Best Japanese Restaurant in Kona – Dishes You Must Try!

Welcome fellow food lovers!

Recently, my boyfriend and I embarked on a culinary adventure in Kona, Hawaii. We were craving some authentic Japanese cuisine, and believe me – finding the perfect dining spot can be quite challenging! So I took it upon myself to research, explore and taste-test some of the best places serving delicious Japanese food in town.

My experience? Overwhelmingly delightful! That’s why I’ve put together this ultimate guide for you. Trust me; I’ve handpicked four top-notch Japanese restaurants in Kona that will not let you down.

As an avid traveler who loves exploring new cuisines, I have been fortunate enough to visit many different countries sampling various dishes. Combining this passion with my diligence in researching local eateries guarantees that these chosen spots will exceed your expectations. These exceptional restaurants serve everything from mouthwatering sushi rolls to warm bowls of ramen that’ll keep you wanting more.

Warning: After visiting one or more of these restaurants, don’t be surprised if you find yourself dreaming about their delectable dishes long after your trip is over!

So buckle up and join me as we dive into our palatable journey through Kona’s finest Japanese delights!

Sushi Shiono – The Best Japanese Restaurant Serving Fresh Fish in Kona

Sushi Shiono offers an authentic Japanese culinary experience with exceptionally fresh fish prepared traditionally, accompanied by an extensive collection of sake. This small yet bustling restaurant is sure to delight your taste buds.

Usually packed with customers, make sure to reserve a table to secure your spot on your preferred day. In my opinion, a full house is always an excellent indicator of quality.

During our visit, we ordered sushi and were particularly impressed by the Ahi sashimi. We’re fans of sushi but had never tasted anything so flavorful before–it seemed like each bite was truly exceptional.

What makes Sushi Shiono stand out:

  • The wonderful ambiance and value for money
  • Generous serving sizes: those rolls we ordered were huge!
  • Their “Sake Sampler” provides three different servings so you can find your favorite
  • Friendly and accommodating staff members

Seiji’s Sushi – Best Japanese Restaurant in Kona for an Exclusive Family Experience

At Seiji’s Sushi, you’ll find a cozy, family-owned business established by the incredibly talented sushi chef Seiji. With years of experience working in metropolises like Las Vegas and San Francisco, teaching students ancient Japanese sushi-making traditions, this restaurant is his labor of love.

You can expect unmatched food quality at Seiji’s Sushi; they serve only meals made from fish caught that very day and fresh local vegetables sourced straight from farmers markets.

We tried their omakase-style sushi—chef’s choice made with ingredients available that day—and savored tempura, sashimi, soup, and salad. Everything was delightful and delicious.

Key takeaways from our dining experience at Seiji’s Sushi:

  • A quaint Japanese restaurant offering an exclusive and personal feel
  • Limited seating capacity: it’s essential to book a table several days in advance
  • Excellent service was provided by owner-chef Seiji and his wife/business partner who genuinely enjoy what they do
  • Numerous vegetarian options are also available on the menu

Sushi Sam – Best Japanese Restaurant in Kona with Sushi on Par with Japan

We stumbled upon this hidden gem quite by chance, as it was conveniently located near our accommodation. We’re delighted to report that our discovery resulted in an exceptional dining experience.

Having indulged in sushi throughout the island and on the mainland, we found Sushi Sam’s offering to be incredibly fresh and authentic—according to my boyfriend, it could even rival sushi from Japan itself. The salmon sashimi melted in our mouths while their shrimp rolls were heavenly.

The flavor, texture, and presentation of each dish were impeccable, accompanied by well-balanced sauces that complemented the sushi and rolls perfectly. Though we didn’t try their popular “Special roll,” we enjoyed a vast array of other delectable items from their versatile menu.

Some highlights worth mentioning about Sushi Sam include:

  • Friendly and attentive staff
  • Prompt service
  • Modern yet casual Japanese-style interior design
  • An extensive selection of both food and drink options

If you’re a sushi lover seeking an outstanding meal during your stay in Kona, don’t hesitate to visit this charming hole-in-the-wall eatery!

Sakura – Best Japanese Restaurant in Kona for Casual Dining

If you’re craving authentic Japanese food served in a casual atmosphere, Sakura is your ideal destination. They offer scrumptious dishes at surprisingly low prices, with beautiful presentation to match.

What sets Sakura apart from other establishments is their dedication to catering to diners with special dietary needs, such as vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free options.

Nestled in a tranquil setting, this unassuming eatery emphasizes the importance of excellent food. During our meal, we enjoyed chicken teriyaki, prawn tempura with miso soup, crab salad rolled with salmon and fish roe, unagi don and tuna roll. Every dish was delectable and left a lasting impression that will surely beckon us back for more.

Notable aspects of Sakura include:

  • Freshly made-to-order rolls: a visual treat complementing the delightful taste
  • Friendly and helpful staff members
  • A vast range of menu options
  • Ample parking is available outside

Avoiding long lines typical of tourist hotspots is easy at Sakura – an undiscovered gem offering delicious Japanese cuisine sure to lure you back time after time.


Kailua Kona, often referred to as Kailua Kona HI, boasts some of the best sushi spots on the Big Island. One standout is Sushi Shiono, heralded as one of the best Japanese restaurants in the area. For those craving delicious sushi, it’s a must-visit. Apart from sushi, this Kona top sushi spot offers a wide range of Japanese dishes in Kona like shrimp tempura and plate lunches. Not just limited to the food, Sushi Shiono also stands out for its amazing service and outdoor seating. While the dining room sets the mood for an authentic Japanese dining experience in Kona, their happy hour offers excellent deals. With a full bar, guests can pair their meals with quality beverages.

If you’re looking for good quality and great sushi, it’s a must-visit. Moreover, for those exploring the Kona location, there are other eateries like the renowned Kona Brewery. Numerous Kona Japanese eatery reviews highlight the popularity of these Japanese seafood spots. For a full Japanese dining experience in Kona, including top ramen and more, popular Japanese places in Kona have it all.

Last Updated on August 20, 2023 by Brigitte