8 Japanese chain restaurants in Los Angeles
serving authentic Japanese food

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While California does have relatively more Japanese restaurant chains in comparison to the other states in the U.S., there aren’t that many either. Although they were really good, several Japanese chain restaurants that sought to establish themselves in LA ended up failing because of the fierce competition. However, the restaurant chains that have been able to keep on operating tend to be exceptionally good which is why they tend to be the chain restaurants that are most popular among  Japanese people. They may seem a little expensive when compared to their regular rates in Japan, but if you want authentic Japanese food, here are some of the places you should certainly think about going to and its certainly reasonably priced in comparison to all the other dining restaurants.

Ippudo (一風堂)

While Ippudo (一風堂) is one of the most famous Japanese chain restaurant, there is surprisingly only one in Los Angeles. (There are currently 3 in New York.) Ippudo is one of the most authentic Ramen restaurants you can find in Japan, let alone the U.S. Ippudo was first established in the  Japanese city of Hakata, which is located in the Fukuoka Prefecture which is a place very well-known for its ramen. The most common form of Ramen served in Hakata is the Hakata Ramen, which is one of the most renowned and savory type of Ramen back in Japan. The broth is produced from pork bones (the taste comes from the bone marrow in the bones) and garlic, which goes really well with the thin type of noodle that they tend to serve it with.


In any case, Ippudo is one of the most authentic ramen restaurants in LA, and the cost (which is about $20 per bowl) is reasonable given that you get to taste the same flavor as you would in Japan. (Eating it in Japan IS, of course, a little bit better considering that Japan has better quality ingredients than in the U.S.) Expect to spend between $25 and $35 per person, but given that you can have a delicious bowl of ramen for this amount, it is definitely worthwhile.





・ 8352 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Yoshinoya (吉野家)

Yoshinoya (吉野家) is probably the most famous Japanese restaurant in LA. With well over 10 restaurants in LA alone, Yoshinoya is rapidly growing its presence in the U.S. And this is for good reason. Yoshinoya is best known as a Japanese fast food chain which serves thin slices of meat over a bowl of rice (This is often referred to as “Don (丼)” or “Donburi”) and their bowl is simply amazing. While their menu has somewhat been adapted to U.S. taste and serves different kinds of menu (which we Japanese view it as somewhat disgraceful towards Japanese culinary culture, like the fact that it is serving Habanero chicken as a topping of the Donburi), we definitely urge you to try their main menu which is the bowl with the original beef. (In Japan, we call it the Gyudon (牛丼), which is simply translated into Beef (Gyu -牛-) Bowl (丼)). This dish is what Yoshinoya is famous for

and is the very dish that has kept allowed this restaurant to thrive in Japan. In Japan, Yoshinoya is considered a Japanese type of fast food which costs around 3-4 dollars in Japan so if you compare it to Japanese prices, it might seem a little bit pricey but if you compare it to the prices of other restaurants, it will only set you back 10 dollars so its definitely worth trying at least once.



・ 2500 Pasadena Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90031

・ 1902 Marengo St, Los Angeles, CA 90033

・ 1201 S Soto St, Los Angeles, CA 90023

・ 1777 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90021

・ 1802 E Slauson Ave, Vernon, CA 90058

・ 539 E Florence Ave C, Los Angeles, CA 90003

・ 3021 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007

・ 2897 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

     and many more…


Gyu-kaku (牛角)

Gyu-kaku (牛角) is one of our favorite Japanese chain restaurant of all time (If you ask anyone from Japan, many would answer the same). Gyu-kaku is known for serving Yakiniku, which is essentially a Japanese style indoor BBQ. If you’ve never been to one, it basically involves a hibachi or a grill on one table where you choose various cuts of meat from the menu and cook them by yourselves. While it may be typical to choose a personal plate and consume only what you have ordered here in the west, yakiniku is more of a social experience. You cook and share the food with the people you go with, which is very enjoyable not to mention the fact that you get the opportunity to try many different kinds of meat.


We advise placing at least one Kalbi and Harami order at Gyu-kaku. (Btw, if you love beer, Yakiniku will go perfectly with your beer.) Gyu-kaku may cost around $100 per person, but we would undoubtedly choose to go there rather than choosing to go to a mediocre steak house. If you are a vegan, it might not be the ideal place for you to dine, but if you love meat, you must get the Yakiniku experience.



・ 163 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

・ 514 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

・ 70 W Green St, Pasadena, CA 91105

・ 10925 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

・ 231 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404

・ 14457 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423


・ 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd Suite 1010B Canoga Park, CA 91303


Kura sushi (くら寿司)

 Kura Sushi (くら寿司) is one of the most well known sushi chain restaurants back in Japan. Kura Sushi back in Japan is a sushi chain called the Kaiten Sushi (which literally means revolving Sushi) in which the Sushi is served on a rail. Once you order a dish on the tablet, it is sent to your table on a conveyor belt from the kitchen. While Sushi tends to be seen as a very sophisticated meal, this is not necessarily the case, as is the case with Kura sushi tends to focus on making a family friendly environment, making the dining experience fun and relatively inexpensive sushi so as to make it easy for families to dine.


 While Kura Sushi is considered lower tier Sushi back in Japan, we would contrastingly say that the Sushi they serve in the U.S. is top tier. This is because Sushi is served the right way. While people might think that the rolls are real Sushi, they really aren’t. What Sushi is supposed to refer to is the Nigiris, in which a slice of sashimi is placed on top of a block made out of rice seasoned with vinegar. (Us Japanese people very much despise the fact how how people abroad consider rolls to be Sushi so please come and visit our country and see what REAL sushi is supposed to be like). While Kura Sushi does serve different kinds of rolls to accommodate the taste of the fake sushi lovers, it does have a decent selection of Nigiris. The Salmon is the most orthodox one but there are many rare items on the menu, such as the eel and sea urchin (would not advise unless you really are used to raw seafood). In comparison to the menu in Japan where Kura Sushi literally has around 100 items on their menu, it does not seem like much but just the fact that you have a few dozen selection of fish that can be eaten raw, it seems like they are much better than their competitors.



・ 3150 Wilshire Blvd Suite 114, Los Angeles, CA 90010

・ 333 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

・ 2130 Sawtelle Blvd Unit 111, Los Angeles, CA 90025


Co Co Ichibanya (ココ壱番屋)

Co Co Ichibanya (ココ壱番屋) is a Japanese chain restaurant which specializes in Japanese curry. Co Co Ichibanya serves different kinds of curry as well as being able to choose different kinds of topping to go on the curry.  We recommend curry with the Tonkatsu on top (which is often referred to as Katsu Curry) as the pork cutlet goes really well with the curry roux. You also have the choice of having Ebi Fry (Fried Shrimp) and fried chicken. While Japanese curry might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Japanese food, if you are by yourself and you feel like having something good, Co Co Ichibanya might be a good call. (It probably isn’t the place to take your date.) 




・ 3500 W 6th St #110, Los Angeles, CA 90020

・ 12007 Wilshire Blvd #12007, Los Angeles, CA 90049

・ Palm Plaza, 2455 Sepulveda Blvd Suite C, Torrance, CA 90501

Hakata Ikkousha Tonkotsu Ramen (博多 一幸舎)

Similar to Ippudo (一風堂), Hakata Ikkousha Tonkotsu Ramen (博多 一幸舎) is a well-known ramen chain that serves Hakata ramen and which was founded in the Fukuoka prefecture. Hakata ramen is a particular variety of ramen where the soup is produced using pork bones and garlic, allowing the bone marrow to release rich flavors and aromas into the soup. 


Not only is their ramen super delicious, another thing to take note of is that they have Kaedama (替え玉) on their menu, which is uncommon in American ramen restaurants. If you request a Kaedama, the staff at the restaurant will serve you an extra batch of noodle which you put into your soup once you finish eating your noodle. (One generally orders the Kaedama just before finishing the first bowl of noodle). Having the Kaedama option is standard in the majority of ramen restaurants in Japan, and therefore,  whether or not a restaurant has this option may serve to be a good indicator of the authenticity of the ramen restaurant itself. 


Even though the ramen will cost you roughly $25, it is well worth spending your money on the authentic, high-quality ramen they serve.



・ 368 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012


Gindaco (銀だこ)

Gindaco (銀だこ) is a Japanese Chain restaurant specializing in Takoyaki, which is dish originating from Osaka. Takoyaki is dish which is formed like a ball and is filled with diced octopus. The exterior is made out of a batter made from wheat and is grilled on a special pan until it becomes nice an crispy outside. With each serving around 8 to 10 bite-sized balls, the Takoyaki is topped with Katsuobushi (shredded bonito), mayonnaise, and a small amount of Aonori rounded off with the famous bulldog sauce.


 While it may not sound appetizing to first timers, we guarantee that it is absolutely delicious. The crunchy texture of the outer coating, coupled with the chewy octopus and the savory dressing in which the Takoyaki is covered in ensures that each ball is packed with an amazing flavor and texture. Gindaco is the most famous Takoyaki chain back in Japan, notably due to how crispy the outer coating is. While one serving is roughly 10 dollars, its definitely worth trying.


When you are eating the Takoyaki, make sure it has sufficiently cooled off because the insides are extremely hot. Also, avoid putting it in your mouth all at once and placing a hole in the ball is one way to speed up the cooling process.




・ 1740 Artesia Blvd, Gardena, CA 90248

・ 3760 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

Marugame Udon (丸亀うどん)


・ 1318 Galleria Way, Glendale, CA 91210

・ 2029 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

・ 3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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