How often should you sharpen a Japanese knife?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How often should you sharpen a Japanese knife?” and will discuss when to sharpen the knife.

How often should you sharpen a Japanese knife?

Sharpening of your Japanese knives depends on how often you use it and other variables. You should sharpen your knife once or twice a year for casual usage or once a month for professional use. Nevertheless, you should be sharpening your knife regularly to keep its edge as sharp as possible. 

Japanese knives are renowned for their thin, durable, and razor-sharp design. These are the main characteristics that set these knives apart and place them at the top of the global rankings. Keep your knife’s blade sharp before each usage to keep it cutting smoothly and effectively. This should become a ritual and is very essential.

The distinction between honing and sharpening

Many people will give you incorrect information on how to properly sharpen a knife since the language may be difficult for those who are just learning about Japanese knives or those who are unfamiliar with them in general.

This is because keeping a sharp knife is something you should do before every usage, not something you should ‘sharpen.’ Because honing is a word used to describe the daily/weekly maintenance of a knife, many are perplexed.

Maintaining the sharpness of your Japanese knife’s blade involves eliminating burrs, folds, and nicking from the knife’s edge. Instead of removing steel layers to create a new edge, honing aims to keep the existing blade edge as sharp as possible for as long as feasible.

Honing a Japanese knife simply smooths the steel edge so that it remains sharp. Sharpening removes a layer of steel to create a new and sharper edge. Therefore, sharpening should only be done after the blade has become dull (or is beginning to get dull). This is the deciding element, and it varies from person to person based on a variety of variables.

How often should a Japanese knife be sharpened?

As previously stated, sharpening and honing a blade are two distinct but equally important methods of blade maintenance.

If you use your knife regularly around the house, you should sharpen it at least once a year. Since professionals use knives regularly, they will need to sharpen them more often than the average person. This is usually once or twice a month.

It depends on how often and how long you use it to determine how often you should hone. The most typical frequency is before or after each usage. Once a week honing is sufficient if you just use your knife for one meal each week. If you use your knife regularly, every day honing will be needed to keep it sharp.

A few passes of the blade on a steel or ceramic sharpening rod are all that is required for honing; more honing may harm the blade, so don’t mistake this for a ‘sharpening’ procedure. The number of times you should sharpen your knife will be determined by how often it needs to be treated.

Do you have to share a Japanese knife every two years?

Some significant variables will greatly impact how often you should sharpen a Japanese knife, and therefore how often you should sharpen it. However, the most critical consideration is how worn out your blade presently is.

To see whether the blade is dull, just run your finger down the edge to see how sharp it is. A helpful paper test is another method to determine whether or not the blade is sharp (or dull) without putting yourself in danger by doing the above-mentioned anxious movement. 

Knife Condition

To know how frequently and when to sharpen your knife, look at its current state first. If the knife has lost its burrs along the edge or has gotten dull, these are the major warning indications that you need to hone or sharpen it.

The edge of your blade should be honed regularly to keep it sharp. Once a knife becomes dull, no amount of honing will help keep it sharp. When a knife’s edge begins to dull, it is necessary to sharpen it right away to restore the original knife’s edge.

Frequency of use

The frequency with which you use your knife will, of course, play a significant role in deciding how often you should get it sharpened. Even if you don’t hone a knife every day for a long time, the blade will eventually dull from regular usage.

Knives that are used often must be sharpened more frequently. If you use it every day, you should sharpen it at least once a month. If you use it just once a week, you should only sharpen it a few times a year.

Type of food

Depending on the kind of food you’re chopping, your knife will wear out more rapidly. Fruits and vegetables, which are softer, have a lower blunting effect than more abrasive meals, such as meat (in particular the bone).

The easiest way to tell whether a knife needs sharpening is to see how much effort it takes to cut with it. Cutting through fruit and vegetables with a Japanese knife that is razor-sharp should only need a little amount of effort.

If you have to apply force or a sawing action to cut through the food, the blade is probably dull and in need of sharpening. Food staining the board when chopping.

Honing frequency

As previously said, frequent honing can assist maintain your blade sharp for a longer length of time and increase the overall usefulness of your knife. The more often you sharpen your blade, the more aware you’ll become if it’s becoming less sharp and how tough it is to cut.

You know your blade is dull and needs to be sharpened when honing no longer improves how easy you can cut. Even though it takes a few seconds, honing is the most significant element in determining how often you should get your blade sharpened.


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How often should you sharpen a Japanese knife?” and discussed when to sharpen the knife.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.