When it comes to pocket knives, you have quite a few options. Do you want a fixed blade or a folder? Do you want something American or Japanese? Do you want to spend a whole bunch of money or opt for something cheaper? Do you want to eventually pass it down to future members of your family tree? Everyone’s answers are going to be slightly different, but if you want to skew toward the Japanese side of things, we have quite a few solid options. Here are 8 Japanese pocket knives worthy of your EDC:

Higo no Kami Tokudai Nagaokoma

If you’re not already familiar, the higonokami is a type of folding pocket knife that originated in the Hyōgo Prefecture of Japan in the late 1800s. The friction folder includes no locking system, and it’s been used for everything from carpentry and small tasks, to survival and everyday carry purposes for more than two centuries. In that time, the design hasn’t really been improved upon, which is perfectly fine with us because that means the production processes and price have remained. The end result is a high-quality pocket knife like this one from Higo no Kami that you can pick up for less than twenty bucks on Amazon. $19

Saikai Higonokami Mini Knife

What happens when you take all the great things we just told you about the historically excellent higonokami knife and make it smaller and more stylish? The Saikai Higonokami Mini Knife. This Made in Japan blade is hand-forged to be extremely sharp and durable while still being an incredibly stealthy pocket knife thanks to the 1-1/2″ white steel blade. Even better, this mini version has a brass housing for stylish contrast purposes and a hole in the blade mechanism for hanging on a necklace or lanyard. And since it fits in the palm of your hand, this knife is perfect for the EDC. $24

Cold Steel Mini Tac Tanto

Unlike other knives on this list, the Cold Steel Mini Tac Tanto isn’t a folder or a knife explicitly designed to fit in your EDC. It’s a 3 3/4″ blade made from Japanese AUS 8A stainless with a 3″ long G-10 Styled Grive-Ex handle and a neck sheath that’s purpose built to get you out of tough situations. Can it be worn around your neck, attached to a boot, or affixed to a Molle setup? Absolutely. At just under 7″ overall, it’s also still fitting for pocket carry, and it’s more than capable of protecting you if you really need a knife. $52

Best Made Co. Brass Higo

If you’re going to pick up a pocket knife of Japanese design from a maker that isn’t Japanese, you probably won’t find better than this Higo from Best Made. As with everything else from Best Made Co., this knife is, well, the best made it can possibly be. Plenty of brass, plenty of steel and a design and construction that pays homage to the original while still being completely new. This pocket knife is everything you want in a Higonokami combined with American manufacturing. $58

KATSU Damascus Steel Higonokami Japanese Razor Knife

The KATSU Handmade Damascus Steel Japanese Razor Knife is another Higonokami knife that combines Japanese style with high-quality material. In this particular case, you’re getting a 4-1/2″ closed, handmade Damascus steel blade mated to a genuine deer antler handle. If you’re going to go with a Japanese style folder for you EDC, best to go with one of Amazon’s best sellers in the category. $69

Mcusta Tsuchi Large Pocket Knife Knife

In a world of Japanese knives where pretty much every other option is a higonokami, the Mcusta Tsuchi Large Pocket Knife skews towards a more traditional American design while still maintaining all the “Made in Japan” features you’ve come to expect from similar options. In other words, this is a pocket knife made to be familiar while still built with the quality and attention to detail you’ve come to expect from knives made in the land of the rising sun. $118

Mcusta Yoroi Knife with San Mai Blade

The Japanese company Mcusta has been making stylish, high-quality knives for as long as we can remember, so it should come as no surprise that they’re on this list twice. The Mcuast Yoroi Knife with San Mai Blade is an American-style folder that’s Made in Japan for the highest in quality and durability. 4-1/2″ closed linerlock made of VG-10 Damascus with dual thumb studs for easy opening. Specially designed, oiled washer system for silky smooth action. If the traditional design and high-end quality weren’t enough, you’ll also get a decorative, woven Nishijin pouch. $177

Mr. Itou IT-490 Drop Point Hunter

If you can get through the Geocities styling of the Japanese Knife Direct website, you’ll find quite a few incredibly skilled Japanese knife makers with work that isn’t available anywhere else. Take Mr. Itou’s custom knives made with R2 powdered steel, Damascus blades and rare exotic handles with nickel silver bits, like this IT-490 Drop Point Hunter with a 4-1/2″ R2 Damascus blade and 4-1/2″ hand contoured, premium desert ironwood handle. This knife pushes the size for what we’d consider “pocket,” but Mr. Itou’s knives are just too good to pass up. $460


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