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Best Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong

How to satisfy your Japanese food craving when you can’t fly there

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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Hongkongers have, and always will have, a major soft spot for Japanese cuisine. Back when we could, many of us would fly for food and search for the very best in Japan. From sushi to teppanyaki, yakitori, yakiniku and much more, the options for Japanese food in Hong Kong are incredibly vast and varied. And since we can't travel to Japan as easily as we used to, here’s where you can get a taste of Japan right here in the city.

RECOMMENDED: In the mood for something local? Check out this list of the best dai pai dongs in Hong Kong instead.

Hong Kong’s best Japanese restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Tsim Sha Tsui

Named after a mountain in Kanagawa, Japan, Afuri (a ramen shop from Tokyo which opened in Hong Kong) is a popular noodle bar where patrons happily queue up for a bowl of yuzu shio ramen. It’s the most popular item on the menu and if you’ve tried it, then you’ll already know why. Supple and bouncy homemade wheat noodles are placed in an intensely flavoured chicken broth, brightened by the citrusy flavour and aroma of yuzu. The smell alone will transport you to the middle of Ebisu in Tokyo, where the first Afuri shop opened.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Sheung Wan

An independent venture helmed by Japanese chef Shun Sato, formerly of Fukuro, Censu is inflected by the traditional izakaya-style cooking of Sato’s father, but Censu itself is not an izakaya and offers a more food-focused and delicately refined menu with dishes such as the potato salad on egg confit and the bound-to-be-popular Unigiri which features a toasted onigiri topped with fresh sea urchin served in abalone dashi. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Lan Kwai Fong

This 60s Tokyo-inspired teppanyaki features three teppan grills to sit around so you can enjoy the show of chefs skillfully grilling your food. Dressed in plush purple and gold ochre furnishings, the restaurant is pretty lavish and offers a menu filled with top-quality meat and seafood. There are a la carte options, but it’s worth considering the set menus as the teppan spiny lobster in coral butter and A5 Kagoshima Wagyu tenderloin are must-tries. 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Central

Since opening its first outlet in Tsim Sha Tsui just six months ago, the contemporary izakaya is expanding across the harbour to Central. In such a short period of time, the restaurant has already made a mark in the business with its innovative, borderless dishes rooted in Japanese and French cooking. Highlights we can’t wait to try include the abalone liver noodle, fish maw with crab soup, and 26-day dry-aged toro sushi.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Causeway Bay

This Japanese kushiage (deep-fried skewers) spot in Causeway Bay is a favourite among those who appreciate a more casual bar snack and sake vibe. The food here is executed well and dishes make seasonal appearances including a deep-fried shirako (milt) that is all over Instagram. It does get booked up pretty quickly, so you’ll need to plan in advance for this one.

  • Restaurants
  • Sheung Wan

A culinary playground for chef Matt Abergel (of Yardbird fame) to stretch his Japanese cooking techniques, Ronin is an izakaya-style dining bar with a menu that mainly focuses on fish and seafood. Highlights include flower crab and Kagoshima beef sukiyaki. The restaurant's staff highly encourage alcoholic accompaniments for the dishes including everything from sake to artisanal spirits and their 100-strong collection of Japanese whisky.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Sheung Wan

Like many other omakase restaurants in Hong Kong, Sushi Hare is notoriously difficult to book, but for very good reason. The restaurant, helmed by master sushi chef Motoharu Inazuka, offers the Edomae-style of sushi omakase that features small touches of genius to accentuate the natural flavours of the ingredients. The shari (sushi rice) is superbly balanced and matches exceptionally well with the seasonal fish and seafood. 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Tsim Sha Tsui

Run by chef-owner Hisayoshi Iwa (of Ginza Iwa in Tokyo) and his apprentice, chef Tsukasa Kaneko, Sushi Hisayoshi is a traditional Edomae-style omakase restaurant that spotlights fresh, seasonal seafood and produce of the highest quality. It's located inside Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui and the menu features signature dishes including aged tuna, tamago cube, abalone and ankimo (monkfish liver) among others. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Central

Imported from Tokyo, Toritama is a yakitori joint that offers some real Japanese flavour. The tsukune, which is the chicken meatball skewer, is garnered as one of the best in Hong Kong and their wide-ranging menu offers some lesser-known chicken cuts such as achilles tendon, knee gristle, calf muscle, oesophagus and much more. They also offer an extensive list of sake to wash it all down with.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Lan Kwai Fong

This buzzy little izakaya offers great vibes as a side to the good food and is a place that really feels like you’ve been transported to Japan. You’ll find lots of seafood on the menu and, depending on the catch of the day, fresh fish grilled on the robatayaki. There are also some other great Japanese izakaya-style dishes such as sukiyaki, grilled onigiri, uni and salmon roe macaroni gratin, and more to try.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Sheung Wan

Located on the 29th floor of the Connaught Marina in Sheung Wan, Wa-En Kappo offers stunning views of Victoria Harbour from an intimate dining room. The Japanese restaurant focuses on kappo cuisine, so it's more than just sushi and sashimi here. Think local chicken and soybean milk soup served with a crispy beancurd sheet – similar to the ones you enjoy at Chinese hotpot – as well as tempura trio featuring fish maw with mitsuba leaf and more.

  • Restaurants
  • Sheung Wan

All the way from Japan’s Kanto region, Yakiniku Great is a specialist in Kuroge (Japanese black breed) Wagyu which is perfect for grilling. The restaurant also shines a light on rare cuts, including Misuji, some of which are lean and not like the usual fatty Wagyu you’re used to. We also like the fact that the menu tells you how long to grill everything, so there really shouldn’t be any overcooked beef here.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Sheung Wan

A venue by Wagyu specialists Wagyumafia, Yakinikumafia offers a slightly more affordable way to indulge in Japan's famous Ozaki beef and allows customers to grill the meat themselves on special smokeless grills at every booth and table. The beef is definitely what you're here for, but the collagen-packed wagyu bone broth, koshihikari rice, barbecue sauce, pickles and daikon, really make it stand out.

  • Restaurants
  • Ramen
  • Happy Valley

Tsukemen is usually known for having pork, seafood, or even beef-based broth, but over at Zagin Soba, chicken is the name of the game. Serving up arguably the best chicken-based broth in town, the restaurant has a small and refined menu that will keep your decidophobia in check. The flavour is a given, but the broth is also light and creamy all at the same time, giving it a refreshing take from your usual tsukemen which tends to be on the heavier side of things.

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