While exploring the Peace Memorial Park we met up with another of our group, Phil, and we agreed to go for some lunch together. Following the advice of my Lonely Planet guidebook we explored the streets to the south of the park, beyond the museum. A floating restaurant in a boat on the river looked appealing but was a bit fancy for our needs. Then in a side street we came across a couple of places side by side and chose the first of these, Umaimono-Ibakaya. On entering we found that there was no English menu or plastic food display to guide us. Instead, near the door, was a machine with a lot of buttons and a lot of (to us incomprehensible) Japanese writing by each. Pictures of some dishes were displayed above but we weren’t sure how to relate these to the buttons or what to do about it! Luckily a friendly waiter hurried over to explain; his English was limited but he was keen to be helpful and between that and our collective sign language efforts we made progress. We understood that he was recommending two of the dishes as the most popular in the restaurant so all three of us chose one of these, a soup with noodles. We put our money in the machine, pressed the relevant button, and a slip of paper emerged which he then took as our order. He also showed how we should choose a drink from the small number available – Phil had a cola while Chris and I chose a Japanese orange-flavoured soft drink (somewhat like Fanta). We were then ushered to a table to wait for the food.
Favorite Dish: When the bowls arrived we were all impressed with the quantity we got for our 750¥. What’s more, it tasted great! The soup itself was flavourful, and it was full of noodles (ramen, we later learned) and vegetables such as pak choy and spring onion. A thick slice of pork floated on the top.
The restaurant had a cosy local atmosphere. If there were other tourists here, they were all Japanese. Being so close to the Peace Memorial Park that surprised us a little – this cheap and friendly place deserves to be discovered.
Refreshed and rested, we headed to the museum where we were to spend a large part of our afternoon.
Hiroshima has many delicious okonomiyaki restaurants; it's the city's most famous dish, known throughout Japan. Osaka is considered to be the other okonomiyaki city but with all due respect, Hiroshima is number one!
Hiroshima okonomiyaki has yakisoba on the bottom and traditionally does not have mayonnaise on top (that is an Osaka addition). Here at Goemon they provide the mayonnaise and sauce so that you can freely put it on or leave it off as you please. However you top it off though, it's delicious! There are of course other things on the menu and the yakisoba they use has actually earned it the distinction of being one of the Hiroshima Gourmet spots.
If I had to pick a prefecture to live in based on culinary preferences, it would be Hiroshima, no questions asked. It was love at first sight with its many mouth-watering dishes. Of course, you must have heard of its big oysters and okonomiyaki. Incidentally, I ordered a version of okonomiyaki that incorporated all my favourites--oyster, eel and egg--and was the perfect antidote to a hectic day of sight-chasing at Miyajima.
But you may not have heard of these other dishes, so let me introduce them to you. To start off with, in a country that doesn't serve crispy chicken at Kentucky FRIED Chicken, the tsukemen (dipping ramen) warmed my heart literally and figuratively by being its spicy self, thus satisfying my craving for spicy food. What's more, the restaurant I went to allowed us to choose our preferred degree of spiciness from a range of 1 to 20. I picked the number 6 and it was good to know that I could have tried out even spicier food if I wanted to. Likewise, be sure to try out the age momiji--fried momiji manju--which is said to be available only at Miyajiama. I ordered the cheese version and instantly desperately wished that I had more space in my stomach so that I could try out the other favours. Don't let this yummy snack pass you by.
There is an entire floor of restaurants at the Hiroshima JR Station - on the 6th floor of the 'Asse' department store.
There are a whole range of sushi, Japanese and Western restaurants. We tried one that did an interesting range of fusion dishes involving spaghetti with Japanese ingredients.
Favorite Dish: Spaghetti with fish roe and seaweed (see picture). Absolutely delicious!
Hiroshima is the leading oyster producing area of Japan. They can be eaten raw or grilled. Not being a great fan of raw seafood, I had mine cooked.
There are lots of restaurants in the Omotesando Arcade where you can try the local seafood. There are models or pictures outside, so you can just point to what you want.
The particular restaurant we went to had an origami zoo by the cash desk.
Favorite Dish: Oysters with ramen noodles.
Japanese cities sometimes have the distinction of having some kind of food or foods that they're famous for.
In particular, Hiroshima is likely most famous for its okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki which can be very loosely translated or described at best as a 'Japanese pancake' is cooked on a grill (like a crepe) and other ingredients are added to it while it is cooking. I took some pictures of the process below. The 'pancake' is
quite good and not overly filling as its primary ingredient is cabbage.
Okonomiyaki can be had throughout Japan. Hiroshima's okonomiyaki differs from others I've tried in that it is thinner, less filling (as far as the pancake part goes), and has noodles (yakisoba - fried buckwheat noodles) in it.
In order to find this location, ask hotel staff or an information desk for where to go to eat Hiroshima okonomiyaki. The restaurant we visited (Henkutsuya) was located near the Okonomiyaki haven. We opted to not to eat at the 'haven' as those places just didn't look that great. At street level downstairs we found this place. It was more presentable, seemed to cater better to families, and most importantly it was all NON-SMOKING.
A good precaution whenever going to a place like this however is to put your coats in plastic bags and tie them off so as to not let them get smoky from the grill smoke.
Favorite Dish: (see above). Also, worth mentioning, the restaurant that we went to was selling coke and other softdrinks for only 200 yen or so. That's not bad. Most restaurants usually sell the same thing for over 400 yen.
This is a hidden gem!!
They use fresh sea food from the local sea of Seto, local Hiroshima chicken and beef, pork from local Hiroshima as well as Miyazaki prefecture (famous for its pork), and create them into wonderful savory dishes! A wide range of shochu etc. to choose from to go with their ippin-ryori (Japanese-style tapas) made from the local produce, and they also have English menu.
During lunch time, they have a few lunch combos to choose from, which are also delicious and very reasonably-priced (550-1500yen). (Their Anago-meshi is the best.)
Nice relaxed atmosphere. Open on weekdays.
Favorite Dish: Charcoal-grilled anago (sea eel) on a bed of rice, Local small sardine dishes, Local tako (octopus) dishes, Fried oysters, Slow-cooked beef gristle, other charcoal-grilled dishes, Sashimi, and daily specials...
Okonomiyaki is like a thin pancake, with cabbage, ginger, noodles, egg and a host of other things to choose from. You’ll find no better place to sample okonomiyaki than in Hiroshima. Okonomi-mura has 3 floors of okonomiyaki restaurants packed into one place and you can’t wrong with any of them. You won’t be sorry for going there! If you’re like me, you’ll go there every night you’re in Hiroshima! The price is very affordable as well.
An icon of Hiroshima, Otis is a Mexican fusion restaurant operated by a lovely Japanese couple. Small and cosy, the restaurant presents a menu thats a change from most types of food found around Japan.
Round the back of theTokyu Hands department store, down a side street is the small jacket potato ‘restaurant’, Spud Love.
You can’t miss the place, it has a huge Union Jack painted on the wall.
Spud Love has 5 seats inside and some small seats outside on the kerb side (opposite the Rent-a-car office)
The place is run by Paddy a very friendly Brummie
He serves jacket potatos and nothing much else food wise!
Prices start at less than 300 Yen (about £1.50)
Open 11pm-2pm then 5pm-9pm selling spuds and becomes just a bar from 9pm-11pm
On the face of it eating jacket spud in a place run by an English bloke isn’t the most tradition Japanese past time but met some of the locals (those born and bred in the country and those who moved from England)
What started as a quick snack at 6pm turned out to become a night out which finished at around 11.
Favorite Dish: I had a ice spud with beef stew and a side order of mixed veg, cheap and filling.
Spud Love seems to be a popular place for school trips in the day time, giving the children a chance to try some English cuisine.
This place we went to on a whim. It served a ride pancake with noodles, veg and pork and with some weird sauce and spices on it. It was very weird looking even for japanese food.
I strongly suggest you run around Hiroshima yelling "weird pancake hoshii desu!" cause that makes total sense right.
We washed all this stuff down with beer after beer after beer.
Favorite Dish: The weird pancake thing! And BEER!
Lotteria is a fast food chain that can be found in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China and Vietnam. We originally thought it was a Korean chain as we first saw it in South Korea and as they have many Korean style burgers. It is an excellent choice for a late breakfast (Japanese breakfast might be a bit strange for western tongues) and we preferred the food here to the western fast food chains.
Favorite Dish: We tried for example the Teri Burger and the Bulgogi Burger, they were very good!
Hiroshima is famous for it's local version of okonomiyaki, named here hiroshima-yaki (egg-based savoury pancakes). The specialty is that it is made with soba (noodles). Other ingredients can be chosen, mostly it contains some vegetables with seafood.
The Okonomimura village is a grouping of some 30 minirestaurants. Some of them have English menus as tour groups are often brought here.
Favorite Dish: There is only one option: Okonomiyaki!! Try it, it's delicious, and take one with many different ingredients to make it more interesting.
For the Japanese, okonomiyaki is some sort of fastfood, but definitely better than burgers, and it's cheap as well!
When you are in town, you've got to try Okonomiyaki. You must!
As the name describes, Okonomi means "whatever you like", you pick and choose the ingredients, so no need to worry about eating somethings you don't know.
Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki is made by sandwitching vegitables and meat with crepe like skins.
Anywhere else in Japan, they just mix all the ingredients with flour, and bake it. Not good.
There are more than 20 Okonomi-yaki restaurants inside Okonomi-mura (mura means village).
Favorite Dish: Modan-yaki with soba-noodle, beef, and egg with lots of lots of okonomi sauce!
This teppanyaki steak restaurant, located on the ground floor of an office building is convenient if you have just visited the Peace Memorial Museum just across the river. It's very modern with its marble tables and bright lighting, and the skilled chefs prepare delicious steak and seafood before your eyes.