Top 5 Cutting Boards for Japanese Knives in 2024

Best Cutting Boards for Japanese Knives: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to choosing the right cutting board for your Japanese knives, the type of material used is of utmost importance. Certain materials can quickly dull your blade, while others can help preserve its edge and longevity. In this article, we will explore the best cutting board options for Japanese knives, focusing on the materials that work best and the features that make them stand out.

Materials to Avoid

Before we delve into the best cutting board materials for Japanese knives, it is important to identify the materials that should be avoided. Marble, glass, bamboo, and steel cutting boards are all made of materials that are too hard. While these materials may be suitable for use with boning knives, they are not ideal for other types of knives used for chopping vegetables, fruits, and meats. Using these materials can result in a dull knife and a damaged edge, which can affect the longevity of your investment.

Best cutting board materials for Japanese knives

To ensure the longevity of your Japanese knives and maintain their sharpness, it is recommended that you invest in high-quality, end-grain wooden cutting boards. While these boards may be more expensive up front, their durability and ability to protect the knife’s edge make them a worthwhile investment in the long run.

1. Self-healing wooden cutting boards

The best wooden cutting boards for Japanese knives are made of self-healing wood, typically hardwoods such as cypress, cherry, maple, cedar, walnut, and teak. These cutting boards are constructed using end-grain wood, which means that pieces of wood are glued together with the grain perpendicular to the surface of the board. By arranging the wood in this way, the fibers of the board can absorb the impact of the blade, preventing chipping, rolling, and denting. This design feature helps maintain the sharpness of the knife and ensures the longevity of both the knife and the cutting board. Self-healing wooden cutting boards are typically about 4 inches thick, allowing for regular resurfacing and ensuring their long life.

2. Edge-Grain Wood Cutting Boards

Another option for wooden cutting boards suitable for Japanese knives is edge-grain construction. While not as high-quality as end-grain wood, edge-grain boards are still a good choice. These boards are made by gluing pieces of wood together so that the grain and fibers of the wood run parallel to the surface of the board. While edge-grain boards may not last as long as their end-grain counterparts, they offer a more affordable option without compromising the functionality and durability required for Japanese knives.

Recommended Wood Types

Japanese chefs and knife enthusiasts often recommend two specific types of wood for cutting boards: Japanese Cypress (Hinoki) and Aomori Hiba. Japanese cypress is a medium-soft wood that provides the necessary give to keep Japanese knives sharp. Aomori hiba, also known as the Tree of Life, is highly regarded for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, making it an excellent choice for those who value hygiene. Both woods contribute to the longevity of the blade and enhance the overall performance of Japanese knives.

Top 5 cutting boards for Japanese knives

After considering the appropriate materials and construction methods for cutting boards, let’s explore five recommended options that meet the needs of Japanese knives:

1. John Boos Block Cherry End Grain Butcher Block Cutting Board

This handcrafted John Boos end grain wood cutting board is made from sustainably sourced American cherry wood. Its checkerboard pattern and stainless steel legs prevent slipping while chopping. The built-in juice groove collects carving juices, and the board can be treated with beeswax to extend its life.

2. John Boos Maple Classic Reversible Wood End Grain Chopping Block

Another John Boos offering, this reversible end grain chopping block is made from Northern Hard Rock maple wood. Its durable construction and beautiful checkerboard pattern make it a functional and aesthetically pleasing addition to any kitchen.

3. TeakHaus End Grain Carving Board with Hand Grip

Made from FSC certified teak wood, the TeakHaus End Grain Cutting Board is both visually appealing and functional. Teak’s moisture- and stain-resistant properties make it an excellent choice for those who live in humid climates or who want a durable cutting board that won’t warp easily.

4. Sonder Los Angeles Large Thick End Grain Walnut Cutting Board with Non-Slip Feet

Crafted from sustainably-sourced black walnut, this end-grain cutting board from Sonder Los Angeles is not only visually striking, but also highly functional. Its non-slip feet provide stability while chopping, and the juice groove captures carving juices. The board also features side handles for easy maneuverability.

5. Thirteen Chefs Villa Acacia Wood Cutting Board

Made from sustainable acacia wood, this cutting board from Thirteen Chefs offers a durable and stylish option for Japanese knives. The board’s large surface area provides plenty of room for chopping, and its reversible design allows for versatility.

Bottom Line

Choosing the right cutting board is essential to maintaining the sharpness and longevity of Japanese knives. Wooden cutting boards, especially those made of self-healing wood, are highly recommended for their ability to absorb the impact of the blade and protect its edge. Japanese cypress and Aomori hiba are the preferred woods for their unique properties that contribute to knife performance and hygiene. By investing in a quality cutting board that suits your needs, you can ensure the optimal performance and longevity of your Japanese knives, making your culinary experiences truly exceptional.


What makes a cutting board suitable for Japanese knives?

Japanese knives have thin and delicate blades that require a cutting board with the right characteristics. The ideal cutting board for Japanese knives should be made of end grain or edge grain wood, such as cypress, cherry, maple, or walnut. These materials provide the necessary give to protect the edge of the knife and prevent it from dulling quickly.

Can I use a marble or glass cutting board with Japanese knives?

It is not recommended to use marble or glass cutting boards for Japanese knives. These materials are too hard and can damage the edge of the knife. Marble and glass cutting boards are better for other types of knives, such as boning knives, but not for Japanese knives used for chopping vegetables, fruit and meat.

How do self-healing wooden cutting boards work?

Self-healing wooden cutting boards made from hardwoods such as cypress, cherry or walnut have the ability to absorb the impact of the blade. The end-grain construction of these boards allows the wood fibers to move and absorb the impact, protecting the knife edge from chipping, rolling and denting. In addition, when wiped with a damp cloth, the wood will swell slightly, helping to heal any minor nicks or cuts on the surface of the board.

Are edge grain cutting boards suitable for Japanese knives?

While not as premium as end-grain boards, edge-grain cutting boards can still be suitable for Japanese knives. These boards are made by gluing pieces of wood together with the grain running parallel to the surface. While they may not offer the same level of protection as end-grain boards, they are a more affordable option that can still provide a functional and durable surface for Japanese knives.

How thick should a Japanese knife cutting board be?

A good thickness for a Japanese knife cutting board is approximately 4 inches. This thickness allows for regular resurfacing of the board to ensure longevity and maintain a smooth cutting surface. Regular resurfacing will help remove any knife marks or scratches, keeping the board in optimal condition for extended use.

How should I care for and clean my wooden cutting board?

The best way to maintain and clean a wooden cutting board is to wash it with warm, soapy water immediately after use. Avoid soaking the board or exposing it to excessive moisture as this can cause warping. Periodically applying food-grade mineral oil or beeswax to the board will help keep the wood moist and protected. It is also important to avoid cutting raw meat, poultry or fish directly on the board to prevent cross-contamination.