Feasting on Fugu – Where to Eat Blowfish in Aichi

ByMark Guthrie
Jan 31, 2020

Feasting on Fugu – Where to Eat Blowfish in Aichi

You’ve probably seen that classic episode of The Simpsons where Homer goes to a Japanese restaurant and eats fugu, a pufferfish equally famed for its sublime, delicate flavor, and that if the wrong part of this fish is consumed it can be deadly.

While it is true that the intestines, ovaries, and liver of fugu contain tetrodotoxin (1,200 times deadlier than cyanide. A single fish has enough poison to kill 30 people.), when prepared by expert chefs it is entirely harmless and quite delicious.

I realize that I am not painting a picture of a danger-free dish, but this highlights the importance of going to a reputable establishment. And it is worth it, because as well as being delicious, whether served as sashimi, in a nabe hotpot or deep-fried karaage form, it definitely ups your bragging rights with the folks back home.

And as it happens, you’re in luck, because not only is most of Japan’s fugu fished in from the waters around Aichi, but February marks perhaps the best month for eating fugu, coming at the end of the season when hauls are most bountiful. Below are a few places that you can check out that will serve you fresh, poison-free blowfish.

Himakajima Island

If you make a day of it, perhaps the best place to try fugu is on Himakajima. This island, located in the entrance to Mikawa Bay, is famed for its seafood generally, but it is octopus and fugu that bring the crowds in season. Many places sell the freshest fugu imaginable, and many of the island’s ryokan [Japanese-style hotels] provide special courses for non-guests that include the full range of fugu dishes mentioned above. They also have onsen baths in which you can relax after your meal. It is best to make reservations at these, as they can be busy.

Otohime Keizo

However, if you want to drop in, Restaurant Otohime Keizo (乙姫 桂三) is perhaps your best bet. Located by the island’s eastern port, Keizan offers fugu courses as well as a wide range of other sushi dishes. It’s where I eat every time I go to Himakajima; highly recommended.

If you want to know more about Himakajima Island – there is much more to it than just food – check out our article here. It makes for a great day trip.

Where: Chita District, Minamichita, Himakajima, Nishihama – 1-2 (map)
Website: otohime.net/fugu

Fugu Restaurant Mifune

Restaurant Mifune is a fugu specialist right here in Nagoya, and they are serious about their pufferfish. Not only that, but they grow their own organic vegetables on a family-owned plot of land, so you know they are all about quality.

located a few minutes walk from Fujigaoka station, Mifune has private rooms available and the staff pride themselves on their relaxed customer service – you won’t have a waitress popping up every two minutes to ask how your meal is going here – so you can enjoy your fugu experience at your own pace.

Where: 142-2 Fujigaoka, Meito Ward (map)
Website: savorjapan.com (English)

Guenpin Fugu

With nearly 40 years in the business, Guenpin Fugu is a high-end pufferfish restaurant in the center of Nagoya. Rather excitingly, the fish they serve is of the torafugu (tiger pufferfish) variety, which is the highest grade of fugu available, and the chain was ranked number one in Japan for the quantity of this delicacy sold in 2018.

Serving almost one million people annually, Guenpin Fugu is equidistant from Fushimi and Sakae. It has a wide array of dishes available, including fugu fin served in a glass of sake and then set alight. It’s an experience you won’t find elsewhere.

Where: Nagoya, Naka Ward, Nishiki, 2 Chome-12-8 Miyuki Hommachi Building (map)
Website: tettiri.com (English)

Fugu Cuisine Tokufuku

If you are looking for the torafugu mentioned above at a reasonable price, then Tokufuku, a couple of blocks from the TV Tower, is probably your place. And if you want to choose your blowfish from an aquarium, then it is definitely your place.

There are courses to choose from ranging in price from 4,400 JPY (before tax) for six dishes, up to a full eight dish course at 8,800 JPY (before tax), meaning that you can enjoy the full selection of top quality fugu dishes at a price that won’t break the bank.

Where: Naka Ward, Nishiki, 3 Chome-2-31 Premier Nishiki 2F (map)
Website: fugu-tokufuku.gorp.jp (English)

Image: by rc! via flickr.com [CC BY-NC 2.0] – modified
Image: by tsuda via flickr.com [CC BY-NC 2.0] – modified
Image: by calltheambulance via flickr.com [CC BY-NC 2.0] – modified
Image: by calltheambulance via flickr.com [CC BY-NC 2.0] – modified

About the author

Mark Guthrie editor

Novelist, copywriter and graduate from the most prestigious university in Sunderland, Mark whiles away his precious time on this Earth by writing about popular culture, travel, food and pretty much anything else that is likely to win him the Pulitzer he desperately craves. Find some more of his musings at www.markguthriewrites.com and on instagram @markguthriewrites