Posts Tagged Travel

Nagata-ya, Hiroshima, Japan

About 50 metres from the Atomic Bomb Hypocentre memorial is an okonomiyaki restaurant that always has a queue.

I stopped by this restaurant on my first visit to Hiroshima in 2015, back then I just walked in at lunch and was quickly seated and served.

My how times have changed! When ever I walked past, even before it opens at 11am, there was a queue.

So when I decided to visit for dinner I wanted to make sure that I got there before the dinner crush.

Walking around the corner my heart sunk as I saw a queue of around 25 people already waiting, in 35 degree heat, to get in. The queue moved slowly but surely and I was getting closer to the door. While I was in the queue I was given a menu, and was able to place my order.

About 25 minutes after I’d queued up I was ushered to a seat at the counter overlooking the huge hotplate where I would watch my Pork and Garlic okonomiyaki being crafted, and about 15 minutes later my okonomiyaki was placed in front of me and I dived in.

A pint of Asahi Super Dry was a welcome accompaniment after the long wait.

Once you taste your meal you will understand why there is a queue to get in. An absolutely magnificent meal that is worth the wait.

Their website is

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Shinchan, Hiroshima, Japan

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake mainly associated with Hiroshima and the Kansai area.

While you can get Okonomiyaki at any number of restaurants in Hiroshima, the mecca is the vertical village called Okonomi-mura in central Hiroshima that houses 24 Okonomiyaki restaurants all cooking the dish in their own special way.

I made the walk from my hotel with the help of Google Maps. It wasn’t too far.

I walked up to the second floor that has 8 outlets (there’re 8 on each floor). All were busy in the early evening which was a good sign. I headed towards the back and found a spare seat at Shinchan.

I asked for, and received, an English menu from which I chose one of their special Okonomiyaki dishes which included “double meat”. When I ordered I thought that this meant double pork, but as was to become apparent once my meal was delivered, the two meats where pork and oyster.

While I didn’t overly enjoy the oyster, once I worked out what the taste was, I was able to eat around it and eat the rest of the dish.

I was disappointed that I hadn’t read the menu properly, so I can blame the restaurant. Just remember to ask if you’re confused before you order.

Once you try Okonomiyaki you’ll keep wanting to eat them.

The Okonomi-mura website is here.

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Yakitori Daikichi, Kyoto, Japan

It was my last evening in Kyoto and I wanted to finish off 4 great days with a good meal. As I had had curry for lunch I decided to try to find a Yakatori restaurant that wasn’t too far from my hotel.

The usual review sites were consulted and it turned out there was a reasonable restaurant about 150m away, just across the road.

I crossed the road around 5:15pm, found the shop and proceeded in.

Yakitori Daikichi is quite small, less than a dozen seats all overlooking the grill. I took a seat at one end of the counter.

I was the first person in, and the staff were still prepping but I soon had an English menu and had ordered a Japanese Lager.

Over the next hour or so I ordered a good selection of pork, chicken and vegetable yakitori and a couple more beers. I enjoyed being able to watch my dinner being cooked in front of me, and served seconds after being taken off the flames.

As time progressed the number of people coming in increased. By the time I finished and left around 6:30 all the seats were taken and people were queuing up. This is obviously a good place!

The prices were quite reasonable, the food tasty, and ordering easy for someone who doesn’t speak Japanese. But get there early or face a wait!

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Kotokikichaya (Kotaki Tea Shop), Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan

Arashiyama is about 15 minutes by train west of Kyoto.

The area is designated as a Historic Site as well as a Place of Scenic Beauty. You’ve probably seen photos from Arashiyama before showing the world famous Sagano Bamboo Forest.

The day started hot and humid which made the kilometres of walking along with undulating hills an onerous affair. The views made up for the effort.

After completing the circuit through the bamboo forest and walking along the river the clouds closed in down the valley and the heavens opened up. Luckily it was approaching noon so I went looking for somewhere to eat.

As I approached the bridge that goes across the Hozu / Katsura River (yep, the river has a different name on the east side of the river than on the west side!) I spotted a small cafe that was serving lunch. A quick look at the photos on the menu showed Japanese Curry was on the menu, so I headed in.

I was lucky enough to get a seat on the counter that looked out over the bridge. From here I was able to watch the world go past, and people get very, very wet as the rain swept through. I could also pace my meal to ensure that I finished when the rain had finished.

I ordered a tonkatsu curry lunch special (crumbed and fried pork cutlet with rice covered with Japanese curry sauce, some pickles and a cup of miso soup) and a bottle of beer.

My meal was delivered in about 10 minutes and tasted superb – there’s something about Japanese curry sauce that is just so moreish.

I relaxed for around half an hour until the rain had passed and headed out into the main road well fed.

Apparently in Cherry Blossom season this is one of the places to go to.

Great feed, great views.

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Beer Komachi, Kyoto, Japan

I visited Beer Komachi on my first visit to Kyoto a couple of years ago. I checked the reviews to see if 1) it was still in business, and 2) if the craft beer bar still had good reviews, which it did, so decided to make a second visit.

Beer Komachi is in a small laneway about 20 metres from the western exit of Higashiyama subway station. If you hit a set of street lights you’ve gone too far.

It’s a very small bar, maybe 4m wide and 10m long with a small number of seats along the bar and opposite wall and a couple of small tables towards the back.

Both times I’ve visited there’s been a decent number of people here for the size, but was able to get a seat.

There’s an extensive beer list which changes often – even while you’re sitting there! As one keg of beer runs out they tap a different beer.

I chose a number of local brews which quenched my thirst in the warm summer evening.

The food menu is small but very tasty. Offering dishes such as pork with ginger, which was superb. They aren’t meal sized, more snacks size, so you’ll be getting several different dishes while you work through the beer menu.

Staff are very friendly – happy to chat and talk about the beers.

A great place to visit if you are in Kyoto.

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