A recessed-gate structure has been studied with a view to realizing normally off operation of high-voltage AlGaN/GaN high-electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) for power electronics applications. The recessed-gate structure is very attractive for realizing normally off high-voltage AlGaN/GaN HEMTs because the gate threshold voltage can be controlled by the etching depth of the recess without significant increase in on-resistance characteristics. With this structure the threshold voltage can be increased with the reduction of two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) density only under the gate electrode without reduction of 2DEG density in the other channel regions such as the channel between drain and gate. The threshold-voltage increase was experimentally demonstrated. The threshold voltage of fabricated recessed-gate device increased to -0.14 V while the threshold voltage without the recessed-gate structure was about -4 V. The specific on-resistance of the device was maintained as low as 4 mΩ·cm2 and the breakdown voltage was 435 V. The on-resistance and the breakdown voltage tradeoff characteristics were the same as those of normally on devices. From the viewpoint of device design, the on-resistance for the normally off device was modeled using the relationship between the AlGaN layer thickness under the gate electrode and the 2DEG density. It is found that the MIS gate structure and the recess etching without the offset region between recess edge and gate electrode will further improve the on-resistance. The simulation results show the possibility of the on-resistance below 1 mΩ·cm2 for normally off AlGaN/GaN HEMTs operating at several hundred volts with threshold voltage up to +1 V.