What to Eat in Miyajima
Despite its tiny size Miyajima offers a wide range of local specialties. Here are a few things we highly recommend that you try while you are visiting this island.
One speciality of Miyajima is anago-meshi, a rice bowl topped with a generous amount of Anago, usually known as conger or salt water eel in the west. The most well-known restaurant serving this delicious dish is Ueno, located near the ferry port on the mainland. They serve a delicious anago-meshi set for about 1,500 yen and upwards. However, as this restaurant is so popular, expect to have to wait for a while before you get a table. Especially if you’re coming during the lunch rush or on a weekend.
Hiroshima competes with some of the regions up in northern Japan for having the most delicious oysters in the country. While we prefer to refrain from declaring a winner in this fierce battle, we can confidently say the ones served on Miyajima clearly ranks among the best, especially if you compare them with those sold in the west, and if you factor in the very affordable price. If you want a sit-down dining experience, the restaurant Kakiya on the main shopping street is hard to beat. But we also like the small corner shops selling freshly grilled oysters to eat while standing for a few hundred yen each. If you really want to eat a lot, and if you are visiting during the time of the year when oysters are in season (generally November to February but this varies from year to year), there are also a few shops offering all you can eat menus for as little as 2,300 yen per person. One of these are Shimada Suisan, located a ten-minute walk from the ferry port on the mainland.
For those of you with a sweet tooth, we highly recommend checking out Coconca Anco. This shop opened recently on the main shopping street in Miyajima, and specializes in handmade Japanese sweets made from ingredients sourced from the Setouchi area. Their shop is very stylishly decorated and their sweets are made with a great amount of care and dedication. Yet still, their prices are very affordable. This is a perfect place to get some souvenirs for your friends back home.
Satsuma-age, a fried fishcake, is a snack that’s popular throughout most of Japan, but somewhat surprisingly extra popular here on Miyajima. In the area near the ferry port, where most of the shopping facilities on this island are located, you will find several vendors selling this snack, fresh from the grill. Due to the texture, and the faint flavor of fish, this snack is not something that suits everybody, but we recommend you at least give it a try while you’re here. It only costs a few hundred yen, and you’ll be hard pressed to find it this fresh and tasty anywhere else.
Despite Miyajima’s image as a somewhat secluded island where traditional culture - the temples and shrines - are the main attraction, you will also find a surprisingly high concentration of trendy coffee shops on this island. We particularly liked Sarasvati, a tastefully decorated cafe located over two stories of a beautiful traditional wooden building.