Everything You Need To Know About The Hori Hori

If you’re a green thumb looking to streamline your gardening tool collection or an avid camper hoping to find your favorite tool, look no further: the Hori Hori knife may be the multi-tool you never knew you needed.

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Equipped with one serrated side and one sharp side, the Japanese-inspired Hori Hori blade is slightly concave, allowing for easy digging and scooping. This tool comes with ingenious inch measurements built into the blade like a ruler, allowing precise measuring while planting. The Hori Hori comes to a point at the tip, cutting through thick roots and guaranteeing no-fuss cleaning. Plus, our Barebones Hori Hori variations each come with an attached twine cutter, eliminating your need to carry gardening shears - and adding the ability to pop open a beverage of your choice.

On top of all of that, The Hori Hori comes with a fascinating history that only affirms the ingenuity of its design.

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The History of the Hori Hori

When you consider Japanese blades and their history, the first that comes to mind is likely a katana - a large blade, primarily used in close combat during Japan’s Samurai era. Blades such as the katana played a large part in the culture of the Ashiguru, the Japanese position of warrior-farmer, popular in the mid-1500s. Though these warriors were not paid for their military service, they were permitted to confiscate any possessions they desired from their victims. This benefit backfired, causing a rise in armed mercenaries that threatened the feudal lords of that time.

To combat this, Emperor Toyotomi Hideyoshi implemented a new rule called Katanagari, defined literally as “sword hunt”, aimed at confiscating weapons owned by the Ashiguru. Gardening tools such as the Hori Hori were exempt from this; they were valued by farmers and peasants for the possibility of self-defense in an emergency.

As time went on and culture shifted, swords themselves were considered a threat. The making of katanas was outlawed in 1876, causing professional swordsmiths to diversify their creations and focus their talents on developing new blades and perfecting existing instruments, like many kitchen and gardening tools.

Initially, the Hori Hori was developed as an incredibly high-quality gardening knife, used primarily to help extract root vegetables and mountain vegetation. Its serrated edge is suited to help saw through woody stems or roots, making it a dependable choice for pruning shrubs or simply digging up dandelions. Its other blade edge is smooth and sharpened, making it a better choice for harvesting delicate above-ground vegetables like leafy greens.

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How To Use The Hori Hori

The Hori Hori has endless uses in the garden, backyard, and at camp. But here a few of our favorite ways to get this tool in action.

Get rid of dandelions for good.

Whether you view dandelions as friend or foe, one thing goes without saying: they can be a challenge to remove. The Hori Hori is a perfect tool for digging around plants or weeds. Sink the blade into the dirt surrounding your dandelion (or any target of choice) and scoop out the roots. Or use the serrated blade to cut through any particularly woody stems.

Trim that pesky rose bush.

The Hori Hori’s versatility means that it's the perfect multi-tool for trimming or cutting back vegetation. Use the serrated edge to cut through dead branches with ease, and use the curved blade to dig into the dirt. It’s sharp enough to hack through stubborn roots and forget switching between pruning shears, a machete, and a shovel. The Hori Hori gets the job done without multiple trips to your shed.

Build the perfect campfire.

It’s true that the Hori Hori is often used in the garden, but you may be surprised to know that the Hori Hori also doubles as the perfect hand-held camping tool. Whether you're pounding in tent stakes or gathering brush for a campfire, the Hori Hori can be your go-to for digging, cutting, and even whittling wood.

Maintain your backyard garden.

Use the Hori Hori’s rounded blade to scoop the perfect holes for planting seeds, utilizing the built-in inch measurements in the blade for precision. You can continue to reach for the Hori Hori throughout the growing and harvest season, both as a garden-weeding tool and to gently slice through your squash stems without struggle.

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Which Hori Hori
Is Right For Me?

Interested in using the Hori Hori for your outdoor endeavors? Explore our two Hori Hori knives, exceptionally crafted for durability and versatility in the garden and beyond.

For The Garden: The Hori Hori Classic

The Hori Hori digging tool was originally used for careful and methodical excavating of hardy mountain plants - and Barebones’ unique take on this classic tool was designed with garden work in mind. The Hori Hori Classic’s rounded top and serrated sides make it ideal for scooping, digging, and pulling weeds - and the added twine cutter doubles as a bottle opener so you can enjoy a refreshing beverage after a hard day’s work.

For The Woodsman: The Hori Hori Ultimate

The Hori Hori Ultimate is a hearty multi-purpose tool to take along while camping, bush-crafting, or anywhere you need it. The uses are endless: pound in tent stakes with the flat pommel base, measure planting depth with the handy inch marks, or whittle kindling with the heat-tempered, rust-resistant blade. This elevated version of the dependable Hori Hori has the option of a durable sheath made of waxed canvas and reinforced lining: the perfect tool to clip to your belt and bring on any adventure.

Garden Tools Woodsman

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