Hiroshima is best known as the first city in history to be hit by an atomic bomb towards the end of World War II. Sad history aside, what most people may not know is that it is also a beautiful city offering a diverse range of culinary pleasures. Foodies will be delighted to know that Hiroshima is one of the best cities in the southern part of Japan where you can feast on a myriad of local specialties. Read on to find out the 10 types of delish food you must try in Hiroshima!
No.10 Calbee – Japan’s first shop dedicated to shrump cracker!
Last but not least, did you know that Calbee, one of Japan’s most famous snack makers, is from Hiroshima? So don’t forget to visit ‘Snack Kitchen my Calbee’, opened since June 2015, on your next visit to Hiroshima! The snack kitchen is located at a corner of the food court on level 3 of the mega shopping mall ‘Youme Town Hatsukaichi’ in Miyajima. Grab a pack of the fresh and crunchy Kappa Ebisen snacks, as they are deep fried right in front of you in the kitchen!
Snack Kitchen my Calbee Address: Youme Town Hatsukaichi 3rd floor, 2-1-1 Shimohera, Hatsukaichi-city, Hiroshima prefecture Opening Hours: 9am - 10pm daily Contact: +81 829-34-1311
No.9 Monaka – blessing you with good luck after eating!
The Japanese are known for creating pretty and sweet cakes that are delicately packaged as perfect omiyage for friends and family. Besides the hugely popular Momoji manju and Shakushi Senbei, you must also try the good-luck monaka – two thin crisp wafers made from mocha with sweet bean paste filling. Get the Tsurukame Monaka from The Hiroshima Brand even if you do not have a sweet tooth, because they are known to use a less-sweet bean paste that is great for those who are watching their sugar intake!
No.8 Shakushi Senbei – rice crackers with well-wishes written on them
If you are thinking of bringing some savoury snacks home as souvenirs, check out the Shakushi Senbei, another popular souvenir of Hiroshima. These rice crackers are made into the shape of ladles, a symbol of Miyajima. Well-wishes for safety, happiness, and more are delicately written on the ladle-shaped crackers, serving as a meaningful souvenir for you to give to your loved ones back home! You can purchase these good luck snacks at major gift shops in the city.
No.7 Momoji manju – lovely maple leaf-shaped cakes to bring home
Momoji manju, a treat which has existed for over a century, is a small maple-leaf shaped cake filled with mashed sweet bean paste. Because of its unique design, it is Hiroshima’s most popular souvenir, or omiyage, as the Japanese call it. Nowadays, besides the sweet bean paste filling, many shops also introduced a wide variety of other fillings including cheese cream, custard cream and powdered tea-flavoured cream to inject some novelty into this age-old souvenir. They are available in any supermarket as well as the omiyage shops in train stations. One 8-piece box of the pretty cake is priced around 700 JPY (6.80 USD). Remember to bring some home before leaving Hiroshima!
No.6 Onomichi ramen – flavourful ramen with fresh fish from the Inland Sea
Other than the Tsukemen that seeks to challenge your tastebuds, the Onomichi ramen is also a noteworthy dish. The broth is made from high-quality small fish from the Seto Inland Sea, as well as pork loin fat. Using springy flat noodles cooked in fresh soy-sauce based broth, it is a flavourful and nutritious meal as the small fish are rich in calcium and the pork loin fat contains good cholesterol.
You can tuck into the signature dish at the famous Shukaen (朱華園). Caution: be prepared to queue and wait patiently as this restaurant is highly recommended for serving the best Onomichi ramen!
If you want to grab one without queueing for long time, Sakuraya (櫻屋) on the JR Onomichi Station could be your choice. It’s accessible from either the South exit of JR Onomichi station or directly from the platform.
朱華園 Shukaen Address: 4-12 Toyohimotomachi, Onomichi-city, Hiroshima Prefecture Price: from 9.80 USD Opening Hours: 11am - 7pm. Closed every Thursday & 3rd Wednesday. Access: 367 meters (1204 feet) from Fukuyama JR station Contact: +81 848-37-2077
Sakuraya Address: 1-1 Higashigoshocho, Onomichi-city, Hiroshima Prefecture Price: from 6 USD Opening Hours: 8:30am - 7pm. Closed every Thursday Access: South exit of JR Onomichi station or direct access from platform Contact: +81 848-24-1211
No.5 Tsukemen – eating these spicy cold noodles can be a challenge!
If you love spicy food, you have to try the Tsukemen in Hiroshima. This palatable dish is served with the noodles and broth in two different bowls, instead of mixing both together in one bowl. The boiled noodles are cooled with iced water and topped with vegetables like shredded green onion and boiled cabbage. Dip these cold noodles into the hot and spicy broth in the other bowl, which is a unique feature of Hiroshima Tsukemen. The degree of spiciness can be adjusted to suit your taste. You can also request for other toppings such as sliced roast pork and eggs to go along with the dish.
For a taste of the original Tsukemen, head to Bakudanya restaurant for a taste of the authentic local specialty. Challenge your tastebuds by trying out the different levels of spiciness ranging from 0 to 20 of this famous Tsukemen! Depending on the portion of your noodles, you can get a bowl of this delicacy from 750 to 1,000 JPY (7.30 to 9.80 USD).
Bakudanya Address: 6-12 Fujimicho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima-city, Hiroshima Prefecture Access: Alight at Chūden-mae tram station Price: from 7.30 USD Opening Hours: 11.30am - midnight
No.4 Hiroshima sake – a special type of sake you can’t taste elsewhere!
Sake is a well-known alcoholic beverage of Japan. But do you know that Hiroshima is one of the 3 major sake producing regions in the country? Thanks to the development of technology to brew sake using soft water instead of hard water, Hiroshima sake boasts a richer flavour compared to sake from the other regions. It is hugely popular even among Japanese sake connoisseurs.
Pair the sake with fresh seafood from the region, such as its famous oysters or white-fleshed fish, to experience the unique flavour of Hiroshima sake that you can’t taste anywhere else!
No.3 Anago – nutritious saltwater eels so soft you don’t want to miss them
Besides oysters, Anago is another seafood specialty of Hiroshima that you do not want to miss. Unagi, or river eel, may be the more preferred fish for its fatty flesh, but Anago, or saltwater eels, are definitely worth a try for its incredibly soft texture. It is less oily than its famed cousin, and feels really fluffy and soft when cooked!
For the best Anago dish, you must visit the family-run traditional restaurant – Ueno in Miyajima. Ueno has been serving wild Anago since 1901, more than a century ago. Its signature dish, the Anago-Meshi (grilled eel over rice) will make you fall in love with the nutritious sea eel. Be prepared to wait up to an hour during peak periods such as summer or weekends, but a delicacy like this is definitely worth waiting for!
Ueno Address: 1-5-11 Miyajima-guchi, Hatsuka-ichi, Hiroshima prefecture Price: from 9.80 USD Opening Hours: 10am - 7pm (2nd floor opens from 11am - 3pm, Friday-Tuesday) Contact: +81 829-56-0006
No.2 Oysters – Hiroshima’s seafood special
If you love oysters, you are in for a treat when you visit Hiroshima! With 6 rivers running through the prefecture and draining into Hiroshima Bay, carrying nutrients from the Chugoku Mountains, seafood caught in Hiroshima Bay are highly nutritious and boasts a rich flavour. In fact, Hiroshima is the top oyster-producing city in the country, accounting for over 60% of oyster production. So Hiroshima is definitely the best place to enjoy this delicacy.
Oyster lovers must visit Miyajima, a small island less than an hour outside the city of Hiroshima. Due to favourable water conditions around the island, the oysters found here are renowned for their above-average size, juiciness and tenderness. Make a trip down to the stylish Kaki-ya restaurant for its highly-acclaimed yet reasonably priced oyster dishes in Miyajima! The best way to sample Kaki-ya’s line-up of oyster dishes is to order the “Kaki-ya teishoku”. It is a set meal that includes 2 yaki-gaki (grilled oysters), small servings of kaki-furai (breaded and fried oysters), oysters pickled in oil, and kaki-meshi (oysters on rice).
Kaki-ya Address: 539, Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima prefecture Price: from 19.50 USD Opening Hours: 10am - 6pm daily Contact: +81 829-44-2747
No.1 Hiroshimayaki / Okonomiyaki of Hiroshima – the pride of Hiroshima
As the most famous food in the prefecture, the Hiroshimayaki, or Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, is unique from those found in other parts of Japan. Instead of mixing all the ingredients together, they are layered. In addition, the amount of cabbage used in the Hiroshima version is usually three to four times the amount used in the Kansai-Osaka style.
A great place to taste this famous local delicacy is none other than Okonomimura. Rated as the best in Japan for okonomiyaki, you can take your pick from the numerous okonomiyaki eateries housed on the second to fourth floors of the Okonomimura building. Have fun picking your favourite ingredients and watching the chef preparing the dish right in front of you!
Okonomimura Address: 5-13 Shintenchi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-city Price: from 7.80 USD Access: 3-minute walk from the Shintenchi bus stop. Opening hours: Depending on the shop, but mostly opens from 11am - 9pm Contact: +81 82-241-2210
Enjoy your culinary adventure in Hiroshima
With so much great food to check out in Hiroshima, are you excited about the culinary adventure that is waiting for you in the Land of the Rising Sun? Don’t hesitate anymore, book your trip to Hiroshima to enjoy a feast of the local specialties now!