Japanese Grave Knife – Using a Hori Hori Knife for Gardening

hori hori

The Hori Hori, also known as the Japanese grave knife, is an ancient garden tool that is receiving a lot of new attention. While most western gardeners may not have heard of it, it seems that anyone who does this will fall in love. Read on to learn more about using a gardening Hori-Hori knife and other Hori-Hori knives.

What is a Japanese grave knife?

“Hori” is the Japanese word for “dig” and cool enough “hori hori” is the Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound that digging makes. But while it is often used for digging, this Japanese gardening knife has so many other uses that it can best be thought of as a multi-purpose tool.

There are a few different types of Hori Hori available in stores, although the difference is more to be handled. The more traditional styles have bamboo or wooden handles, but it’s easy to find rubber and plastic handles too. The basic shape of the blade itself is pretty much always the same – a piece of metal that tapers to a point, with one sharp side and one serrated side. The Hori Hori is relatively short, usually about a foot from end to end, and is meant to be guided with one hand.

Used Hori Hori knife

Hori Hori knives are very versatile due to their size and shape. When using a Hori-Hori knife, it’s best to hold it in one hand and treat it as a kind of cross between a trowel, saw, and knife.

  • Its long and narrow shape makes it perfect for both loosening the soil for transplants and clearing the soil from the root crops when they are ready to be harvested.
  • Its tip can be pulled across the ground to form seed channels.
  • Its smooth edge can cut through small weeds, stems, strings and bags of manure.
  • The serrated edge is great for harder jobs like cutting through roots and small branches.