An excellent choice if you're looking for a high-end made-in-Japan santoku that is easy to live with and won't break the bank. The 7.1" (180mm) blade is made of reasonably hard (HRC around 60) high-end Uddeholm Swedish stain-resistant steel, and the edge is precision ground and finished so it's crazy sharp and looks great. The handle is just the right size for the blade and the fit and finish are excellent, making this a fantastic value for someone looking for a quality Japanese made knife with high quality steel that has great edge retention without being too difficult to keep sharp or to maintain.
The steel is also not too fragile, so it's much less likely to crack or chip and be difficult to sharpen compared to some more Japanese knife choices. These handles are also amazing, as they are made of black Micarta and so have a fantastic look and feel to them. Micarta is resin-impregnated linen composite cured under pressure and high temperature to make a very strong, water resistant and durable material (similar to carbon fibre).
This is a super-sharp and high quality santoku that will be sure to offer years of pleasure in the kitchen!
It comes in a nice black box as pictured, so it also makes an impressive gift.
I'd recommend the Idahone fine ceramic hone for regular/daily maintenance of the edge. As with any knife, use the hone regularly and you'll keep the edge in good shape for a LONG time before you need to think about doing any serious true re-sharpening or real grinding and refinishing of the edge. And if you're looking for a blade guard for storage or transportation, this one is the closest fit.
NOTE: This knife is sharpened mostly on the right side, which means it's not really suitable for left-handed use. It's not a drastic/large bevel though, so you can certainly re-profile it yourself with stones if you're good at sharpening, or any good professional knife sharpening service can also easily do this for you.
Sakai Takayuki # 10152