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Global Sake Information

Sake Shops: In Honolulu

Fans of Japanese culture can find true paradise in the idyllic island landscape of Honolulu. Whether it’s food, shopping, or entertainment, Hawaii is one of the best places in the US to get a taste of Japan. In recent years, this cultural bounty expanded to include sake. Locals and visitors alike can sample sake from around the world in both the streets of Honolulu or from the comforts of home. Here are some of the best sake shops in Honolulu–and the best ways to try sake from the island.

Local Sake Retailers in Honolulu

For years, the best way to sample sake in Honolulu was through Japanese restaurants. However, in the last decade, more specialty shops offer sake, shochu, and other spirits from Japan and around the world. Some of these shops have origins in Japanese retailers while others represent the best of local businesses. Shops are listed in alphabetical order.

Don Quijote Kaheka

Like sake, the convenience store is something closely aligned with Japanese culture. Don Quijote is a discount retailer chain popular throughout Japan and the Asia-Pacific region. The company formed in 1980 in Tokyo under its original name, Just Co. Today, Don Quijote, or Donki, operates in over 600 locations worldwide. All three US locations are on the island of Oahu.

The Don Quijote Kaheka location has a large alcohol section stocked with Japanese beers, whiskey, shochu, and sake. The sake selection includes mostly budget brands with a strong offering of canned sake. However, the store does offer solid discounts on more expensive sake when in stock, usually around holidays. Check the store website or sign up for the newsletter for more details.


801 Kaheka St.
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 973-4800

Marukai Wholesale Mart

The Marukai Corporation USA started as an American offshoot of the Osaka-based corporation of the same name. With stores in Hawaii and California, the chain specializes in selling Japanese imported goods. The wholesale market location in Honolulu sells groceries and Japanese specialty goods not found in other locations. Formerly a membership-only store, Marukai Wholesale Mart is now open to the public.

The store offers a wide variety of sake year-round, including junmai and daiginjo varieties. Notably, Marukai offers samples of regional sake during prefectural fairs, such as their Shimane and Okinawa events. Sales and event announcements happen online and through their paper newsletter.


2310 Kamehameha Hwy
Honolulu, HI 96819
(808) 845-5051

The Sake Shop

After opening in 2010, The Sake Shop carved out a niche in Honolulu as the area’s only specialty premium sake shop. With over 150 brands of sake in stock, the Shop offers high-end bottles and regional rarities. The owners sort the inventory based on sake variety. However, temporary displays reflect their individual categorization, such as “contemporary” and “old-school” flavors.

Along with providing the market with specialty and hard-to-find sake, the Sake Shop hopes to educate consumers on sake. At the front of the store, a display on rice milling explains the polishing process in relation to flavor. The owners also host monthly tasting nights showcasing a specific brewery and their featured sake. Tasting events and sake showcases can be found on their social media accounts accessible from the company website.


575 Cooke St Unit B
Honolulu, HI 96813

Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors

Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors is a part of Tamura Enterprises. While the company formed in 1995, its origin began in the 1920s with a single shop, Tamura Shoten. Today, the former general store has grown to an enterprise with three grocery stores, a takeout kitchen, and eight fine wine and liquor shops.

The Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors brand offers the largest selection of beer, wine, and spirits in Hawaii. Their sake selection includes budget options and higher-end specialty varieties. The shop offers occasional sake tastings representing a breadth of their selection. Varieties include flavored nigori sake, gold label junmai sake, and sparkling sake. Sign up for their newsletter or visit their social media accounts for more information.


Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors Waialae
3496 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 735-7100

Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors Waterfront
500 Ala Moana Blvd Suite 2C
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 312-4862

Order Sake Online in Honolulu

For many years, directly ordering specialty sake was the only way to acquire your preferred brands. In Hawaii, and especially Honolulu, this proved difficult for consumers. With strict laws surrounding alcohol shipments, brick-and-mortar shops were the only option for buying sake, limiting the available selection. However, recently, some companies have found ways to provide customers at home with a better online sake shopping experience. Some offer delivery while others provide a detailed guide of retail partners. Online shops are listed in alphabetical order.

Kakaako Wine

Kakaako Wine formed in 2019 to fill the niche as Hawaii’s only premier wine and alcohol online delivery shop. Due to Honolulu City & County Liquor Commission Rules and Regulations, alcohol cannot be shipped. However, Kakaako Wine employees can deliver purchases from their website to customers around the island of Oahu. Serviced delivery areas include six regions that determine minimum purchase cost and delivery fees.

The sake selection includes varieties representing 14 breweries in Japan. Their sake primarily includes daiginjo, ginjo, and junmai varieties with a small offering of honjozo sake.



World Sake Imports

World Sake Imports is an online sake distributor based in Honolulu. The company represents 20 independent breweries and distilleries in Japan and Hawaii. Each sake under the company has an accompanying taste, brewery, and serving guide listed on the website’s portfolio. Their collection includes varieties of ginjo, nama, honjozo, and specialty sake as well as select shochu varieties.

The company is primarily a retail and restaurant distributor. However, their site functions as an educational resource and detailed directory for sake in the Honolulu area. The retail guide section on the website lists each store partnered with World Sake Imports and their stock of sake. The website also includes a Q&A section for sake novices and a calendar of events, such as virtual brewery tours and tastings.


(808) 733-3332

Sake Breweries in Honolulu

As the popularity of sake continues to grow around the world, more people are entering the brewing process. These newcomers provide more variety in their sake that reflects local flavors and innovative techniques. Once active in sake producing, Hawaii fell out of practice once the last local brewery closed nearly 30 years ago. However, in 2018, a new brewery opened with the vision of providing the community with local sake once again.

Islander Sake Brewery

Islander Sake Brewery formed in 2018 to revive sake production in Hawaii. After two years, the company received their craft producer license and sold their first sake batch on the market. The brewery is compact, with two 1000 liter and one 250 liter fermentation tank. However, they distribute their products in Hawaii, Japan, and around Asia representing the fusion of Hawaiian and Japanese culture.

The brewery makes junmai ginjo, junmai daiginjo, and specialty fruit sake. The fruit sake showcases Hawaiian flavors, such as pineapple and lilikoi. During normal business conditions, the brewery offers tastings and guides for their sake in the company’s Kura Kitchen. Kura Kitchen tastings include a paired sushi kaiseki or a pre-fixed meal. Currently, Islander Brewery does not offer delivery. However, the company partners with several local retailers and offers flexible pickup hours.


753 Queen St.
Honolulu, HI 96813
​​(808) 517-8188

In Conclusion

For over 150 years, Hawaii has held close ties with Japan and Japanese culture. Naturally, this relationship reflects a deep appreciation for sake. More businesses see the need for greater sake access within the islands, particularly on Oahu. Whether this means reviving old brewing practices, connecting consumers with sake, or simply providing more sake knowledge, Honolulu is dedicated to expanding its sake market. Going forward, Honolulu will continue to be not only an island paradise but a true paradise for sake-lovers.

For more sake in the Western US, take a look at Sake Shops in Los Angeles

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