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Feb 11, 2012 10:16 AM

Kikuichi Warikomi Damascus Santoku

I've been eyeing this knife for a while, having done some homework last year.

Does anyone know if this:

Is the same as this?

This looks the same as well, tho' is supposed to be a WS exclusive:

And has anyone used this knife?

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    1. re: kattyeyes

      All 3 knives are the same by the looks of it.A co worker of mine recently purchased this knife from WS he had a $100.00 gift certificate + they gave him an extra 10% off due to a minor defect on the knife so he got it for just over $100.00.It's a nice piece of steel and I've heard a lot of good things about Kikuichi,but $250.00 is too much to pay for this santoku in my opinion.

      1. re: petek

        Thanks, looks like your friend got lucky! I've read many recommendations for Kikuichi, too.

        I'm guessing the handmade (engraved/sharpened/hammered) elements escalate the price, is that it? I figured if I was gonna have that one, special, for a lifetime knife, it may as well be beautiful, too. Is it just the price you pay for "that look?" Because I do like that look!

        Minus the aesthetics, I was considering this, based on other recommendations:

        ETA, the second link in the OP is $216. Still too much for this knife, you think?

        1. re: kattyeyes

          'ETA, the second link in the OP is $216. Still too much for this knife, you think?"

          You'll always pay more for a Damascus knife regardless who makes it.
          Here's some other options,maybe not as pretty,but very good knives for the money. You can check them out at.

          kikuichi performance TCK 175mm semi stainless-$151.96
          Misono Swedish santoku 180mm carbon steel-$148.00
          Moritaka AS carbon steel(I have this one very rustic,not every one's cup of tea)-$152.00
          Miyabi 7000 5" $89.99(5' might be on the smallish size for you


          I'm not trying to steer you away from your original choice,just pointing out some other options..and there's still a ton of other great knives out there too many for me to point out.
          hope this helps..

          1. re: petek

            Appreciate your input, thanks. You're also helping me validate my homework as the Misono had come up, too. From what I read, its tendency to rust quickly scared me off. The Moritaka is nice looking! I've never had a knife with a handle like that. Hmm.

            ETA--and your Kikuichi performance TCK is the same one I linked above. Again, at least I know I'm on the right track, so thank you for weighing in.

            1. re: kattyeyes

              From what I read, its tendency to rust quickly scared me off. The Moritaka is nice looking! I've never had a knife with a handle like that.

              All carbon steel knives will rust quickly or stain(until they develop a patina) if left wet or dirty for too long.For home cooks this is not a huge problem.Just wipe it down after you use it,hand was only and keep it dry in between usage.

            2. re: petek

              As pretty as they look I shun Damascus knives. It elevates them to art status instead of work tools. I don't want to be afraid of sharpening a knife because at the end of the day they are nothing more than work tools.

          2. re: petek

            Do you know if Kikuichi VG-10 core knife has a better reputation than other VG-10 core knives? Slightly expensive it is.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I'm sure it has to do with it being "Damascus" and "hand hammered"...

              1. re: petek

                Even then... it still is a bit more, no?

                Ryusen Hammdered Damascus Santoku is $150:


                Shiki's one is $140:


                Maybe Kikuichi VG-10 Damascus Hammered is better and well deserve the price. I just don't know.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Those are both great looking knives Chem(at at a great price as well)I'm glad you posted the links as I'm far too lazy today :-D
                  They're both VG-10 as well so I'm not sure why the more expensive..

                  1. re: petek

                    I agree. I had my eye on them when Chem posted about them previously. Still, there is something about that Kikuichi!!!

                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Chem, was it you who liked the Ryusen as an alternative to other Damascus-style knives? I have it bookmarked.

                    Looks very similar to the Shun Classics to me--you think?

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      OOPS, Chem, you posted while I was typing to/about you. I thought it was you who had liked/recommended the Ryusen.

                      Maybe it's just Kikuichi's reputation. If anyone does know about--or has used--a Kikuichi and can chime in, that would be great to know about the cost justification.

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        I did post Ryusen and Shiki to another poster. I believe strangemd bought the Shiki one.:


                        Kikuichi does have a good reputation, and not all VG-10 knives are made to the same quality, so it is possible that the Kikuishi knives are made better.

                        P.S.: I agree with Eiron. Shun Premier is the one probably looks more like the rest:


                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          YES! That was the discussion I recalled.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Great memory, Chem. I bought the Shiki for my daughter and she loves it. I was up visiting her 2 weeks ago, and even after 6 months of daily use, the Shiki has stayed sharp and is a pleasure in the hand.

                            1. re: strangemd

                              "Great memory, Chem"

                              Your story is particularly good.

                              "I was up visiting her 2 weeks ago, and even after 6 months of daily use, the Shiki has stayed sharp and is a pleasure in the hand."

                              Great. Also good to hear that your daughter still likes it.

                              How is your Takeda? I remember you were seriously thinking about a Takeda.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                I have a Takeda 140mm Petty which I love. Super easy to sharpen, retains the edge for a very long time, and fantastic for delicate work with fruits and vegetables. I haven't pulled the trigger on the Takeda Gyuto yet--$300 when I don't really "need" it is tough to justify with all these school tuitions I'm paying. Along the way I got a Shun Premier santoku as a gift, and I've been enjoying the use of a knife style I had never previously tried. It also showed up sharp enough to push-cut paper, which shocked me for a "commercial" brand.

                                1. re: strangemd

                                  "I haven't pulled the trigger on the Takeda Gyuto yet--$300 when I don't really "need" it is tough to justify with all these school tuitions I'm paying"

                                  Perfectly understandable. I just thought if you have one, then you can tell me more about it.

                                  "which shocked me for a "commercial" brand."

                                  Shun knives are good knives. There is nothing seriously wrong with Shun knives. Most of the criticisms are that there are equally good knives as Shun knives and cost less. The Shun quality was hardly an issue. In fact, Shun quality on its handles is extremely good.

                                  I am not surprised that it can push cut paper. My Shun bread knife can do it too.

                                  Good to know both your daughter and you enjoy the knives.

                  3. re: petek

                    Interesting. I clicked through to see prices of what I'd originally considered vs. my final decision and noticed the Williams Sonoma price is currently $199.95. I did think it was more before--and now your response above confirms it. VEDDY INTEDESTING INDEED.

                  4. re: kattyeyes

                    By the way, Katty, What kind of knives are you looking at? I know it is Santoku and Damascus pattern. Anything else? Carbon steel vs Stainless steel? Western handle vs Japanese wa wood handle? Hammered pattern or no Hammered pattern?

                    There is another site which I visit from time to time. Japan Blades. I bought a knife there for my brother, but I have never tried it myself. Regardless, this knife looks very similar to the photo you have attached.


                    Japan Blades sometime offers some good deals and here is the list of Santoku:


                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I was leaning toward carbon steel with a Western handle. I really do like that hammered/tsuchime pattern--not just for aesthetics, but to keep things from sticking to the blade.

                      I agree--the first knife you posted above looks VERY much like my coveted chrysanthemum Kikuichi (minus the flower and half the price!). That's a strong contender! How does your brother like it?

                      Because my wrists are small, I thought the santoku might be more "my size" for daily/go-to use than a chef's knife. And to be completely honest, when I read such good reviews of Kikuichi elsewhere, then saw the chrysanthemum pattern in addition to everything else that was important, I thought, "Wow, that really is meant to be my knife because that flower is my birth month flower." :) I know that's a little quirky, but it's the whole truth.

                      As I said before, I didn't mind spending up if Kikuichi was somehow superior, but since you have all given me SO MANY great options...I must say, at this moment, that $98 Kanetsune (K-lookalike) is lookin' mighty sweet. Decisions, decisions.

                      1. re: kattyeyes


                        I bought him a different knife. Unlike me, my brother does not cook. I bought him under the assumption that he will be cooking more -- it didn't work. In short, I think he likes it ok, but not that he really uses it.

                        "Wow, that really is meant to be my knife because that flower is my birth month flower."

                        That actually is not a bad reason.

                        All of these knives we have been discussing are stainless steel knives, not carbon steel. If you are into carbon steel, then JCK Original Aogami Super Santoku looks very good for its price ($153 Sold Out). Unfortunately, it has the Japanese wa wood handle.


                        If I think of a good carbon steel knife with a Western handle, then I will let you know.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Oh, GEEZ, Chem--a blonde moment here (must be the highlights, DUH!). When I first set off on this quest several months ago, I did think I wanted a carbon steel...then the other recommendations I followed ended up being for stainless.

                          Is the rule of thumb that stainless retains an edge longer/better than carbon?

                          1. re: kattyeyes


                            Yeah those highlight can get into the brain. :P (just kidding)

                            There are good stainless steel and good carbon steel knives. For the same price point, carbon steel knives usually are higher performance and sharper. However, stainless steel knives are easier to take care of. Some professional cooks find it is too much work to upkeep a carbon steel knife even if it is sharper. Petek is a professional in the food industry and he has recently switched from a high level carbon steel knife to a semi-stainless steel knife.

                            If you are a home cook, then I think either knives are good. If you have never used a carbon steel knife before, then maybe it is safer to go with stainless steel Japanese hard steel knife -- so there will be fewer changes.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Truly re your first sentence! HA HA HA!

                              Yes, just a happy home cook here. I agree, probably safer to stick with stainless, at least for now. I can't wait to figure out what I'm buying!

                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                Carbon is really not such a big deal. You hopefully will get into a habit of washing and drying your knife directly after use whether it's carbon or stainless. It doesn't take long to adopt this habit.

                                I had issues with a couple of low end carbons were onions were turning black after being cut. I thought this was expected with carbons. With my Tojiro Shirogami white steel #1 this doesn't happen and blue steel is suppose to be even less reactive.
                                I now use my carbon for most anything and it is my preferred knife.

                                When I've done a lot of board work with wet ingredients I sometimes use my stainless since I started to notice a small amount of color developing on the side of the Tojiro carbon knife when used for a prolong period of time.

                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                "Petek is a professional in the food industry and he has recently switched from a high level carbon steel knife to a semi-stainless steel knife."

                                Don't let this dissuade you from purchasing a carbon steel knife.As a home cook,all it takes is a little extra diligence and care to prevent rusting on your blade.I still use my carbons at home,just not so much now at work.

                    2. Katty, thanks for posting that! I'm making a few purchases including knives and love this, though I'm searching to see if it's available without the western handle.

                      1. Hi kattyeyes,

                        I've not used or handled any Kikuichi knives, but I'd say all three of your original links are for (essentially) the same knife. There might be a slight cosmetic difference for the WS version, but I seriously doubt if there's any materials or performance difference.

                        I agree with the others, there are equally functional tsuchime damascus santokus available for less money. I'm fond of Shiki products in general, so my vote is for that model. The Ryusen model is also very nice, & quite different from the Shun version. Shun's handles are "D" shaped, so you buy them for either right or left handed use. Ryusen's handle appears to be a symmetrical obround shape, so it shouldn't matter who uses it. Also, Shun's profile is very Euro, with a lot of curvature to the cutting edge, while Ryusen's is the flatter profile typical to Asian style knives. Finally, the Shun Classic line is not tsuchime, but their Premier line is.

                        I think it's extremely valid to value your knive's appearance, assuming it doesn't negatively impact it's function or performance. There's nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy looking at something you use so much! For example, when I bought my custom bicycle, I paid extra for the special designs the builder put into it, as well as for the special paint color. Neither feature makes the bike ride any better, but both continue to delight each time I'm on a ride!

                        I gravitate towards the natural wood & smoother polished appearance of the Shiki model, but that doesn't mean much if you prefer the linen micarta & heavier dimpling of the Ryusen.

                        Good luck in your decision!

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Eiron

                          Thanks kindly for your input, Eiron. I'm drawn to the Shiki knives, too. If this weren't sold out, lemmetellya, it would be already on its way to my front door. LOOK AT THESE BLUE MICARTA HANDLES! :(

                          The only one left is the Petty 120mm, which doesn't seem like it'd be a good choice for an all-around, daily go-to knife. But damn, it is ART! Or make my day--tell me it could be a great workhorse in my humble home kitchen 'cause it sure is a stunner!

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            LOL, as much as I'd love to make your day, you already know the answer to the question of all-around usability of a 120mm petty. But don't let that stop you from buying it for any number of other reasons. ;-)

                            As I mentioned, I prefer the look of natural wood, & my favorites are the quice burl wood ones.
                            But I must admit, I like the red-lined accent between the bolster & blue micarta handle; very sharp! Koki is very responsive to questions, so I'd strongly suggest emailing JCK & asking when they might expect more of the blue micarta santokus in stock. You never know, it might be Monday! :-)

                            1. re: Eiron

                              "so I'd strongly suggest emailing JCK & asking when they might expect more of the blue micarta santokus in stock. "

                              I agree. Sometime, Koki expects to get restock in a week or two, and something a few months. I think information like this can be very helpful.

                              1. re: Eiron

                                Have I told you lately I love you guys? :) I'm on it!

                                ETA: That lovely quince burl wood is reminiscent of the dashboard of a car I'll never own. ;)

                                1. re: Eiron

                                  UPDATE from Koki's e-mail to me:

                                  "We apologize for current availability of SHIKI SDM-3 Santoku 180mm.

                                  Maker of SHIKI has plan to make new batch of SDM-3, but we apologize Maker of SHIKI still can not inform next available time of SDM-3.

                                  But if you can wait the item with patience, we will inform you update by Email as soon as new batch of SDM-3 to be finished and available next time.

                                  We can also recomend other beautiful SHIKI knives if you are looking for beautiful and fine hand made Damascus kitchen knives."

                                  So this gives me time to think hard about Shiki vs. Kikuichi in the meantime. THANKS, EVERYBODY for helping me out! It may be awhile given the information above, but I promise to let you know my final decision.

                                  Your friend,
                                  The soon-to-be-fancy-knife-wielding kat

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    "but I promise to let you know my final decision."

                                    :) You should also let us know how you like the knife after getting it. Thanks.

                            2. You might want to check out the prices at JB Prince for the Kikuichi - It looks like the prices are lower, though I only compared a Santoku. You have to add the item to your cart to see the prices.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: lilgi

                                Oooh, yes! Nice call, lilgi! I love shopping with all of you. :)

                              2. Katty, I saw the Kikuichi today, with and without the hammered Damascus pattern. I wanted to make sure that if you hadn't seen it yet in person and you have the opportunity to do so, please do!

                                I was dissuaded and am leaning towards the plain blade, but I'll explain further. The Kikuichi knives were displayed right next to a hammered collection of Tamagahane with wooden handles which were stunning. The other hammered styles there were the Shuns. When displayed with the other blades the Kikuichi's blades appear much more dull and grey, and the pattern not nearly as attractive as the other ones displayed. But the other contributing factor for me in choosing the plainer blade is because I was also looking at the other end of the spectrum - what I would call "ugly knives".

                                The differences that I saw may or may not dissuade you, because from what I understand - (and please, if I am mistaken about this, feel free anyone to correct the information, as I'm only relating what I read, and later on confirmed by the very knowledgeable "Knives" vendor I spoke to) - that the Kikuichi is one of the very, VERY, few places where the knives are completely handmade - and you probably know this already. This could be why this style looked considerably different from the rest of the bunch. I wouldn't be surprised if this is why the knives cost a bit more, besides that this is supposedly a vey small company, but again, this knowledge is from a discussion I had with the vendor and what little I read.

                                I am still sold on this company - I need to have that emperor's seal on my knife! but for reasons unknown to me I'm still looking into getting them with the more traditional handle. The one I'd like to purchase first is the 9 1/2" Gyuto which I had the pleasure of using today.

                                13 Replies
                                1. re: lilgi

                                  Lucky lilgi! I really appreciate your post.

                                  I don't know where to see the Kikuichi in person here in CT. You got to try out the Gyuto in the store? Is this it? If so, the reviews are hyper-enthusiastic on CTKG. Dig the video, too:

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    Katty, I think the one I tried is the 9 1/2" (240-mm) GOLD Gyuto but I'm not entirely sure. I'll call tomorrow to double check. I recall that the characters on the knife were engraved as they are in that particular model, and not black as in TKC and Molybdenum. Additionally the price was $300, unless they're charging way more for either of the other brands.

                                    I don't know where you are in Connecticut, but you can see them at Chef Central on Central Avenue near White Plains (Hartsdale area of Westchester). Btw I wasn't expecting to find them and I had to do other shopping there, so you can imagine my jaw dropped!

                                    1. re: lilgi

                                      That's a bit of a road trip for me, but thank you for the suggestion (it COULD happen!). I'm jealous you got to see the Kikuichis in person. Very interested to hear how your shopping is coming along. This one is starting to look more and more like the one:


                                      I know, I know--it's not tsuchime, Damascus...but the video and the guy cutting the onion--makes vegetable chopping a whole lot more fun than it ever has been for me--look, I'm making confetti, CHOP, CHOP, CHOP--WHEEEEEE! I HATE chopping onions with my Wusthof. Are you still leaning heavily toward the Gold?

                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        Katty I wish I knew, so many factors involved. I need a good stainless steel knife right away, ideally soon after, I'd like to start a small collection of carbon steel knives, so still weighing my decision on the stainless - I'm leaning towards the Kikuichi Swedish stainless gold normally priced at around $300 for the 9 1/2" gyuto, cheaper at JB Prince by about $35 roughly, but shipping and tax gets added. The TKC that you posted looks wonderful but it's resistant or semi-stainless and I'll be getting carbon steel later on.

                                        Me thinks that if I do the Kikuichi semi-stainless I'll probably end up with the molybdenum which I can get for about $100 for the 9 1/2", much less than the the TKC knife even though that one is probably better, OR I'll get a stainless Hiromoto for about $150. I became a lot more open-minded about the western handles so that's no longer an issue - although I found one that I really want that's in my price range so that one is a possibility as well!

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          Forgive me but I forgot to mention this; even though the hammered look on the Kikuichi is much more rustic looking, the knives were still very charming. I don't know if I conveyed that before, just in case you don't get to see them up close.

                                          Now, the info that was relayed to me was that with the other hammered styles, the dimples get formed after the metal is smooth which is in a much more decorative fashion, whereas with the Kikuichi, the hammering is simply stopped after a certain point. If this is what actually happens I guess it would explain why the knives have a much more rustic feel. If you're smitten with the Kikuichi hammered damascus go for it, but it would be even better if you have a chance to look at them up close. Btw, I still haven't ruled those out either even though I am leaning towards a plainer style.

                                          1. re: lilgi

                                            Thanks again for your input, lilgi. Maybe I need to take a ride to White Plains. :) I agree it would be best to see the knives in person and see how they feel in my hand.

                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              yw! I'm probably going to surprise myself when I finally make the decision :)

                                    2. re: lilgi

                                      Watanabe cutlery has an excellent reputation for custom to semi-custom knives:


                                      I was able to request the knife thickness, and others have requested for specific length, handle preference, ...etc


                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        Thanks! You've provided lots of great links and I've enjoyed browsing through each one.

                                        I''m still feeling the Kikuich first, though I want to see other handle options with that knife. If it doesn't happen I'll definitely let you know which one I went with, chances are my choice will be from any of the links you posted ;)

                                        1. re: lilgi

                                          No problem. Kikuchi looks good. I am just throwing some options out. Good luck.

                                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          I pulled mine out yesterday just bath it and admire it

                                          1. re: Dave5440

                                            Good to hear. No rusting problem I hope. I remember it is a blue steel deba. For others who may not know. This is the deba knife:


                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              No , no rust issues but it started to delelope a patina if I left it in the paper sheath in the box, I cleaned it with stainless cleaner and put it back in the box, and nothing since