First JNAT question.

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Dec 22, 2021
Reaction score
Hello, I want to buy my first JNAT for two reasons. They seem to last longer than synthetic stones and I also want to experience them.

I'm looking for something translatable to a medium grit (1000-3000). I just want to get a sharp edge with some toothiness. I do not wait for my knives to get very dull. Once they stop performing at what I consider "cleanly", I touch them up with my Shun 1000 stone and they are back to business.

I have both, carbon and SS knives.

I was considering the SUISA OMURA, since JNS says that it is supposedly to be rated around that number by them. I even asked them and they said that they tried it once more and they expect it to serve me perfectly fine for my needs/wants.

But other people have told me that it should be too coarse for what I want and that I should consider a NATSUYA or a SHOUBUDANI IROMONO NAMAZU RENGE GOMA.

What are your experience with these stones and JNS's info on their products?

Thank you.
Hey man, my advice of buying a Jnat is: don't, because in the next 6-12 months you will find yourself wanting to sell your kidney to buy another one😂

But in all seriousness... for that range I will have to suggest an Aizu, I've personally tried 4 of them and they are all fantastic, bitey(?) edge, good feedback, cool looking (at least in my opinion...) and most importantly: quite easy to acquire.

But it all comes down to the particular stone, natural stones have pretty wide grit range, it's better if you can speak to the seller and ask for their feedback, I've purchased two stones from JNS previously, they are fantastic stones, but I found their product leans towards the pricier side, especially their full size finishing stones.
Maybe open a thread on BST and ask for a stone at that range someone will be able to help you out with relatively good price and info!
I second the aizu if you are mainly looking for something for good edges. Not the greatest if you are looking to try polishing. I have some finer jnats for razors but the aizu is great for knives. Do a BTS request or an eBay search for "aizu-to" or "aizu whetstone" and they are pretty affordable too. I spend a lot of time on eBay hunting for deals, so it definitely depends on how patient you are. But I got both of mine from eBay sellers for around $50 each including shipping from Japan. One is full bench size and the other is a little smaller but thick. I use the small one as a tomo nagura on the large one. But that's overkill. They are fairly self slurrying or you could raise a little mud quickly with a diamond plate. For edges they are equivalent to a 2-4k synthetic edge but to me last longer and are easier to deburr. I usually have an east meets west style nowadays. I start with a quick coarse washita/soft Arkansas and then do final edge refinement and deburring with the aizu. They look cool and they smell great. Like the smell of water evaporating off of hot pavement in the summertime by the swimming pool.
I dont find any coarse Natural stone to be particularly compelling. Natsuyas can be OK

Aizu/Aoto/etc mid-grit stones are often good deals and Aizu seem to have some consistency at least. But I favor them less and less these days.

I dunno just me but for edges a hard-ish finisher would definitely be my first choice. Something like a level 4 Aiiwatani would be my pick if I could only have 1 stone and it couldnt be very expensive. If I could only keep one stone out of my own personal collection (for edges) it would be my Okudo Suita. Hard but not punishing, nice bright color, best overall edge Ive ever used with carbon steel knives.

I personally have no issues with bite off said stone even though it's one of the finer suitas I own; plenty capable of sinking into tomato and bell pepper skin.
Think of this like chess to 3D chess. There’s more dimensions than grit and stone behaviour, most of which cannot be accurately predicted without actually trying the stone first.

Some unknowns can be mitigated by asking the seller (BST is king in this department), or buying from a trusted vendor (most try to sell products they can stand behind). EBay and auction sites are… unpredictable. Good deals to be had, but probably not for new buyers.

Aizu. Natsuya. Omura. Binsui. Amakusa. Iyoto. Quality examples of all of the above have the potential to do what you’re looking for. A bad jnat will frustrate and confuse you. Spending a bit more for something you can be confident in is the only way to go, imo.
My first JNat was an aoto, and I still like it, even if it’s one of the least expensive. Underrated IMO (if you have a good one).
Aizu is nice as well.
I second @tcmx3 , coarser JNats can be frustrating and if you have good carbon steel knives don’t be afraid to go to a fine suita. (It will cost more though)
Now i use synthetic stones up to 2k and then finish on a natural stone.
Oh and as a Belgian I have to promote BBW as well, not a JNat but very nice edges and inexpensive.
gona throw my 2 cents here

The standard progression with naturals usually starts with some sort of midgrit (aoto, aizu, numata, natsuya etc) followed by a progression of grit/hardness appropriate stones from the kyoto mines.

in terms of safe buys from unknown sources (gambling basically), your best bet is aizu>numata>kozaki aoto>natsuya>every other aoto variety>amakusa/binsui
the reason i arranged it this way is because of consistency. Aizu are all pretty damn similar so if you've tried one, you've got a good idea of what all the rest are like.
Numata are grey, cheap and consistently good, they can generally be categorized as soft or hard and both are nice in different ways and very consistent within their own groups.
Old stock natsuya are superb if you can find them, there are multiple sources for them and the newer ones making rounds are from a different mine more similar to amakusa than the OG natsuya carried by the likes of suntiger.
I'd generally recommend staying away from aoto, amakusa or binsui unless you can ask the seller about them. The hardness and grit ranges between every stone can be astronomically high. While you can find fantastic examples of them, it is 100% gambling.

You mentioned shobudani in your post. That's a kyoto mine, there's crazy variance with those and you definitely need to see some sort of testing done to know what you're getting. Some of my nicest finishers are from shobu.