The Kamisori Razor or Japanese Straight Razor is a unique shaving tool that's often hand forged (but with more manufacturers coming into the scene). A lot of what you'll find on the market are hand forged blades made from a single piece of metal.
From the handle to the blade it's a solid piece. It takes a lot of craftsmanship and technical skill to be able to make something like this. Between the high quality material and knowledge needed to create one, it makes them more expensive.
What is a Kamisori Razor?
A Kamisori Razor is a Japanese straight razor that's a bit different than the western cut throat razors you may be used to. While the majority western style straight razors come in a 2 piece design (i.e. the blade and connected folding case). These Japanese alternatives are crafted from a single piece of metal.
There's some different variants in a Kamisori Razor. Most of these variations change the style of the razor and not the blade. The razor handle may be wrapped in different material or complete solid metal. Some are crafted with Damascus steel.
A key trait and difference in the Kamisori Razor is the blade is much shorter when compared to a western blade. The Japanese blades are around 1.5 - 2" inches long. They're designed to work with small short strokes. The overall length of these straight razors is around 6.5" inches.
If you're worried about the learning curve, don't stress over it much. Once you've learned to use a straight razor it isn't a big learning curve to master the Kamisori Razor. It's one of the main concerns from those already experienced and what puts some people off the idea.
Out of all the research we've done, it seems a lot of people prefer the Japanese straight razor. It appears to be, "once you go Kamisori, you don't go back!". Please leave a comment and let us know if it was like that for you.
Where to Buy Kamisori Razors?
These razors aren't as widely available compared to normal straight razors. There's one bamboo wrapped razor on Amazon that we really like. All around there's a limited variation of these razors, but I don't consider that a bad thing.
The most important feature, the blade, is all crafted the same. The variations out there may be a different metal, but typically is a different handle or wrapping material.
You won't find a Kamisori Razor on a budget price. These razors usually sell for $175 - $300+ but don't let that turn you off from buying one. Earlier we mentioned how a lot of people never return to a western style after trying these. It may very well be the same for you and you wouldn't want to miss out on something you would love so much.
That sounds like I'm trying to really sell these razors, but that isn't the case. I just don't like to see someone miss out on a great experience. If the price point is to much there is a modern spin on the Japanese straight razor by Feather. It's much cheaper and may be a good alternative option.
How to Shave with a Japanese Straight Razor
There's two side of the Kamisori Razor. One side is branded with a logo and the other side is flat. You want the flat non-branded side towards your skin. With gentle small strokes it'll cut right through your whiskers.
You can shave with the grain or cross grain, but we don't recommend against the grain. Some people will go against the grain for a final pass as a personal preference. Against the grain just isn't our own way of doing things.
The best way to really understand how to shave with a Kamisori Razor is visually. Here's a demonstration video to help you see the process.
One great thing about the small blade on a Kamisori Razor is the level of precision you get. You won't get the same level of precision out of a safety razor.
The entire process may take a little longer, but it's worth it. It's a great shave with ultimate precision. Honestly something about it just feels different and leaves you walking away from your shave feeling great.
I hope our Kamisori Razor review was helpful. These little razors are unique and a real pleasure to use. You'll pay a little more for one, but they're worth every penny.
What's your personal experience with the Japanese straight razor? Did you fall into the category of never wanting to use anything but these? Leave a comment below and let us know.