Winds of change have swept through Shirokiya Japan Village Walk, the enormous food hall in Ala Moana Center's Ewa Wing. If you've strolled through recently, you might have noticed new retail showcases filled with kimono, imported Japanese figurines, stationery and plushies around the hall's perimeter. But that's just part of Shirokiya's Renewal Matsuri.
Shirokiya will have festivities between now and Nov. 4. And there's more: Here are three more reasons you'll want to revisit Shirokiya:
Famous for cheap beers, Shirokiya is making it even easier to enjoy your pau hana. Here's how it works: For every $10 spent at verified stalls, you'll receive a numbered Dream Reward Coupon. Each coupon has a stub redeemable for a select $1 beer at any of the bars. You can also apply that to a higher-priced beer. You can redeem any number of coupons at once, so if you spend $12 on sozai side dishes (one coupon) and $33 on ramen (three coupons), you'll receive four reward coupons redeemable for as many as four $1 beers.
Plus, each coupon will be entered to win weekly, monthly and yearly prizes:
Every Monday, Shirokiya will announce five winning numbers to receive 10 reward coupons each.
Every first of the month, three winners will receive 100 reward coupons each.
On Jan. 1, two especially lucky winners will receive 1,000 reward coupons each.
Don't drink beer or you're under 21? Take your coupon over to the gachapon capsule machines, redeem them for tokens and go crazy collecting the kawaii capsule toys of your dreams.
No. 2: Enjoy 50 percent off gourmet teishoku meal sets
Shirokiya refers to the food stalls that line the mauka and Diamond Head walls as its Gourmet Plaza. Here you'll find top-quality teishoku set meals on a monthly rotating basis. Right now, they're all half-price and highlight some of Japan's most famous dishes including an unajyu (grilled eel on rice) for $24, deep-fried beef gyukatsu for $19, and the maguro zanmai for $19, a throwback to the sushi counter at the "old Shirokiya" second floor food court. A limited number of gourmet sets will be sold each day, so go early for your favorites.
Of all the sets, the wagyu sukiyaki is the most impressive in presentation and taste – it's seriously enough for two people to share. Other sets include:
Wagyu steak $24
Wagyu hamburger $14
Uni ikura donburi $19
Awabi donburi $19
Truffle pasta $14
Seafood paella $14
Lobster curry $14
Ebi chili $14
No. 1: Eleven new food stalls from Japan and mainland
From a chocolate lovers paradise and wacky stuffed hot dogs to whimsical soft cream cones from Harajuku, there are new stalls to munch and drink your way through. Take a look at this fancy siphon and cold brewed Kona coffee from Kazan Cafe.
Sakura, located in the far corner near the restrooms, is a yakitori and bento stall that hails from ritzy Azabu Ward in Tokyo. Its kawaii branding was conceived in part by Japanese comedian Naomi Watanabe, so it's her likeness and photos plastered around the stall. Pick up a sampling of grilled bacon-wrapped tomato and tsukune chicken meatballs or snag a five-piece bento ($10) to go with your complimentary beer token. Stick around while they heat up your skewers on the binchotan charcoal grill.
Coming later this year: Hageten, a well-known tempura restaurant from Ginza; and Miyakonjo, an izakaya stall featuring dishes from Japan's southern Miyazaki prefecture. Sweets lovers will appreciate the additions of Charmy Ice Cream, Sweetaz waffles, Lemon Supply lemonades, and Choco Magic, a candy buffet with a huge chocolate fountain centerpiece.
Celebrations for this renewal have already begun with daily live music performances and family-friendly activities happening throughout the weekend. All the more reason to check out the revamped Japan Village Walk soon!