The Yanagiba, is a single bevel traditional Japanese slicer, regional to Osaka and Kyoto. Similar to the Shobu and Takohiki, this is an ideal sushi knife.
Yanagiba knives are ideal for slicing. This knife is useful for slicing fish fillets, sushi & sashimi, turkey, roast beef, squid, octopus, and other seafood.
Yanagiba literally means Willow Leaf. These knives are popular in Western Japan, primarily around the Osaka and Kyoto areas. The shape is a slim blade which looks like a Katana (sword), suitable for delicate slicing tasks. The style of knife is well known as a great sushi knife, with a single bevel edge good for cutting and filleting fish. It’s pointed and easy to use, it is possible to cut beautiful sushi just by pulling in a single motion without moving the kitchen knife back and forth.
Ideal for: Slicing.
Useful on food types: Slicing fish fillets, squid, octopus, other seafood.
Spanning anywhere from 10 to over 15 inches long. The shape is a slim blade which looks like a Katana (sword), suitable for slicing tasks. The style of knife is well known as a great sashimi knife, typically with a single bevel edge good for cutting sushi.
The Yanagiba is a traditional Japanese single bevel slicer with a long slender profile while the Sujihikiis very similar it is typically a double bevel slicer.
The single bevel of the Yanagiba allows for far less friction when cutting — creating what is arguably the best sushi knife on the market — but it does mean that a Yanagiba comes in a right-handed or left-handed version and is also less versatile for other applications.
A Yanagiba knife is best known for creating perfect slices of sushi and sashimi. With a long edge and a narrow profile, a single pull will create a slice of sushi without the need to saw back and forth. Additionally, the single bevel edge is designed to do as little damage to the fillet as possible with each slice. Learn more about the differences between single bevel and double bevel on our blog post.
Shobu literally means Iris Leaf. The name "Shobu" is popular in Western Japan, primarily around the Osaka and Kyoto areas but denotes the same knife also known as "Yanagiba" in Eastern Japan. The shape is a slim blade which looks like a Katana (sword), suitable for slicing tasks. The style of knife is well known as a great sushi knife, with a single bevel edge good for cutting and filleting fish.
Takohiki is another sushi knife unique to the Tokyo region of Japan. The tips are blunt and square in shape, which helps the chef carefully scoop the slices of sashimi onto a plate. Tako means octopus, hiki means pull. As with Shobu, this sushi knife is pulled in order to cut using the blade length. By pulling the knife, allowing the edge to slice the tissue of sushi will not collapse. This allows for the cut to be clean and consistent.
According to the legend, Takohiki was a square-shaped tipped sushi maker in the Edo period, who was reprimanded for pointing the tip of a knife towards the customer. Interestingly, the tradition of not directing sharp cutting knives to customers still remains, and Takohiki is still favored in Tokyo.
Nothing. These names are regional names, with Yanagiba being popular in the Tokyo region and Shobu being popular in the Okaka region. Similarly, the Takohiki is a square tipped variant of the slicer specific to the Tokyo region.
Caring for a Yanagiba 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 a Yanagiba knife to your collection? Hasu-Seizo offers an extensive range of blades, crafted by Japanese artisans. We also stock a variety of other slicers, including Shobu, Takohiki and Sujihiki.