Japanese Garden Tools - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine

10 of the best Japanese garden tools and what to use them for

The best Japanese tools and how to use them.

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Japanese garden tools are known for their quality and precision and can be a reliable addition to your gardening toolkit.

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In our expert reviews of gardening products, Japanese style tools and brands often score highly for their performance, such as the Niwaki Golden Spade and Niwaki Mainichi Secateurs as well as the Okatsune Bypass Secateurs.

But as well as these more familiar garden tools, there’s also a number of highly useful but perhaps less immediately recognisable garden utensils which are traditionally Japanese.

Below, we explain the use of a range of Japanese hand tools including what you might need them for, what to look out for when choosing your own and some suggested products to consider when you’re ready to buy.

Whether you’re ready to prune, weed with ease or get planting, there’s a Japanese garden tool designed to do just that.


10 of the best Japanese garden tools

Explore our list below to discover the benefits of a variety of Japanese gardening kit:

1

Sickle

Niwaki Sickle - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Niwaki Sickle

Traditionally used for harvesting, the sharp, curved blade of a sickle also makes light work of weeding and clearing your plot.

With its finely serrated blade, this Japanese-made tool is useful for all garden tidying and trimming jobs and its red, wooden handle is comfortable and hard to lose.

Price: £6.99

Buy the Okatsune Sickle from Niwaki


2

Shuro Brush

Niwaki Shuro Brush - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Niwaki Shuro Brush

Both useful and aesthetic, the traditional shuro brush is made from fibres bound together into a fan-like shape for hand-held brushing and sweeping. Useful on patios and in the greenhouse it’s gentle enough for use over moss and even potted plants such as bonsai trees.

Niwaki’s Shuro brush is made from fibres of the Chusan palm, Trachycarpus fortunei bound together with copper wire to create a neatly angled brush.

Price: £9

Buy Niwaki Shuro Brush from Amazon


3

Knife

Japanese Folding Knife - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Japanese Folding Knife

A Japanese folding knife is the perfect companion in both the garden and the greenhouse, useful for deadheading, taking cuttings, light pruning and clipping as well as grafting.

This 12cm bladed knife has a strong, alloy carbon-steel blade with a single bevelled edge for precise cutting and a hammer finish, so it looks good too. It folds with ease into the plywood handle for safe keeping in your pocket or jacket.

Available from: £59.95

Buy Japanese Folding Knife from Rutlands


4

Secateurs

Okatsune 103 Bypass Secateurs
Okatsune 103 Bypass Secateurs

A strong, comfortable pair of secateurs are an essential piece of gardening kit, useful for pruning, clipping, deadheading and general tidying.

In our expert reviews of secateurs, our testers judged the Okatsune 103 Bypass Secateurs to be the best of the bunch. The strong, sharp blades cut through all stems effortlessly, they’re comfortable and easy to use and the bi-coloured handles make them easy to find in both day and night.

Read the full Okatsune 103 Bypass Secateurs review

Price: £47

Buy Okatsune 103 Bypass Secateurs from Amazon


5

Shears

Okatsune 217 Shrub Shears - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Okatsune 217 Shrub Shears

For the easy clipping of shrubs, hedges, box balls and other topiary, a pair of hard wearing, hand-held shears are a must. Topiary is an essential feature in Japanese Zen gardens and these shrub shears from Okatsune have Izumo steel blades, so they’re both sharp and strong and oak handles, which are light shock absorbing. Just what you need to clip and cloud prune with ease.

Price: £86.50

Buy Okatsune 217 Shrub Shears from Amazon


6

Planting Hoe

Japanese Planting Hoe - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Japanese Planting Hoe

A planting hoe is a strong multi-use tool, great for both clearing and digging. Useful for hooking out roots, prising out rocks and preparing the ground for planting it’s also useful for making seed drills and planting holes.

A rubber grip on the handle makes heavy work more comfortable and stops your hand slipping and the stainless steel blade is light, rust resistant and long lasting.

Price: £29.70

Buy Japanese Planting Hoe from Amazon


7

Trowel

Niwaki Moku - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Niwaki Moku

A garden trowel is a slightly scooped, hand-held tool that’s used for light digging, weeding and planting. A shaped handle will make it comfortable in the hand and a pointed blade helps it cut cleanly through the soil.

Niwaki’s Moku trowel is made from carbon steel with bevelled edges and a sharpened tip so it slices through stoney ground with ease. Simply wipe down with an oily rag to keep it in tip-top condition.

Price: £79

Buy the Moku trowel from Niwaki


8

Tripod Ladder

Tripod Garden Ladder - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Tripod Garden Ladder

A tripod ladder provides exceptional stability and balance and is essential for getting where you need to be safely and easily.

This tripod has fully adjustable legs to help you stay level and stable wherever you’re working, and a simple spring and pin to adjust the positioning. The ladder is also waterproof and lightweight, so you can move it around the garden with ease.

Price: £169

Buy Tripod Garden Ladder on Amazon


9

Hori Hori

Hori-Hori Knife - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Hori-Hori Knife

An essential piece of kit in the Japanese tool bag a hori hori is a multi-purpose blade that’s great for cutting but is also used like a trowel for digging, weeding and planting. It’s ideal for bulb and veg planting and just the thing for prising out roots and weeds trapped in paths and rock gardens.

With a beech wood handle and strong 17cm carbon steel blade this could fast become your go-to tool.

Price: £29.95

Buy Hori-Hori Knife


10

Pruning saw

Silky Fox Accel 21 Japanese Folding Pruning Saw - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Silky Fox Accel 21 Japanese Folding Pruning Saw

Japanese saws cut on the pull stroke, rather than the push, which puts the blade under less pressure and means less hard work for you.

This folding saw from Silky Fox has teeth close together at the tip for initial pruning and softer wood and larger teeth further down for older branches and once you get going. It folds smoothly and comes with its own plastic scabbard.

Price: £36.75

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Buy Silky Fox Accel 21 Japanese Folding Pruning Saw