8 Genius Japanese Gardening Tools That Make Tending to Your Yard So Much More Satisfying

Japanese gardening tools are held in high regard by gardeners — here's why, and which ones you need to know

a japanese inspired yard
(Image credit: Mikiko Kikuyama. Design: SAW)

Gardening allows us to connect with nature in a very special way. When I think about my backyard, I think about the way it is greeted by every season. From spring, summer, winter and autumn, maintaining a healthy landscape all year round is the ultimate goal for many of us.

I came across this beautiful saying by Gail Tsukiyama, from her book The Samurai's Garden, about the presence of gardens and how it can make a person feel. The writer notes: 'The garden is a world filled with secrets. Slowly, I see more each day. The black pines twist and turn to form graceful shapes, while the moss is a carpet of green that invites you to sit by the pond'. Her words perfectly encapsulate the presence a space, particularly a garden, holds and what it could be if it is nurtured and taken care of properly.

Creating the perfect garden should never be the goal, but rather, building a healthy one with the right tools and care should be. And when it comes to the gardening implements that are most revered by gardeners around the world, you'll find that Japanese tools stand a cut above the rest.

If you are looking to build on your backyard ideas and take care of your much-loved garden plants, here are 10 Japanese garden tools that are sure to enhance the way your garden looks.

1. Hori Hori knife

a Hori hori knife

(Image credit: Niwaki)

'Everyone needs a Hori Hori,' Jake Hobson, founder of Niwaki, a brand that specializes in Japanese gardening tools, tells us. The knife is quite handy and can be used for a range of different things, such as digging holes in clay soil, weeding, creating furrows for seeds, measuring items and more. 'It is an incredibly useful weeding and planting trowel, with a carbon steel blade that runs into the handle so it is tough and strong. You can plant bulbs with it, dig using it's concave blade and weed in the borders, lawn and patio,' Jake adds.

2. Weeding hoe

A close up of a garden tool in the process of digging weeds from top soil. The handle and the head is visible. Focus is on the head with a shallow depth of field. Remnants of grass and weeds surrounds the tool.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This handheld gardening tool has a rather unique look to it. The weeding sickle has a curved blade designed for cutting and removing weeds close to the ground. Jake says: 'the one-handed weeding hoe is great for slicing through weeds in borders and vegetable beds and it tilths the soil as it goes. It is also incredibly handy for preparing seed rows and drills'.

3. Folding saw

A person sawing wood

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The folding saw is a great pruning tool and is often used for cutting through shrubs and trees. 'Like all Japanese saws, and unlike western saws, it cuts on the pull stroke, making for an efficient cut where the blade doesn't jump out of the kerf, taking less wood and causing less damage to the tree,' Jake explains.

4. Flower shears

Pink flowers in a flowerbed

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Flower shears are great for sharp and precise cuts. The wide handles on these scissors make it 'easy to grab, comfy to hold, and allow for the perfect sensitivity of delicate and accurate cuts, combined with great grip for more substantial stuff,' Jake says. 'Japanese scissors are traditionally looser than western scissors so less energy is used when making the cut'.

5. Hand Trowel

Shovel trowel sits in soil dirt alongside tomato plant seedling in community garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The hand trowel is 'incredibly strong, lethally sharp, surprisingly light,' Jake says. The lifestyle brand tells us that it is often used for 'digging, tree planting, rootballing and mixing cement'. It's multi-purpose use is a must-have when it comes to building your modern garden ideas.

6. Pruning shears

Pruning shears, also known as hand pruners, are used to remove dead, damaged, or diseased plant parts to prevent the spread of diseases. This tool is also ideal for cutting back stems, twigs and branches that are 1” thick or less. It has two curved blades which provides clean cuts on plants.

7. Hedge shears

Close-up of hands snipping bush with garden shears

(Image credit: Getty Images)

'Ideal for hedges, shrubs, box clipping and topiary,' Jake says. Hedge shears are the best choice if you are looking for decorate your space with modern garden ideas. Shape and clean your garden with this Okatsune Precision Hedge Shear from Amazon.

8. Crevice and sidewalk weeder

a japanese sidewalk weeding tools

(Image credit: Nisaku)

Small yet powerful, the crevice and sidewalk weeder is the 'perfect size for weeding between paving slabs, but it’s also ideal for harvesting vegetables,' Jake adds. This dainty tool is easy to store away and ideal for keeping your garden in check.

The tradition, aesthetics and disciplines of gardening

Jake Hobson, the founder of Japanese lifestyle brand, Niwaki, emphasizes on the importance of a healthy landscape. He tells us: 'Gardens in Japan have always reflected the physical landscapes of Japan itself - the mountains, forest and coastlines - infused with cultural values and Buddhist and Shinto beliefs.

'One can trace a direct line between the temple and palace gardens of the last thousand years, and contemporary gardens now - the traditions, aesthetics and disciplines, although they’ve adapted over time, fundamentally remain the same'.

Jake says there is 'great emphasis and 'respect' placed on 'the changing of the seasons (particularly the cherry blossom) and the transience of nature, contrasted with the permanence of the land. The falling camellia flower, and the infinite life of the rock it lands on.'

Check out these Japanese gardening tools

Advice & Gardens Editor

Faiza is the Advice & Gardens Editor at Livingetc. She previously worked for The Independent as a News Feature Writer, where she wrote articles on lifestyle, entertainment, news and more. She also worked as an Audience Editor for the newspaper for over two years. Spending a few years in the newsroom, Faiza also previously worked for Sky News as an SEO reporter, where she produced stories based on trending topics. Lifestyle and Interior design is a space Faiza has been interested in for quite some time and as she continues to grow in the field, she will be diving into an interior design course to further her skills. Faiza has a background in SEO, social media and reporting. Her passion for writing goes beyond her work as she loves all things poetry and creative writing.