HAWAII PLACES | SHIROKIYA ALA MOANA CENTER
Nothing short of “immensely successful” will be the words I use to describe the new Shirokiya Japan Village Walk set for full scale operations on June 25. The public got a preview look of the Japanese style food village arcade this week in advance of its grand opening.
Shirokiya is carrying on as one of the original retail tenants in Ala Moana Center as a full scale eatery with more than 50 vendors and seating for 900. Food is the emphasis of this bigger location. Long gone are most of the retail products such as books, electronics, cameras, massage, and music the store once offered.
Souvenirs, gifts and a few high end items such as crystal will be sold in stalls adjacent to main food vendors and seating area. Radio station KZOO maintains a presence in Shirokiya with a new studio adjacent to the Japan walk. There is also a new area called the Shirokiya Guardian Spirits Sanctuary where customers will be able to make an offering to their guardian deity.
I won’t discuss the food since most of it was not out in full force. During the preview many of the vendors offered free samples, which is what lured a thousand customers each day during the preview event. Needless to say, the food items I did sample were delicious: Tiny strips of beef steak and greens, garden salad, sashimi fish, oysters and a small roll of spam sushi. Some of the food vendors are associated with the gourmet Vintage Cave operation, so expect to pay more for their tasty fare.
My sister will be happy to know that Kulu Kulu Honolulu is there serving their desserts and refreshing shaved ice.
When I first heard of Shirokiya’s downstairs location in the new Ewa Wing I had my doubts about its success. For nearly a year the Ewa Wing has been somewhat quiet while retailers slowly filled the blank spaces there. However with Japan’s JTB Travel agency moving in next door and the fact that the escalator to the new upper level stores such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s will assure success for this long time local business and magnet not only for the tourist market but residents as well.