The Best Japanese Waterstones to Keep Your Knife Razor Sharp!

You’ve got knives, you’ve got scissors, you’ve got razors but they’re all dull! So what do you do? You sharpen them on Japanese waterstones! Get beautiful, better-than-factory sharp blades with these top Japanese waterstones!

Waterstones come in different grit numbers, with the lower numbers indicating a coarser surface and a higher grit number corresponding to a finer one. When sharpening knives by hand, you should start with the lower grit number stone, and work your way up to a higher grit number stone to polish your blade. It may also be necessary to obtain a nagura, a type of cleaning stone that helps to create the slurry on your finer grit stones and to flatten your stone after usage if it becomes uneven. Another alternative is creating your own using wood and some sandpaper.

The benefits of a waterstone is that water is the only thing needed for lubrication. The lower grit stones require soaking for a few minutes before usage while others (usually the finer grit ones) only need to be wet just before sharpening. 

Check out our top Japanese Waterstones to get your shiny sharp knives!

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1. KING Japanese Sharpening Stone Whetstone Combination Grit, 1000/6000

This King dual grit 1000/6000 Japanese waterstone is one of the best for your buck. You’ve got 1000 grit on one side to sharpen your knives and then on the back side, a finer 6000 grit side to hone them afterwards. The King stone is 8 inches x 2.5 inches x 1 inch thick and is large enough to sharpen most of your blades. It also comes with a sturdy plastic base so you don’t have to worry about any slippage! This stone is easy to use; all you need is to soak the 1000 grit side in water for five minutes before using, then splash the other side with water. This stone is made out of ceramic, by a company known for their consistent and affordable quality.

This King stone is our top choice because it is a basic sharpening waterstone that can be used for any of your blades. The only downside is you may need to find a lower grit stone if you’ve got very dull blades with chips, as 1000 grit is too fine. However, more than likely your knives will be in working condition and you’ll have razor sharp blades in no time with this combination stone! 


2. Naniwa Blue Super Stone in Stand S1000

Naniwa has been producing waterstones for years, and now they have created a newer, longer-lasting stone! The traditional waterstones are made from ceramic; however, these blue superstones are now composed of a steel alloy. This allows the stones to last a lot longer and provide more years of sharpening! The Naniwa superstone S1000 is 8.3 inches x 2.8 inches x 0.4 inches thick and is bonded to the solid base.

The Naniwa blue superstone is another of our top picks as it is an easy stone to work with. Unlike the traditional waterstone, no soaking is necessary before sharpening your knives! Only a splash of water is needed before each use. The new material also means the stone is made with a resin bond, which has a higher level of abrasive particles. This higher abrasive level means you will be able to sharpen your blades faster than ever. The superstones are harder and thinner than the usual ceramic waterstones.

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3. Kai Japanese Professional Knife Sharpening Stone

The Kai Professional Knife Sharpening Stone is another great option. It’s a bit rougher with a 240 grit side and a 1000 grit side, so it is great if you have very dull or damaged knives. As a bonus, it also includes a rust remover at the edge of the waterstone! Use the blue tab to remove any spots of rust or burrs on your knives. The stone is 7 inches x 2 inches x 1.5 inches thick and requires soaking in water like usual. This also includes a base for the stone.

The Kai waterstone is on the lower end of the grit spectrum, but that does not mean it is worse. On the contrary, the 240 grit side is known to cut quickly and you will have a chipped blade in working order in no time. You can polish the blade on the 1000 grit side at a nice, moderate pace. If you do not want to invest in higher grit stones to hone your blades, this combination stone is sufficient. This stone is on the soft side, so it is good for when you are new to sharpening.


4. KING 250/1000 Grit Combination Waterstone

This is another King water stone, however with a lower grit combination. If you’ve got knives that are practically useless because they are so dull or have chips in the blade, start with the 250 grit side in order to bring it back up quickly then fine tune your blade with the 1000 grit side. The 1000 grit side will remove coarse scratches on your knife and will prepare your blade for honing if you have a higher grit stone. This stone is 8 inches x 2 inches by 1 inch thick. Before you use it, just soak the stone in water for 20 minutes. Beware, using the 250 grit side will cut through your blades fast!

Again, with the King brand, you are getting a good quality whetstone for an affordable price. Get this King water stone if you’ve got damaged knives and very dull blades! For such an affordable price, you can’t go wrong with this waterstone that will easily bring back some very dull knives to life. In addition, you’re getting two stones in one, saving you money in the long run.

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5. Chosera 1,000 Grit Stone with a Base

Before Naniwa produced their blue superstones, they had their Chosera line. Chosera waterstones are reliable and efficient. This iconic green waterstone is 8.3 inches x 2.8 inches x 1 inch thick. This Chosera stone is made from an aluminum oxide ceramic with a magnesia binder. This unique binder creates a harder, longer lasting stone than most ceramic stones. The Chosera stone comes with an attached base and an excellent 600 grit cleaning stone. You can use this nagura (the cleaning stone) in order to level your main stone when it becomes uneven and help create a slurry when sharpening. You only need to use water as a lubricant and soak it 5 minutes before use.

This Naniwa Chosera stone is a very reliable and excellent sharpening stone. On top of this high quality 1000 grit stone, you also get this nagura with it. Not very many other companies include this piece, which is needed to maintain your waterstone as you wear down the stone. The stone is harder than most and will last longer than other natural stones. Use this Chosera stone on all your knives, tools, razors, and scissors!nagura with it. Not very many other companies include this piece, which is needed to maintain your waterstone as you wear down the stone. The stone is harder than most and will last longer than other natural stones. Use this Chosera stone on all your knives, tools, razors, and scissors!


6. Ha No Kuromaku Ceramic Whetstone Medium Grit #1000

This Ha No Kuromaku is the Japanese counterpart of the American Shapton Pro series of ceramic whetstones. This ceramic waterstone is 1000 grit and is 8.3 inches x 2.8 inches x 0.6 inches thick. While this one does not include a stand, the plastic case for the waterstone has an indentation on the cover that can act as a stand. The case also has air holes in the bottom of the case so that the stone can remain aerated in storage. This stone is hard and perfect for several years of usage. Only water is needed to lubricate before sharpening and there is no need to soak!

The Shapstone waterstone is the perfect waterstone for someone looking for a waterstone with little maintenance. These waterstones are very hard and do not need to be flattened often. The 1000 grit will definitely sharpening any blade, and while it might not produce a mirror finish, you can still get a great edge. The ceramic waterstone remains hard and flat, while also cutting your blade quickly.

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7. Kitayama Fine Grain Sharpening Stone #8000

For a truly sharp knife, be sure to get the Kitayama Fine Grain waterstone with 8000 grit. The Kitayama is superb, and with such a high grit level, you will be able to get that mirror finish when you have finished honing your blades with this stone. The waterstone is 8 inches x 3 inches x 1 inch thick, which is larger than most of the other options on this list. It is also a synthetic ceramic aluminum and silicon carbide. The stone just needs to be wet with water before using. It is also attached to a wooden base and comes with a nagura.

The Kitayama is one of the best stones for finishing knives. While you won’t be able to use this on your damaged or severely dull blades, this is a perfect finishing stone. Use the Kitayama for your extremely sharp edges. The Kitayama waterstone is a synthetic stone but made with a natural Japanese abrasive which creates a superb slurry while sharpening. This slurry only becomes finer while it is being used, mimicking a 12000 grit effect and gives users a mirror finish.


8. Masuta Natural “Ocean Blue” Waterstone Grit 12000

The Masuta Natural Ocean Blue 12000 grit stone is the ultimate honing waterstone. It is 8 inches x 2.7 inches x 1 inch thick and was quarried from an underwater mine near South Tsushima Island in Japan. It is very hard and dense and produces an ultra-fine grit. The beautiful blue stone also comes with a matching nagura stone, made out of the same material. This kit includes a genuine leather case and a silicone anti-slip pad. Also, because this is such a fine polishing stone, no soaking is required! You only need to wet the stone and use the nagura to create a slurry before finishing your blades.

For those who want to hone your knives to their utmost potential, the Ocean Blue Tsushima waterstone is a must. You won’t get a finer grit and a polished mirror finish with another stone. The hardness of this waterstone produces a longer life cutting edge.

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9. Arashiyama 6000 Dottokomu (Japan Import)

The Arashiyama 6000 grit waterstone is a wonderful finishing stone as well. It measures 8.1 inches x 3.0 inches x 1 inch thick, slightly larger than the other stones on this list. This wider width makes it better suited for your larger knives. It also comes mounted on a wooden base and includes a white nagura buffer stone. This fine grit waterstone is also good for polishing your knives or realigning slightly dull edges to create razor sharp edges. The stone is made of both synthetic and natural stone from Kyoto, giving you the softness of natural stone but with uniform grit sizes throughout.

Get the Arashiyama finishing stone for a truly wonderful polishing experience. It has a large surface area for you to sharpen your knives with ease. It’s also hard and creates a nice slurry while sharpening. The Arashiyama 6000 grit also gives great feedback and cuts fast, polishing your knives to a mirror finish. This is a beautiful waterstone that you can’t go wrong with purchasing. However, you will need a lower grit stone to initially sharpen dull blades before working your way up to this fine grit stone.


10. Suehiro Compact Japanese Sharpening Stone, Dual-sided #1000 and #3000 Grit with Rubber Base

The Suehiro Japanese Sharpening stone is a dual sided 1000 grit and 3000 grit waterstone. However, this one is compact sitting at 5 inches x 1.5 inches x 1 inch thick. While this is tiny, the compact waterstone is perfect for traveling with its non-slip rubber base! Its great portability is good for campers, fishermen, and anyone who might be lacking in counter space. Use the 1000 grit side to sharpen your blades and then flip it over to the 3000 grit side to finish them. This is a great bargain for these two grits in one stone.

If you’re going to need to sharpen all your tools on the go, be sure to get the Suehiro compact waterstone. Even though it’s small, it is perfect for sharpening your knives and polishing them when you can’t bust out your 2 pound waterstone. Of course, because of this size, it would also be optimal for sharpening smaller knives, scissors, and hobby knives. 

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Lindsey Lee