Hiroshima prefecture, located on the Seto Inland Sea, is a hotspot for some of Japan’s most mouthwatering foods.
As you explore the prefecture’s natural beauty, historic temples, and urban museums and sculptures, why not also take your tastebuds on a journey through Hiroshima’s food culture? Dine on incredibly fresh seafood, pick up some unique street food, and discover Japanese food staples with a Hiroshima twist. Listed below are must-eats in Hiroshima. Find your next favorite dish!
A trip to Hiroshima would be incomplete without the popular street food, okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake topped with cabbage, bean sprouts, noodles, meat (often pork belly), a fried egg, okonomi sauce, and Japanese mayonnaise. Each layer adds an additional texture and flavor, which is tied together with a sweet and rich sauce. In fact, Hiroshima is home to the nationally acclaimed Otafuku brand of okonomi sauce, which is slathered onto okonomiyaki everyday! The Hiroshima style of this street food varies from the Osaka version as it includes noodles and a fried egg, and layers the ingredients rather than mixes them.
Part of the fun of okonomiyaki is the dining experience. Watch chefs expertly create this layered dish on a flat teppan grill as you immerse yourself in the savory aromas and lively sounds. After the show, each diner will receive a hera, or miniature Japanese spatula, to cut, trade, and eat the okonomiyaki. The street food is truly a cultural experience unto itself! Be sure to visit Okonomimura—an okonomiyaki theme park—or learn more about the okonomiyaki dish.
Hiroshima-style ramen has a shoyu-tonkotsu broth (pork base with soy sauce) with thin noodles and is often topped simply with pork, bean sprouts, and green onions. If you are a seafood fan, be sure to try the prefecture’s renowned Onomichi ramen. This specialty dish is characterized by its flavorful stock, which is made from fish in the Seto Inland Sea. Grab a warm bowl, and enjoy the flavors of the ocean.
Oyster lovers rejoice! Thanks to its ideal location along the Seto Inland Sea, Hiroshima accounts for two-thirds of Japan’s oyster production! You can enjoy the celebrated shellfish fried, grilled, raw, steamed, or in a hotpot—Miyajima's annual oyster festival is a great place to start. Sample oyster dishes from local vendors as you watch traditional Japanese performances.
Momiji manju is a maple leaf-shaped cake traditionally filled with sweet bean paste. Though keep your eyes peeled for some unconventional fillings, such as cheese, chocolate, or green tea. Pick up the sweet treat for your friends and family back home as it is one of Miyajima’s most popular souvenirs. Of course, do not forget to sample one for yourself!
Hattendo Cream Buns
Another sweet and enviable souvenir is Hiroshima's famous Hattendo cream bun. Hattendo, founded in 1933 in Mihara, Hiroshima, is a Japanese bakery chain that specializes in one of a kind cream buns. Hattendo cream buns stand out from the rest thanks to their soft dough exterior and luscious cream. Try the original custard filled ones, or explore whipped cream and custard, azuki sweet beans, matcha, or chocolate filled options. The delicate flavors and airy dough will make you feel as though you are sitting on a cloud.
Tsukemen, a noodle dish that resembles a deconstructed bowl of ramen, includes a plate of cold noodles and a spicy dipping sauce, which are often complemented by meat, eggs, cabbage, and green onions. This dish’s spiciness is legendary in Hiroshima and not something to be taken lightly! When you order, be sure to adjust the spice level to your liking. Enjoy the juxtaposition of cold and hot with this local delicacy.
Anago, or saltwater eels (not to be confused with unagi or freshwater eels), is a seafood specialty of Hiroshima. A popular way to prepare the famed fish is to broil and then grill it with layers of soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and sake, after which it is served on a fluffy bowl of rice. Take your taste buds on a sweet and salty journey as you enjoy the plump eel meat.
Miyajima, right off the coast of Hiroshima's mainland is the birthplace of the shamoji, or rice paddle. While not edible, this iconic utensil is an integral part of daily Japanese life and a worthy mention in any Hiroshima food guide.
It is said that monk Seishin received a vision from the goddess Benzaiten during a dream and based the paddle's design off of her biwa (traditional Japanese lute). Today in Miyajima, you can create your own shamoji postcard and gift it to friends or family as a symbol of good fortune.
After you have had your fill of delicious eats, why not explore Hiroshima's top destinations?