Essential Japanese Garden Tools: Different Types Of Japanese Tools For Gardening

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

What are Japanese gardening tools? Beautifully made and carefully crafted with great skill, traditional Japanese garden tools are practical, long-lasting tools for serious gardeners. Although less expensive Japanese tools for gardens are available, spending a little extra for quality tools pays off in a big way. Read on to learn more about choosing and using Japanese garden tools.

Essential Japanese Garden Tools

Gardeners have a huge variety of traditional Japanese garden tools from which to choose, and some, such as those for bonsai and Ikebana, are highly specialized. However, there are several tools that no serious gardener should be without. Here are just a few:

Hori Hori knife – Sometimes known as a weeding knife or soil knife, a hori hori knife has a slightly concave, serrated steel blade that makes it useful for digging out weeds, planting perennials, cutting sod, trimming small branches or cutting through tough roots.

Cuttle-fish hoe – This heavy-duty little tool has two heads: a hoe and a cultivator. Also known as Ikagata, the cuttle-fish hoe is useful for one-handed cultivating, chopping and weeding.

Nejiri Gama hand hoe – Also known as Nejiri hand weeder, the Nejiri Gama hoe is a compact, lightweight tool with a super sharp edge that makes it great for uprooting small weeds from tight spots or for slicing tiny weeds from the surface of the soil. You can also use the tip of the blade to dig seed trenches, cut through sod, or break up clods. Long-handled versions are also available.

Ne-Kaki plant root rake – This triple-pronged root rake is a real workhorse commonly used to extract deep-rooted weeds, cultivate soil and break apart root balls.

Garden scissors – Traditional Japanese gardening tools include a variety of gardening scissors, including bonsai shears, every day or all-purpose scissors for gardening or tree trimming, Ikebana scissors for cutting stems and flowers, or Okatsune garden scissors for pruning or thinning.

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