In Japan, there are no Japanese restaurants — not the kind where you’ll find the whole repertoire of tempura, sushi, udon and sukiyaki, anyway. Restaurants in Japan specialize in one kind of food, sometimes even variations on one dish, the chefs often spending years perfecting their craft before branching out on their own.
That explains the new crop of Japanese specialty shops Honolulu has seen this year. All with first-generation roots in the old country, they offer smaller menus featuring everything from grilled chicken skewers to distinct regional styles of okonomiyaki — and not a whole lot else.
Here’s a guide to the newcomers. And don’t worry: All have menus in Japanese and English.