Japanese cuisine isn’t as embedded in Melbourne’s culture as, say, Italian or Vietnamese. Whereas people from those countries migrated here en masse following World War II and the Vietnam War respectively, Japanese immigration to Australia has been more gradual, steadily ticking along.

And yet, Japanese remains one of Melbourne’s most widespread and popular cuisines, which says a lot about its unique appeal. There are numerous high-end restaurants where master sushi chefs expertly ply their craft with multi-course experiences in sleek surrounds, but the casual, mid-range category is where Melbourne really excels.

Whether you’re after a quick bowl of ramen; a sublime omakase or kaiseki experience; a rowdy yakitori bar; or a boozy subterranean izakaya filled with sakes and rare whiskies, there’s a Japanese restaurant here for you.

Related Pages
Best Sushi in Melbourne
Best Ramen in Melbourne
Best Katsu Sandos in Melbourne

Minamishima

The hushed, reverent atmosphere here is well suited to owner-chef Koichi Minamishima's awe-inspiring knife skills. He works with both local seafood and fish flown direct from Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo to produce his peerless sushi. This is the best Japanese restaurant in Melbourne.

4 Lord Street, Richmond

Kisumé

This is one of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants. It's certainly its most ambitious. There's a New York-style sushi bar at street level, a pumping izakaya-style basement and an upstairs private dining room – Kuro – for intimate kaiseki-style meals.

175 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Kazuki's

In 2018, this Euro-Japanese fine diner moved from its home in Daylesford to Carlton. We're glad it's made the move to the city. The dishes here, delivered thoughtfully across several multi-course options, are a compelling argument for fusion done the right way.

121 Lygon Street, Carlton

Nobu

This is the Melbourne outpost of the globally-renowned Nobu Japanese restaurant chain. Peruvian flavours are expertly combined with Japanese cuisine in dishes such as yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno and black cod with miso.

Crown Riverwalk, Crown Melbourne 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
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Ishizuka

At this elegant 16-seat Japanese fine diner, which is inside a giant paper lantern in a Bourke Street basement, you'll find one of the best kaiseki – a traditional degustation-style multi-course meal – experiences in town.

Basement B01 139 Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Kenzan

Top-quality sushi and sashimi since 1981.

Lower Level Collins Place 45 Collins Street, Melbourne

Ichi Ni Nana

A large, colourful restaurant with a menu that touches on nearly every aspect of Japanese cuisine. Here you'll find sushi, gyoza, tempura, plus hearty bowls of ramen and don. Plus a fun drinks list that includes sakes, Japanese-influenced cocktails and craft beers from Tokyo.

Ground Floor 127 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
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Supernormal

Beautifully executed pan-Asian offerings by Andrew McConnell. Come for Melbourne's most famous lobster roll, steaming bowls of ramen at lunch, Korean-style barbequed meats and Shanghai dumplings.

180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
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Komeyui

Take a seat at the stone counter for a 10-course sushi degustation, or order fish-skin crackling, miso-marinated black cod, and savoury steamed custard topped with foie gras à la carte.

181 Ferrars Street, South Melbourne

Izakaya Den 2029

Izakayas are Japanese bars where the eating is just as important as the drinking. That's true at this CBD favourite. There's a selection of drinking-friendly dishes that accompany the excellent sakes and Japanese-influenced cocktails.

Basement 114 Russell Street, Melbourne

Wakenbo

Chef Kenji Ito is creating modern, inventive dishes using some unexpected ingredients at this hidden Japanese eatery.

69 Victoria Street, Fitzroy

Shira Nui

Before he came to Australia, the owner of this humble Glen Waverley omakase bar and eatery spent 13 years cheffing in Japan.

247 Springvale Road, Glen Waverley

Saké Restaurant & Bar - St Kilda Road

Neil Perry's Japanese diner serves up a unique version of contemporary Japanese cuisine. The room is sleek, the menu – which is very seafood heavy – is fun and the drinks list (involving plenty of sake) is too.

100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Yoku Ono Ramen + Sake

There's an extensive ramen menu at this bar and diner from the man behind Wabi Sabi Salon and Neko Neko, alongside a range of other classic Japanese dishes. Plus, there are plenty of sake-based cocktails and a tight line-up of rare whiskies.

6A Anchor Place, Prahran

Eazy Peazy

The team behind Toji Sake delivers hibachi-grilled yakitori skewers, Wagyu with beef-fat butter, and crunchy tofu-skin duck gyoza alongside sake Margaritas and cold Japanese beer.

108 Swan Street, Richmond
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Tamura Sake Bar

This jazzy Fitzroy 30-seater blends Japanese izakaya, craft sake bar and record store.

43 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Wabi Sabi Salon

A charming little Japanese restaurant with a cluttered interior that feels a bit like being in Japan. Dinners here are great but everyone loves the lunch deals, which involve bento boxes or sushi and miso sets.

94 Smith Street, Collingwood
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Kumo Izakaya & Sake Bar

There are over 80 sakes at this slick Japanese bar and eatery, which is housed in a former bank. Unlike many izakayas – which can get quite dark – Kumo's space is light, open and airy.

152 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Ocha

We recommend you make a booking at this bustling modern-Japanese restaurant. Even though Ocha opened back in 2011, it's still to this day a difficult task to get a walk-in table here on a weekend.

3 Church Street, Hawthorn

Peko Peko

This playful Taiwanese-Japanese restaurant in South Melbourne (no relation to Fitzroy's Peko Peko) is a fun eatery that doesn't take itself or its delicious menu too seriously.

190 Wells Street, South Melbourne

Tempura Hajime

This intimate restaurant – with a nondescript entrance under an office building – specialises in the Japanese tradition of tempura: a battering and frying technique that leads to surprisingly light and refreshing dishes.

60 Park Street, South Melbourne

Machi

Meaning ‘community’ in Japanese, Machi is inspired by its St Kilda location and eclectic culture. Come here for excellent gyoza, Wagyu beef and Kyoto-inspired dishes.

14 Inkerman Street, St Kilda

Tokyo Tina

Modern Japanese from the team behind Saigon Sally and Hanoi Hannah. This spot won't be winning any prizes for authenticity, but it gets top marks on the fun factor.

66A-B Chapel Street, Windsor
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Misuzu's

This Japanese restaurant has a particular emphasis on traditional fare – sushi and sashimi, namely – as well as sake: there's an imposing and ever-growing selection on offer.

3-7 Victoria Avenue, Albert Park

En Izakaya

A modern-Japanese take on the traditional izakaya. As with all izakayas, the food menu is designed to pair well with drinks.

277 Carlisle Street, Balaclava
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Ichi Ni

This sister restaurant to Fitzroy's Ichi Ni Nana has all of its sibling's great Japanese drinking and dining, with one key difference: stunning views out over Port Phillip Bay.

12 The Esplanade, St Kilda
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Mr Miyagi

Sake and 80s throwbacks flow freely in this neon-lit Japanese eatery.

99 Chapel Street, Windsor

Chotto Motto

Gyoza, katsu sandos, a beer vending machine and miso-caramel soft serve.

287 Wellington Street, Collingwood
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