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A Taste of Culture

The pulse of Hawai‘i is driven by its rich fusion of cultures. As the contributions of the islands’ Japanese community takes center stage at the end of this month, explore these recommendations that embrace the essence of Japan in different ways.

The sushi bar at Doraku Sushi in Kaka‘ako

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i Annual Gala
Celebrating 25 years of honoring Japanese heritage, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i is set to host its annual gala at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort. The night honors companies and individuals who epitomize this noted organization’s values. Through public service, creative achievements, educational support and volunteerism, these figures have become role models within their community. WHEN June 29 WHERE Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort, Coral Ballroom, 2005 Kālia Road, Waikīkī RESERVE jcch.com/index.php/calendar/event/29

Doraku
Influenced by the Japanese izakaya style of dining, Doraku offers a sophisticated, yet approachable, menu. Creative sushi rolls and an extensive sake menu are the specialties at this chic eatery owned by Kevin Aoki, whose father founded the legendary Benihana chain. In Japanese, Doraku means “the road to happiness,” which is exactly what to expect at this posh establishment. WHERE Royal Hawaiian Center, 2001 Kalākaua Ave., Waikīkī, 922.3323; Pacifica Honolulu, 1009 Kapi‘olani Blvd., Kaka‘ako, 591.0101, dorakusushi.com

The Bar and Lounge at Nobu Waikiki
Nobu goes without mention. This sumptuous venue is famous for its exquisite sushi and power cocktails. The modern atmosphere is electrified with energy and excitement to lend a surreal effect. Delight in the hot and cold Nobu-style tapas, exclusive to the lounge, and take your pick from the impressive sake collection. WHERE Waikiki Parc Hotel, 2233 Helumoa Road, Waikīkī, 237.6999, noburestaurants.com

Sushi Sasabune
Delivered in primarily omakase—meaning that the chef chooses—Sushi Sasabune is an experience packaged in small plates, and exquisite ones at that. Each dish is designed to compliment the previous and prepare your palate for the next. WHERE 1417 S. King St., Ala Moana/Kapi‘olani, 947.3800

Terra by Afloat
Afloat is a chic beauty import from Japan, where it draws numerous celebs and J-Pop stars. The Honolulu outpost of this salon is tucked away in Kaka‘ako and focuses on haircuts, color, Japanese straight perm and eyelash extensions. Other services include facials, lymph drainage, lomilomi and hot stone massage. WHERE 560 Pensacola St., Suite 3, Kaka‘ako, 596.2386, terrabyafloat.com