Kurouchi (Blacksmith's Finish)- This dark, rustic looking finish is the least refined of the knife finishes and can actually help prevent rusting of your knife. The dark color is achieved by not polishing off the residue that is naturally formed during the forging process. The kurouchi finish can wear off over time, especially if you are using abrasive cleaning products.
Tsuchime (Hammered Finish)- This is a traditional ancient Japanese style of finish. The hammered blade reduces drag when cutting through food and assists with quick food release from the knife. This finish can vary greatly in the way it looks depending on the knife maker and the type of hammer and technique used.
Nashiji (Pear Skin Finish)- Another rustic looking finish that is meant to resemble the skin of an Asian pear. The nashiji finish is purely for aesthetics although some might argue that the increased blade texture can help with food release.
Damascus Finish- This beautiful, wavy pattern is one of the most recognizable finishes on knives. While the original method of creating damascus steel was lost centuries ago, knife makers can recreate a similar wavy pattern using a number of different techniques. Some of these techniques can increase the strength of the knife, so this finish can be functional as well as being aesthetically pleasing.
Migaki (Polished Finish)- Migaki means polished, although knives with this finish are polished to a lesser degree than a mirror polished knife.
Mirror Polished Finish- As the name states, these knives are polished so smoothly they reflect like a mirror. Knives featuring this impressive looking finish are usually more high-end due to the care and time taken to create them. This finish will more readily show scratches and marks so they are a bit higher maintenance than some of the other finishes.