I'm a big fan of "spend a bit more for stuff you use a lot"-- and I probably went a bit too far with these knives. I tried them out in a store and found that each "level" of the knives cut amazingly well-- so you can definitely get the cheaper miyabi knives and do just fine. But I kinda fell in love with the birch handles. They feel magical to use and garner tons of compliments from friends and "guest chefs" in our kitchen.
You're probably used to german-style knives - Japanese knives are sharpened to a different angle, so they slice better and get dull a bit faster, so investing in a good electric sharpener is worthwhile (only takes a 20 seconds per knife).