Feeling hungry? Well look no further than the annual Hiroshima Food Festival. It’s held every year in October and with hundreds of yatai, or stalls, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Located in both Chuo-koen (Central Park) and the Hiroshima Castle grounds in downtown Hiroshima it’s the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful autumn weather and to try not only some of the local food but food from all over Japan and abroad.
All of the food is either reasonably priced or super cheap and last year a friend and I managed to find a Japanese-style curry for only 100 yen. The portion was more than generous and even though it was cooked by school students it was higher quality stuff than I’ve tasted in some restaurants. I will definitely be paying them another visit this year if they’re there.
Of course, there’s also the usual festival food: fried chicken, fried potato and being Hiroshima, fried oysters. If you like it fried… you will be in Fried Heaven. Fried… you got it! For the meat lovers there is a more than enough to satisfy your Cave-Man cravings and if beer is also your thing, there’s plenty to wash it down with. There’s also kakigori (かき氷) or shaved ice still available at this time of year even though it’s usually a summer staple.
Now speaking of the weather, although autumn weather is typically cool in the mornings and in the evenings, during the middle of the day it can get very hot and I would strongly advise you to take a hat or umbrella, especially if you have little ones.
As an avid food lover and Hiroshima Food Festival fan, I have two main pieces of advice for first-timers to the event:
Firstly, when you arrive, walk around to check out prices before making a purchase. Although most are fairly similar, there are some major differences in beer prices and you can save up to 200 yen per beer depending on where you get yours.
Secondly, take loose change and make sure it’s easily accessible in either your pocket or a backpack. Make sure too that you are able to eat and hold onto it. Although there is seating available in Chuo-koen, there isn’t any designated place around Hiroshima Castle. Instead, you will find people just sit down along the edge of the path to eat their snacks before moving on. Not only are you able to rest your legs, it’s a nice way to people-watch at the same time.
If you want to make a day of it, there are events held around the castle too. Last year there was the local samurai re-enactment troop and for a little extra you could get your photo taken with them. On the Saturday night there will be kagura performances on the stage at Hiroshima Castle at 10.30-11.10 and 5pm – 8pm respectively.
For a fun way to spend a day or even the whole weekend, Hiroshima Food Festival is the place to be. It opens at 10am and since there’s no entry fee, you only pay for what you eat and drink. That for me is the best part of all! Eat, drink and be merry! Where will you be on the 29 and 30 October? I know where I’ll be!
29 and 30 October, 2016
21-1 Motomachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0011