By Bonson Lam
Evoking Kumamoto Castle and its castle town by its black walls and senbon koushi (traditional Japanese window frame) is the impression you get when you first see Izakaya Hamachan. The sign outside says “izakaya (bar + tapas)”, but don’t let’s its casual language deceive you, for it is the high quality Japanese food that it is known for. The owner and chef is Mr. Hamamura, who has practiced and experienced traditional Japanese cooking as an itamae chef for almost 30 years. He realised his long lived dream of opening his own business in November 2018. Its first year anniversary is coming up and he gratefully mentioned that this was only realized because of visits from loyal customers.
He seldom uses pre-made ingredients so that you enjoy his original flavour. They offer the freshest sashimi, dishes made from seasonal ingredients, as well as Kumamoto’s local delicacies such as basashi (horse sashimi) and fugu (puffer fish) sashimi if booked in advance. These beautiful dishes are created with the finest ingredients and his cooking skill. Translucently thin fugu sashimi, farmer’s fresh produce flavoured with crunchy textured tempura and slow cooked offal stew all looks beautiful and taste amazing. They have a large variety of foods but friendly Mrs. Hamamura would assist you if you’re not sure what to order.
The good thing about this izakaya is not only about enjoying Japanese food but also spending time on drinking. Mr. Hamamura is such a liquor lover that there is a great selection of sake, shochu and wine. You might learn something interesting from him like the way he matches food and alcohol.
On the table there is a vase filled with seasonal flowers, while above, the face of Ebisu (the god of commerce) and Daikoku (the god of money) on the matcha green wall watches over their restaurant. The simple interior creates a clean and pure space. The four seats at the counter along with the two long tables ensure a personal service for the small group of diners, so make sure you book in advance especially on weekends. Mrs. Hamamura can also assist you in English.
Driving on the Kyu-Hamasen Bypass (route 104) towards Higashi Bypass (route 57) and turn right at the traffic light after Inabatenmangu.
There is a car park for diners.
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Born & grew up in Kumamoto, Yui studied and worked in Osaka before immigrating to Australia. She lived in Adelaide and Sydney prior to moving to Brisbane. Her passion is reporting on the great things of Kumamoto and Japan to everyone around the world in a serious, interesting and funny way. Her favorite travel writer is Makoto Shina. 熊本生まれ、熊本育ち、大阪に学び職務経験を積み、オーストラリアに移住。アデレード、シドニーを経て、ブリズベン在住。熊本、また日本のすばらしいところを国内、海外にまじめに、面白、おかしく発信したいと思っています。好きなトラベルライターは椎名誠。