Kamikoto vs Shun: Battle of Elite Japanese Knives

Kamikoto and Shun are two of the best knife brands available in the market today evolved from Japanese traditional sword making. They both have an undisputed reputation for their high quality and exquisite knives.

They have been mesmerising thousands of knife lovers for over a century and will continue to do so. You are reading this article implies that either you are a fan of Japanese blades or you are eager to enrich your kitchen with something worthy and valuable.

But choosing from the two qualified knife brands is a tricky affair since both have their respective pros, cons and historical. This article can help you to come to a conclusion in this mazing title Kamikoto vs Shun through the means of compare and contrast. But before we rush toward comparing factors, let’s unravel their past and glory first.

Kamikoto vs Shun: A Quick Comparison

OriginBased in Tokyo, Japan.Originated in Seki City, Japan.
MaterialsHigh-quality Niigata steel.Advanced and various materials, including VG-MAX, SG2, AUS10A steel.
CraftsmanshipHandcrafted by experienced smiths, honed by artisans. Single-bevel knives.Handcrafted by artisans. Offers both double-bevel and single-bevel knives.
DesignSimple and minimalist.Beautifully patterned and layered.
HandleOften made of wood, providing a traditional aesthetic.Various types including Pakka Wood and Tagayasan wood handles.
Product RangeOffers a smaller, more curated selection of knives.Extensive range of knife types, sizes, and collections.
Price RangeGenerally higher price point due to exclusivity and craftsmanship.Offers a wider price range, with some affordable options.
WarrantyLifetime guarantee.Limited lifetime warranty.
Where to Buy?Buy On AmazonBuy On Amazon

⭐⭐Related Article: Wusthof vs Global Knife: The Ultimate Blade Showdown – Unveiling 5 Key Facts

Kamikoto Knife Overview

Kamikoto knives, the master of tradition and legacy, are made in the largest island in Japan: Honshu. Sword-making and steel-craft were at the core of this island for over eight centuries. Emperors have patronised the craft to provide weapons to the army. This legacy is still maintained by means of modern technology in the same island. Kamikoto authority says, “For us knives are a matter of heritage, craft and skill.”

Kamikoto Knife

Before the establishment of this company in 1908, they were famously producing Samurai swords, a rudimentary element entrenched in Japanese culture. After that they have broadened their crafts with various metal works including knife making. Even in some cases, they were at the charge of making formidable swords for the Imperial Japanese Navy.

So you can clearly fathom how superior the quality of Kamikoto knives can be. As a result of their features and efficiency, the brand is increasingly growing in popularity.

Key Features of Kamikoto

  1. Kamikoto knives are made from blazing inferno of around 1900+ Fahrenheit for 120 minutes and similar hours of sedation. So the blade becomes excruciatingly polished and sharpened.
  1. They use highly effective steels for manufacturing such as SLD or 420J2. Their scores in HRC measurements vary from lower 51 to highest 65. So they have separate knives for different usage that includes the necessity of sharpness and durability.
  1. The manufacturing process of Kamikoto knives is rigorous and well executed. There are 19 different levels or steps a knife has to pass before coming to your hand. The knifesmiths and artisans are experienced and dedicated. The quality therefore uncompromisingly solid and exceptional.

Shun Knife Overview

Like Kamikoto, Shun has also a long standing reputation for incredible knife making in their repertoire. Shun is a branch of the Kai group of Japan that was established a century before. From that time they are manufacturing world class knives of classical design.

Shun logo

In Seki city of Japan, Shun has its main factory. From decades they are making various progressive cutlery including an award winning one. These knives even appeared in tv operas like Hannibal. Shun has got prominence in Western market only after 2002 when they founded this company for international shipping. From then on, its popularity has increased tenfold.

Key Features of Shun

  1. Shun knives are super sharp for their fascinating edge retention and balanced HRC scores. They are incredibly lightweight as well.
  1. Its design is quite eye catching and mind boggling. The exquisite and refined design is simply enough to draw your attention. Moreover, the durability of their products is also satisfactory.
  1. Shun uses the famous Damascus cladding that can intensify the quality by various layers of coatings. This cladding process was famed across the globe from the medieval era. So this legacy is still upholded today by shining Shun.
shining Shun

But surely, the concise features and illustrious history cannot decide which knife is better than the other. So we need to compare their respective features in minute details. Here comes the list.

5 Comparing Facts Between Kamikoto and Shun

To clarify the debate between Kamikoto vs Shun we will explain 5 important facts here. After reading this part I hope you will be able to pick your best japanese knives.

Fact 1: Materials

Be it a knife or sword, material is of utmost importance to ensure the hardiness and fixity of a product. The better the material quality, the more flexible the knife becomes. So let’s look into the material both brands use.

Material of Kamikoto

Kamikoto uses mainly two types of steels in their knives. First one is known as 420J2 steel. It is also familiar with the name ‘Genten series’. This blade is corrosion resistant material; but due to its low HRC this needs frequent sharpening services, a nuisance to some.

The second steel in their repertoire is SLD steel. It also got another common term called ‘Ganjo Series’. This steel has HRC scores of 60 to 65. It makes the Ganjo series staggeringly durable and sharp.

Material of Shun

Shun uses various steels to strengthen their knives. The most common among them is VG-Max. It has been regarded as one of the finest cutlery materials in this industry. This steel is a combination of a good chunk of carbon, chromium, tungsten, molybdenum, vanadium and similar sort of chemical. These help to improve the performance as well as the vital corrosion protection.

Another two steels often used in Shun are SG2 and VG10. SG2 is considered by many to be one of the best kitchen blades ever found. And the VG10 is an incredibly hard material that retains sharpness for many years. It has tremendous aversion to corrosion and decay.

Comparison table: material

FactorsKamikoto   Shun
SteelSLD, 420J2VG-MAX, VG10, S2G
AlloysVarious carbon based alloysCarbon, chromium, Vanadium, etc.

Fact 2 : Edge Retention and Sharpness

Sharpness is obviously a great, decisive factor to attract knife lovers. Both brands have excellent sharpness and edge retention. But there are some differences as well to reckon with.

Sharpness of Kamikoto

Like Yoshihiro, Kamikoto knives are heavyweight and thick, quite unusual for Japanese culture. Being mainly carbon based, it gives extraordinary forged blades that cut and slice effectively.

The edge of this brand is less sophisticated than Shun due to its single bevel policy. That means you can slice through veg only using one side of the blade; but it ensures the edge to be sharp enough to fascinate your mind.

Kamikoto has edge angles per cut between 15 to 17. So it can be a highly competitive opponent to Shun or to any Japanese brands in case of sharpness.

Sharpness of Kamikoto

Kamikoto 7in. Santoku Chef Knife

Sharpness of Shun

You see, Shun and sharpness go together perfectly as per their names are concerned. If Shun is liked by people for only one reason, it is due to its sharpness.

Shun has 16 edge retention score, quite effective and efficient in slicing, cutting or chopping. It is a widely accepted phenomenon that the lesser edge retention score provides greater service than higher scorers.

So it seems that in sharpness, both brands have equal fight. But another point should be remembered here. The bevel of the respective knife contributes to its sharpness. Whereas Kamikoto uses a single beveled blade in general, Shun uses double beveled blades. So in Shun you can cut with two sides of the blade.

Comparison table: Sharpness

Cutting edgeVaries from 15 to 17 degree16 degree
BevelSingle beveledDouble beveled

Fact 3: Durability

Durability is another factor that everyone should check before finally purchasing a knife. Both knives are tremendously successful in this measurement since customers gave satisfactory remarks so far. However let’s look into their mettle by Rockwell method.

Durability of Kamikoto

Kamikoto offers less durable knives, superb durable knives, and in between mediocre knives. HRC is a scale that measures the hardiness and durability of a knife.

In knives made of 420J2 steel, the Rockwell scale gets around 51 to 55 score unlike German Henckels. So it means these products of such low score will be sharp enough to enchant you but will essentially need frequent resharpening service.

But in knives of SLD steel you get unusually higher Rockwell scores of 60 to 64. While 58-60 score is considered to be perfect for long term usage, it surpasses this account as well. So SLD-made Kamikoto knives will retain their splendid performance over time. Moreover, 19 long sturdy steps of manufacturing Kamikoto, makes it solid, hard and flexible.

Durability of Shun

Shun has a reputation for being a balanced brand that reconciles the necessity of a customer and the performance of a product.

In the HRC scale, Shun knives score around 58-62. It is a quite standard score that can provide a hardy, robust defence against corrosion and undesirable decay.

However, another important factor contributes to the performance of Shun knives: the famous medieval Damascus Cladding. Several layers are put together with excessive heat to make the knives bold and hard. This is a signature technique of Shun that they have been using for centuries.

Durability of Shun

Comparison table: Durability

HRC scoreFrom 51 to 64From 58 to 62
Signature feature19 long steps supervised by skilled knifesmithsDamascus coating

Fact 4: Design and Handle

Design is a significant fact for many elegant people. Without a polished, immaculate design and a portable handle, your kitchen knife cannot satisfy your needs. So the handle and the overall looks should be examined carefully.

Design and Handle of Kamikoto

The handle of Kamikoto has similarity with Shun in case of looks. But the material is quite different. Kamikoto uses G-10 for handle making in most of their products. An extra coating of glass fiber is added to it to make it water resistant.

Moreover, these handles are not affected by dampness or moisture. The additional bolster makes it possible to get smooth grip without holding tightly. Or the fingers don’t have the chance to be harmed by sudden inattentiveness.

In case of design, Kamikoto is noteworthily immaculate and spicy. They have a traditional look as a knife should have. And the design is really beautiful and eye catching.

Design and Handle of Shun

The design of Shun is almost similar to its rival Kamikoto. They both offer classical design with beautiful handles. Apparently there seems no difference between their looks.

Design and Handle of Shun

However, the handle of Shun is made out of different materials. Pakkawood, thermoplastic elastomer and Tagayasan wood are the base materials for Shun handles. And a substantial layer of coating is applied over these wood to make it durable and dust aversive.

The grip you get from a wood will be definitely different from the grip you get from steels. Moreover, its double bevel makes its more refined looking than the handle itself.

Comparison Table: Design and Handle

DesignExquisite and traditionalTraditional but refined
HandleSteel madeWooden

Fact 5: Cost and Service

Whether a knife is worth spending a specific amount of money or not, is matter to be judged with minute details. And the post-selling service it offers should be also a subject of concern.

Cost and Service of Kamikoto

The cost of Kamikoto knives is relatively lower than Shun. However, price is a subjective thing that varies from man to man. Kamikoto prices are affordable and best for thinner wallets.

And the resharpening service of Kamikoto is not free. But their craftsmen are experienced in cutlery and culinary; so you can trust their skill. You just need to call one of their servicemen to resharpen their knives, and they shall do it with a small cost.

Overall, this is satisfactory.

Cost and Service of Shun

It is widely known that Shun cutleries are expensive. Shun is providing world class knives; therefore the cost can be a bit higher than usual. However there’s another reason for the seemingly burdensome price.

Shun knife design

Shun offers its customers a lifetime service without costing anything at all. That means you can resharpen your Shun knives without paying a penny. Buy obviously you will have to send it to their customer service office and therefore you have to pay the courier charge.

Comparison Table: Cost and Service

CostAffordable priceQuite expensive
ServicePaid resharpening serviceFree resharpening service

So these are the main factors that you should look into before deciding to buy among any of them. But still you may be in a maze to decisively decide.

If the nuances are not enough to persuade you to choose from them, you need a close comparison of two well-known products of both brands to judge and consider. So here we come with two best knife sets of Kamikoto and Shun.

Kamikoto kanpeki vs Shun premier

These 3 pieces of each brand are considered to be the finest and most popular. Their minute details and differences will make you understand their pros and cons more effectively than a long, mazing discussion.

Kamikoto kanpeki 3 pieces knife set

Kamikoto kanpeki 3 pieces knife set

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This set of knives perhaps has been the most beloved of all from Kamikoto’s repertoire. The combination is very much essential for a modern kitchen.

This set includes three distinctive knives: one for shaping vegetables and similar objects, another for slicing cakes and other spongy things and the third for more intricate usage.

The first one is of 7 inches and known as Nakiri; the second one is of 8.5 inches slicing blade; and the third one is of 5 inches known as utility knife. Company offers a wooden box for the set’s storage and protection. It will cost you around $197 only.


  • Versatile use
  • Sharp and super edge
  • Excellent combination for kitchen
  • Less sharpening necessity
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Affordable


  • A bit heavier
  • Not suitable for bigger jobs

Shun Premier 4 pieces knife set

A magnificent set of knives from Shun can give your kitchen an elegant look and mesmerize your guests. The most significant point about this set is possibly its hammered tsuchime finish that can touch your heart and catch your eyes.

Shun Premier 4 pieces knife set

The knives there are quite sharp and lightweight. This set includes a four inches knife is known as Paring; a six and half inches knife known as Utility; eight inches knife for Chefs.

This set has Shun’s usual Pakkawood handle with resin coating. Like most other Shun products, this set has 16 degrees of cutting edges. The steel of it is also of best quality: from VG-MAX. This set also gives additional free sharpening service for its customers.

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  • Lightweight and superbly sharp
  • A flexible combination
  • Damascus steel for durability
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Easy to handle and maintain


  • Comparatively expensive
  • Unsuitable for solid foods

When you should go for Kamikoto

If you have a low budget but still want to get a good knife then you should jump for Kamikoto. You will get good products without paying a bulk of your money.

When you should go for Shun

If you want classical, world class knives and can afford to spend a bit more money than usual, then you should go for Shun. You will get a refined knife that will bring beauty to your kitchen.

Quick Tips:

 Sharpen your knife after every three months of heavy use. Resharpening will make your knife more durable and flexible.


So the topic Kamikoto vs Shun perhaps has given you a lot of trouble to decide between their products to come to a satisfactory conclusion. Yeah it may be a bit difficult to choose from, but nonetheless, you can do this now.

Your choice however should be based on your personal preferences. It is advisable that you should choose Kamikoto if your wallet is not healthy. And you should pick up Shun, the shining classical Shun, if your wallet is healthy enough to afford.

Voilà! Off you go now.

The FAQs About Kamikoto vs Shun

Both kamikoto and shun knives are the best Japan’s knives but still they have some key facts to consider when you want to pick best knives. I hope these kamikoto knives review and Shun knives review will help you the pick best one. We have been many questions from our reader about these 2 knives. At this point we would like to answer a few of them.

Where are Kamikoto knives manufactured?

Answer: Kamikoto knives are usually manufactured in Niigata district of Japan. In this district, knives are made for over several centuries to form a combination of various metals.

Which knives are better, German or Japanese?

German knives like Henckels or Wusthof are quite heavier and bigger than Japanese knives. So German knives are good for bigger and hard objects; whereas Japanese knives are better for daily kitchen use.

How do you sharpen Kamikoto knives?

Almost every knife needs some sort of sharpening nuisance over time. Kamikoto knives can be sharpened by Whetstone featuring from 1000 to 300 grit.

Why are Japanese knives so sharp?

Japan has a long tradition of using ancient craft with modern conveniences to manufacture the best possible products. As handcrafted by skilled knife smiths, their knives become sharp and splendid.

Which is good Shun or Kamikoto?

Both brands produce quality knives for customers. But to compare all factors and to contrast, Shun provides better knives than Kamikoto.

Thanks for Reading!