Hiroshima, located in the Chugoku region of Japan
, is one of the country’s great gourmet capitals. The prefecture is rich in natural resources thanks to its border on the Seto Inland Sea, which offers up a plentiful bounty of fish, seaweed, and especially oysters. Hiroshima is also known for its “B-kyuu gourmet” or B-class dining — quality eats enjoyed at an economical price
. Here are the best restaurants at which to try Hiroshima’s famous regional cuisine.
The Best Okonomiyaki: Micchan Sohonten
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
Okonomiyaki is one of the best-known street foods of Hiroshima. While Osaka is also famous for its okonomiyaki, Hiroshima is home to its own local style, which is cooked in layers and typically includes fried yakisoba noodles. Get it at the flagship location of Hiroshima’s most famous okonomiyaki chain, Micchan Sohonten, which has been cooking up okonomiyaki for local residents since 1950.
The Best Oyster Hut: Shimada Fisheries Oyster Hut
Every year from October to late May, oyster huts open up all throughout Hiroshima with fresh, high-quality, and affordable oysters. Shimada Fisheries Oyster Hut, located just across the channel from Miyajima Island, offers all-you-can-eat grilled oysters as well as a variety of cooked dishes including kaki-furai (fried oyster) and kaki-meshi (steamed oyster rice). The restaurant is very tourist-friendly with a full English site. Open seasonally.
The Best Onomichi-style Ramen: Shuukaen
Onomichi-style ramen is the most popular style of ramen found throughout Hiroshima. It’s characterized by a light soup made with chicken broth and soy sauce and is served with flat, medium-thick noodles. The most famous shop for Onomichi-style ramen is Shuukaen, which first opened in 1947. Their ramen uses suspended pork fat, which adds extra richness to the chicken broth and soy sauce soup, and every bowl is topped with tender slices of char siu pork.
The Best Hiroshima-style Ramen: Youki
In addition to Onomichi-style ramen, there is one other style of ramen found in Hiroshima that combines Tokyo and Hakata styles. This “Hiroshima-style” shoyu-tonkotsu ramen features thin, straight noodles cooked until just soft and served in a milky pork bone and soy sauce-based broth. Check out a quintessential bowl of Hiroshima-style ramen at Youki, located a short distance from the Peace Memorial Museum.
The Best Tsukemen: Bakudan-ya Hiroshima Station Shinkansen-guchi Store
Tsukemen, a dish of soupless ramen noodles dipped in concentrated soup, is even more popular than ramen in Hiroshima. Also known locally as reimen, it’s topped with cooked cabbage and char siu pork and served with an extra-spicy dipping sauce. Bakudan-ya has branches throughout Hiroshima, including one conveniently located by the Shinkansen exit of JR Hiroshima Station, so you can grab a bowl of spicy soupless noodles as soon as you arrive.
The Best Anago-Meshi: Ueno
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
A local Miyajima dish that has been enjoyed for 120 years, anago-meshi consists of flavorful steamed rice and conger eel, topped with another piece of grilled eel coated in soy sauce. The texture of the eel is soft and fluffy, and the eel sauce soaks into the tender grains of rice. Ueno, located close to Miyajima-guchi port — from where passengers catch the ferry to Miyajima Island — is the originator of and most famous place to enjoy anago-meshi in Hiroshima. You can dine at the restaurant or pick up a bento lunchbox to go from one of the major train stations in Hiroshima.
The Best Momiji Manju: Iwamura Momijiya
Cafe, Dessert, $$$
The most famous food souvenir in Hiroshima, momiji manju is a small Japanese cake about 5cm in size that’s shaped like a maple leaf, the traditional symbol of Hiroshima prefecture. Momiji manju is typically filled with semi-sweet red bean paste but can also be made with cream, matcha green tea, or chocolate filling. Iwamura Momijiya, located on Miyajima Island, is one of the most famous momiji manju shops in Hiroshima.