Top 20 Delicacies of Himeji: Everything from the Famous to the Obscure
Sitting in the shadow of the World Heritage site Himeji Castle is the city of Himeji, a major tourist spot for visitors both domestic and abroad. Being so popular, it only stands to reason that a bunch of delicious food exists to cater for all these travelers. Read on to find out more about these hidden treasures that you don't want to miss while sightseeing in Himeji!
Jul 18 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
5 Must-Try Lunches Near Himeji Station
Yamayoshi: Popular for the Himeji Specialty, Conger Eel
Yamayoshi is a popular restaurant that has been introduced in many travel and food guides. Their unique sauce gives off an alluring fragrance that will have you licking your lips before you start!
For lunch you should try the Yamayoshi Set, where they serve both the steamed version and the charcoal grilled version of their conger eel with rice. It's a great way to enjoy all the eel you want!
Iccyoura: Specializes in Sake and Eel
Ichora is located right near Himeji Station, and they have a creative take on the local delicacy, conger eel. The store also has a very relaxed tone, so it's highly recommended for the whole family.
Order their Shirasagi Gozen for lunch, limited to 15 orders a day, and you will be in for a treat. It comes with thickly-sliced conger eel sashimi among other things. This supple, fresh sashimi is something you don't want to miss out on, as it can be hard to find anywhere else.
Ekisoba: One of the Best "Standing" Soba Shops in Japan
Ekisoba (buckwheat noodles sold at train stations) is often considered a soul food in Himeji, and amongst all of the standing soba restaurants (places where you eat whilst standing at the counter) in Japan, this one at JR Himeji Station is ranked one of the highest. It is so popular that many visitors will get off at this station just to try the soba before catching the next train.
The secret behind its popularity is in the noodles they use. Instead of using the conventional buckwheat flour, they chose to combine Japanese broth with Chinese noodles, resulting in a unique and innovative noodle dish. There are a few more restaurants in the area that also adopt this method, so be sure to give them a try, too.
Ju Ju: Long-established Chanpon-yaki Store
Ju Ju is a seasoned restaurant that specializes in okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancakes) and the Himeji variant chanpon-yaki. All of the dishes here are around 1.5 to 2 times the normal serving size, so you might want to wait until you get really hungry before you visit.
There are 8 types of this local specialty, the chanpon-yaki. The base ingredients are made up of yakisoba and yaki-udon, while the rest of the ingredients are up to you to choose. Pick what you like and finish it off with the soy sauce based house blend sauce to create your very own chanpon-yaki.
Takopia: Himeji-Style Takoyaki
You will find Takopia in the food court on the basement floor of Himeji Grand Festa, which is connected to Himeji Station. They offer a Himeji spin on the traditional takoyaki you might find elsewhere.
What this means is that not only do they add sauce as you normally would, but they also give you a bowl of broth for you to dip it in! It is ultimately up to you how you want to eat your takoyaki, but why not give it a go while you're here? As the saying goes, when in Rome...
A Few Other Shops with Local Delicacies in Himeji
Tonton: Get Your Chanpon-Yaki Here!
Tonton has a wide menu, with all its servings at reasonable prices. Beloved by the locals, the okonomiyaki served here comes in the Hiroshima-style, which is slightly more viscous than its Osaka counterpart.
Himeji's famous chanpon-yaki and chanpon-modan-yaki have been picked up by the Japanese media many times due to their unique combination of yakisoba and udon noodles. Be sure to try some for yourself to weigh in on the hot topic!
Tamagoya: Japan's Top Tamago-kake Gohan Specialty Shop
You'll find Tamagoya right outside Himeji Castle, serving their famous tamago-kake meshi (raw egg on rice). They produce their own eggs for this, named yume-sodachi, which is said to be the best in all of Japan. The yolk in this egg is said to be so nutritious that it is supple enough for you to pick up with a pair of chopsticks!
Here they recommend the Monmae Omotenashi Gozen set, which comes with both the aforementioned egg and some grilled congor eel from Awaji Island. Amazingly, you can have as many free refills as you'd like for both the rice and the eggs!
Morishita: The Only Place to Get Your Hands on Kujayaki
Kujayaki is a Himeji specialty where cabbage and other ingredients are grilled on a hot plate not with vegetable oil, but with lard. Strangely, this regional delicacy can only be savored at this one restaurant.
The crispy skin and the multi-textured filling create a perfect and addictive balance of flavor and texture. You can even ask them to make an omu-kujayaki for you too, where the kujayaki is wrapped in a layer of egg. Definitely give this lesser-known delicacy a try if you get a chance!
Tonraishun: The Intensely Popular Veggie-Filled Shumai
Locally famous for their painstakingly hand-made shumai, this restaurant has kept their recipe the same since 1946. The secret to its popularity is in the delicate skin and delicious vegetables within. The twist here, however, is that they want you to have it with their secret sauce. Try it out!
It's not just their shumai, which hasn't changed since they've opened, that you should look out for. The chuka soba is another one of their specialties. And the dan dan noodles? It might just be the cheapest one you'll find in all of Japan!
Ittetsu Ramen: A Deeply Comforting Veggie Ramen
When it comes to ramen, the local Himeji style is to make their soup out of chicken bones, pork bones, and vegetables, using soy sauce from Harima as a base. This place take it one step further and adds seafood into the mix, creating a soup so mellow that you may forget that it's a ramen dish.
The most popular item on the menu here is their Veggie Ramen. Limited to only 10 servings a day, it is prepared with seasonal, organically farmed vegetables and sells out in moments. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in a position to try it, do yourself a favor and don't miss out!
Try Yakiniku in Himeji at These 2 Places!
Gyuunagi: Try the Chef's Selection of Meats
Selected by the owner herself, the Kuroge Wagyu beef offered here is definitely worth trying. The entire restaurant is also quite spacious, so feel free to bring your whole family.
Another item that is highly recommended here is the Karaage Lunch, where you can have as much karaage (deep-fried chicken dish) as you want for only 500 yen! Perfect for anyone with a huge appetite.
Karaiwatei: A Yakiniku Restaurant That Is Beloved by Locals
Karaiwatei is a local favorite for yakiniku (Japanese BBQ). The homely atmosphere and reasonable prices make this an excellent place for lunch. Of course, they also have other dishes on their menu such as okonomiyaki.
The meat is freshly supplied every day, which means that the quality can vary a little from day to day. Despite this, it is still very voluminous and satisfying. Keep in mind that they do sometimes sell out, as the number of servings available is limited.
2 More Lunch Spots Inside Piole Himeji!
Nandaimon: Domestically-Sourced Beef at a Low Price
Sitting under the viaduct at Himeji Station is this hidden gem, where moderately-priced domestic beef is served for lunch.
They have a large variety to choose from, and the Higawari Lunch Set changes this up even more. At 700 yen, this set changes from day to day, and tends to sell out fast. Try to come early if you don't want to miss out! They also offer namul and buchimgae if rice and soup isn't to your liking.
Hirome Sushi: Fresh Local Seafood
This place serves Himeji's conger eel in sushi form, and fans have described it as the "best conger eel sushi ever". If it's fresh, delicious seafood you're looking for, Hirome Sushi has you covered.
They also offer a Higawari Lunch set, and it is comprised of sushi made with locally sourced fresh fish, akadashi miso soup, and chawanmushi (savory egg custard). All this for only 1,080 yen makes it not only filling but affordable, too!
How About Lunch at These 3 Cafes?
Cafe de Muche: Where Almond Butter Began
This is where almond butter in Japan started, and eventually came to be known as a specialty of Himeji. Aside from the butter, they are also famous for serving up a large, hearty lunch.
The gratin or gratin styled omurice (rice wrapped in egg omelette) served with their almond toast have always been fan favorites and come highly recommended.
Bakery LAMP: Authentic American Burgers
Bakery LAMP is located near Himeji Castle and has appeared on television due to its popularity. Try out their enormous and authentic American burgers for yourself!
Also vying for the most popular item on the menu is their American-styled bagels. The bread they offer here are on rotation, so part of the fun is that you can expect to see different types depending on what time you decide to visit.
Himeyama Saryo: Fancy a Lunch While Gazing out at Himeji Castle?
Himeyama Saryo is a cafe that sits right next to Himeji Castle. After renovating a 100-year-old traditional house, they decided to make use of the building and let all of their customers relax and enjoy this small piece of history.
Called the Himetsuzura, their lunch offering is created by the owner, who has worked in traditional restaurants and ryokans as the head chef. It comes in a beech box, and when opened it reveals a dazzling array of food, letting you soak in the culture of this wonderful city in luxury.
Delight in Himeji's Food Through These Wonderful Lunches!
There are so many charmingly unique dishes here in Himeji! Make your trip even more memorable by visiting as many of these places as you can while you have the chance!
Translated and republished with permission from: Relux Magazine
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.