Iseya knives review

This is our Iseya knives review.

A fan of Japanese knives? Me too! Although I’m just a humble home cook, I do appreciate a good knife.

 I have been wondering, like many of you, does a good, affordable Japanese knife exist? So, I thoroughly searched and came up with the conclusion in this Iseya knife review. 

 In this review, you’ll find everything you need to know about Iseya knives, their quality, features, price range, and more. Let’s go!

Overview of Seto Iseya knives

It’s good to know that Iseya knives are produced by Seto Cutlery MFG co., Ltd, owned by dr. Yoshinori Seto. This company has been based since 1908 in Seki city, Japan; the 800-year historical blade capital.

So, you can guarantee that Japan is the country of origin of Iseya knives.

Iseya knives portfolio

  1. Iseya I-series
Iseya G-series

This series of Iseya knives features a blade that consists of 33 layers of Damascus steel with a hammered texture that helps the easy release of food. 

The core beneath the Damascus layers is made of VG10 stainless steel, popular high-end steel often used in the manufacturing of knives, especially Japanese ones. 

VG10 is known for its high corrosion and rust resistance, as well as having a sharp edge that can be retained for a good while.

The D-shaped handles of this series are made of black laminated wood engraving bamboo grass, which is durable and aesthetically pleasing.

You can take a look at the list of knives included in the Iseya I-series: 

  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus  Hammered Japanese Chef’s Gyuto’s Knife 210 mm
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus  Hammered Japanese Chef’s Paring Knife 76mm
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus  Hammered Japanese Chef’s Petty( Utility) 150 mm knife
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus  Hammered Japanese Chef’s Vegetable knife 180 mm
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus  Hammered Japanese Chef’s Santoku Knife 180 mm
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus  Hammered Japanese Chef’s Santoku Knife 135 mm
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus  Hammered Japanese Chef’s Yanagiba (sashimi) 210mm
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus  Hammered Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto-Santoku-Nakiri-Yanagiba (sushi knife)-small Santoku-Paring Knife-Petty knife)
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto-Santoku-small Santoku-Paring Knife-Petty knife)
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto 210 mm -Santoku 180mm- Petty 150 mm)
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto- Yanagiba 210mm- Nakiri 180 mm)
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto- Santoku- Nakiri (vegetable knife)- Yanagiba- Petty)
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto 210 mm- Santoku 180 mm)
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Japanese Chef’s Knife Gyuto and Saya SET 210 mm ( with genuine 24 k gold star stream Saya sheath)
  • Iseya I-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Japanese Chef’s Knife Gyuto and Saya SET 210 mm ( with genuine 24 k with Japanese Gold leaf Saya sheath)
  1. Iseya G-series 
Iseya G-series

Just like the I-series, Iseya G-series is made of 33 layers of Damascus-patterned blades, except that they don’t have the hammered texture of the I-series blades. The core is VG10 stainless steel as well.

As for the handles, the G-series has pakkawood handles which are known to withstand harsh thermal and humid conditions, which makes them more durable compared to normal wood. 

Check the list of knives in the G-series:

  • Iseya G-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Japanese Chef’s Gyuto’s Knife 210 mm
  • Iseya G-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Japanese Chef’s Paring Knife 76mm
  • Iseya G-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Japanese Chef’s Petty Knife 120 mm
  • Iseya G-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Japanese Chef’s Santoku Knife 180 mm
  • Iseya G-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Japanese Petty Chef Knife 150mm
  • Iseya G-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto- Santoku- Petty 120 mm- Petty 150 mm- Paring)
  • Iseya G-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto- Petty- Paring)
  • Iseya G-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto 210 mm- Petty 150 mm)
  • Iseya G-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto-Petty 120 mm- Paring knife)
  • Iseya G-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto- Santoku- Petty 120 mm)
  • Iseya G-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto- Santoku- Petty 150 mm)
  • Iseya G-series 33 layer VG-10 Damascus Japanese Chef’s Knife SET ( Gyuto 210 mm- Santoku 180mm)
  1.  Iseya Molybdenum Series
Iseya Molybdenum Series

These kitchen knives are specially made for non-professional users or beginners. The blades of this collection are made of 33 layers of Damascus steel similar to the I and G series. 

However, this series differs from the other two in the type of core steel, which is here, Molybdenum steel. The edge is considerably sharp, with good corrosion resistance, plus, it can be easily resharpened.

Though Molybdenum steel blades are less hard and sharp than VG10 blades, with shorter edge retention, they are still a popular choice in the cutlery market. 

The handles are either pakkawood, Mahogany, a mixture of both materials, or Micarta.

Here are the knives included in the Iseya Molybdenum steel series

  • Iseya Molybdenum Gyuto Japanese knife 210 mm Black Pakkawood Handle 
  • Iseya Molybdenum Petty-Utility Japanese knife 120 mm Mahogany handle
  • Iseya Molybdenum Gyuto Japanese knife 210 mm Mahogany handle
  • Iseya Molybdenum Petty-Utility Japanese knife 120 mm Mahogany handle
  • Iseya Molybdenum Santoku Japanese knife 180 mm black pakkawood handle
  • Iseya Molybdenum Gyuto Japanese knife 180 mm black pakkawood handle
  • Iseya Molybdenum Petty-Utility knife 150 mm Mahogany handle
  • Iseya Molybdenum Santoku Japanese knife 180 mm black pakkawood handle
  • Iseya Molybdenum Gyuto Japanese knife 180 mm black pakkawood handle
  • Iseya Molybdenum Santoku Japanese knife 180 mm black Micarta handle
  • Iseya Molybdenum Petty-Utility Japanese knife 120 mm black pakkawood handle
  • Iseya Molybdenum Gyuto Japanese knife 210 mm Mahogany pakkawood handle
  • Iseya molybdenum Gyuto Japanese knife 180 mm black Micarta handle
  • Iseya molybdenum  Petty-Utility 150 mm black pakkawood handle
  • Iseya molybdenum Santoku Japanese 180 mm black pakkawood handle
  • Iseya molybdenum Petty-Utility Japanese knife 120 mm Mahogany pakkawood ( packer wood) handle 
  • Iseya molybdenum Petty-Utility Japanese knife 150 mm Mahogany packer wood handle 
  • Iseya molybdenum Santoku Japanese knife 180 mm Mahogany packer wood handle 
  • Iseya molybdenum Gyuto Japanese knife 210 mm black Micarta handle 
  • Iseya molybdenum Gyuto Japanese knife 180 mm pakkawood Mahogany handle 
  • Iseya molybdenum Petty-Utility Japanese knife 150 mm black pakkawood handle 
  • Iseya molybdenum Petty-Utility Japanese knife 120 mm black Micarta handle 
  • Iseya molybdenum Gyuto Japanese knife 180 mm black pakkawood handle 
  • Iseya molybdenum Petty-Utility Japanese knife 150 mm black Micarta handle 

Iseya knives review

Well, that’s a big collection of kitchen knives to choose from, but are they sharp? Can I re-sharpen them easily ? and many more questions that you might consider before you make the buying decision.

In this part of the Seto knives review, we’ll get to know all about the key features of Iseya knives, uses , pros and cons. 

specs

  • Weight: 175 g
  • Core steel: VG10 stainless steel
  • HRC: 60-61
  • Bevel: double-edged (50/50 balanced, suitable for right and left-handed persons)
  • Finish: Tsuchimi (hammered)
Iseya I-4 Gyuto Damascus VG10 210mm
Source: Iseya I-4 Gyuto Damascus VG10 210mm

The Iseya VG10 Damascus Japanese Knife 210mm is an all-purpose knife. It’s suitable for cutting fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and other foodstuffs.

The blade is composed of 33 layers of Damascus steel surrounding a core of VG10 stainless steel. The VG10 steel makes the edge razor-sharp, with high hardness up to 61 HRC, enough to retain the edge for a good amount of time.

Unboxing Iseya I-series 33 Layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Japanese Chef's Gyuto Knife 210mm

The handle is a traditional Japanese D-shaped one, made of laminated wood, and engraved with bamboo grass, which looks nice and prevents slippage of the handle during use.

Upon using this knife, you’re going to feel that the weight is more towards the center i.e. blade-heavy. This allows a more balanced grip and facilitates the cutting process.

Pros:

  • Razor-sharp edge
  • Good edge retention
  • Lightweight 
  • A comfortable, Well-balanced grip
  • Comfortable knuckle clearance
  • Tsuchime finish of the blade helps easy food release
  • Giftable; comes in its own box
  • Reasonable price point

Cons:

  • The handle is a bit small for people with large hands, but still fits comfortably
  • The spine is a little thick, but still glides with ease through different food stuffs
  • May need a little touch-up right out of the box
  • The handle is not full-tang designed, but it doesn’t affect the balance of the knife

Specs

  • weight: 65 g
  • Core steel: AUS10 alloy (VG10) stainless steel
  • HRC: 60-61
  • Bevel: double-beveled (50/50, balanced )
  • Finish: Tsuchimi (hammered)

This is another member of the Iseya I-series, the 76mm Japanese paring knife. 

This one is good for cutting, slicing, and paring fruits, vegetables, and herbs particularly, small ones, thanks to its small blade. It’s very practical in quick food prep.

How to use Iseya I-series 33 Layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Paring Knife 76mm

Like the rest of the I-series, this paring knife has a blade consisting of 33 layers of Damascus steel with a VG10 stainless steel core. 

The handle is also D-shaped and made of laminated wood engraved with bamboo grass to provide a non-slip, smooth, and comfortable grip.

Pros:

  • Long handle for more control and comfort during use
  • Extremely sharp
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Prolonged edge retention

  Cons:

  • The handle is a little big for people with small hands, but most get used to it quickly.
  • It might need a bit of sharpening before use

specs

  •  Weight: 80 g
  • Core steel: VG10 stainless steel
  • HRC: 60-61
  • Finish: Damascus patterned blade
  • Bevel: double-bevel (50/50)    

A multipurpose knife from Iseya G-series, with a smoother blade without the tsuchimi texture found on the blades of the I-series. Just the typical 33-layer Damascus steel covering the VG10 stainless steel core.

This Iseya paring knife is great for chopping different types of food; vegetables, fruits, meat and more.

How to use Iseya G-series 33 Layer VG-10 Damascus Petty Knife(Utility) 150mm

The knife has a  black packer wood handle, featuring a high resistance to thermal and humid conditions.

Pros:

  • Very sharp cutting edge
  • Easy, Comfortable grip
  • Well-balanced during use

Cons:

  • The handle may be too small for people with large hands
  • It may need a bit of sharpening out of the box

Specs

  • Weight: 180 g
  • Core steel: VG-10 steel
  • HRC: 60-61
  • Bevel: double beveled (50/50 balanced)
  • Finish: Damascus patterned blade
How to use Iseya G-series 33 Layer VG-10 Damascus Santoku Knife 180mm

The go-to Santoku. It’s great for a variety of cutting purposes including vegetables, fruits, meat, fish and other different kinds of food.

The blade is made of 33 layers of Damascus steel covering a VG10 stainless steel core, with a black packer wood handle.

Pros:

  • Razor-sharp blade
  • Easy to use
  • Comfortable grip

Cons:

  • The spine is slightly thick, but still doesn’t cause wedging
  • A bit lighter than should be

For those upgrading their kitchen knife set, I personally recommend this one for you guys. This 8-piece set is among the most versatile options.

It includes all the essential kitchen knives for all cutting tasks; chopping, slicing, and dicing vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, and there is even a special sushi knife.

If this one is too much for you or off-budget, you can still get a versatile, yet, smaller set suitable for a variety of cutting purposes. You can choose the smaller 5-pieces set : 

  • Iseya I-series 33 Layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Japanese Chef’s Knife SET (Gyuto – Santoku – Small Santoku – Petty – Paring) 
Iseya I-series 33 Layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Japanese Chef's Knife SET (Gyuto - Santoku - Small Santoku - Petty - Paring)

Or the 3-pieces set :

  •  Iseya I-series 33 Layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Japanese Chef’s Knife SET (Gyuto 210mm – Santoku 180mm – Petty 150mm), for a more precise choice.
Iseya I-series 33 Layer VG-10 Damascus Hammered Japanese Chef's Knife SET (Gyuto 210mm - Santoku 180mm - Petty 150mm)

Iseya knife reviews: What do customers think about Seto Iseya?

We’re often influenced by what others think of a certain product, so most of us are keen on checking other customers’ reviews.

So, what do people say about Seto Iseya? Well, it’s good to tell you that most of the reviews on the Hocho knife website are pretty positive, encouraging reviews. 

Almost all users love the fact that Iseya is handmade knives, with quality blades that makes them super sharp. Not only that, but there are many compliments regarding the superior edge retention of the Iseya Seto, and how it is a durable knife.

Customers were also impressed by the handles which, in spite of their various types, provide a quite comfortable grip.

However, some users mentioned the presence of some burs or small defects on the blade, which is quite typical of a hand-finished blade and can be treated with a quick touch-up before use.

Some others also stated that the blades need a bit of a touch-up right out of the box, but then, they become razor-sharp.

Here are some examples of the customers’ reviews on the Hocho-knife website:

“ The knife is beautiful. It is balanced and very sharp. I am very pleased with how it cuts through bone and meat.”
Source

“ Came in very well packaged. Just a week after ordering. Very good service. Kept me updated via email on my order status. Knife came and I sharpened it straight away as it definitely looked like a factory edge. So I put okay. But really couldn’t say. Very good site to order from.”
Source

Where to buy Iseya knives?

If you want to buy Iseya cutlery products, you have  a variety of options to choose from, for example, Hocho-knife, Japanny.com, or Amazon

Based on personal experience, I would actually recommend Hocho, a reputable Japanese retail website. The customer service is great, the delivery is super fast, and they offer special promotions and sales on a number of products. In addition, they rarely have any of Iseya’s products out of stock.

At the time of writing this article, Hocho-knife is offering an up to 25 % summer sale on Iseya products.

As a second choice, you can purchase Iseya knives via Japanny.com. This website also offers a variety of sales and deals up to 50%.

How to contact Seto Cutlery MFG Co?

If you need to contact Seto cutlery for inquiries or customer service you can do this via their phone number (0081 575 22 8892), e-mail address, or Fax number (0081 575 24 1895).

Iseya knife alternatives

Still not sure? If not, here are a couple of alternatives that are also of premium quality, yet still within the affordable range.

This gyuto is among the best-selling series in the Sakai Takayuki knives; the 33-layer VG10 Damascus series.

Its blade shares the same type of core steel as Iseya Gyuto, the VG10 stainless steel with the same overlying Damascus steel cladding, and the hand-hammered finish. 

Therefore, the Sakai Takayuki blade has excellent edge retention, high sharpness, and great rust resistance.

The special thing about Sakai Takayuki  Gyuto is its heat treatment, which raises the HRC up to  61. 

This tempering procedure balances the equation between hardness and flexibility, which also makes it easy to sharpen compared to the regular VG10 stainless steel.

Sakai Takayuki 33-Layer VG10 Damascus Hammered WA Japanese Chef's Gyuto Knife 210mm

The handle of the Sakai Gyuto is made of Spanish Mahogany plywood, which is water resistant and adds beauty to the design of the knife.

Last but not least, I would recommend this one as another, Japanese high-quality, affordable knife, except for a little issue with the handle being a bit too small for users with larger hands. Other than that, it’s the knife of choice for almost all cutting purposes.

Similar to the Iseya gyuto of the Molybdenum series, this multipurpose chef knife has core steel of Aus-8 Molybdenum Vanadium stainless steel, but without the beautiful Damascus cladding covering the blade of Iseya Molybdenum Gyuto. 

In my opinion, the absence of the Damascus layering on the blade of FKM gyuto gives it a little bit of a dull, basic appearance.

Though the Molybdenum core steel gives a high degree of sharpness, it is less hard than the VG 10 stainless steel, with an HRC of 57-58, with less edge retention. This means it needs more frequent sharpening, which is not a big issue since it’s easy to sharpen.

The cutting edge of the FKM gyuto is also double-beveled, but the balance is 70/30 compared to the 50/50 beveling of the Iseya gyuto, so it is more fit for right-handed persons. 

Handle of Fujiwara Kanefusa Molybdenum Stainless Japanese Chef's Gyuto Knife 210mm

There is only one handle option available compared to the three handle choices of the Iseya Molybdenum series, which is black pakkawood. So, you can guarantee a highly durable, water and thermal-resistant handle.

 Moreover, the handle of this Gyuto knife is supplied with a bolster for a more comfortable and safer grip; a feature which is not present in the handle of an Iseya Molybdenum Gyuto.

Are Iseya knives good?

Yes, actually Iseya knives are good, they are definitely a wise choice for people seeking reputable Japanese brands with affordable price ranges as I’ve shown you in this Iseya knife review. 

They are great as introductory knives for those who are trying Japanese steel knives for the first time before it becomes an addiction! They are also great gifts if you have someone who loves cooking.

So, yes, a good value for your money and a nice addition to your kitchen.

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