A Wa Gyuto is a Japanese kitchen knife characterized by its sword-like straight blade and wooden handle. Unlike a traditional Gyuto, which has a western-style curved blade, the Wa Gyuto has only one sharp bevel running along the length of the edge and is typically made from harder steel that allows for more precise control when used in daily kitchen tasks. It also features finer details such as an ‘octagonal’ cross section on its spine that helps provide better handles grip. Also, due to its superior hardness, Wa Gyutos tend to last longer and maintain their edge longer than other kitchen knives. On the other hand, a traditional Western-style curved blade (or “Gyuto”) is designed for general slicing and chopping tasks. It utilizes two sharp bevels on either side of the blade which provide it with greater cutting performance but make it much less effective at precision tasks such as intricate vegetable carving or sushi prep. The shape of its handle also contributes to how well it handles heavier tasks like breaking down poultry or heavier cuts of meat. When choosing between the two models, it really comes down to the type of application you intend on using them for: If you are looking for something that excels in precise work like sushi prep then the Wa Gyuto would likely be best suited but if you plan on using it for general home cooking tasks then a traditional Gyuto would likely fit your needs better.

History of Wa Gyuto

The Wa Gyuto knife originates from Japan and is a single bevel knife that is traditionally used in Japanese cuisine. The blades are made from either hard-wearing carbon steel or softer stainless steel and can have either a curved or straight blade depending on its purpose. Throughout the years, the blade has been refined to become sleeker and sharper, making it one of the most sought after knives in the culinary world.

Wa Gyuto knives are incredibly popular with chefs of all backgrounds due to their reliability and precision when cutting through food. They provide an effortless slicing experience and make light work of tough ingredients like root vegetables and thicker cuts of meat. The intricate design of the blade also lends itself to more intricate forms of cutting such as julienne or chiffonade where delicate slices must be achieved quickly and precisely.

The traditional Wa Gyuto also allows chefs to pick up different styles of gripping compared to more conventional western chef’s knives; this is often favoured amongst those wishing to work in a more intuitive way.

The popularity of Wa Gyuto knives has led to them becoming increasingly available for everyone not just professional chefs, allowing enthusiasts to get a taste of this efficient yet beautiful knife. Today, these uniquely crafted Japanese blades can be found all over the world; testament to its enduring appeal across kitchen’s both professional and home based alike.

Attributes of Wa Gyuto

Blade Thickness – Wa Gyuto blades typically measure around 3mm at the spine, allowing more precision and greater control than a thicker blade.

Handle Type – The handles of Wa Gyuto knives are usually made of magnolia wood with water buffalo horn bolsters. These materials provide an ergonomic and comfortable grip, as well as genuine beauty to the knife.

Balance – Wa Gyuto knives feature a traditional Japanese handle shape that places the balance point between the index finger and middle finger. This creates an extremely nimble knife which can be used with ease while still providing excellent stability in the hand.

Attributes of Gyuto: Blade Shape, Steel Type and Edge Retention

Blade Shape – The blade shape of a Gyuto is slightly curved, like a Western Chef’s knife. This allows for easy rocking motions when cutting vegetables or slicing meat along their grain.
Steel Type – Many types of steel can be used for a Gyuto blade, including high carbon steels like White No.2 and Aogami Super Steel (AS). Harder steels will offer better edge retention but require more maintenance to make sure they don’t rust or chip easily.
Edge Retention – Depending on the type of steel chosen, most Gyutos have good edge retention that allow them to keep an edge for longer periods of time before sharpening is necessary again..

Attributes of Gyuto

Blade Thickness: A gyuto knife typically has a blade that is 2-3mm thick and is designed to retain its sharp edge longer than other types of knives. This feature also allows the knife to be used repeatedly without needing to be sharpened too often.

Handle Type: Gyuto knives may have either a Western or Japanese handle design. Western handles are deep, rounded and easy to grip, while Japanese handles are more streamlined and provide less finger room for support when cutting. Depending on the chef’s preferences and the dish being prepared, one or the other might be preferred.

Balance: The balance of a gyuto knife should be centered between the handle and blade for optimal control during use. A balance that is too far one way or another can make it difficult to cut accurately as too little weight near the handle can cause it to vibrate while in use while an overly weighted handle makes precision harder by throwing off the user’s center of gravity into the blade instead of their hand. This balance lets the chef slice with better control over how thin or thick each piece is sliced.

Difference in Usability

WA Gyuto:

A WA Gyuto is a Japanese knife with a double-sided, asymmetrical grind – one side of the blade is ground thick for more robust cutting and the other side is thin for finer, more precise work. It features a flatter blade profile and less of a belly than that of its Western counterpart, providing increased accuracy and control when performing delicate tasks such as carving vegetables or boning proteins. The flat blade also lends well to smooth rock cutting for quickly achieving razor-sharp edges. However, it can be difficult to sharpen this type of knife due to its complex geometry and lack of uniformity.


In comparison, the traditional Western-style gyuto generally offers greater versatility in food preparation due to its curved edge design – making it well-suited for slicing, rocking through ingredients as well as chopping herbs or onions. Its signature curved blade surface gives it an advantage over the flat WA Gyuto by allowing home chefs to find comfort and control while using this style of knife; meanwhile, it can also be sharpened fairly easily using a variety of techniques. But unlike the WA Gyuto, its wider footprint reduces the level of precision upon smaller details such as garnishes or crafting decorative vegetable medallions for plating.

Multi-Purpose Uses

Wa-gyuto: Wa-gyuto knives, sometimes referred to as Japanese cleavers, are the most versatile of all the Japanese chef’s knives. These knives feature a broad blade that can be used for a wide variety of slicing, chopping, and dicing tasks. They are thin at the edge and fairly robust through their spine and handle which makes them ideal for heavier duties like breaking down chicken or cutting large butternut squash into manageable pieces.

Gyuto: Gyuto blades are considered multi-purpose chefs’ knives; they feature a gently curved blade that is usually slimmer than wa-gyutos. As with its cousin, the gyuto can be used for a number of ingredients in a variety of ways. Vegetables such as garlic and onions can be chopped thinly using this knife’s razor sharp straight edge while tougher proteins such as pork loin can easily be portioned with one swift motion. The gyuto style is also great for creating thin fillets from fish and filleting meat off bones thanks to its angled pointy tip.

Care and Maintenance

When it comes to caring for wa-gyuto and gyuto, the same basic precepts apply— regardless of how you use your knives. The two types of knives must be cleaned, sharpened and stored properly in order to maintain their quality.

When cleaning any type of kitchen knife, it is important to do so gently. Hand wash the blade with mild dish soap, using a soft sponge or cloth. Never put the blades in a dishwasher as this can result in damage to the steel and dulling of the edge. It is also important to dry them completely with a towel or air dry after washing.

Sharpening is an essential part of maintaining your wa-gyuto or gyuto. Make sure that you use a high-quality sharpening stone designed specifically for Japanese knives, and follow any manufacturer’s directions closely. With any honing and sharpening methods, always work from one side of the blade to the other in order to avoid accidentally changing the angle of your edge.

Once sharpened or washed, both wa-gyuto and gyuto should preferably be stored on magnetic knife strips or knife blocks to protect their edges from being damaged by other utensils and objects touching them while not in use. If magnetic strips are not available, another option is to store them carefully in a sheathe or cutlery roll that decreases contact with surrounding surfaces. In addition, make sure they are far away from a heat source such as an oven as this can cause them to become brittle over time.

Alternatives to Wa Gyuto and Gyuto

If you need a knife similar to the Wa Gyuto and the Gyuto but wish for something more readily available and more affordable, then consider a Santoku or Sujihiki knife. Both are Japanese-style knives with sharp blades that can be used for slicing, dicing, and chopping. The Santoku is good for slicing vegetables because it’s shorter than a Gyuto, allowing fingers to stay closer to the blade. The Sujihiki is typically longer than both types of knives and has a thinner blade that can make precise cuts for thinly slicing proteins like steak or fish.

For those seeking an alternative to both a Wa-Gyuto and a standard Gyuto, other western-style options include Chef’s Knives, French Knives, Paring Knives, Boning Knives, or even Cleavers. Chefs’ knives have medium length blades with large cutting edges which make them great general use kitchen knives. French knives look much like chef’s knives but have much thinner blades so they are best used for precise tasks like carving presentations or cutting small garnishes. Paring knives have short blades and are ideal dice small fruits and vegetables with precision, Boning knives also have short blades specifically designed for trimming meat from bones. Lastly Cleavers are big knifes meant for butchering jobs such as splitting poultry or chopping through thick bones .


The difference between a Wa Gyuto and Gyuto is mainly in the handle style. The Wa Gyuto is Japanese made and has a rounded wooden handle, while the Gyuto is Western made and has a more robust handle, often made of steel. In terms of quality, both knives generally provide excellent performance, with the main differences being in how they’re used. The Wa Gyuto is more versatile and suitable for slicing due to its lighter weight, while the Gyuto is sturdier and better suited to tougher tasks such as chopping. In terms of maintenance, both knives require frequent sharpening due to their cross-section geometry; however, the Wa Gyuto will hold its edge up to four times longer than the Gyuto due to its high carbon content. In terms of cost, the prices vary widely depending on manufacturer and quality; however, generally a Wa Gyuto is going to be slightly more expensive than a regular gyuto. Ultimately it comes down personal preference – if you need maximum control with light maneuverability consider the WaGyutu or if you want an all-round tough blade consider a classic Western-style gyuto.