I personally think that you could plan a trip to Japan simply for the food. The quality and variety of food here is fantastic, and not just limited to sushi and ramen – in fact, that’s anything but the case. After living in Japan for the past five years I’ve come to have a few foodie favorites, and right up at the top of my list is okonomiyaki (お好み焼き). Literally translated to “what you like, grilled”, the dish could be described as something like a savory pancake packed with cabbage, thinly sliced pork, seafood and vegetables.
Okonomimura: Hiroshima’s okonomiyaki paradise
There are two different varieties of okonomiyaki that you’ll find in Japan – a Kansai (Osaka) version, where the okonomiyaki ingredients are all mixed together, and a Hiroshima version where the ingredients are layered. If you’re headed to Hiroshima and want to give their style of okonomiyaki a try, one of the best places to head to is Okonomimura (お好み村).
Okonomimura is not just one okonomiyaki restaurant, but several, which are sprawled out over multiple floors of a city building. It’s often referred to as an okonomiyaki theme park, where you can try various different local interpretations of the dish. Most of the restaurants are set up with counter style seating, and you’re able to see the okonomiyaki chefs up close preparing your meal on their hot plates. Getting to watch them at work is an experience in itself – they seem to move at lightning speed!
Different variations on this foodie favorite
It’s a good idea to head to Okonomimura with an empty stomach – that way you’re able to try a few of the different restaurants with some unique takes on Hiroshima okonomiyaki. For instance, the above store (Atomu) pride themselves on not using any oil in the grilling process, ensuring that their okonomiyaki doesn’t leave you feeling heavy. Other stores use unique ingredients like buckwheat noodles, mint leaves, and even vinegar-soaked kelp in their okonomiyaki varieties. No two stores are the same!
If you’re unsure about what to order, a number of the eateries have English menus – but if you’re an adventurous eater just pick a store and say “osusume” (お勧め), which means recommendation. The chef or wait staff won’t steer you in the wrong direction! Alternatively, just follow the crowds and pick one of the stores teeming with people.
Whether you ask for the chef’s recommendation or you choose something off the menu, there’s no doubt you’ll end up with some tasty, satisfying comfort food. It’s so good that you’ll find yourself planning a return visit!
- Website: http://www.okonomimura.jp/foreign/english.html
- Address: 5-13 Shintenchi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima, Hiroshim Prefecture 730-0034
- Please note that the individual restaurants only accept cash, so be sure to have yen on you.
- Via The Hiroshima Tram Service: Take one of the Hiroshima Trams headed for either Ujina, Eba, Nishihiroshima or Miyajima. Listen out for the Hatchobori Stop. From there, Okonomimura is approximately three minutes on foot.
- By Bus: Okonomimura is also easily accessible via the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus. The bus departs every 15 minutes from Hiroshima Station, and the closest stop to Okonomimura is Hatchobori. From there, the premises is approximately a five-minute walk.
- If you’re also visiting the Hiroshima Peace Park and Memorial Museum, Okonomimura is a 15 minute walk from there.