Are you ready to cook Japanese cuisines?! If you are, then that’s great, but what are the essential Japanese kitchen tools you will need? Well, here is a list of 9 types of Japanese cooking kitchenware and cookware that we suggest and which you can easily find in many Asian grocery stores or on the internet.
1. Japanese knives
The Japanese knife is essential can be indispensable tool for your kitchen especially if you are a fan of Japanese cuisine! There are several types of Japanese knives, and here are the main four:
- Yanagiba, is a long asymmetrical knife particularly suitable for cutting sashimi
- Santoku is a versatile knife. It can be used to cut meat or vegetables
- Usuba is a more square shaped knife. It is used exclusively for vegetable cutting.
- Deba bocho is a knife that can help you make fish fillets and cut them with more precision.
Which one to choose? To begin with, I recommend the santoku which is quite versatile, then you can use the deba bocho to make sure your fish fillets will look like they are prepared by a pro(you will also look like a pro chef while using these knifes 🙂 ).
You should know that these Japanese knives are made either for a right-handed, left-handed or ambidextrous persons.
2. Hangiri Rice Mixing Tub.
Rice is omnipresent not only in asian ciusine which is why a electric rice-cooker is a handy device, because you don’t have much to do to successfully cook rice when using it. But if you want to use more traditional nethod of cookkng rise Japanese style, then you can make your own Japanese rice in a rice mixing tub also called Hangiri.
To finish the preparation of your Japanese rice, you have to spread it in a hangiri, which is a large flat wooden container. Use the rice spatula, made of wood or plastic, to gently mix the rice without crushing it. Often a hand fan is used to cool the rice and make it look shiny. Finally, the hangiri preserves the rice warm and fresh for longer once cooked.
3. A makisu, a bamboo sushi mat
The makisu is a kind of small bamboo mat made by weaving fine bamboo stems with a cotton string. Makisu is used mainly for the preparation of maki zushi, but also tamago yaki or to drain the leaves of spinach after cooking.
If you wish to buy these utensils, for your preparations or as a gift, you will find your happiness in the artisans shops of the Kappabashi district in Tokyo.
The makisu mat will allow you to wrap the Maki during preparation. You can also use it to prepare vegetables like spinach or compress tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette) to give it a square shape.
4 Japanese Chopsticks
Japanese chopsticks allow you to look cool while you eat, but also to cook with style! Indeed, there are long Japanese chopsticks called ryoribashi. They are often used for frying and allow to avoid burning and to return the food in the hot oil… there are others a little less long called saibashi which allows serving the hot dishes safely.
5. Japanese Square Pan , Takoyaki Pan, Donburi Pan and Japanese Style Steel Wok
1 Square frying pan: this frying pan allows you to make tamagoyaki, the famous Japanese omelettes. It is not necessary tool, but practical.
2 Takoyaki pan: this pan allows you to make small takoyaki balls, you can put the ingredients you want inside, recommended if you are a fan of takoyaki.
3 Donburi frying pan: the handle of this frying pan is vertical and allows to make oyakodon, a rice dish on which a mixture of eggs and chicken is placed.
4 Japanese wok : Japanese recipes are largerly inspired by Chinese recipes and many of them use wok which is very useful to mix ingredients thanks to its wide and rounded shape.
These types of pans are not really essential and are more suitable for certain Japanese recipes. You can always use your classic round large pans if you don’t have one of the mentioned above.
6. Sushi Moulds and Presses
If you are in a hurry and want to make bento for your children, plastic moulds will save you a lot of time!
These are perfect for making onigiri (rice balls) for example, maki, gyoza (Japanese ravioli), suchi and sweets with original shapes.. made of plastic or cast iron, we admit it is very practical and efficient accesory!
Tip: you can moisten them so that the rice does not stick when in contact with the mold, so you can unmoulder it more easily.
7. Japanese Mandolin Slicer
The mandolin slicer is quite new and trendy Japanese kitchen tool, but above all very easy to use. It’s extremely practical, ecological, small in size and very economical.
It’s perfect for small spaces and especially for small kitchens. Moreover, it is also the ideal utensil for those who are tired of equipping themselves and storing large machines in their kitchen cabinets. It is also suitable for anyone who wants to cook simple and quick recipes like fresh salads for example.
The Japanese mandolin is the perfect kitchen tool to surprise all of your guests or simply to prepare a nice plate of vegetables and especially fresh fruit salads.
A kitchen mandolin, whether you use it for cutting, grating or slicing thin slices of vegetables or fruits is often the most practical utensil to use due to the quality of the cut it makes and the efficiency of this Japanese kitchen tool.
Taking only a small storage space, it would easily find its place in your kitchen, it does not require electricity and is easier to clean than electric models.
There are many types of mandolin slicers on the market. They range from a few dollars you can buy at the corner shop to few hundred dollars for high-end models which are offering better safety and precision for the user.
You can find more information about Japanese mandolin slicers in our comprehensive comparative guide article on the best models.
8. Cast Iron Teapot
In Japanese cuisine some salty recipes also use green tea either infused or as decorative addition to dishes like chazuke.
Green tea is a must for almost all Japanese dishes, so a teapot is an essential accessory for your kitchen and especially if you are a tea lover like myself. Be it Sencha, Dragonwell or other type of green tea you won’t regret buying a cast iron teapot for your tea preparation. When you buy tea always search for high quality and freshness as this is very important when brewing tea.
Genuine properly stored loose leaf tea made in such teapot will certainly give you a wonderfull tea drinking experience.
If you are shopping for Japanese cast iron teapot, make sure you choose a quality teapot like the 3 we picked for you below:
9. A Few other Basic Japanese kitchen Tools and Accessories
When you are diving deeper into the world of Japanese food and its preparation you will definitely need a few additional utensils. These include a skillet pan, a frying pan with a lid, a colander, a salad bowl, kitchen scissors, a dosing machine and a mortar and pestle…
The other accessories you should have and which will be very useful in your Japanese kitchen, are a kitchen machine and a blender… then you will be very well equipped to start your cooking journey!
Having a damp cloth next to you will also be important as it is used to keep your hands moist when handling rice, it is also used to moisten your knife and clean it when cutting. Having wet hands is essential and will allow you to make the rice less sticky.
And for food lovers, a wasabi grater is a plus (you can use any normal grater for that purpose)! Fresh wasabi is delicious and has nothing to do with the green fluorescent paste we know from japanese restourants.
Where to get these utensils in Japan?
If you are going to Japan and would like to get these utensils from there we have some suggestions? Any neighborhood in Tokyo will allow you to buy these accessories. And more precisely you can go to the street of Kappabashi located between Ueno and Asakusa. You will recognize it easily thanks to the huge chef’s Head sign at the top of the building!
In more than 200 specialized shops around Japan you will find everything, Japanese knives, chopsticks, bento boxes, moulds, presses. And these famous sampuru (plastic artificial food) … you will be delighted! This is definitely a place to visit!
Of course if you don’t plan a trip to Japan anytime soon, you can just buy all of these from places like Amazon. Just check the links below:
- Japanese chopstics
- Japanese cast iron Teapots
- Frying pan with a lid
- Japanese salad bowl
- Japanese kitchen scissors
- Japanese pestle & mortar
- Kotobuki Japanese Fish Bone Tweezers