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The Ultimate Guide Of Japanese Wooden Cutting Board; The Best Wood And How to Maintain

japanese wood cutting board Culture, Etiquette

Despite the longing for wooden cutting boards, lots of cooking enthusiasts(including you!) may hesitate to use them because you have heard about more maintenance processes required compared with plastic boards and concerns about bacteria.

In fact, wooden cutting boards do not only add to your style of the kitchen but are also safe to use than plastic chopping boards.

Moreover, a wooden cutting board protects not only your knife’s blades but also your wrist.

It is a fact why Japanese professional chefs prefer to use wooden cutting boards is because the moderate elasticity of wood helps their knife skills and performance that they are required all the time.

So, I am going to tell you why you want to change your cutting board to a wooden cutting board today, and how to maintenance to keep your wooden cutting board in good shape longer.

Natural Antibacterial Properties Of Wood

Wood has the natural antibacterial power which is related to the phytoncide effect natural compounds in wood.

Phytoncide is a general term for substances released by plants to protect themselves from bacteria and other organisms.

It is a substance with antibacterial and insect repellent effects created to survive the harsh natural world.

*More about phytoncide, read this post.

The level of effectiveness of phytoncide depends on the type of plant and it is said conifer trees likely have higher levels of antibacterial and deodorant.

Aomori Hiba Is Rich In Hinokitiol

‘Hinokitiol’, one of the compounds in phytoncide, has powerful antibacterial activity.

Especially, Aomori Hiba and Taiwan cypress are rich in Hinokitiol and have a very strong antibacterial effect against various microorganisms.

Currently, antibacterial properties have been confirmed against Trichophyton, which causes athlete’s foot[1], Staphylococcus aureus, which is the causative agent of nosocomial infections, and Escherichia coli O157.

There is also a report * that a hospital that actually cleaned the floor with essential oil containing hinokitiol was found to have an effect of suppressing the growth of Staphylococcus aureus. [2]

Thus, the cutting board made of Aomori Hiba can be expected to be the best wooden cutting board in the point of antibacterial activity.

Hinoki Cypress Has Excellent Antibacterial & Durability

Hinoki cypress, which has been used in historical buildings for a long time and has been loved by the Japanese, is also famous for its antibacterial activity.

Terpenes in Hinoki cypress have antibacterial activity and particularly α-Cadinol has been shown to have antibacterial activity against mutants streptococci, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli, which cause tooth decay.

Hinoki cypress also has high durability proven by the old Japanese temples and shrines. Moreover, Hinoki has the property that lasts for a long so it can hold antibacterial and deodorant effects.

Mold And Wooden Cutting Board

Mold will quickly grow if you leave a cutting board moist and don’t dry it well.

This is why it’s important to know how to take care of a wooden cutting board.

Daily small care tips help your cutting board keep lasting long.

Wooden Cutting Board Is Knife Friendly

The wooden cutting board is knife-friendly which helps surprisingly reduce the number of times to sharpen.

As I said, using a wooden cutting board is as important as using a sharp knife to *Japanese cuisine chef “Itamae”(板前) because Japanese cuisine is required how aesthetically and how emphasizing the natural taste as it is.

The thick wooden cutting board has more elastic which absorbs the impact of the kitchen knife and reduces your wrist impact.


One of the appealing points in wooden cutting boards is durability.

Also, they can be regenerated as many times as you like by sanding the surface.

With proper maintenance, the wooden cutting board can last for decades.

Keep Food On The Board Without Slipping

The wood absorbs excess water and liquid from food on the board so they can be stable without slipping.

It’s a good idea to teach children how to safely cut food using a wooden chopping board, as it can reduce accidents.

Up Your Kitchen Style

Well, it is important, right???

Wooden products bring natural warmth to your kitchen no matter what.

The wooden cutting board can be used as a serving plate for an appetizer so you don’t need to buy another board.

It needs natural dry but it will not bother kitchen interior design because of natural material even it is on the counter.

The Best Japanese Wooden Cutting Board For You

There are various Japanese wooden cutting boards.

  • Ginkgo
  • Hinoki cypress
  • Cherry blossoms tree
  • Empress Tree
  • Hiba Tree

Among them, wooden cutting boards made of Ginkgo and Hinoki cypress are recommended for beginners.

The Ginkgo Cutting Board

ginkgo tree

  • Knife-frindly
  • Excellent water and odor resistance
  • Antibacterial
  • Durability

The biggest feature of the ginkgo cutting board is that it has “excellent overall properties”.

Ginkgo biloba, commonly known as ginkgo or gingko is a very common tree in Japan.

It is well-known for yellow leaves in fall, you can enjoy beautiful yellow trees in Japan.

Since Ginkgo wood is rich in oil, the cutting board has excellent water and odor resistance, and even dry fast.

Ginkgo wood is one of the top fine grain-have very small, tight lines in the wood, so is very smooth.

Thus, the Ginkgo cutting board is hard to warp and crack and also knife marks (scratches) are hard to remain.

It has the natural restoring power so small scratches will be less noticeable as you use it.

Because of its fine grain and smoothness, it is hard to warp as I said. So, Gingkyo wood is often used for kitchen counters in Japanese restaurants, shogi or go boards.

Besides, it is enough reason that the ginkgo cutting board will last long.

Even it is a fine grain, the cutting board is not too hard and has moderate elasticity for protecting blades and your wrist.

If it is too soft, it will be easily damaged with a kitchen knife, but a ginkgo board is not too hard and not too soft.

Even if you cut food for a long time, Ginkgo wood is moderately hard and elastic which helps not only the wrist but also the shoulder and lower back. This is one of the reasons that Japanese chefs love Ginkgyo wood cutting boards.

Indeed, Japanese chefs recommend ginkgo cutting board referring to “ginkgo cutting board can be the best wooden cutting board.”

HONMAMON Cutting Board Ginkgo Laminated Lumber Made in Japan

  • Excellent elasticity doesn’t dull your knife blade
  • Due to rich natural tree oil contains ginkgo cutting boards are known for drains well and less decayed.
  • Made of Japan domestic wood, made in Japan
  • Dry it well after used
  • A prepolymer coating is applied to the sides to prevent moisture.
  • Do not use a dishwasher
  • Size :350 mm(13.8inch) (L) x 200 mm(7.9inch) (W) × 20 mm(0.8inch) (H)

The Hinoki Cutting Board

  • Beautiful color And Grain
  • Knife-friendly
  • Antibacterial
  • Rich wood tar
  • Nice woody scent

Japanese “hinoki” cypress is the Japanese Holy tree for long Japanese history and has been deeply rooted in the Japanese lifestyle, so is as the cutting board.

Not only beautiful grain, but also fine, and the excellent elasticity.

The touch is very nice and feels good when using a knife on the board.

Hinoki cypress is known for its strong antibacterial and deodorant power which is the reason that sushi chefs use Hinoki wooden products such as sushi rice mixing tubs, serving boards, and also leaves are placed under the fresh seafood.

As well as Ginkgo wood, the cutting board has the natural power to restore knife marks to some extent by absorbing water.

Since the Hinoki cutting board is moderately elastic, it is also knife and wrist-friendly. Since it has nice elasticity, you can cut food easily d safely without slipping them from your fingers.

The refreshing scent of Hinoki cypress has the relaxing and refreshing that I am talking about in this post.
Isn’t it great even you can be heal daily fatigue such as relaxation of tension, refreshment, and stress relief while cooking?

However, the excellent elasticity can be the negative point which is easily getting marks and scratches from the knife.

Although Hinoki wood has strong antibacterial power, bacteria and germs will grow inside the marks and scratches if you don’t take care properly.

Thus, the Hinoki cutting board will require to take proper care every time.

A Hinoki cypress cutting board may have a wood tar that emerges from the surface or the cross-section, this is not a defective item.

Actually, it is proof that wood is a healthy and natural product.

The wood tar has an antibacterial effect that prevents the growth of various bacteria, becomes stronger against water, and keeps the original natural color.

If you get excess wood tar, rinse it off with warm water.

Yoshihiro Hinoki Cypress Japanese Natural Wooden Professional Grade Cutting Board

  • High-quality Hinoki Cypress Wood designed to reduce stress on your wrist and impact on the blade.
  • The best balance of excellent natural oil and natural components enhances its high performance.
  • The walnut rim provides extra resistance to warping and distortion.
  • Comfortable use
  • The easy-stand design works quick-drying.
  • Small: 11″ x 7″x 0.6″ (27.9cmx17.7cmx1.5cm); Medium: 13″ x 8.6″x 0.6″(33cm x 22cm x 1.5cm); Large: 15.4″ x 9.4″x 0.6″(39.2cm x 24cm x 1.5cm); X-Large: 17” x 10.25” x 0.75”(43cm x 26cm x 1.9cm) XX-Large: 19.6” x 11.8” x 0.75”(49.8cm x 30cm x 1.9cm)

Kiso Hinoki Cutting Boards, Made in Japan, Authentic Japanese Cypress

  • Made in Japan
  • Hinoki cypress grew in Kiso regions are well-known as the top 3 of Japan beautiful woods
  • High antibacterial
  • Softwoods, gentle to knife
  • Nice Hinoki scent
  • Most common wood cutting board in Japan

The Aomori Hiba Is Worth To Buy

Among Hinoki cypress cutting boards, Aomori Hiba is the best wood for cutting boards. (Hiba is a family of the Hinoki cypress.)

Aomori Hiba is called the aroma tree in Japan since it has a strong scent of relaxation effect.

Also, compared to other trees even such as the Hinoki cypress and ginkgo tree, it is stronger resistance to water and has stronger antibacterial power.

Aomori Hiba cutting boards have long been regarded as high-quality and luxury products, like Hinoki cypress and ginkgo.

As I said, Aomori Hiba cutting boards have other effects such as antibacterial, insect repellent, deodorant, and antifungal effects.

Because it is by far the best of wood, it is used by professional craftsmen such as Japanese chefs, furniture, and carpenters.

Especially, the cutting board made of natural Aomori Hiba solid wood has a particular attention to its grain, and since it uses carefully selected, it has a beautiful and refreshing scent of wood which makes the dish more valuable and delicious.

It is not a cheap day, but, Aomori Hiba cutting board is the value of money because of Japanese craftsmanship.

Kikusumi Aomori Hiba Wood Cutting Board

  • Dimension: 30 X 30 X 2.5 cm
  • The high quality of Aomori Hiba
  • Japanese skilled craftsmen sand carefully selected Aomori hiba lumber for the cutting board.
  • Excellent gentle impacts to the blade
  • Japanese chefs prove Aomori Hiba quality
  • No need to oil Aomori Hiba wood due to its recovery force

How To Treat Japanese Wooden Cutting Board

Although wooden cutting boards have many benefits, you can destroy them under non-proper maintenance. Particularly, you need to know daily maintenance tips if you will use a wooden cutting board.

Before the first use, please season your wooden cutting board and use the proper mineral oil for it!

Here is the ultimate guide of how to care wooden cutting boards using Hinoki cutting board as an example.




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