Not many people would associate a city hall with being a good place to eat but the cafeteria at Wakayama City Hall is a surprisingly decent option for city residents and travelers alike.
The city hall's cafeteria is located at the top of the building on the 14th floor. The menu is a range of typical Japanese dishes, none of them more than ¥800. Some of the options includes soba and udon topped with tempura shrimp and vegetables, ebi tendon (tempura shrimp over a bowl of rice) and a unique beef bowl with thinly sliced meat and cabbage. Most of the meals also come with miso soup and a dish of pickles. You can choose to order an additional drink or just avail yourself of the free water. (Surprisingly, there was no free tea.)
The menu is only available in Japanese and is usually chalked onto a board just outside the cafeteria's entrance. However, there is also a glass case next to the door with plastic samples detailing a number of the available dishes. If all else fails, just bring the waitress out and point to your preference.
When you enter, feel free to take whatever seats are available (no need to wait for a server or hostess). For families or groups, there are a number of four-seat tables but if you're alone or in pairs, the best seats in the house are along the side wall. From the large picture windows, you're treated to the best view of Wakayama Castle and its black and white walls. No other buildings in downtown can offer a similar vista, and even if you wanted to take the elevator up to Floor 14 simply to see the castle, there is a small viewing window outside the restaurant's entrance.
The Wakayama City Hall is easy to find. It sits across the street from the castle branch of the Wakayama City Tourism Information Center and can be identified by the Japanese flag sitting right out front. The elevators are on the eastern side of the building and simply ride them to the 14th floor. The cafeteria is open on weekdays only. It may not be the most conventional option in town for lunch, but you definitely get an extraordinary view.