Tsubame-Sanjo and their local craftsmanship, which dates all the way back to the Edo period.
If you are looking to invest in a high-quality Japanese knife, I highly recommend checking out YASHA and their collection of knives, which are sold exclusively on Knifan.com.