Sushi Joa

Give us a call today

Top Rated Local® Sushi Restaurant

Kirkland: (425) 739-8899
Mercer Island: (206) 230-4120

Today, sushi is a popular subset of Japanese cuisine all over the world. It’s rare that one even has to explain to a friend what sushi is, and many of Americans have grown up eating sushi despite living in landlocked parts of the country away from fresh seafood! At Sushi Joa, we are understandably sushi-crazy. Read on for a brief detailing of the lengthy history of our favorite part of Japanese cuisine: sushi!


Despite feeling like a relatively new phenomenon in America, sushi has, in some iteration or another, been served across Japan for centuries. There are records of sushi being served and eaten as far back as the 700s! Earlier variations of sushi include rice that was steamed rather than boiled as well as fish that was preserved or fermented for months before serving. Initially, rice was used in the fish fermentation process, so it wasn’t actually eaten with the fish. When vinegar (specifically rice wine vinegar) came into play, sushi began to be fermented for less time and it became more common to eat rice with the fermented fish. Over time, those variations focused less on fermentation and more on fresh presentation, which became what we recognize as today’s sushi.

East to West

Between the influx of immigrants from Asia during the Gold Rush in the later part of the 1800s and a fascination with Japanese culture in the early 1900s, sushi has been in America for more than a century, at least. Immigrants coming to the West Coast in search of gold ended up working in makeshift restaurants and boarding houses as much as they ended up striking it rich. This brought an influx of Japanese cuisine influences, particularly in seafood rich places like San Francisco.

In addition to the effects of immigration during the Gold Rush, America went Japan-mad in the early 1900s. Politicians, dignitaries, missionaries, and immigrants led to an increased exchange of cultural items such as crafts, fashions, and foods. There are even recorded instances of sushi being served as “sandwiches” during high tea.

Gaining Popularity

Despite the popularity of Japanese cuisine and culture in the early 1900s, that fascination was reserved primarily for the wealthy, who could afford the expense necessary to indulge this unique trend. It took a few more decades, until the 1960s, that Japanese restaurants began popping up across the country. Sushi houses and restaurants offering Japanese cuisine started primarily in Los Angeles and New York, both major cities with large Japanese neighborhoods.

From there, Japanese cuisine spread across the rest of the country as it gained notice and popularity. As technology improved, ideas became easier to transmit and travel became faster, allowing for an easier exchange of ideas. In the 1980s, the California Roll was created in, you guessed it, Los Angeles, swapping out avocado for toro (tuna), and the roll evolved from there.

Sushi, as you can see from its history, has evolved and keeps evolving with exchanges of culture and technology. Come visit Sushi Joa, our sushi house in Kirkland, to experience the joys of delicious Japanese cuisine that is sushi!

Sushi Joa was established with our customers in mind. Our family-owned business carries our family’s traditional cuisine from our home to your plate. Each dish and roll are made with you in mind. We want to provide our customers with that homemade feel, everything made exactly to order and with love. From our talented sushi chefs to our servers, Sushi Joa is your homemade meal that you don’t have to make. Authentic world taste, locally brought to you.

Explore our tasty menu with fresh options made daily, just for you! All of our fish is always fresh, and provided by dependable catchers so we can guarantee you the best sushi you have ever had! We provide quality not quantity and create each roll with love and passion. Come in today and try a variety of Japanese and Korean cuisine. Treat yourself. With classic rolls, appetizers, noodles, and sake, we can satisfy your every craving. Open for lunch and dinner.

We strive to provide a warm and inviting family friendly atmosphere for our customers to enjoy delicious Asian cuisine. We are committed to knowing all of our customers and listening to what they want. We hear and provide for your needs to give you delicious food you can’t resist. Want to try something new? Our knowledgeable staff can tell you what you may like best and pair one of our great sakes with any meal choice. We want our customers to feel invited to dinner at our kitchen table; they are part of our family as soon as they come through our doors.

Don't Take Our Word For It, Our Satisfied Clients Say It All

Check out the testimonials from our happy customers below


I consistently get great sushi here

I love Sushi Joa. I consistently get great sushi here. They also have a killer fried rice on the takeout menu. Their staff is amazing… I moved off the island in July and I drove over there…Read More

Allison S., Seattle, WA

This place was great before, now it’s even better.

This place was great before, now it’s even better. Wonderful staff, decent prices, and the best fried tofu that you could ever imagine. Seriously, I have never had anything like this tofu,…Read More

WA S., Junction, Seattle, WA

Food is always awesome and delicious…

Lived in Mercer Island for our first year of marriage and now living 15 miles away and still making the drive for this awesome sushi! Always get the to agadashi tofu and several rolls whethe…Read More

Adri A., Newcastle, WA