Best Japanese / Sushi in Honolulu

I finally got to travel to Hawaii for my big birthday trip from 2021! We had postponed it but it was definitely worth the wait.

Initially we were supposed to go to the Big Island but we decided to change it to Oahu and stay in Waikiki. I was afraid it would be too crowded but we found secluded beaches up in North Shore and away from Honolulu.

Sandy Beach on the way back from hiking Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail

I’ve been to most of the islands a dozen times. Honolulu I’ve been only three times and I honestly don’t remember much about where we ate. So for this trip, I wanted to make sure we found those hidden gems that I’d come back to again and again.

My friend is also a foodie and both of these places came highly recommended. The first was a Japanese izakaya restaurant slightly off the beaten path called Tori Ton. When we walked inside and there were only two white people, I knew we had hit the jackpot. It was crowded but luckily we had reservations.

There were three of us so we ordered several dishes to share: eggplant, cucumber, several chicken skewers, fried oysters, tofu with bonito flakes, karage chicken with tartar sauce, salmon salad, and matcha mochi for dessert. We selected a nice bottle of chilled sake and the entire bill was less than $30 / person!

Wasabi chicken, chicken and green onion, and chicken ball skewers

Of course, when you’re in Hawaii, you have to have sushi, so my friend took us to this place near the Ala Moana Mall. We got sushi to go because we wanted to bring it back to our hotel and have a nice picnic lunch on our balcony with the ocean view. Ginza Sushi was busy and everything that came out of their expo window looked amazing. We just kept pointing and saying “we want that!” We ended up with way too much food but it just made for a tasty breakfast the next morning. Their specialty is the spicy ahi which is like the filling of a spicy tuna hand roll. Delicious! My favorites were the hamachi and salmon sashimi.

Deluxe sushi combo and sushi lunch specials with poke, spicy ahi, and mixed sushi and rolls.

I could go on and on about all the amazing food but these were my top favorites. We also had excellent poke, Spam musubi, shaved ice with mochi and custard, and of course, malasadas at Leonard’s.

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