nakiri vs. usuba knife

Nakiri vs. Usuba Knives

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Nakiri vs. Usuba – Usuba and Nakiri knives are Japanese kitchen knives. They are characterized by their straight blade edge that can cut vegetables easily. Both of them are made for chopping vegetables with an up & down motion and no horizontal pulling or pushing. The blade of Nakiri or Usuba knife is as thin as a chef’s knife. Although they have the same characteristics, they also have some differences.

If you are still a beginner, perhaps you still confused about the difference between the Nakiri and Usuba knives. In this article, you will be able to understand which knife is best for your needs.

Nakiri vs. Usuba – Their Differences

What is the meaning of “Nakiri”? ‘Na’ means Leaf and ‘Kiri’ means cutting. The Nakiri Has a straight blade; excellent for precise vegetable work. It is also an ideal choice for chopping large hard vegetable (pumpkin or squash) due to its strength.

On the other hand, the Usuba is a thin blade where ‘Usui’ means thin, and ‘Ha’ (‘Hamano’ ) means blade. Usuba is similar in purpose to Nakiri, but it’s a bit difficult to explain the differences. It has a thinner single bevel blade than the Nakiri. It is a more precise knife and great for detail. You can see the Usuba knives on professional chef’s hand. In Japanese professional kitchen, the Usuba is popular along with Yanagiba and Deba.


  • Double Bevel.
  • Easy Sharpening.
  • Better for cutting taller and harder items.
  • Lightweight.
  • Suitable for both right and left hand.
  • Cheaper than Usuba knives.
  • Up to 16 to 18 cm.


  • Single Bevel.
  • Skilled Sharpening.
  • Delicate blade edge.
  • Usually suitable for right and left hand.
  • The price is higher than the Nakiri knives.
  • Heavyweight.
  • Longer blades.
  • Popular in professional kitchens.

Nakiri Japanese knives are usually cheaper than Usuba knives, but they still offer some good features. On the other hand, the Usuba knives are costly due to their quality materials and features. If you can handle a longer – heavier blade, and you are after superior sharpness, then an Usuba can be the right choice. For regular use, the Nakiri is the best option for you. Also, It is a good choice if you need to process volumes of leaf vegetables.

Nakiri vs. Usuba – Bottom Line

If you are a beginner or still learning cooking, sometimes it is quite difficult to cut vegetables, salad, etc. So, it is better for you to choose the Nakiri. On the other hand, you can choose an Usuba if you want a knife that is more precise and great in detail. Now, you understand the differences between Nakiri vs. Usuba knives and their characteristics. Hope this article can help you to make a decision on which one you should choose.

Feature image: Neilpcronin – Wikimedia

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Jenny Flatoue

I am a mom of 2 kids, and I have spent my childhood days with my three sisters and parents. Although my parents have helped to be educated, they have enabled me to become savvy in the cooking process. Read More