After having visited Yakitori Akiyohi’s Kyoto store, I headed a couple of blocks from my hotel to their Hiroshima store on my last evening in the city.
I arrived just as the sky opened up so I had a great excuse to chill out for about 90 minutes, ordering sticks of all varieties of yakitori and having a drink or two.
Arriving around 5:30pm there were a couple of people already enjoying their food, beer and sake. I was shown to a seat at the counter and given an English menu.
Just as with their Kyoto store, the food was magnificent, all freshly cooked while you watch, and I managed to polish off close to 20 sticks of charcoal cooked meat and vegetables.
My mouth is watering just thinking back to this dinner.
I don’t normally have a sit down breakfast when I travel… usually opting for something quick from a Family Mart or 7-Eleven on my way to my first stop of the day.
But today, as I was walking down Rijo Dori towards Hiroshima Castle I popped into Caffe Veloce probably just 300 metres from my hotel.
Coffee can be hit and miss in Japan… I’ve had some really good ones, and some absolutely atrocious ones!
The Cafe Latte here was relatively good, certainly not Melbourne quality, but a reasonably good coffee.
To eat I grabbed a couple of pastries, a apple danish as well as a chocolate chunk scone (think a scone with chunks (bigger than chocolate chips) of chocolate mixed through). They were both pretty tasty I must admit!
Caffe Veloce is a chain, and though I saw other sites I didn’t go into them, but I am sure that Japanese efficiency will deliver the same experience whichever store you visit.
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 (the same seat I had in 2015) 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 http://nagataya-okonomi.com/en/.
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’t 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.
After Kyoto I jumped on the Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka, and then a second Shinkansen to Hiroshima. It’s around a 2 hour trip depending on how much time you need to wait for the connecting Shinkansen at Shin-Osaka.
There’s no shuttle bus from Hiroshima Station to the Crowne Plaza in Hiroshima but it’s quite easy to get to. Exit the station and get the Number 1 tram to the Fukuro-machi tram stop (second stop after the tram turns left) and it’s about a 2 minute walk to the hotel. Door to door about 25 minutes and costs ¥180.
One thing to be mindful of is that you can’t use a Suica card on the trams in Hiroshima. I purchased a Kansai One Pass in Kyoto which is an ICOCA card which will work on the trams.
I’d previously made a day trip to Hiroshima from Kyoto – it was a long day (including mistakenly getting on a Nozomi on the return trip which is a no-no if you’re using a JR Pass) and I decided then that I had to return and explore some more.
From the map above you’ll see that the hotel is in a pretty good location. Just a stones throw from the Peace Park, Hon Dori and Okonomi-mura. And getting around is good as you’re close to trams and trains.
I had a very nice room away from the lifts with a view, albeit partially obstructed, of the peace park and museum.
Good, modern hotel in a great location.