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Frequently Asked Questions


Où KOTAI expédie-t-il ?

Nous expédions dans le monde entier.

How much does shipping cost?

We offer free shipping in the EU and US. Worldwide shipping is free for orders above €150. By using top-tier courier services, we ensure that your package arrives in a safe and timely manner.

When will my order ship?

Orders are shipped within 1 business day. You will receive an email with your shipment tracking information, and you will be cooking delicious meals in no time.

What about duties and taxes?

We cover duties and taxes for shipments to all EU countries + USA. Customers from these countries will not have to pay additional fees beyond the product price.
Orders from the DOM-TOM region will need to bear the duties and taxes often called “octroi de mer” as it is not a part of the EU Customs Union.
Orders from other countries such as the UK, Switzerland, Canada and most of the countries may be asked to pay duties by their local customs.

Where will my order be shipped from?

All orders are shipped from our warehouse in Brittany, France.

How long does delivery take?

Shipping typically takes 1-3 business days. You will receive a tracking number shortly after placing your order

I have not received my order, what should I do?

Please check the tracking number that was emailed to you. If that does not work, please email us at with your order detail and we will look into it immediately.


Which payment methods do you accept?

We accept most credit and debit cards, PayPal, Amazon Pay and Apple Pay.

Please ensure that your billing name and address are entered exactly as they appear on your statements. For the protection of our customers, transactions cannot be processed if billing information is not 100% accurate. Your card is not charged until the order ships.

How do I redeem a promotion or coupon code?

To redeem a promotion code, enter the code in the appropriate field during checkout. Be sure to enter the code with the exact spelling and letter case as shown. You must click "Apply" in order for the discount to be applied. The discounted amount will be automatically displayed and deducted from the total. If the code is invalid, has expired, or you have not placed the correct products in the shopping bag, the discount will not be applied. In case you encounter a problem with a coupon code, please reach us at


Can I modify an order I already placed?

We process orders as fast as possible, so once you have placed an order, we are typically unable to make adjustments to your shipping address or items. If you need to make any changes or cancellations, please send us a note at help@kotaikitchen.comas soon as possible with the subject line "Changing my order" or "Cancelling my order", and we will do our best to help before your order ships out.

Can I return or exchange an item?

KOTAI is committed to your happiness. If at any time within 90 days of receiving your KOTAI knife you are not satisfied with your purchase, you may contact us and we will process a full refund with the return of your KOTAI knife. Please email us at help@kotaikitchen.comto arrange a return or exchange your product.


What is the “KOTAI Lifetime Warranty”?

Every single KOTAI knife has been through a rigorous quality control process and will not leave our factory before it is manually checked by 3 different inspectors.

That is why we stand behind our products 100% and are proud to offer lifetime warranty in the case of manufacturing defects.

Also, if at any time within 90 days of receiving your KOTAI knife you are not satisfied with your purchase, you may contact us and we will process a full refund with the return of your KOTAI knife.

You may reach us at and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

How do I activate my warranty?

If you bought your knives on the Kotai website, your warranty is automatically activated.

If you bought your KOTAI knives through a reseller, to activate your warranty, you just have to go on our website then in the footer menu click on "Lifetime warranty" to register your products.

You can also click here to go directly to the warranty page.


How should I clean my knife?

A good knife should be washed by hand with warm, soapy water and wiped dry immediately afterwards.

Dishwashers should be avoided as they might dull your knife.

How should I store my knife?

Never leave your knife unprotected in a drawer, as other utensils might damage the blade edge and you could cut yourself when reaching for it.

Most chefs will use a magnetic strip to store their knives safely while having it easily at hand.

Knife blocks are a good option too, as long as they are made of soft materials such as wood or rubber to not damage the edge of your blade.

Rust spots appear on my blade, what should I do?

Imperfections can appear on all types of steel, and steels like 440C are more susceptible to them due to their high carbon content. Carbon is also the element that makes the blade very hard and allows it to keep its edge.

The more premium Japanese steels called «carbon steels» contain a very high percentage of carbon and are extremely prone to rust, making them too difficult for most chefs to work with. Only titanium and ceramic knives are 100% protected from stains, since they do not contain iron.

Keep in mind that a high carbon steel blade is more sensitive than a classic stainless steel blade, so be careful to clean and dry it quickly after use, especially after cutting acidic foods such as lemons, onions, etc.

Steel is a material which reacts, develops a patina and whose appearance evolves over time; this is normal and does not cause a problem.

When and how to sharpen my knife?

It is important to know that sharpening and honing are not the same thing.

Honing consists in "straightening" the edge of your blade, without creating a new edge. Sharpening, on the other hand, consists of forming a new edge on your blade when it is dull or damaged.

The frequency of sharpening your knife will depend on the use you make of it. In general, it is recommended to sharpen your knife once a week (for only 10 seconds). Honing is done with an honing steel.

As with sharpening, the blade should be positioned at 15° to the honing steel, then the same number of strokes should be made on each side of the blade. Our honing steel has a guide built into the finger guard to help you find a 15° angle. The end of the shaft of the steel has a tip to stabilize the steel vertically on your work surface for ease of use.

For sharpening, the ideal method is with a whetstone (water stone or oil stone). If you don't have a whetstone at home, we recommend purchasing a 400/1000 stone. The coarse 400 grit side is perfect for quickly reshaping a dull blade. The fine 1000 grit side is ideal for holding or giving a clean finish to the edge.

Alternatively, you can use a 1000/6000 grit sharpening stone. The coarser 1000 grit side is perfect for duller blades and edge setting. The finer, fine grit side (6000) is ideal for refreshing or finishing a razor sharp edge.

Fixed angle sharpeners (made up of 2 crossed metal pieces or 2 metal/ceramic wheels) are not recommended, as they do not allow you to control the sharpening angle and are very abrasive, so they may damage your edge.

How should I clean my bamboo cutting board?

Here are some tips for cleaning your cutting board properly and keeping it in good condition:

- You will first need to clean the board of all food particles using your bare hands or gloves

Then, rinse the item with warm water, then immediately use soap.

- Wash your bamboo cutting board immediately after use and do not wash it for more than a few minutes. You should also avoid too hot water coming into contact with the bamboo, as it can damage it.

- Rinse your bamboo cutting board with lukewarm water. Be sure to remove all soap and food residue from the cutting board by holding it under running water. Even if the water is not hot, it is best to limit the exposure of the board to water, so it is advisable to rinse it quickly.

- Then dry the board on a drainer (and not flat on the work surface, to prevent the humidity from remaining)

- To clean the board thoroughly and remove stains or odors, you can use a mixture of salt and lemon juice. Pour 1 teaspoon of salt on the plank. Then cover with lemon juice. Leave to act for a few moments and rub vigorously with the skin of the lemon. Rinse and let dry.

How should I remove oxidation stains from my knife?

There are possibly two ways that we strongly recommend you to remove stains from your high-carbon stainless steel knives. One by using white vinegar and the other by applying baking soda.

- Using White Vinegar:

Soak your knife in white vinegar (or just coat the area you want to treat with white vinegar) for at least 30 minutes to let the vinegar work. Then, use a sponge and scrub lightly to remove the stain. If necessary, use the green side that is more abrasive than the sponge, delicately to avoid scratching your blade.

- Applying the paste of baking soda:

Make a paste with baking soda by pouring the powder into a bowl and adding some water to it. Stir until you get a thick paste. Apply the thick paste to a toothbrush and apply generously to the area to be treated on the blade. Scrub lightly with the toothbrush. Finally, clean the blade with a cloth to remove the excess baking soda.


Why is it so important for a knife to be sharp?

All chefs know good cooking starts with precise cutting, which can only be achieved with two ingredients: sharpness and balance.

Almost any steel can be made sharp but only high-carbon steel - such as the Japanese 440C used by KOTAI - can be tempered to the hardness necessary to keep its edge through sustained use. With an >HRC (Rockwell hardness) of 60, KOTAI knives maintain a razor-sharp edge through an impressive amount of cutting, slicing, chopping, and mincing.

Poorly-made and dull knives are dangerous. Not only will they “crush” your food instead of effortlessly slicing through it, they could also cause accidents. In fact, you will need to apply more force to cut through food and the blade could slip and cut your fingers. Excessive strain caused by poor sharpness or lack of balance can further cause wrist injury.

Why not just buy a $20 knife? It cuts too, right?

A “cheap” knife will end up costing you more in the long run, because it may break or turn dull. Low quality steel will not keep a sharp edge no matter how many hours you waste on sharpening, and you may end up having to buy a new knife every year or so.

There are plenty of low-cost knives that seem to do the job, but once you've started using a quality knife you'll soon find out that you cannot go back to an entry-level blade. For chefs who are passionate about cooking and need the right tools to assist them in their career or hobby, a quality knife is going to make a world of difference.

Why is the blade hammered?

"Tsuchime" (槌目), meaning hammered in Japanese, is a traditional knife-making method in which the blade is given a distinctive texture through repeated hammering.

This texture helps prevent the food being sliced from sticking to the blade, because it creates pockets of air between the blade and slices of food.

Having rounds of potatoes or carrots sticking to the blade can make kitchen worktops messy and cooking less enjoyable. For faster and more precise cooking, more and more Japanese and Western chefs are adopting tsuchime blades.

Just like chefs and their cooking style, each tsuchime pattern is unique. There will be no other knife identical to yours.

My knife has small aesthetic imperfections, what can I do?

As the knives are handmade, there may be small aesthetic imperfections in the blade or the handle.

These do not interfere with the proper use of the knife and are absolutely not serious.

If these aesthetic flaws prevent the proper use of the knife, it is covered by our lifetime warranty.

What is HRC (Rockwell hardness) and why is it important?

The Rockwell scale helps compare the hardness of materials such as different types of steel. It measures hardness based on the penetration depth of a diamond cone pressed into the material at a constant pressure. Put simply, the higher the number, the harder the material.

KOTAI hardens 440C steel to 59-60 Rockwell. An increase of 1 degree Rockwell equates to an increase in hardness of about 10%, as well as an increase in edge-holding ability. This degree of hardness enable KOTAI knives to be thin, hard, and precise without being brittle.

What is the difference between Japanese and German steels? Which is better?

Thicker blades combined with a wider, more obtuse cutting angle (typically 20-25 degrees on each side of the blade) mean that chefs must apply more pressure to slice through foods.

The softer German steel (typically HRC 55-56) will get dull faster and require more maintenance, with many cooks having to hone their knives before each use.

Japanese steel has a higher carbon content, making the blades significantly harder (HRC 58 and above). Due to their harder steel, the blades can be thinner and the edges sharper (with a more acute angle) than German knives. KOTAI knives are hardened to HRC 59-60 and sharpened to a 15° angle on each side of the blade. The harder, thinner blades make Japanese steel knives like KOTAI extremely agile, precise, and more effortless to use.

This does not mean that knives made of German steel are bad - the “softer” steel allows them to take a bit more abuse than high-end Japanese equivalents.

But Japanese steel knives are a different thing altogether. If you are used to German knives, you might find that you need to refine your knife technique to make the best out of the added precision that Japanese steel knives have to offer.

For example, chefs who are used to simply pressing downward to make a cut with a German style knife would have to adjust and slice forward or backward with their new Japanese style knife.

This will slice the food instead of crushing it, making effortless and precise cuts.


Where are KOTAI knives made?

KOTAI knives are all handmade with high-end Japanese steel from Aichi. Some of our models are finished directly in Seki, Japan, the world-famous knife capital. Others are assembled by expert knifemakers in our state-of-the-art facility located in YangJiang, China’s knife-making capital for over 1500 years. We are blessed to be able to rely on a team of knife experts whose families have been in the craft for many generations and who share our uncompromising vision on quality.

Why are KOTAI knives less expensive than other high-end knives?

Our mission at KOTAI is to democratise high-end kitchen knives. We strive to enable passionate home and professional chefs to have very sharp and durable knives without overspending on brand name and retail distribution. To achieve this, we have sourced outstanding materials from Japan and completely streamlined the distribution (directly from the factory to the kitchen, no intermediaries), making it possible for chefs to enjoy professional quality at wholesale prices.

What is the difference between carbon steel such as Shirogami / Aogami and “high-carbon stainless steel” such as 440C ?

Aogami (blue paper steel) and Shirogami (white paper steel) are considered “carbon steel”, which means that they will take a very very sharp edge. The flip side is that paper steel will also be prone to corrosion if the blade is not taken care of very carefully. The edge is also quite fragile so it should be used by experienced chefs only.

The 440C steel used in KOTAI blades is slightly softer than those “paper steels”, so it will feel slightly less sharp.The flip side is that the blades will be easier to maintain and sturdier.

With a hardness of HRC 60, KOTAI’s blades are hard enough and sharp enough for domestic use and even professional use, as illustrated by the many professional chefs using our brand.

But if you compare sharpness only, then carbon steel such as paper Aogami or Shirogami is usually sharper than high-carbon stainless steel such as 440C.

How long does it take to make a knife?

Our knives are not machine-made. To be completed, each knife requires 138 steps and most are done by hand by our experienced knifemakers.

From heat treatment, polishing, sharpening, to our proprietary assembly methods, it takes over 60 days for our workers to finish a KOTAI knife.