Warm Wishes

Cover Story

December 25, 2023

Story By: Dining Out Team | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

General manager and co-owner Yu Conceicao

This winter is the perfect time to gather around a warm hot pot — and no place does it better than Kamitoku Japanese Hot Pot.

While the eatery may have opened earlier this year at Market City Shopping Center, its legacy actually traces back nearly 75 years ago when owner Junichi Kamitoku first established a ramen shop in Tottori, Japan, in 1949.

Since then, the Kamitoku ramen legacy has been passed down through generations — both with its first ever Kamitoku Japanese Hot Pot and its sister restaurant Kamitoku Ramen located at Ward Centre.

Happy hour (5-6 p.m.) specials include a variety of alcoholic beverages and (from left) Chicken Karaage ($3.95 for three pieces), Kimchee Goma Cold Tofu ($3), Takowasa ($3) and Gyoza ($3.95 for three pieces).

We had a chance to chat with general manager and co-owner Yu Conceicao to learn more about Kamitoku Japanese Hot Pot’s history and all it of its “soup”-er sensational selections.

DO: What is the inspiration behind Kamitoku Japanese Hot Pot?

YC: In the owner, Junichi Kamitoku’s, own words, “I stumbled upon the inspiration right at our dinner table. My wife would cook hot pot using the leftover ramen broth. Sitting at the table laughing, smiling and talking with my family I thought to myself, ‘I want to bring the same happiness I have at home with my family to all of yours.’ With four locations from Japan to Hawaii, Kamitoku has a deep-rooted sense of family orientation that we hope to bring to every bowl and pot we serve to you.”

Japanese Set with U.S. rib-eye ($27)

DO: Can you describe the ambiance and decor? Is there anything unique about it?

YC: We came up with the concept of a “Newtro” Japanese style, which consists of traditional Japanese motifs, vivid colors and aesthetics of the city pop music scene to create our unique Japanese-style design.

(From left) Kuro Kirishima Shochu, Rihei Ginger Shochu, Kubota Junmai Daiginjo, Akabu Junmai Ginjo, Chiyomusubi Tokubetsu Junmai

DO: What are some bestselling dishes?

YC: Our homemade beef bone broth is the best hot pot broth on the island, according to the feedback we receive from Yelp. Gyu-Shogun ($85) is our biggest hot pot and includes 6 ounces of washugyu and lots of vegetables. It includes traditional Japanese hot pot ingredients and comes with an iced matcha, and a sorbet from Henry’s Place in Waikiki.

Meat options vary at Kamitoku Japanese Hot Pot.

The Kamitoku Hot Pot Set (starting from $22) is available only on our dinner menu and comes with a choice of meat, veggies, broth, homemade hot pot toppings — including mochi kinnchakun and gyoza — and a starch with selections such as ramen, yumemizuho rice, ube udon or zosui.

DO: What are some unique items on the menu?

YC: Our zosui is a Japanese-style porridge customers can indulge in after eating their meat and vegetables, and our server makes it for customers. Additionally, Kamitoku’s Shungiku ($5), Mochi Kinchaku ($5), Chu-high (prices vary) — our shochu cocktails — Gyoza ($5 for three pieces) and Okonomiyaki French Fries ($6) are also unique.

Meat options vary at Kamitoku Japanese Hot Pot.

DO: Are there any specials happening now?

YC: Happy hour is every day from 5 to 6 p.m. Specials include popular selections like Chicken Karaage ($3.95 for three pieces), Kimchee Goma Cold Tofu ($3), Takowasa ($3) — a popular octopus appetizer — and Gyoza ($3.95 for three pieces).

Kamitoku Japanese Hot Pot is located in Market City Shopping Center.

Kamitoku’s Lunch Special Hot Pot is available Mondays-Thursdays. Customers have a choice of meat, veggies, broth, and ramen or yume mizuho rice. Prices start from $9.99, depending on choice of meat.

DO: What experience do you hope customers take away?

YC: Our theme revolves around family. We treat young adults like beloved nieces and nephews, ensuring families with children enjoy special delights. For birthdays and celebrations, we even prepare modest, exclusive gifts not listed on the menu. Picture a lively atmosphere around a modest table adorned with a variety of hot pot dishes, providing our guests with an experience reminiscent of joyous family meals at home — all in a traditional Japanese style.

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Hawaii's Best