Located on Kuhio Highway just behind Kela Jewelers and across from Kapaa Beach, Matcha-Ya is the perfect destination for anyone looking for matcha and much more. And did we happen to mention that this popular cafe also lays claim to what many agree is THE best shave ice on the island?
Matcha is having a major moment, but authentic matcha can be hard to come by. Enter Matcha-Ya, which serves up a real Japanese experience alongside an extensive selection of original menu items. Owned by Mimi and Ken Ishii, Matcha-Ya’s concoctions are more than just tasty and packed with goodness; they’re also inventive works of art — in both taste and presentation. From traditional matcha shots to matcha with modern twists like frappes and color-changing lemonade, there’s truly something here for everyone.
Not only is the matcha at Matcha-Ya ordered directly from Japan, but artist Mimi Ishii is also a certified tea ceremony instructor who has spent more than 30 years learning and practicing the traditional tea ritual. She even makes the matcha bowls she uses to serve the tea.
Hawaii is known for its shave ice, but we promise — you’ve never had shave ice like this before! Made using syrup from fresh local fruits, Matcha-Ya’s Japanese-style shave ice is made with special machines imported from Japan.
The only issue we have with Matcha-Ya? Deciding what to get. (This may be why Matcha-Ya gets so many repeat customers.) Here are a few of the tasty treats we’ve found especially intriguing at Matcha-Ya:
Color Changing Lemonade
It starts as an iridescent blue before changing to bright pink while you’re sipping. But it’s not just a gimmick. Sweetened with homemade simple syrup, this butterfly pea flower tea sings with flavor.
Guava Shave Ice
There’s a reason why so many people swear by Matcha-Ya’s shave ice. This light, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth dessert is made with fruit harvested from the Ishii’s yard. Pure snowy bliss!
The Matcha Bowl
The perfect pick-me-up. Like many of Matcha-Ya’s offerings, it’s also vegan-friendly thanks to a soy base or your choice of other non-dairy milk options.
The Matcha Strawberry Frappe
A cool, colorful, and refreshing delight! Making the fruit syrup from scratch with real fruits, you can’t go wrong with ordering this beautiful blend.
The Green Butter Mochi with Chocolate
If you’re lucky, you’ll get a complimentary small sample along with your drink order.
While a stop (or two or three) at Matcha-Ya is a must-do for matcha lovers, you’re not out of luck if matcha isn’t for you. There are plenty of non-matcha options, too, including soft-serve ice cream and Dole Whip.
Know you’ll be craving your matcha fix when you’re back home? Ceremonial Matcha is also available for sale at the shop as well as for online orders.
Matcha-Ya is clean, bright, and spacious with outdoor seating, but we recommend eating while you stroll down to the nearby beach. The Ishiis also own the glass gallery next door so you can also enjoy your treat while checking out their gorgeous jewelry and glass art handiwork.
-Love boba tea? Make sure to try the matcha jelly.
-If you’re having trouble deciding or aren’t quite sure what to get, check out the helpful pictures posted on the wall.
-Matcha-Ya can be tricky to find because it’s in the last shop of the plaza. Make sure to turn the corner so you don’t miss it!