Shun vs Miyabi

Shun vs Miyabi: Epic Compare of the Best Japanese Kitchen Knives

By Bobby B. |  August 10, 2019  | Kitchen Knife Comparisons

Buying knives from either of these brands is an easy decision.  They’re both amazing options and you can’t go wrong whichever way you decide to go.  The real decision comes when trying to decide which to choose.  Shun vs Miyabi is a battle between two of the best Japanese kitchen knives on the market today.  Both are high-end knife brands, use extremely high-quality materials and are handmade in Seki City, Japan.

This article will provide you with an in-depth, side-by-side comparison with pictures.  We focus on two of the most popular knife collections for each brand.  We’ll compare and contrast the Shun Classic with the Miyabi Kaizen as well as the Shun Hiro vs the Miyabi Mizu.

Miyabi vs Shun:  Brand Comparison

As many of you know from our previously published Shun Knives Review article, Shun Cutlery products are part of the larger Kai Corporation out of Seki City, Japan.  What you might not yet know is that Miyabi-brand knives are now a division of the ZWILLING group, but also headquarter out of Seki City, Japan.

You can probably just tell by looking at the knives in the header image that they are pretty similar.  Both knife producers pride themselves on all of their respective knives being handmade.  Both brands claim a set of over 100 processes go into making each and every knife that comes out of their factories.

As noted above, both Shun and Miyabi hand produce their Japanese-style kitchen knives in Seki City, Japan.  Did you know there are actually over 1500 knife brands in this one city?  Yes, these guys are in good company as Seki City is often referred to as the “city of blades”. 

Shun Classic vs Miyabi Kaizen

Our first comparison between Shun and Miyabi knives will be the Classic facing off against the Kiazen.  These are mid-range knife models for both of these brands.  But, keep in mind, what is considered mid-range for these brands might be considered high-end for others.

To view the chart below on a mobile device, you may have to turn your screen on its side.

Shun Classic Chef Knife

Shun Classic Series

Core Steel: VG-MAX

Hardness:  60-61 HRC

Damascus: 68-layers

Shun Classic VG-MAX Blade Detail

Warranty:  Limited Lifetime

Handle Shape: D-Shape

Handle Material:  Pakkawood

Shun Classic Pakkawood Handle Detail

Edge Angle: 16 degrees/side

Handmade: Seki Ciy, Japan

Tang: Full-Tang

Price: $$

Miyabi Kaizen Chef Knife

Miyabi Kaizen Series

Core Steel: VG-10

Hardness:  60 HRC

Damascus: 64-layers

Miyabi Kaizen VG10 Blade Detail

Warranty:  Limited Lifetime

Handle Shape: D-Shape

Handle Material:  Micarta

Miyabi Kaizen Micarta Handle Detail

Edge Angle: 9.5 -12 degrees/side

Handmade: Seki Ciy, Japan

Tang: Full-Tang

Price: $$

Shun Classic vs Miyabi Kaizen Review: 

As you can see above, there numerous similarities between these two great knife collections.  

Similarities:   

They both have similar shaped handles, use high-quality, very hard steel with a Damascus pattern, are produced in Seki City, and run full-tang.  In the end, they have comparable pricing as well.  But it’s the differences that will set these knife collections apart. 

Differences: 

VG-MAX and VG-10 are very similar steels.  Shun has refined their proprietary VG-MAX to be ever so slightly better than VG-10, but there’s really very little difference.  Due to this they can sometimes get a tiny-bit of extra hardness, but it’s not significant.

The major differences here are the handle materials and the edge angle.  Handle material is really personal preference.  Both Pakkawood and Micarta are nice, hard materials that are built to last a lifetime.  The Miyabi is a thinner, sharper blade, but unless you’re used to Japanese knives, you might actually prefer the thicker blade on the Shun.  It’s still quite a bit thinner and sharper than most Western knives.  

Conclusion: 

So, who wins the battle between the Shun Classic and the Miyabi Kaizen?  It’s almost too close to call and if you really like one over the other for some reason, either one is a great knife.  They are really just about the same knife.  But since we must choose one, we pick the Shun Classic Series.  In our head-to-head battle, it was ever so slightly less expensive than the Miyabi prices were, while still having the edge in blade steel, hardness, and our preference on handle material. 

Miyabi Logo

As you’re probably starting to notice, both of these brands make good knives and they’re quite similar in their materials and processes.  Ready or not, here comes another match-up between Miyabi and Shun.  This time we’ll discuss some of their higher-end knives with the very popular SG2 Japanese steel blades.

Miyabi Logo

Shun Hiro vs Miyabi Mizu vs Miyabi Artisan

Here we compare not two, but three different, yet comparable knife collections between Shun and Miyabi.  As you can see in the images below, they all look very similar and are produced with SG2 cores and a hammered finish.  Let’s get comparing shall we? 

To view the chart below on a mobile device, you may have to turn your screen on its side.

Shun Hiro Chef Knife

Shun Hiro Series

Core Steel: SG2

Hardness:  64 HRC

Damascus: Hammered Finish

Shun Hiro SG2 Blade Detail

Warranty:  Limited Lifetime

Handle Shape: Ambidextrous

Handle Material:  Pakkawood

Shun Hiro Pakkawood Handle Detail

Edge Angle: 16 degrees/side

Handmade: Seki Ciy, Japan

Tang: Full-Tang

Price: $$$$

Miyabi Mizu Chef Knife

Miyabi Mizu Series

Core Steel: SG2

Hardness:  63 HRC

Damascus: Hammered Finish

Miyabi Mizu SG2 Blade Detail

Warranty:  Limited Lifetime

Handle Shape: D-Shape

Handle Material:  Micarta

Miyabi Mizu Micarta Handle Detail

Edge Angle: 9 -12 degrees/side

Handmade: Seki Ciy, Japan

Tang: Full-Tang

Price: $$$

Miyabi Artisan SG2 Chef Knife

Miyabi Artisan Series

Core Steel: SG2

Hardness:  63 HRC

Damascus: Hammered Finish

Miyabi Artisan SG2 Blade Detail

Warranty:  Limited Lifetime

Handle Shape: D-Shape

Handle Material:  Micarta

Miyabi Artisan Micarta Handle Detail

Edge Angle: 9.5 -12 degrees/side

Handmade: Seki Ciy, Japan

Tang: Full-Tang

Price: $$$

Shun Hiro vs Miyabi Mizu vs Miyabi Artisan SG2 Review: 

As noted at the outset, all three of these high-end knives are very similar and have very little difference when you look at the stats.

Similarities:   

There are a ton of similarities to note, across all three knives really.  All use the SG2 powder steel for the core and are wrapped in a stainless, hammered finish to reduce food sticking on the blade.  All three are extremely hard, full-tang, and made in the same city by similar Japanese artisans and carry a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing and material defects.

Differences: 

Finding differences in these three knives is like splitting hairs.  There are two main differences as we see them.  First, the handle…Shun uses the Pakkawood and Miyabi uses a Micarta handle.  As we mentioned before, these is really personal preference.  Both are great materials that should last a lifetime if cared for properly.  The difference lies in the shape of the handle  The D-shaped handles are often intended specifically for right-handed individuals, whereas the Shun Hiro uses a completely symmetrical, or ambidextrous, handle. 

The second main difference is the thickness/sharpness of the blade.  Miyabi tends to have thinner blades at 9 – 12 degrees per side vs Shun’s standard 16 degree angle on each side.  We assure you, both are sharper and thinner than nearly any “Western” knife you’ve handled before. 

Conclusion: 

Time to conclude with a winner I suppose.  In our opinion, these knives are all pretty equal.  One could argue that the Shun Hiro knives are ever-so-slightly harder or that the Miaybi stamps are more detailed on the butt of the handle, but that’s immaterial as far as we’re concerned.  If you’re part of the smaller left-handed population, you probably choose the Shun Hiro on it’s symmetrical handle.  If you’re not, we suggest choosing on whichever one you can get the best deal on at the time you’re shopping.  At the time of this writing, both the Miyabi Mizu Series and the Miyabi Artisan SG2 were the same price, therefore they’ll split the win today!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This