A Japanese style knife used for vegetables, similar to the Nakiri. This blade originated in the Tokyo region and is a single edge, thin blade. These are used frequently for peeling vegetables as the daikon due to the thin straight single edge. Additionally, as the edge is straight it can be used for rhythmic chopping on a cutting board.
Ideal for: Chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing.
Useful on food types: All vegetables. Particularly, peeling Daikon radish.
The Usuba knife is a traditional Japanese vegetable knife with a single bevel. The Usuba Japanese knife originated in the Tokyo region and is a single edge, thin blade with a square tip. These are used frequently for peeling vegetables such as the daikon radish due to the thin straight single edge. Additionally, as the edge is straight it can be used for rhythmic chopping on a cutting board.
A regional variant of the standard Usuba is the Kamagata Usuba which is popular in the Osaka region. The Kamagata Usuba has a rounded spine towards the tip, similar to the Santoku, often referred to as a sheep’s hoof. The cutting edge of the Kamagata knife is still a straight edge like the Usuba.
An Usuba is designed specifically as a Japanese vegetable knife. The single bevel can be useful for creating consistent slices and is ideal for chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing.
The single bevel design of the Japanese Usuba knife allows for it to be perfect for peeling vegetables such as the daikon radish. This technique is common in Japanese cuisine and can be used to create garnishes or as a component of a dish.
All three of these are very similar Japanese vegetable knives. When looking to buy an Usuba vegetable knife online, keep in mind the intended use. It is easy to get carried away with the cool options and features. Both the Usuba and Kamagata Usuba are extremely good single bevel vegetable knives with very similar features. The Kamagata Usuba has a bit more of a pointed tip which can help more if you would like to try any decorative carving or find you like using the tip of the knife for cleaning vegetables such as peppers.
The Mukimono is much more specifically designed to be used for delicate carving and decorative work with a very sharp angled tip, reminiscent of a Kengata style Gyuto or Santoku.
Finding the best Japanese Usuba for yourself is dependent on a few different factors. When looking for the best Usuba Japanese knife the first thing to consider is the intended purpose. The Kamagata knife is a nice balance between the standard Usuba and the Mukimono with a tip for some delicate work while maintaining all of the benefits of the standard Usuba Japanese knife.
If you plan on doing more decorative work, then the Mukimono would be the best choice due to the pointed tip which allows for delicate work.
Second, what material do you want? High carbon steel or stainless steel? Stainless steel will be easier to maintain on a daily basis but does require more frequent sharpening as the metal is softer than high carbon steel knives. High carbon steel knives can have a razor-sharp edge that is retained for longer periods of time but does need to be dried quickly as leaving standing water on the blade will cause corrosion more quickly than stainless steel.
As with other single bevel knives, the Usuba is designed as either right-handed or left-handed. Most knives are designed as right-handed so if you need a left-handed knife please reach out as this needs to be specified in the order.
If you need help finding the best Usuba knife for your situation, Hasu-Seizo can help you narrow it down. Please feel free to reach out to us via email or contact us today.
Caring for an Usuba, Kamagata Usuba, or Mukimono Knife properly is crucial to guarantee its performance for many years. We recommend that you hand wash your blade with warm water and then dry with a soft tea towel. It should never be placed in a dishwasher, and it should be stored in a dry environment, away from moisture. Periodic applications of Tsubaki Camellia Oil will also help prevent rust and corrosion.
If the knife you are purchasing is high carbon steel, then we recommend wiping off excess moisture immediately after use as they are more prone to corrosion. High carbon knives will have the tendency to form a patina, this is not bad and actually can help protect the blade from rust.
Your blade should also be periodically sharpened with a whetstone; this will provide better quality edge and last longer than an electric sharpener or honing rod.
Looking for an opportunity to add an Usuba, Kamagata Usuba, or Mukimono vegetable knife to your collection? Hasu-Seizo offers a great selection of blades crafted by Japanese artisans. We also stock a variety of other vegetable knives such as the Nakiri and multipurpose knives like the Santoku or Petty (for those smaller tasks).
If you are looking to buy an Usuba knife online, Hasu-Seizo is here to help! Please reach out via email or contact us with any questions.
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