Eating out can be a luxury for many. When I’m asked to pick a place to eat, these are my top three Japanese spots to dine at for special occasions. These restaurants are presented in no particular order. I also included some dishes I recommend trying.


Rinka is located in Ae‘o behind Whole Foods Market on Queen Street. The interior is well lit and it feels like you’re transported to Japan for a meal! They serve unique Japanese dishes.

Special occasion Japanese
Crab Salmon Roe Chawanmushi $7.75

Rinka has my favorite Chawanmushi. It is only available at dinner time. The steamed egg custard is the silkiest I’ve had on the island. It is different than most chawanmushi I’ve had because the egg custard is made with crab meat inside and it is topped with salmon roe. It makes the perfect appetizer.

Special occasion Japanese
Fried Tofu with Four Different Kinds of Miso $11.75

Tofu is one of my favorite foods to order. Rinka serves this fried tofu dish with four different kinds of miso sauces. Miso sauces are yuzu, spinach, spicy miso and red Miso. The sauces are very colorful.

Special occasion Japanese
Roast Beef and Uni on top of Tamago Kake Rice $21.75

Another dish is the Roast Beef and Sea Urchin on the Tamago-Kake Rice. It’s filled with two of my favorite ingredients, roast beef and sea urchin. This dish is unique in that it’s served on top of an egg rice.

Special occasion Japanese
Green Tea Brulee $8.75

Lastly, don’t forget about dessert! Rinka serves this Green Tea Brûlée with a side of fruits and whip cream. The presentation is refreshingly different from the normal Creme Brûlée.

Rinka Japanese Restaurant
1001 Queen St. # 105
Honolulu, Hi, 96814
Ph: 808-773-8235


One of my favorite places to enjoy a dinner and a Teppanyaki show is at Tanaka of Tokyo West. It is located in the Ho’okipa Terrace at Ala Moana Shopping Center Level 4. This is a great place to see the chef perform some tricks on the grill and see how your food is made. Each time I go it’s a different experience. The chefs there are really entertaining while they cook your food. They are so skilled with their tricks. Some of the chefs are great at keeping you on your toes with those jokes.

Special occasion Japanese

When ordering food, there are many choices to choose from including chicken, lobster tail, shrimp, scallops, salmon, and sirloin steak, ribeye steak and various kinds of vegetables. The complete meals include Crisp Tossed Green Salad, Grilled Shrimp Appetizer, Teppanyaki Vegetables, Steamed Rice, Pickled Vegetables, Miso Soup, Japanese Green Tea and a choice of Ice Cream or Sorbet. Set entree prices range from $30-50 depending on which set you order.

Special occasion Japanese
Special occasion Japanese
Special occasion Japanese

Tanaka of Tokyo
Multiple locations on Oahu


Tori Ton is an izakaya and skewer place on South King Street. This spot is best when you want to try many dishes pupus style. Tori Ton has yakitori, oden, and a number of side dishes to share family style. On this occasion, I ordered the following dishes:

Seafood Kamameshi (expect a 30 min wait) Kamameshi is a specially prepared rice dish cooked for about 30min $15.80

The first dish was the Seafood Kamameshi which includes ikura and various kinds of raw fish. Kamameshi means “kettle rice”. The rice is cooked to perfection in the pot. The best part is the crunchy pieces of rice at the bottom of the metal bowl. Be prepared to wait since this dish does take time….

Special occasion Japanese
Smoked and Seared Mackerel Sashimi $9.00

The next hot dish ordered was the smoked and seared mackerel sashimi. It is intriguing how this savory fish melts in your mouth. Included on the side for sauce is wasabi and mustard.

Special occasion Japanese
Pickled Raw Firefly Squid. Caption: Special Pupu dish October 2019- Pickled Raw Firefly Squid $4.90

The Pickled Raw Firefly Squid is another appetizer. It is relatively salty and has an interesting texture. It goes best with a cold beer.

Special occasion Japanese
Pork Wrapped Mushrooms $2.90

The last dish was pork wrapped mushroom which is a type of Butamaki-Kushi meaning pork wrapped vegetable. If you like yakitori, Tori Ton offers a wide variety.

2334 S King St. Ste B
Honolulu, HI 96826
Ph: (808) 260-1478