Hiroshima, known worldwide for its historical significance, is a city that leaves a deep, lasting impression on its visitors.
This area is on the itinerary for many who are traveling in Japan, and rightly so. It should be given the time and respect deserved for a place that changed the history of the world.
Hiroshima, along with the picturesque island of Miyajima, also offers a compelling culinary narrative waiting to be explored. Whether it's biting into a crispy, soul-satisfying okonomiyaki in a bustling corner of Hiroshima, or relishing freshly grilled oysters overlooking the serene shores of Miyajima, food-focused traveling in this region of Japan is a rewarding experience.
In this culinary journey, we’ll explore the local gastronomic treasures that make Hiroshima and Miyajima a food lover's paradise.
A Foodie's Guide To Hiroshima
We can’t emphasize enough the cultural and historic significance of Hiroshima. First and foremost on your travel list should be the Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Dome area of the city, a solemn experience that deserves a full day of exploration and reflection.
The modern city of Hiroshima is a testament to survival and the will to rise from the ashes. Today’s Hiroshima is an active city, one with many charms and local delights. A visit to Hiroshima will reward you with a culinary adventure characterized by unique local flavors and traditional practices.
Hiroshima, by the way, is the name of both this city and the surrounding prefecture (the Japanese equivalent of a state or province). When we speak of Hiroshima cuisine, it can mean either the city or the prefecture of Hiroshima.
Hiroshima’s dining reputation primarily resides in its remarkable interpretation of okonomiyaki, luscious locally-farmed seafood like oysters and anago (saltwater eel), and the city’s tantalizing ramen shops.
Whether it's the comfortable ambiance of a family-run okonomiyaki restaurant, the variety-packed, lively Yatai-mura (food theme park), or Miyajima’s Omotesando shopping street offering endless street food options, Hiroshima and Miyajima are a culinary destination worth of your time while traveling in Japan.
The Famous Hiroshima Okonomiyaki
No food journey in Hiroshima is complete without sampling its signature dish: Hiroshima okonomiyaki.
This enticing, stacked savory pancake is a regional variant of the classic okonomiyaki, distinguished by its layering technique which sees the ingredients piled up instead of mixed into the batter.
Hiroshima okonomiyaki typically starts with a thin crepe-like base, followed by generous servings of cabbage, bean sprouts, pork, seafood, and noodles – all topped off with a beautifully fried egg. A final drizzle of the tangy-sweet okonomiyaki sauce is perfected over the griddle, and you have a dish that balances texture, flavor, and the pure joy of hearty Japanese street food.
For the authentic experience, head to Okonomimura. With two dozen okonomiyaki stalls, each boasting its unique recipe and delightful renditions of Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, you can’t go wrong here.
Nagataya: Near the Peace Park (which is an absolute must visit spot for anyone who travels to Hiroshima), Nagataya okonomiyaki shop is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
A spot popular with tourists is Lopez Okonomiyaki, as the proprietor is in fact from Guatemala and loves to chat with visitors in English or Spanish.
But really, it would be hard to find a bad okonomiyaki in Hiroshima. They love the stuff and they do it right! Find one near you, tell them (or point to) what kind of okonomiyaki you want, and enjoy the experience!
Can't make it to Japan to try Hiroshima Okonomiyaki for yourself? Try making it at home instead with our recipe!
Seafood Delights In Hiroshima & Miyajima
Hiroshima's love for seafood is no secret, particularly when it comes to their oysters and anago. Located by the Seto Inland Sea, the region enjoys a bounty of seafood, making it a hub for fresh, delectable ocean treats.
Hiroshima's oysters, locally known as "Sea Milk," are plump, juicy and savored in various forms — raw, steamed, grilled, fried… even in hot pots. Enjoying these succulent oysters, paired with a view of the sea, accounts for a quintessential Hiroshima experience. In the city core, IPPO is an oyster bar worth an evening’s outing.; nearby Kakiichiban (literally “Number 1 Oyster”) is also popular.
Anago (Saltwater Eel)
Equally noteworthy is Hiroshima's anago (saltwater eel). Unlike its freshwater cousin unagi, anago is less fatty, subtly sweet, and positively brimming with umami when slow-cooked and served atop warm rice. Miyajima, in particular, serves some of the best anago-don (anago served over rice), a must-try delight for every seafood lover. Ueno is a reliable eatery in Miyajima for this dish.
Indulge In Hiroshima's Regional Ramen, Onomichi Ramen
Another comforting classic that is a must-try while traveling in Japan is Hiroshima's own version of ramen. Known as Hiroshima-style Ramen or Onomichi Ramen, it features a soy-based chicken broth accented with miso for a hearty flavor and comforting culinary experience.
For those craving a bit more tang and spice, tsukemen is an excellent choice. In this dish, the noodles are served separately from the broth, allowing you to dip and slurp at will. The thick noodles paired with the robust, intense broth create a match made in noodle heaven.
Onomichi, a small city in the eastern part of Hiroshima Prefecture, is famous for its own ramen variety called Onomichi Ramen. It is characterized by a soy-based fish and pork broth, thick, flat-style noodles, and toppings like roast pork, bamboo shoots and green onions. This regional dish is a testament to Hiroshima's noodle-culture, promising a warm, soul-soothing meal – a culinary experience not to be missed.
Popular shops in central Hiroshima (within reach of the tourist areas) that serve Onomichi ramen include Akatsuki, Menya-Issei.
Other Must-Try Dishes In Hiroshima & Miyajima
Another unique dish to try in Hiroshima is horumon tempura. Coined from the Korean word 'horumon' that refers to offal, this dish features intestine parts of pigs fried in a tempura batter, resulting in a unique, flavorful delicacy with a crispy exterior and tender interior. Tempura Tenkou has locations in the tourist areas of Hiroshima.
From bars serving skewered delicacies in the evening to traditional tea houses offering wagashi (Japanese confections), Hiroshima promises a wide spectrum of culinary experiences to satisfy every flavor profile and culinary curiosity.
Exploring The Sights & Flavors of Miyajima, The Shrine Island In The Inland Sea
Just off the coast of Hiroshima, Miyajima island is famous for its grand Itsukushima Shrine and floating torii gate.
What’s more, for food lovers, Miyajima (or Itsukushima, as it’s locally known) is a treasure trove of street foods and delightful local dishes. Strolling the bustling Omotesando Shopping Street, you can witness and taste an array of enticing local food offerings.
Miyajima's Signature Sweet: Momiji Manju
Momiji manju is an iconic sweet from Miyajima, shaped like a maple leaf and traditionally filled with sweet red bean paste.
This delightful treat is a must-try for any visitor. Modern variations of momiji manju offer a variety of fillings, including chocolate, custard, or matcha, served either fresh or deep-fried for a crispy twist.
Check out Hakataya, Momijido and/or Kikkawa for momiji manju on the main shopping street of Miyajima (as you walk between the ferry dock and the Itsukushima Shrine).
Must-Visit Food Establishments and Street Food Stalls in Miyajima
Whether you're walking the heritage-filled streets of Miyajima or exploring its vibrant marketplaces, you will find countless food establishments serving a plethora of mouthwatering dishes.
For a taste of Miyajima's renowned seafood, Kakiya and Yakigaki-no-Hayashi are famous for their grilled oysters. For a more comprehensive dining experience, visit Ueno; famous for its anagomeshi, a boxed meal of grilled conger eel over rice.
Sampling the local street food is also key to a complete Miyajima experience. Stalls offering fresh grilled squid, steamed buns stuffed with juicy pork, and the ever-popular momiji manju provide a delight to the palate and a window into the heart of Miyajima's food culture.
Hiroshima & Miyajima: Worth The Journey For History & Cuisine
A journey to Hiroshima and Miyajima is a culinary adventure filled with comforting dishes, flavorsome seafood and sweet treats all bearing a sense of place.
From slurping up a hot bowl of hearty ramen on a pleasant Hiroshima evening, to tasting the sweetness of a recently-made momiji manju while wandering through Miyajima's historic trails, you can’t miss here.
Hiroshima is just over an hour by the fastest shinkansen (bullet train) from Osaka, and about 3.5 hours from Tokyo. If you have a Rail Pass, for sure it’s not to be missed – although the pass doesn’t cover certain express trains, so point-to-point tickets could be your best bet. Be sure to stay a night or two, as “doing” Hiroshima & Miyajima as a day trip really don’t do justice to its history or modern food culture.
Have you been to Hiroshima or Miyajima? Let us know about your travel and food experiences in the comments section.