The Hinokuni Gyuto is a versatile kitchen knife made entirely by hand by blacksmith Yukihiro-san at his smithy in Kumamoto in the south of Japan. The Hinokuni collection is hand-forged from Shirogami #1 steel laminated in soft iron, so sharpening will be nothing but pure pleasure.
Few blacksmiths make their own knives completely in every step of the process from raw material to finished product, and Yukihiro-san is one of them. Working with raw materials is challenging and difficult, but the blacksmith insists on it because he believes that this step is crucial for the quality of the final product. The result of such a long and hard process are sturdy and heavy knives that are real workhorses.
❗️Because they are forged by hand and in small quantities, they take a while to arrive, so here's some good advice: if one of the knives from the Hinokuni series is on your wish list, get it while it's still available.
🌋 Hinokuni means "the land of fire", a nickname for Kumamoto Prefecture, home to the famous volcano Mt. Aso.
The 210 mm long gyuto is a versatile kitchen knife that excels at all types of chopping and cutting on the cutting board. The wide blade is great for chopping vegetables and allows easy transfer of ingredients from the board to the pot, and the extra weight can be used to cut through tougher ingredients (🚨 but not through bones!). Thanks to its long and thin cutting edge, this knife has no problem with longer cuts and finer techniques such as chopping garlic, dicing or julienne.
Yukihiro San uses only Shirogami #1 for his kitchen knives, which is very reactive and delicate, but unparalleled in its sharpness.
Shirogami #1 is one of the purest steels, and consequently one of the easiest to sharpen. Its characteristics make Shirogami popular with traditional Japanese blacksmiths and sushi masters. The advantage of Shirogami #1 is that it has a very fine, delicate sharpness, is easy to grind and stays sharp for a very long time. It will require a little more attention in maintenance. The blade will acquire a protective patina with use.
The steel will gradually acquire a patina, which only endows this knife with more charm. Do not wash this knife in a dishwasher, but rather wash it by hand and wipe it with a dry cloth. The advantage of having a blade made of high carbon steel is the fine sharpness, ease of sharpening, and long edge retention. We recommend the occasional coat of knife maintenance oil to protect the blade from external influences.
The blade was laminated with soft iron, which is iron with only a small amount of carbon added to it. Laminating the blade improves its structural integrity, as the knife’s core is made of hard—and therefore brittle—high-carbon Aogami #2 steel that is prone to breakage on its own.
⚠️ Due to its purity and lack of any added elements such as chromium (Cr), soft iron doesn’t resist corrosion well. Therefore, the upper laminated part can also develop rust when not taken care of properly.
→ Yukihiro-san laminates the knives himself in his smithy because he sees this as a crucial step in the processing of the blade. The process of laminating different metals is very complex, and most smithies use pre-laminated materials.
It has a double bevel (symmetrical) blade.
The blade sports a beautiful black Kuro-uchi finish.
The look of the knife reflects the blacksmith's philosophy and has a touch of rusticity and robustness that comes with the purely handmade blade. The knife has been created with a great deal of pride and skill.
The Japanese Wa handle is oval and made in cherry wood with a plastic ferrule. It fits perfectly in the left and right hand.
Yukihiro Sakai is a young blacksmith from Kumamoto (Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu). He trained with Nishida-san [Nishida Hamono]. Yukihiro-San's recent work is focused on Shirogami #1 with a kuro-uchi finish and evenly ground and flat profiles. His knives are affordable but of superior quality. We anticipate that over the years, the prices of his products will rise due to the superb craftsmanship and his growing popularity.
Blade shape: Gyuto
Steel type: Shirogami #1
Blade construction: San-Mai / V-edge / kuro-uchi
Hardness (HRC scale): 61-62
Overall length: 355mm (14")
Blade length: 215mm (8.5")
Blade height: 44mm (1.7")
Spine thickness: 2.7mm (0.11")
Weight: 160g (5.6 oz)
Handle length: 130mm (5.1")
Handle type / wood: Japanese (Wa) style / Cherry
Kanji on the blade:
Blacksmith: Yukihiro Sakai
Location of the smithy: Kumamoto / Kumamoto Prefecture / Japan
☝️ Japanese kitchen knives in our store are handmade from natural materials. Slight variations in color, texture, weight and other dimensions are possible. We try to give a good photographic representation of our products, however computer screen resolution and colors do vary, so products might not look exactly as they are seen on screen.
☝️ THIS KNIFE MAY DEVELOP PATINA
Knives made of carbon steels can, due to their low chromium (Cr) content, discolor and develop patina. The knife is the most sensitive when it is still new and a patina had not developed yet, but later, patina will protect the blade. These types of knives require a touch more care:
✔ Wipe it regularly with a clean and dry cloth (you can also do this during use).
✔ After use, rinse it with lukewarm water and wipe it dry.
✔ Coat it regularly with knife maintenance oil or plain refined sunflower oil.
✔ Store the knife by wrapping it in paper which will absorb moisture and protect the blade.
A patina is a thin layer that forms on the surface of oxidized steel and protects it from further oxidation. The patina should not be confused with rust. Patina protects the blade, while rust causes corrosion and deterioration of material, so it should be removed (see Rust erasers).
→ For in-depth information about patina, read our dedicated post on patina.
GENERAL KNIFE CARE TIPS:
Blade wear depends on the quality of steel, usage and maintenance of the blade. Japanese knives are made of high-quality steels. Follow these tips to keep your Japanese knife in top-notch shape:
✔ Use a wooden, plastic or rubber cutting board.
✔ After use, wash the knives and wipe them dry.
✔ Use a magnetic rack, knife blocks, or use protective knife sheath (saya).
✔ A good cutting technique is your best bet to prolong sharpness.
✔ Use sharpening stones to sharpen the knife.
❗️Don’t leave the knife in the sink. Wash it by hand.
❗️Don’t wash the knife in the dishwasher.
❗️Don’t use the knife on glass, ceramics, marble or steel surfaces.
❗️Don’t scrape the food off the cutting board with the edge of the blade. Use the spine of the knife instead.
❗️A knife is a tool intended for specific use: it’s not a can opener, screwdriver, trowel, wire cutter, hammer etc. Kitchen knives are meant for preparing food.
→ For more details, read our guide on Maintenance of Kitchen Knives.
🤙 Contact us if you need some help. We reply within 1 business day.
- €10 - flat worldwide rate with DHL Express (express delivery, 2-5 business days).
- FREE - all orders over €300 (DHL Express).
- United Kingdom - shipping to UK costs €15. All orders are shipped with UPS Express (2-3 business days). Free shipping on orders over €300.
- Russia - shipping to Russia costs €40*. All orders are shipped with EMS postal service.
*or more, depending on the weight
DUTIES AND IMPORT TAXES:
We ship all orders DDP (duties & taxes paid). This means you will not be charged for any import fees and taxes (including VAT). All our prices are final. The price you see at checkout is the final price, no hidden costs.
- Europe: 1-2 business days
- US & Canada: 2-4 business days
- Rest of the World: 3-5 business days
Our return policy lasts 30 days. If more than 30 days have gone by since the day you received your order, unfortunately we can’t offer you a refund or exchange.
Each knife comes with:
✔️ Instructions and knife care leaflet.
✔️ A preventive Band-Aid – the knives are very sharp! 😉
✔️ Original box from the blacksmith, which we wrap in an old Japanese newspaper sheet – so every knife is ready to be passed on as a gift as soon as it hits your doorstep!
✔️ We also offer a special gift wrapping option with the traditional Japanese washi paper.
Still doubting which type of Japanese knife should best fit your needs?
We created a 5-steps quiz to help you find the perfect knife based on your cooking skills and the type of food you prepare.