Wakana Izakaya

Japanese style pub featuring fish & good sake

By JJ Walsh    - 3 min read

Wakana (わか菜) is a little hard to find, but is a great place to visit for a quick, cheap and tasty lunch (700-900 yen for meals at lunch) or an excellent Japanese dinner full of fish and seafood dishes. There is no English menu or English speaking staff but they are very friendly and welcoming to visitors.

There is counter seating for around 10, table seating in the front and a large raised, Japanese style seating area on tatami mats. The middle of this raised area has space for you to put your feet down into (but it is a tight fit for those of us a bit taller or bigger). This raised area is great to book if you have a group.

As they don't have English speaking staff or an English menu, ask someone at your hotel to make a booking for you and reserve a set meal and drink plan which includes sake, shochu (Japanese spirits), draught beer and other drinks over a 2 hour period. When I ate there with a group, we had pre-arranged this meal and drink plan for ¥6,000 for each of us to eat and drink for 2 hours and there was more than enough amazing food and drink for us to enjoy.

This restaurant specializes in fresh fish and seafood dishes derived from the local Seto-naikai area. In our course, there was beautiful platters of raw fish (sashimi), grilled chicken, deep fried vegetables, sauteed fish, sauteed hotate scallops, miso soup, and a rice dish at the end. Many of the people in my group enjoyed a variety of sake served warm and cold, one of their featured sake is "dark lord" which was really quite tasty and I am not a big sake fan. They also had a variety of Shochu from the Kyushu island areas. A few of us were enjoying the cold draught beers and others in our group had "chu-hai" a juice and shochu cocktail that is quite mild, sweet and popular at Japanese izakaya pubs.

If you go at lunch, choose one of their daily lunch plates for a reasonable 700 yen to 900 yen, they are all very good and no reservations are required.

Wakana is located not far from the Tokyu Hands department store, walk right up the road that has a YMCA sign over it from the main street car street (AIOI dori). There is also a travel agent with a Tully's coffee shop on the corner of the street you should turn down. Walk a few blocks and after you pass the large car parking building, turn down the last small side street on the right before you see the next semi-main street with the YMCA building's rear entrance on the other side. If you turn down the right street, you will soon see the restaurant sign or hanging white banner in front of the shop for Wakana in Japanese Kanji writing like this: わか菜

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JJ Walsh

JJ Walsh @joy.walsh

I've been living in Hiroshima since the mid 90's & still discovering new things to enjoy. I'm a big fan of both the old "wabi sabi" as well as modern and new designs, Japan offers both of these type of places to explore and enjoy. Even after many years here, I am still discovering surprising, fantastic and wacky things about this strange and wonderful land. I hope you enjoy your adventures around Japan- feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about traveling with kids, vegetarian dining or anything specific to Hiroshima.

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