For those of us who are used to the creature comforts of central heating, double glazing, and insulated buildings, winter in Japan – where none of these come as standard – can sometimes be an uncomfortable time. Fortunately, there are a few things that can make up for it, and in Hiroshima, one of these is that winter means one thing: the oyster season.
The Japan Inland Sea provides the majority of the nation’s kaki [oysters], and all-around Hiroshima, there are amazing spots at which you can enjoy this delicacy. And what’s more, whether fried, grilled, steamed, or – less commonly that you’d expect – raw, they won’t cost an arm and a leg, as they would back home.
Starting with just ten small restaurants in 2010, Hiroshima Oyster Road has more than doubled in size in the intervening years and groups together some of the best and freshest seasonal oyster shacks along the Inland Sea coast. All of the establishments have some connection to the oyster farms that operate in the area, so you know that the quality is guaranteed.
These oyster huts are open between mid-October and late May, and your 1,500 JPY can get you a kilo of fresh, un-shucked oysters. There are three huts in Hiroshima, which you can find on their website here.
With a winning combination of fresh oysters and a lively atmosphere, Oyster Bar Maibu is a great, casual restaurant for if you want to get to grips with the variety of ways that oysters in this area are served.
Perhaps the most popular choice on the menu would be the tasting platter, with a selection of different oyster types, served either raw with differing sauces, grilled, or fried. Whether you pull up a chair at the counter or enjoy with friends at a table, it makes for a fun and vibrant night out.
One of the best ways to enjoy Hiroshima’s oysters is grilled, and at Kakikoya Ujina at Hiroshima port, this is precisely how they – well, you – do it. For just 1,000 JPY, you will be brought a kilo of oysters, which you can chuck on your grill and cook for yourself.
As well as oysters, there are various other seafood selections, including scallops, clams, and shrimp, and there are meat, vegetable, and rice dishes available should you so wish.
Where: 1 Ujinakaigan, Minami-ku, Hiroshima-shi (map)
There are many things for which Miyajima’s beautiful island is rightly proud (and you can read about them here), but one of the best is the pure joy of the oyster stalls along Omotesando, its shopping street.
Predominantly of the ‘kaki-furai’ [fried oysters] variety, these little stalls sell oysters individually, by the plate or half shell; the perfect accompaniment to a frothing beer after a day of sightseeing.
Where: 535 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima (map)
Image: Jay Drew (own work) with permission