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



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



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



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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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



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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Some of the city’s finest sushi and sashimi is served at Kenzan’s intimate 12-seat counter. And in the main and private dining rooms, à la carte Japanese standards ranging from sukiyaki to shabu-shabu. A Melbourne institution since 1981.

Lower Level Collins Place 45 Collins Street, Melbourne



Beautifully executed pan-Asian offerings by Andrew McConnell. Come for Korean-style barbequed meats, Shanghai dumplings and Melbourne’s most famous lobster roll.

180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
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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

Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya


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 braised-beef curry. Plus a fun drinks list that includes sakes, Japanese-influenced cocktails and craft beers from Tokyo.

Ground Floor 127 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Ichi Ni Izakaya


This sister restaurant to Fitzroy's Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya 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



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

181 Ferrars Street, South Melbourne



The cyberpunk facade of this two-level Japanese diner is almost as impressive as the action in the sprawling open kitchen, where chefs turn skewered meat over jumping flames. Visit for elevated rice and noodle dishes, spanner-crab-filled hand rolls and cocktails named after the neighbourhoods of Tokyo.

80 Collins Street, Melbourne

Shira Nui


In a suburb full of good Japanese food, this sushi bar and eatery stands out from the pack. Come for impeccable seafood by an expert sushi chef, plus nostalgic bento and noodles dishes in an understated dining room.

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
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Inside a Prahran cafe, this tiny bar devoted to chirashi seats just 12 diners a day (and books out fast). But you can try still try its beautifully presented sushi by pre-ordering a takeaway box.

Rear 154 Greville Street, Prahran

Future Future


The menu at this new-wave Japanese diner is far from traditional, but the flavour-punching dishes stay true to the simplicity of Japanese cuisine. Expect cold dishes, donburi and hits from the Hibachi grill.

191 Swan Street, Richmond

Eazy Peazy


The team behind Toji Sake delivers hibachi-grilled yakitori skewers, Wagyu with truffle mayo, and pork “doughnuts” alongside sake-based cocktails and cold Japanese beer.

108 Swan Street, Richmond
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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



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



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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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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Mr Miyagi


Sake and '80s throwbacks flow freely in this neon-lit eatery. It breaks the mould with nori tacos, ramen gnocchi and a list of fun cocktails infused with Japanese flavours. And there’s a function space upstairs big enough for 60 salarymen.

99 Chapel Street, Windsor

Chotto Motto


Landing somewhere between a hip izakaya and a conbini, this place specialises in Hamamatsu-style gyoza served in a hot-and-crisp spiral. It also has a monthly soft-serve flavour for dessert and a beer vending machine for cold Japanese suds.

287 Wellington Street, Collingwood



Departing from San Telmo's Latin American flavours, here the group focuses on yakitori and kushiyaki cooked over traditional binchotan charcoal. Also, masterfully-sliced sashimi and sake, in a fit-out that resembles a scene straight from the streets of Tokyo.

2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Shinbashi Yakiniku


An all-you-can-eat Japanese barbeque joint where you’ll be cooking wagyu over the coals and sipping ice-cold matcha beer.

294 Lygon Street, Carlton

Sonny Chiba


This adventurous Japanese Diner is plating up Wagyu tataki, soba noodle salads, prawn sandos and Iced Vovo mille-feuille.

14 Beatty Avenue, Armadale



Tucked beneath an apartment block, an ex-Kisume and Nobu chef perfects the Japanese art of robatayaki using a charcoal-powered parrilla grill. Take a seat at the bar overlooking the small but efficient kitchen for yakitori served every way and a diverse selection of sake by the glass.

Shop 1 22-30 Lygon Street, Brunswick East