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Houston’s 12 Essential Japanese Restaurants

Where to eat the finest sushi, perfect noodles, and so much more

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Houston’s Japanese restaurant scene is flourishing: find steaming bowls of delicious ramen, omakase counters presenting ridiculously innovative culinary Japanese masterpieces, and traditional izakaya gastropubs pushing quality Japanese bar bites.

Whether you’re in the mood for a James Beard chef’s masterfully sliced sashimi or a casual bite of yakitori (a Japanese skewer), follow the list below for truly unique Japanese dining experiences in Clutch City.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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GENJI RESTAURANT & BAR

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If you’re hard-pressed to find excellent dining to complement your karaoke skills, Genji is a one-stop shop. Visited by everyone from culinary Houston scenesters to businessmen, Genji serves up yakitori, ramen, teba gyoza (stuffed chicken wings), sushi rolls, teriyaki, tempura, omurice (Japanese stir fry with a fried egg) and udon with a number of mix-ins. Chow down while enjoying (or wincing) through serenades of local restaurant patrons fueled by the low cost sakes, beers and cocktails. 

Chinatown’s renowned restauranteur Mike Tran does it again with his recently opened dim and sexy izakaya, Toukei. Located in an unsuspecting strip center, Toukei offers rich, hearty bowls of ramen, as well as Japanese bar bites like slow-cooked scallion chicken, glazed wings, and wasabi-marinated octopus. There’s also a multitude of marinated and grilled skewers of juicy beef, pork, chicken or veggies, and several raw and cooked seafood options. Be sure to imbibe in the extensive selection of Japanese booze, specifically Japanese scotches and whiskies swirled together with soda water to create a simple and refreshing highball. 

Roughly translated to “the art of eating”, Kuu embodies its mantra with artsy inspired plating and dishes created by acclaimed Chef Adison Lee of Nobu London fame. Chef Lee combines rich textures and flavor palettes in pairings like uni-crusted King crab made with uni custard and key lime or crispy duck with a wasabi beet reduction. Well priced and in a beautiful wood paneled serene setting, Kuu has proven itself to be a Japanese cuisine treasure in Houston. 

Teppay Japanese Restaurant

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The cold(er) weather is perfect for a visit to traditional Japanese restaurant Teppay, where a bowl of warm tonkatsu ramen (egg noodles in a pork-based broth) will heat you right up. Authenticity is the name of the game at Teppay which offers staples such as udon or soba soup, shabu shabu (thinly sliced beef and veggies cooked in a broth,) and ramen.

A neighborhood joint so good it had to open another location, Miyako Japanese Restaurant serves sushi and other Japanese cuisine in a familial, warm space. The bento boxes are the ideal lunch options starring Chilean miso sea bass or Miyako beef roll, as are other dishes like the chicken teriyaki dinner, rock sugar salmon, fiery noodle or rice bowls and pan-fried gyozo bites. 

Miyako/Facebook

Roka Akor

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Serving as Houston’s premier robata steakhouse and sushi restaurant since 2009, Roka Akor provides stellar customer experiences by maintaining high standards of quality and showcasing stunning presentations of Japanese cuisine. Opt for a bite from a selection of robata grill selections like Korean spiced lamb chops, Snake River Farm Wagyu flat iron or Japanese Grade A5 Kobe beef. Seafood lovers, sushi enthusiasts, and meat eaters will inevitably exist peacefully with a luxurious meal here.

Kata Robata

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Tucked away in a strip center on Kirby, Kata Robata Chef Manabu Horiuchi’s Japanese cuisine includes fish flown straight from Japan and thoughtfully concocted dishes like miso crusted bone marrow, foie gras and duck chawanmushi (a Japanese style egg custard with seared foie gras, duck breast and oyster mushroom), and green tea soufflé cheesecake for dessert. For small bites and a great selection of sake and Japanese whiskies, stop in for happy hour during the weekday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. or Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. 

Shun Japanese Kitchen

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Self-proclaimed “second generation” Japanese restaurant, Shun Japanese Kitchen chef and owner Naoki Yoshida originally learned to cook at his family’s restaurant, Nippon Restaurant in Montrose. Today, Chef Yoshida carefully curates one-of-a-kind meals of his own including the likes of Anko wings (made with red bean sauce, mint, fried garlic, and honey pecans), pozole duck ramen (duck confit, pozole verde, charred corn, and egg) and a 40 day-aged pork chop with miso and sweet potato puree.

Izakaya Wa

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The Japanese version of a tapas bar, “izakayas” traditionally serve bite-sized nibbles and drinks in a more relaxed environment. Houston’s own Izakaya Wa doesn’t stray from tradition, serving up shareable small plates, skewers, sushi, and drinks in a non-pretentious spot at prices that won’t break the bank. Nosh on takoyaki (deep fried octopus balls), hiyayakko (traditional Japanese cold tofu with ginger and onion), or a delightfully savory bowl of udon in a laidback setting. 

Nippon Japanese Restaurant

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A Japanese institution in Montrose, Nippon has been offering its patrons consistently delicious meals for years. The overflowing restaurant (be advised, the space is small and visitors many) intricately weaves a tapestry of Japanese techniques and flavors in each bite of dishes such as katsu curry (served only on Wednesdays and Thursdays), traditional ramen made with pork belly, boiled egg, seaweed and Katsu Ju, a panko-breaded pork cutlet with a sweet soy sauce.

While Houstonians anxiously await the arrival of Uchiko, Uchi still reigns supreme as a tour de force of Japanese cuisine in Houston. Austin import Uchi melds its innovative take on traditional Japanese dishes ranging from foie nigiri to tataki made from pork belly. For a special night, indulge in the ten-course omakase menu prepared with seasonal dishes and insanely fresh ingredients. 

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GENJI RESTAURANT & BAR

If you’re hard-pressed to find excellent dining to complement your karaoke skills, Genji is a one-stop shop. Visited by everyone from culinary Houston scenesters to businessmen, Genji serves up yakitori, ramen, teba gyoza (stuffed chicken wings), sushi rolls, teriyaki, tempura, omurice (Japanese stir fry with a fried egg) and udon with a number of mix-ins. Chow down while enjoying (or wincing) through serenades of local restaurant patrons fueled by the low cost sakes, beers and cocktails. 

Toukei

Chinatown’s renowned restauranteur Mike Tran does it again with his recently opened dim and sexy izakaya, Toukei. Located in an unsuspecting strip center, Toukei offers rich, hearty bowls of ramen, as well as Japanese bar bites like slow-cooked scallion chicken, glazed wings, and wasabi-marinated octopus. There’s also a multitude of marinated and grilled skewers of juicy beef, pork, chicken or veggies, and several raw and cooked seafood options. Be sure to imbibe in the extensive selection of Japanese booze, specifically Japanese scotches and whiskies swirled together with soda water to create a simple and refreshing highball. 

Kuu

Roughly translated to “the art of eating”, Kuu embodies its mantra with artsy inspired plating and dishes created by acclaimed Chef Adison Lee of Nobu London fame. Chef Lee combines rich textures and flavor palettes in pairings like uni-crusted King crab made with uni custard and key lime or crispy duck with a wasabi beet reduction. Well priced and in a beautiful wood paneled serene setting, Kuu has proven itself to be a Japanese cuisine treasure in Houston. 

Teppay Japanese Restaurant

The cold(er) weather is perfect for a visit to traditional Japanese restaurant Teppay, where a bowl of warm tonkatsu ramen (egg noodles in a pork-based broth) will heat you right up. Authenticity is the name of the game at Teppay which offers staples such as udon or soba soup, shabu shabu (thinly sliced beef and veggies cooked in a broth,) and ramen.

Miyako

Miyako/Facebook

A neighborhood joint so good it had to open another location, Miyako Japanese Restaurant serves sushi and other Japanese cuisine in a familial, warm space. The bento boxes are the ideal lunch options starring Chilean miso sea bass or Miyako beef roll, as are other dishes like the chicken teriyaki dinner, rock sugar salmon, fiery noodle or rice bowls and pan-fried gyozo bites. 

Miyako/Facebook

Roka Akor

Serving as Houston’s premier robata steakhouse and sushi restaurant since 2009, Roka Akor provides stellar customer experiences by maintaining high standards of quality and showcasing stunning presentations of Japanese cuisine. Opt for a bite from a selection of robata grill selections like Korean spiced lamb chops, Snake River Farm Wagyu flat iron or Japanese Grade A5 Kobe beef. Seafood lovers, sushi enthusiasts, and meat eaters will inevitably exist peacefully with a luxurious meal here.

Kata Robata

Tucked away in a strip center on Kirby, Kata Robata Chef Manabu Horiuchi’s Japanese cuisine includes fish flown straight from Japan and thoughtfully concocted dishes like miso crusted bone marrow, foie gras and duck chawanmushi (a Japanese style egg custard with seared foie gras, duck breast and oyster mushroom), and green tea soufflé cheesecake for dessert. For small bites and a great selection of sake and Japanese whiskies, stop in for happy hour during the weekday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. or Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. 

Shun Japanese Kitchen

Self-proclaimed “second generation” Japanese restaurant, Shun Japanese Kitchen chef and owner Naoki Yoshida originally learned to cook at his family’s restaurant, Nippon Restaurant in Montrose. Today, Chef Yoshida carefully curates one-of-a-kind meals of his own including the likes of Anko wings (made with red bean sauce, mint, fried garlic, and honey pecans), pozole duck ramen (duck confit, pozole verde, charred corn, and egg) and a 40 day-aged pork chop with miso and sweet potato puree.

Izakaya Wa

The Japanese version of a tapas bar, “izakayas” traditionally serve bite-sized nibbles and drinks in a more relaxed environment. Houston’s own Izakaya Wa doesn’t stray from tradition, serving up shareable small plates, skewers, sushi, and drinks in a non-pretentious spot at prices that won’t break the bank. Nosh on takoyaki (deep fried octopus balls), hiyayakko (traditional Japanese cold tofu with ginger and onion), or a delightfully savory bowl of udon in a laidback setting. 

Nippon Japanese Restaurant

A Japanese institution in Montrose, Nippon has been offering its patrons consistently delicious meals for years. The overflowing restaurant (be advised, the space is small and visitors many) intricately weaves a tapestry of Japanese techniques and flavors in each bite of dishes such as katsu curry (served only on Wednesdays and Thursdays), traditional ramen made with pork belly, boiled egg, seaweed and Katsu Ju, a panko-breaded pork cutlet with a sweet soy sauce.

Uchi

While Houstonians anxiously await the arrival of Uchiko, Uchi still reigns supreme as a tour de force of Japanese cuisine in Houston. Austin import Uchi melds its innovative take on traditional Japanese dishes ranging from foie nigiri to tataki made from pork belly. For a special night, indulge in the ten-course omakase menu prepared with seasonal dishes and insanely fresh ingredients. 

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