If you are looking to start building a set of high quality kitchen knives then the Shun Classic 6-1/2-inch stainless steel Nakiri knife is the perfect starting point. Japanese knives are becoming more and more popular amongst chefs and cooking enthusiasts, and with very good reason. The focus on efficient cutting and high quality steel really makes for one of the best cutting experiences you can have. Shun is a well known brand in this particular industry and their hand-finished knives are very popular but what sets this particular Nakiri knife apart and what makes it the perfect addition for your set?

The Nakiri Design

Nakiri knives are traditionally called Nakiri Bocho, which means 'knife for cutting greens'. They are primarily used for cutting vegetables and herbs and their straight-edged blades make them excel at this task. The flat edge of the blade allows you to cut all the way to the board without the need for backwards or forwards slicing motion. The blades on the Nakiri are also much thinner than chef's knives, which can sometimes break the vegetables being cut. If you only ever buy two knives then one should be a chef's knife for heavy meat cutting and the other should be a Nakiri for everything else. 

Features and Craftsmanship

Shun likes to claim their knives are 'born of ancient samurai sword making traditions' and this is not far from the truth. The blades of ancient Japanese swords were forged by the repeated folding high carbon steel and this resulted in an extremely sharp edge. Shun's knives are crafted from modern Japanese high carbon steels folded 16 times to create that same sharp cutting edge. The cutting edge itself is beveled to a 16 degree angle on either side, making for full cutting angle of 32 degrees. Most European knives are 20 degrees or more on each side, which is considerably less sharp. The blade also features Damascus styling, which looks quite stunning and also has the functional benefit of reducing friction. The handle is made from Pakkawood and is available in the standard D-shape or a special order reverse D-shape (for left handed cutting).

Shun Classic 6-1/2-Inch Stainless-Steel Nakiri Knife
Amazon Price: $200.00 $121.00 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 29, 2014)
- Japanese Handcrafted Knife for working with Vegetables
- Hard-Sharpened 16 degree double bevel blade
- Steel: VG10 cutting core, 32 layers Stainless
- Handle: D-Shaped ebony PakkaWood

Customer Reviews and Opinions

No thorough assessment of any important purchase is complete without first reviewing the opinions and reviews of customers who purchased the product for personal use. Overall Shun's 6-1/2-inch Nakiri knife has received extremely positive reviews, in fact it scores and average review score of 4.8 out of five stars on Amazon. The most commonly praised aspects were the sharpness of the blade, the ergonomic shaping of the handle and the overall quality of the workmanship. One customer mentions that the overall shape and size of the knife limits it to smaller chopping jobs and they recommend purchasing a decent chef's knife to complement the Nakiri. 


Shun's knives aren't as cheap as other brands but when it comes to knives you really 'get what you pay for' in terms of quality. If you plan on custom building your own set of kitchen knives then the Shun Classic 6-1/2-inch Nakiri knife should be one of the core knives in your set. No other design will compare when it comes to slicing, dicing and mincing herbs and vegetables. It's also a good idea to pick up an very good honing steel and an asian-style sharpener to look after your new Nakiri when you do buy it.

Shun DM0750 Honing Steel
Amazon Price: $63.00 $39.95 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 29, 2014)