The 7 Best Japanese Pruning Shears Updated Every Year: Tested & Rated

Japanese Pruning Shears
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    We have Japanese pruning shears for every purpose.

    Pruning shears, or secateurs, are vital for keeping your plants healthy and gardens tidy. Home gardeners and professionals alike use them for everything in our gardens. From dead-heading flowers to promote new buds to thinning trees that have grown too large. From shaping bushes to harvesting fruit and picking flowers.

    It is no secret that Japan is famous for its blades. From samurai swords in the past to kitchen knives today. But did you know they also manufacture garden shears renowned for their sharpness and durability?

    Daitool provides high-quality Japanese garden tools directly from Japan to you. We have got our finger on the pulse when it comes to pruning shears. Here are our top picks of Japanese pruning shears in 2023 for every purpose and price.

    Best overall | Best for professional horticulturalists | Best budget | Best for traditional Japanese craftsmanship | Best specialty | Best high-end straight blade | Best hedge pruners 

    Best Overall:
    Okatsune Secateurs 103 Japanese Pruning Shears

    ★★★★☆ 4.5/5 | $45 USD

    Okatsune Secateurs 103 Japanese Pruning Shears

    Okatsune Secateurs Japanese Pruning Shears 200mm 103

    $45.00

    What We Like

    • Latch lock rather than dial
    • Sharp blades make a clean cut
    • Soft and comfortable grip

     What We Don't Like

    • Difficult to cut through thicker branches
    • Can't lock with one hand
    • A little heavy

     

    Okatsune is Japan’s top gardening tool brand for a reason. A trained blacksmith founded the company in the 1940s, and they have been producing high-quality blades, shears, snips, and scissors ever since.

    The 103 model is the perfect mid-range pruner and is the best-selling model from Okatsune. These pruners are for average hands to cut average branches at an affordable price. What sets them apart, though, is the blade. The blade of the Okatsune 103 is very sharp. Okatsune makes all their blades from high-quality Izumo Yasugi steel. Master blacksmiths forge this high-carbon steel using traditional methods. It’s the same steel the Japanese have used for centuries to craft their world-renowned samurai swords.

    The Okatsune 103 can cut through almost anything you could want it to but struggles with thicker branches. The grip is comfortable to use and hold for long periods, but you can’t lock it with one hand. Because of their affordability, ease of use, and sharp blades, these are our pick for the best Japanese pruning shears.

    Best For Professional Horticulturalists:
    Tobisho Secateurs High Carbon Steel Pruning Shears

    ★★★☆☆ 3.5/5 | $99 USD

    Tobisho Secateurs High Carbon Steel Pruning Shears
    Tobisho Hand Forged Pruners Carbon Steel Pruning Shears SR-1 200mm

    $99.00

    What We Like

    • Drop forged from very high quality steel
    • Cuts thick branches with ease
    • Red/Yellow handles make it easy to find, even at night

     What We Don't Like

    • High quality blade requires some extra maintenance
    • Out of some budgets
    • A little heavy

     

    Tobisho is the Ferrari of pruning shears. A blacksmithing family who got started making samurai swords for a Japanese shogun in the 1300s founded Tobisho in 1930.

    Their experience and care are reflected in the forging process. Every step is done manually by master artisans. They’re forged, ground, tempered, sharpened, and polished by hand. Their SR series of shears is slightly more affordable than their A series, as the forging process is a little less complicated. They forge SR shears from a single piece of high-carbon steel and then dip them in vinyl to give distinctive red and yellow handles.

    The drop forging process creates a hard and sharp blade that will keep its sharpness for a long time. These blades are far stronger than cast or machined blades but are a little less flexible. These are some of the sharpest, most durable pruning shears on the market - but the price puts them out of some budgets.

    Best Budget:
    Chikamasa Pruning Garden Shears

    ★★★★☆ 4/5 | $19.99 USDChikamasa Pruning Garden Shears
    Chikamasa Pruning Shears T-550

    $12.95

    What We Like

    • Fantastic price
    • Easy to use/lock with one hand
    • Light and sharp

     What We Don't Like

    • Can't cut thick branches
    • Not as durable as heavier-duty bypass shear

     

     

    Chikamasa’s T-550 pruners are their best-selling garden shears in Japan. You can use them in home gardens, florists, orchards, and vineyards for light-duty work.

    They won’t cut through thick branches as a heavier bypass pruner will. But if you’re working with flowers, vines, or harvesting fruit, these are perfect for the job. They’re far more affordable than a heavy-duty bypass pruner and are light, fast, and easy to use.

    Chikamasa T-550’s one-handed operation and locking make them a dream to work with. Their lightweight and soft grips help to reduce hand and arm fatigue.

    Best For Traditional Japanese Craftsmanship:
    Tobisho Hand Forged A Type Japanese Bypass Pruner

    ★★★★★ 5/5 | $158 USD

     Tobisho Hand Forged Japanese Bypass Pruner
    Tobisho Type A Brazed Pruning Shears Aogami Blue Paper Steel PS-06 200mm

    $158.00

    What We Like

    • A masterpiece of traditional Japanese smithing
    • Incredible sharpness
    • Can last a lifetime

     What We Don't Like

    • Requires regular maintainence
    • All-grey body can make it hard to find
    • Expensive

     

    Another entry from Tobisho, their flagship “A Type” pruning shears. As we mentioned earlier, Tobisho is like a sports car of a pruning shear. If that’s true, then the A Type is the fastest, most luxurious sports car that money can buy.

    All A Type models are hand-forged, using a traditional process called brazing. Due to the difficulty and time involved in brazing, only a few blacksmiths still do it. The Tobisho A Type is one of the few brazed pruning sheers on the market.

    Rather than forging the handle and blade from one piece of steel, brazing means forging them from two different types. Because of this, they can use harder steel for the blade. The blade on A Type pruners is made of Yasuki Aogami steel, which makes them one of the sharpest bypass pruners in the world. Combined with tungsten and chrome, Yasuki Aogami is a high-quality carbon steel that forges an excellent cutting edge.

    Each step of the manufacturing process for the Tobisho A Type is done by hand by classically trained master blacksmiths in the mountains of Yamagata, Japan. If money is not an issue, and you want a pair of pruning sheers that will last a lifetime, you can’t do any better than this.

    Best Specialty:
    Toyama Hamono Ueki Pruning Shears

     ★★★☆ 3/5 | $79 USD
    Toyama Hamono Ueki Pruning Shears
    Toyama Hamono Ueki Bonsai Scissors Pruning Shears T-3

    $79.00

    What We Like

    • Perfect for bonsai pruning, a must-have
    • Exceptionally quick to work with once you get the hang of it
    • High quality

     What We Don't Like

    • Not great for heavy garden work
    • A big investment if you're not a florist/bonsai owner
    • Blades could be longer

     

    Toyama Hamono's Ueki (or "long blade") pruning shears are perfect for fine garden pruning. Their design is based on traditional bonsai trimming scissors, but they've enlarged the blades so they can handle other general gardening tasks.

    These garden scissors are small, so they can only handle light-duty work. They can cut branches and vines up to 1cm thick.

    With Toyama Hamono's Ueki, you can trim rose gardens, bonsai trees, tomato plants, or other vines in a luxurious and sophisticated way.

    The blades are made from high-carbon steel, without any coloring or chemicals, and they are sharp, light, and fast.

    Best High-End Straight Blade:
    Tobisho Secateurs Double-Edged Bud Cutting Pruning Shears

    ★★★★☆ 4.5/5 | $99 USD

    Tobisho Secateurs Double-Edged Bud Cutting Pruning Shears

    Tobisho Double Straight Blade Pruners Japanese Pruning Shears PS-27 200mm

    $99.00

    What We Like

    • Great for picking flowers/harvesting fruit in thick foliage
    • Durable, made to last a long time
    • Very sharp, high-quality blades

     What We Don't Like

    • Loosens quite quickly, but it's simple to tighten again
    • A little tricky to use if you have smaller hands
    • Not suitable for thick branches

     

    Our next set of shears is another entry from Tobisho. These shears are cheaper than the Tobisho A Type, but they still might be out of some budgets.

    Tobisho designed their Asuka pruning shears for professionals in flower gardens and orchards. They come with a special spring that reduces hand fatigue during long pruning. Because of their narrow, straight blades, you can pick flowers and fruit even in thick foliage and deep recesses.

    These are powerful straight-blade shears that can cut just as well as bypass pruners. They have sharp blades and can handle almost any home gardening work. They are designed for picking and harvesting, but you can also use them for general pruning and shaping too. The blades get loose after a while, but they are easy to tighten with a few turns of a spanner. Like every other pair of Tobisho shears, they're built to last.

    Best Hedge Shears:
    Kanenori Pruman Japanese Hedge Shears

    ★★★★☆ 4/5 | $58 USD

    kanenori japanese hedge shears

    Kanenori Pruman Japanese Powerful Hedge Clippers 150mm OM-102

    $58.00

    What We Like

    • Blades are sharp
    • Great length for all garden work
    • Consistent design from this brand

     What We Don't Like

    • A little heavy, especially when reaching high
    • Blade requires sharpening often
    • Blades are a little short

     

    Our final set of shears are the only long-handled shears on the list. Kanenori Pruman Shears are praised by experts for their sharpness out of the box and consistency over many years.

    Located in Niigata, Japan, Kanenori is well-known for its garden tools. Their products are known for their high quality, consistency, and ergonomic handles.

    Using Yasuki Hagane carbon steel and a modern forging and casting process, they have made tools for over 70 years. Each blade is sharpened and polished by hand, and each tool is hand-assembled and adjusted by experienced craftsmen.

    The Pruman hedge shears are very sharp but tend to dull after heavy use, so you should sharpen them frequently. They are perfect for all kinds of garden maintenance, especially in those hard-to-reach places.