3 Japanese knives for cutting fish


Cutting fish properly requires specialized knives. In this post, we’ll be recommending 3 different types of Japanese knives for cutting fish. Prior to cutting, the fish must be scaled with a scaler. To do that, always start by scaling from the tail-end towards the head while holding the fish with one hand. The next step is to gut, and once that’s completed, then you’re ready to begin cutting.

Most common types of cut

The type of cut employed will depend on the type of fish (flat, two loins, four loins, flat bones, Mercedes star-like bones, etc.). Some of the most famous cuts will be discussed below.


In a fillet cut, the fish is placed on a board and a cut is made across the fish at an angle just below the gill flap and fin. A shallow cut is then made from behind the head, running down the dorsal fin and towards the tail. With the cut made, you can then skim your knife over the bones and peel off the top fillet. Repeat the steps to remove the bottom fillet. The head of the fish, which is attached to the spine, can be used to make broth.


A slice is the vertical cut of a piece of large cylindrical fish such as cod or hake. The fish is placed on a board and sectioned transversely from side to cut. Cuts are made in parallel about two inches apart, and the cuts include meat, skin, and the spine.


A supreme cut is a cut of any type of fish without the bone and with or without skin. This cut is generally used for big that weigh two or more kilograms, in the loin area. The cuts are thick and are approximately 12 centimeters in length.


Medallion cuts are obtained from the loins, without skin and without bones. Fish that are cylindrical in shape, such as hake or white tuna, are the best candidate for this type of cut. Once a large slice is cut, it is divided into four clean portions.

3 Japanese knives for fish

Yanagiba knife

The Yanagiba knife, together with the Deba and Nakiri knives, is considered one of 3 basic knives used in Japanese cuisine. Yanagiba knives are commonly used to effortlessly fillet fish into thin slices and are known for their long and thin blades. When cutting with a Yanagiba knife, the entire length of the blade is used in a sliding motion, with the blade sliding through the fish without much force applied.

This cutting technique is essential for preparing a wide range of Japanese cuisines such as sashimi, where the texture of the fish must be preserved.

The type of fish will determine the version of Yanagiba knife that must be used. Fugu fish requires a yanagiba fuguhiki knife or a square-tip takobiki model. Yanagiba knives can also be used to skin fish. Domestic use versions of these knives range between 21 to 27cm in length, while professional versions can be longer.

Takobiki knife

Sakimaru Takobiki knives are great for preparing sushi and sashimi. They’re very similar to yanagiba knives except they’re used for longer, more precise cuts. The knives are thin, approximately 270mm in length, making them ideal for filleting raw fish in slice slices. They’re perfectly weighted and feature blunts tips, making these knives good for use with difficult ingredients such as octopus.

Deba knife

Deba knives are designed mainly for filleting and cutting, and is the ideal knife when working with whole pieces of fish or birds. These knives are designed in a way that allows deep, precise cuts while allowing the user to control the amount of pressure exerted on the blade. Each part of a deba blade can be used for a specific purpose. The part of the knife closest to the handle is perfect for cutting bones, the center of the blade is perfect for filleting, and the tip is great for boning. This knife is extremely versatile.

The yanagiba, takobiki, and deba knives are 3 Japanese knives that we recommend to use when cutting fish. After reading this post, you should be able to choose a proper knife for all your fish preparation needs. One last thing to remember – always remember to clean your knives with soap and water and dry them prior to storage to prolong your knifes maximum usage life and ensure it performs as it should.