Usuba vs. Nakiri

One can easily get confused between Usuba and Nakiri. For an untrained eye, both are quite similar to look at. These two rectangular Japanese knives feature a straight edge blade that is mainly ideal for chopping vegetables.

If you are thinking of buying the one, you need to know the significant differences between them to see which one suits best for you. Well, to get started, Nakiri is a lightweight knife that can be used for routine kitchen tasks by anyone. Whereas, Usuba is a heavier knife that requires special skills to use. Chefs and cooks basically prefer it. Though they have similar blade shapes and uses; however there are some differences between the two types of knives.

Usuba vs Nakiri

In this blog post, we will discuss the key differences, so you can decide which type of knife would be best suited for your needs. Have a look.

Usuba Knife

The Usuba knife is a Japanese vegetable knife with a single bevel. It has a rectangular blade that’s long and thin, with the edge running parallel to the handle. This shape makes it easy to cut vegetables into paper-thin slices or julienne strips.

The origin of the Usuba knife is a long and complicated story. It starts in Japan with an ancient blade called a “santoku,” which was used for general kitchen tasks such as cutting vegetables or meat. As time went on, cooks began to use this blade for more specialized purposes, and it became known as an “Usuba” knife. Today, the Usuba is still prevalent in Japanese cooking but has also become a staple in Western kitchens due to its versatility and ease of use.

Nakiri Knife

Nakiri knives are Japanese-style blades that have a flat edge and sharp blades with a double bevel. This is a lightweight all-purpose kitchen knife that can be used for chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing, and julienning vegetables. They come in a length of 5-7 inches with an edge that allows ample room for your knuckles so you can use them effectively while chopping without getting hurt.

Which is better- Usuba knife or Nakiri knife?

Handle and Blade Design- Usuba vs. Nakiri

An Usuba has a wider and heavy spine blade than its counterpart, making it ideal for chopping vegetables into small pieces or slicing them thinly. It’s also great for cutting through meat and fish. Also, it has a single bevel which means that it can only be sharpened on one side.

On the other hand, the Nakiri has a narrower blade with more acute angles. This means that it can slice food into thin strips or even julienne vegetables like carrots or cucumbers. It has a double bevel which means it can be sharpened on both sides.

Size and Length of the blade

An Usuba has a blade that ranges from 6 to 8 inches long, while a Nakiri’s blade can be anywhere from 5-7 inches long. The length of the blades also affects how much you can cut at one time with each type of knife.

Ease of Sharpening

Sharpening Usuba knives require specialized skills. It can be a tedious task for beginners.

On the other hand, Nakiri knives are effortless to sharpen. It doesn’t require any unique skills, tools, and additional cost.


The prices of Usuba and Nakiri differ from each other. The former is expensive than the latter one. Usuba features a long and heavy blade that tends to be pricier than the lighter and short blade. Therefore, if you are on a budget, Nakir is your best bait.


Usuba is ideal for delicate and decorative cutting work. Known as a vegetable cleaver, it is used for slicing vegetables and cutting thin strips of meat, fish, or other foods.

Nakiri is perfect for chopping motion. This is a multi-purpose knife used for chopping or slicing fruits and vegetables that are round in shapes such as apples, onions, and potatoes. However, it is not meant for the heavy-duty task.

usuba and Nakiri knife

The Final Verdict

The Usuba and the Nakiri are both Japanese knives that are used in different ways. They have a similar shape, but they differ in function. Usuba has a sharp edge on one side and is typically used by right-handed people. Whereas, Nakiri has a curved shape that can be held in either hand because its shape makes it easy to rock back and forth across food items without changing grips.

So, if you want an all-purpose kitchen tool, go with the Nakiri because it can handle any task, from slicing carrots for the soup to cutting up chicken breasts for stir fry. But if you need something just for veggies, choose the Usuba, which will make quick work of chopping onions or slicing cucumbers into ribbons.

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