If you’re looking for the best kitchen knives you can possibly find, it is often recommended that you choose a Japanese knife. These premium knives sometimes cost a bit more to acquire but the quality and sharp blade are well worth it.
The question is, how can you possibly know which brand to buy? There are several popular brands and then there are the brands that claim to be authentic Japanese blades but in the end, are rather disappointing.
Miyabi and Shun, however, are both popular and reliable brands in the industry.
But between Miyabi and Shun, is one better? Both of these brands make high-quality, reliable knives, but Miyabi is probably the better choice overall. Miyabi knives are hand-crafted and typically covered by good warranties with this old and reliable brand. However, Shun knives are still durable, high-quality, and worthy of investment.
Still, when it comes to an individual product, preferences and slight differences can always put one over the other. Shun and Miyabi knives are both great quality in their own ways but you should familiarize yourself with their different features before you invest in your next kitchen tool.
In this guide, we will take a look at Miyabi and Shun knives and provide you with a complete comparison buyer’s guide so you know just where they stand out. We will cover several different knives from each brand as well as an overview of the brand in general.
Keep reading to learn how these knives measure up in this ultimate comparison buyer’s guide.
Miyabi Vs Shun Knives
As we said, both Miyabi and Shun are popular brands and you can typically expect a knife from either brand to be of good quality and a reliable product.
But how do these two measure up against each other, knife for knife?
|Chef's knife||Miyabi Chef's Knife||Shun Premier Chef's Knife|
|Paring knife||Miyabi SG2 Paring Knife||Shun Sora Paring Knife|
|Nakiri knife||Miyabi SG2 Nakiri Knife||Shun Classic Nakiri Knife|
|Santoku||Miyabi Rocking Santoku Knife||Shun Premier Santoku Knife|
Old, reliable brand
Sleek and affordable
As we progress through this comparison guide, we will separate the two brands and give you a comprehensive overview. From general information about the brand to a complete review of some of the most popular knife styles.
We will look at the following knives for each brand:
- Chef’s knife
- Paring knife
- Nakiri knife
- Santoku knife
Are you ready?
Miyabi is part of the Zwilling brand. Zwilling has been around since 1731 so they have had centuries of practice at providing some of the most solid and reliable tools on the market. You won’t find many brands that date back this far.
While Miyabi is a part of this German brand, the knife is a Japanese handcrafted knife.
They use Japanese steel and solid materials from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle. They are known for durability as well as exquisite design. Quality is their priority.
Every knife is hand-crafted. They take great pride in the quality of their knives and other goods that represent the company. The family-owned business still owns their own factory.
Now, let’s take a look at some of their knives.
Miyabi Chef’s Knife
The Miyabi Chef knife comes in several different designs and styles but this one is sleek and reliable. It’s one of the top-rated choices for chef’s knives from this brand and with good reason. You can choose from an 8-inch or 6-inch version of this style.
The blade is made with Japanese alloy steel and the overall design concept is in line with the common Japanese profile of a knife. It’s weighted and offers a full tang with the perfect balance. This has a slightly curved handle that gives you more control and comfort while you work with the knife.
This knife is honed by hand using a three step process called Honbazuke. In this process, the blade is honed from 9.5 to 12 degrees for perfection. You will find that this has a sleek and stylish element of design that is very much in line with a Japanese knife.
- Three step honing process
- Micro carbide powder steel
- Curved handle for comfort
- Perfect balance
- Maintains a sharp edge
- The quality of packaging could be improved upon to protect your knife will shipping.
Miyabi SG2 Paring Knife
The Miyabi Mizu Paring knife is a beautiful knife that won’t let you down. It has a lengthy handle so you always have full control and comfort with the knife. It’s made with quality Japanese SG2 construction, as it should be.
This paring knife is made with a hammered steel blade that sports a Damascus finish that is beautifully textured and styled. The blade is micro carbide powder steel with SG2 construction. The blade has a Rockwell hardness of 63 and is made through an ice hardening process for the ultimate hard steel.
The blade is honed to a 9 to 12-degree angle. The handle is a Micarta D-shape and sports a mosaic accent. The ends each have red spacers as well as metal ends and the handle is stamped with a logo. It’s absolutely stunning and sleek in design and it really stands out in quality and build as well.
- Micro carbide powder steel blade that is SG2 construction
- Blade measures to 63 Rockwell hardness
- Well-balanced design
- Handcrafted in Japan
- Lifetime warranty coverage
- The blade is extremely sharp so you may not be able to use it in the same ways you are used to with paring knives.
Miyabi SG2 Nakiri Knife
The Miyabi Mizu Nakiri knife is certainly one for the books. It’s the same style and design as the paring knife that we shared as it falls into that line of products. This means it has the solid handle with the red rim outline and the steel ends, as well as a stamp of the logo in the center. It’s very sleek and stylish.
The blade is made with micro carbide powder steel using SG2 construction. It is also finished with that classic Damascus texture and a hammered finish on the Japanese steel blade. It’s super sharp and it looks really cool by design.
The blade is honed to a 9 to 12-degree angle and it is an authentic Japanese blade. The knife is handcrafted in Seki, Japan, and is one that you can rely on for years to come with lifetime warranty coverage. It also measures to 63 Rockwell hardness and was forged with an ice hardening process as well.
- Lifetime warranty coverage
- 63 Rockwell hardness measurement
- Handcrafted in Japan
- Beautiful and authentic finish
- Hammered steel with textured blade
- Handle may be a bit narrow for some, but is not abormally small.
Miyabi Rocking Santoku Knife
This last knife from Miyabi that we want to take a look at is their 7-inch Santoku knife. This knife is sleek and perfectly made. It is part of their Rocking line and is one of the more affordable Santoku knives that they offer. These knives are very popular and this style can be challenging to find in stock in the brand overall.
Much like all of the other knives we have covered for this brand, this knife is made with micro carbide powder steel that has SG2 construction. It is also honed manually using a three step honing process for the perfect angular design and sharpness.
This does sport the Japanese profile and blade durability and sharpness as well. It has the hammered design on the blade that is very popular and looks awesome. This Miyabi knife also has that solid, curved handle that is comfortable and controlled in your hand.
- Ergonomic handle design
- 7-inch curved Santoku blade
- Japanese profile and design
- Hand honed to perfection
- Quality, micro carbide steel blade
- This knife is a bit heavier than some of the preferred knives from this brand.
Next, we have the Shun Japanese knife brand. This brand is part of the Williams Sonoma umbrella.
Williams Sonoma is a long-standing company that has always striven to provide quality. They haven’t been around for centuries but they have been around for more than 50 years and you can trust their products will be of good quality.
Their focus is on the kitchen and providing sleek, elegant, and yet affordable solutions and the Shun cutlery line falls into that methodology. The tools are innovative in every sense of the word. They portray professional quality and are comfortable to work with.
Now, we will review the same types of knives that we looked at for the Miyabi brand.
Shun Premier Chef’s Knife
First up, let’s take a look at the Shun chef knife. This particular chef’s knife is one of their most popular models and is a 6-inch chef’s knife. You can tell right away that the steel is a bit more shiny compared to the Miyabi brand but it’s still just as high of quality overall so it’s a matter of preference on the looks.
If you want something larger than the 6-inch, they also have 8 or 10-inch options and you can even purchase each size with a sharpener. This chef’s knife is nimble and efficient. The blade is slightly shorter but can still do any task that you need it to, and you can upgrade to a longer blade if you want to.
The handle is made to give you the perfect amount of control. The craftsmanship is excellent with elegant design and detail that really stands out. This blade has the hammered steel design. The handle is contoured and made with Pakka Wood. Each blade has a Tsuchime finish as well.
- Superior design that stands out
- Ergonomic handle that is well-balanced
- Hand-crafter and hand-sharpened Japanese steel
- Solid wood handle material
- Sleek, hammered finish
- Sometimes the blade pits far too soon with normal use.
Shun Sora Paring Knife
Next, we have the Shun paring knife. Specifically, we are looking at the Sora paring knife here, which has a 3 ½ inch blade.
It has a sleek, metallic finish that really shines and stands out. It doesn’t have the hammered finish. This knife has a VG10 cutting core that is coated with quality stainless steel. It is stain resistant, with a san mai edge.
These blades are mirror polished and made with a Japanese 420J blade. The cutting angle is 16 degrees. The knife is made in Japan. The handle is unique with a broad end and a comfortable and solid grip that is lightweight and balanced.
- San mai edge on blade
- Hand made in Japan
- 16-degree cutting edge on blade
- Unique handle that is comfortable
- Mirror polished finish
- The handle degrades the overall quality of the knife and could be improved upon.
Shun Classic Nakiri Knife
The Shun Nakiri Knife is a classic and it is pretty unique. Where some brands really hone in on appearance, this has a more classic appearance and is a highly-rated option for this particular knife style across the board.
Rather than your hammered finish, you have a double-bevel steel with a swirl design. It’s a high-quality Japanese blade that is hand-sharpened. This Nakiri knife measures 6.5 inches and is sharpened to a 16-degree angle.
The blade is precise and reliable so you can work quickly and efficiently. The handle is made with ebony Pakka wood and has a D-shaped handle for control and comfort. This one is well-balanced and the quality is apparent from the handle to the blade.
- High-quality wood handle
- Hand-sharpened blade materials
- Japanese steel blade
- A classic winner from the brand
- Simple but swift and sharp
- The front head can dull easily if you don’t use the knife in the right motion.
Shun Premier Santoku Knife
The Shun Premier line is the top of the line options from the brand and you can see that portrayed in every aspect of this Santoku knife. This knife measures 5 ½ inches on the blade. It has that elegant hammered finish that is very popular and sought after.
The blade is layered Damascus steel. It is solid, sharp, and reliable. The knife is made in Japan and it is also covered by a lifetime warranty. The hand hammered finish gives it just the right look but also improves the functionality of the knife and reduces drag.
This knife is very nicely made and certainly stands out. The handle is made with premium Pakka wood so it is weighted very nicely and sports a slight curve to add additional balance and comfort.
- Lifetime warranty coverage
- Hammered finish reduces drag and sticking
- Hand sharpened and crafted in Japan
- Solid wood handle with curve
- Premier Santoku knife that is very popular
- Tip may chip a little.
Miyabi Vs. Shun – Review
We’ve taken a look into both of these worlds and what they have to offer. We reviewed four similar knives from each brand and put them head to head. So, who wins this match?
What we found is that both brands are reliable brands but you may need to exercise caution on the lines you purchase within the brand.
We noticed in some areas that Miyabi stood out in consistent and reliable quality. It is definitely the Japanese steel blade that you expect.
All of the Miyabi blades appear to be covered by a limited lifetime warranty while with Shun it wasn’t always clear. We were not impressed with the Shun paring knife whose handle felt cheap and was out of line with the quality you expect for the brand and the price.
On the same note, apart from that paring knife, Shun’s knives were still of good quality and could easily stand out if you’re looking for a good, solid knife.
One of the most noticeable differences between the Shun and Miyabi paring knives are the prices. Shun seems to have more affordable prices for this particular knife across the board, no matter which line you choose from.
Overall, Miyabi would be our top pick here but we feel like you could also do very well with Shun if you stick to the knives that have the Pakka wood handles as part of the design.
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