5 Best Cutting Boards For Japanese Knives Of 2023

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When it comes to choosing the right cutting board to use with your Japanese knife, it’s all about the type of material.

Some materials are going to dull your blade more quickly, while others can help preserve its edge and keep you happily chopping away for a long time. 

The edge of your knife, as in the part that stays sharp and does all your cutting, is very thin. Because it is so thin, it can easily be damaged if it is pressed against materials that are too hard.

Once the edge has been damaged, it’s unlikely that even the best knife sharpener out there can bring it back to life.

So, how do you choose the best cutting boards for Japanese knives? Look for end grain wood construction made from cypress, cherry, maple, cedar, walnut or teak. You can also invest in edge grain cutting boards made from Japanese Cypress (hinoki) or Aomori hiba.

If you’re looking for a cutting board that’ll accomodate the sharpness of your beautiful Japanese knives, then read on to find out some of our favorites!

What Boards Should You Avoid When Using Japanese Knives?

Before we look at the materials you should be using with your Japanese knife, lets first outline some types of cutting boards you should avoid unless you want a dull knife and a damaged edge to your beautiful investment.

Marble, glass, bamboo, and steel cutting boards are all made of materials that are incredibly hard

While these materials may be suitable to use with your boning knife, your other knives designed to chop veggies, fruits, meats, etc. will not last as long and may become permanently damaged. 

Best Cutting Board Materials For Japanese Knives

Now that we’ve looked at the types of material to avoid, lets dig into the best types of materials to use with your Japanese knives. In general, you are going to want to invest in a high quality, end-grain wooden cutting board

While these boards are more expensive upfront, they last a lot longer than discount boards, and they will help protect the edge and longevity of your Japanese knife. So in the long run it is likely that you will end up saving money. 

Self-Healing Wooden Cutting Boards

The best of the best when it comes to wooden cutting boards, self-healing wood made from hardwoods such as cypress, cherry, maple, cedar, walnut and teak are the way to go.

You want to look for end grain boards, which are made of pieces of wood glued together.

These types of wood are what you will typically see used to make butcher blocks. The pieces of end grain wood are glued together with the grain perpendicular to the surface of the board. 

By putting the wood together in this way the wood fibers absorb the impact of the blade, since it can move between them.

By allowing the board to absorb the impact, as opposed to the edge of your knife it prevents the blade from chipping, rolling, and denting

Over the long term, this will keep your knife sharp and these types of boards typically last for years.

They are called self-healing wood because when you wipe it down with a damp cloth, the wood swells slightly to heal over the knicks

These types of boards are generally about 4 inches thick, which lets you resurface it regularly so it can last a lifetime. 

Edge-Grain Wooden Cutting Boards 

Another option for wooden cutting boards that won’t be too hard, but aren’t quite as premium as the end-grain wood, are edge-grain. I know it’s a little confusing, but bear with me. 

The difference between these two styles is that the edge-grain is glued together in such a way that the grain and fibers of the wood are parallel to the surface of the board.

These boards are easier to make and cheaper than the end grain boards, but they won’t typically last as long.

The Two Best Woods To Use With Japanese Knives

There are two types of wood typically recommended by Japanese chefs and knife lovers around the world. These woods will help preserve the edge and longevity of your blade.

They are Japanese cyprus (hinoki) and aomori hiba (also called the Tree of Life).

If you’re willing to make the investment, Aomori hiba is the way to go since it is antibacterial and has anti-mold properties, in addition to a really lovely scent. 

The 5 Best Cutting Boards For Japanese Knives

Now that you know what to look for in terms of the best cutting board to use with your Japanese knife, you can take a look at the choices below to find the one that best fits your slicing, dicing, and chopping needs and budget. 

RankProductBest Feature
1.John Boos Block Cherry Wood End Grain Butcher Block Cutting BoardBest overall cutting board for Japanese knives
2.John Boos Maple Classic Reversible Wood End Grain Chopping BlockBeautiful maple chopping block
3.TeakHaus End Grain Carving Board w/Hand GripGorgeous teak wood design
4.Sonder Los Angeles Large Thick End Grain Walnut Wood Cutting Board With Non-Slip FeetAmazing dark walnut board
5.Shun Hinoki Cutting BoardMade with incredible Japanese cypress (hinoki) wood

1. John Boos Block Cherry Wood End Grain Butcher Block Cutting Board

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This end grain wooden cutting board from John Boos gets our top spot because it is handcrafted in Effingham, Illinois by skilled craftspeople using time honored techniques since 1914.

The wood is sustainably sourced from hand-selected American Cherry Wood and designed in a checker pattern.

It also has stainless steel legs that prevent slipping as you chop and it includes an integrated juice groove is designed to collect carving juices as you slice.

You can treat these cutting boards with beeswax to increase their lifespan and keep them looking beautiful. 

2. John Boos Maple Classic Reversible Wood End Grain Chopping Block

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John Boos has made another beautiful end grain chopping block, this time from maple.

It is reversible, so it doesn’t have legs. This gives you another surface to use so your cutting board can last even longer

The boards are handmade using sustainably sourced, hand-selected Northern Hard Rock Maple Wood.

This type of wood is widely recognized as one of finest, most durable food preparation surfaces in the world, so you can feel confident in your investment. 

The end grain construction gives you a beautiful checkerboard pattern, so that this piece isn’t only functional, but also beautiful. It’s a true piece of art and craftsmanship which will help your Japanese knife last a lifetime. 

3. TeakHaus End Grain Carving Board w/Hand Grip

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Another end grain cutting board that is as beautiful as it is functional.

This option from TeakHaus is made from certified FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) teak wood from well-managed forests.

Teak is one of the best woods to use with a Japanese knife to help it last and keep its edge. 

Teak is moisture-resistant and stain-resistant which protects the board from splitting, warping and scarring.

That’s why it is often used on ships, so if you live in a damp climate or want to invest in an end grain cutting board that won’t warp, this choice may be perfect for you. 

You can hand wash and then apply beeswax or another food safe oil/wax to help it last.

4. Sonder Los Angeles Large Thick End Grain Walnut Wood Cutting Board With Non-Slip Feet

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I can’t lie, the beautiful dark walnut wood used in this end grain cutting board is probably one of my favorites.

It is incredibly functional as well, since it has non-slip feet to keep you safe while chopping away and includes a juice groove around the edge to catch and carving juices

Crafted right in Los Angeles from a selection of sustainably sourced Black Walnut, these boards can last forever if hand-washed and oiled regularly.

If you flip the board over, it also has little sorting compartments that you can slide prepped veggies into as you chop. 

5. Shun Hinoki Cutting Board

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The last board on our list isn’t made from end grain wood, but I wanted to include it because it is the only one I could find made with Japanese cypress (hinoki) wood.

This type of medium-soft wood still has give to it, which preserves the edge and sharpness of your Japanese knives. 

Shun’s hinoki products are grown in Japan and are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified for sustainable forest management practices, so you can feel confident in purchasing one of their boards

They are also the most affordable on the list since they don’t use the expensive and time-consuming end grain construction method.

Before using you want to dampen the board and then hand wash it and let it air dry so it lasts for a long time.

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