Japanese garden tools are known for their quality and precision and can be a reliable addition to your gardening toolkit. Japanese-style tools and brands often stand out when our experts review gardening products, and they are often scored highly for their performance.
From the Niwaki Golden Spade and Niwaki Mainichi Secateurs to the Okatsune Bypass Secateurs, Japanese tools can often be trusted as reliable additions to your gardening tool arsenal.
As well as these familiar gardening tools, there are also a number of highly useful but perhaps less immediately recognisable garden tools which are traditionally Japanese.
In our guide to Japanese gardening tools, 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 or get planting, there’s a Japanese garden tool designed to do just that. For more garden tool reviews, read our guides to the best garden hand trowels and best secateurs.
The best Japanese garden tools in 2023
Explore our list below to discover the benefits of a variety of Japanese gardening kit:
Traditionally used for harvesting, the sharp, curved blade of a sickle makes light work of weeding and clearing your plot. The Japanese version of this tool, often referred to as a rice sickle, is especially useful for garden tidying and trimming jobs.
This Niwaki Sickle has a single-bevelled Yasugi White Paper Steel blade that is nimble and accurate for cutting back ornamental grasses, yet sturdy enough to tackle tougher challenges like brambles. The handle is crafted from poplar wood for a comfortable grip.
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Buy the Okatsune Sickle from Niwaki
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.
Buy Niwaki Shuro Brush from Amazon
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.
Buy Okatsune 103 Bypass Secateurs from Amazon
For the easy clipping of shrubs, hedges, box balls and other topiary, a pair of hard-wearing hand shears is a must. Topiary is an essential feature in Japanese Zen gardens and these Okatsune shrub shears offer a perfect blend of precision and ease of use with their razor-sharp, easy-to-maintain blade and comfortable Japanese white oak handles that absorb vibrations.
They are designed for accurate hedge-shaping and are well-balanced for effortless cutting and pruning. Whether you're working in a tight space on a single piece of topiary or tending to an entire garden, they provide a clean, precise cut with minimal effort.
Buy Okatsune 217 Shrub Shears from Amazon
A planting hoe is a strong multi-use tool, great for both clearing and digging. It’s useful for hooking out roots, prising out rocks and preparing the ground for planting. It’s also a great tool if you’re wanting to make seed drills and planting holes.
This Japanese planting hoe has a polished stainless steel blade and a comfortable Japanese white oak handle. It features a rubber grip and a handy lanyard, ensuring efficient and secure use for quick and effective gardening tasks, making planting a breeze.
Buy Japanese Planting Hoe from Amazon
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 stony ground with ease. Simply wipe down with an oily rag to keep it in tip-top condition.
Buy the Moku trowel from Oliver Spence
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 is just the thing for prising out roots and weeds trapped in paths and rock gardens.
This Niwaki Hori Hori Knife is crafted in Japan and has a durable carbon steel blade that seamlessly extends into the FSC beechwood handle, ensuring strength and toughness. With a convenient canvas sheath, compact size and a blade length of 17cm, this garden tool is a fantastic gift for any gardener.
Buy the Hori-Hori Knife at Sarah Haven
Japanese saws cut on the pull stroke, rather than the push stoke, which puts the blade under less pressure and makes it safer to use. Some gardeners also feel that cutting on the pull stroke gives them greater control of the blade.
This Japanese Compact Kataba Saw boasts a short 200mm blade and is perfect for tight spaces where larger saws won't fit. Its sharp teeth are perfect for DIY jobs in the garden and the ergonomic handle offers a comfortable grip, making this saw a practical and versatile tool.
Buy this Japanese saw from Axminster Tools
This article was last updated in September 2023, we apologise if any of the products or prices have since changed.