If you’re anything like me, breakfast during the week is a hurried affair and usually involves coffee and something quick and easy to eat. On the weekends though when I can relax, I like to head out and about to find breakfast places or coffee shops that specialise in what the Japanese refer to as morning sets or モーニングセット. This usually involves coffee, a boiled egg, thickly sliced, buttered toast (sometimes with the option of jam) and a small salad.
Since the start of this year I’ve made it my aim to go to one new place every weekend. Although the menu doesn’t vary much from place to place, the ambience alone is enough to keep seeking out both well-known and popular haunts, and those in the back streets that are some of Hiroshima’s best kept secrets.
If you’re a little nervous about walking into the more traditional, old-style Japanese coffee shops, why not dip your toes in at qone of the chains. I don’t mean Tully’s or Doutor, I’m talking about Kohiken.
Kohikan has an English menu and although the branch in Hondori is centrally positioned, it’s basement location is quiet and cozy. It opens at 7am every single day of the week and at that time on a weekend you are often lucky enough to have the whole place to yourself.
The morning set here includes among a number of choices, the option of scrambled eggs with a dash of tomato sauce or a poached egg. If you prefer just toast and a boiled egg that’s also available. Best of all, you only pay an extra 160 yen or 80 yen (in the case of toast and a boiled egg) on top of your choice of coffee which starts at 400 yen.
Moving up the ladder of confidence, next on the list is ブルーマウンテン (Buruumaunten). This gem is on the second floor of a building that wouldn’t look out of place in England or Europe. The furnishings include red velvet chairs and lace curtains and the chandelier adds a touch of romance to this enchanting hideaway. Handmade menus can be found on the tables with photos included so even if you don’t speak or read Japanese you can point to which breakfast you want to order.
I chose the full morning set and I watched TV and heard my crispy toast being bought it I could have been sitting in the kitchen at my moms house in Australia. For 600 yen I would easily pay the little bit extra again to experience the peace and quiet and the familiar sounds which made me feel so at home. The ma and pa who own it are also lovely and were thrilled to receive a foreign visitor.
〒730-0035 Hiroshima-ken, Hiroshima-shi, Naka-ku, Hondōri, 3−17 (map link)
7:30-11:00 (breakfast available)
The third place I recommend is a little further off the beaten track and means a trip to an older part of town. The Takanobashi Arcade has a rundown feel to it and ぶらじる(Burajiru) or Brazil in English, has been there for decades churning out their morning sets.
With no English menus, this is the very place to test your katakana reading skills. They usually have two morning sets on offer and the staff will even bring over a selection of spreads for you to choose for your toast. I highly recommend the strawberry jam option.
The place is spacious and harks back to the romantic age of the early 30s and 40s. As one of the first places to serve morning sets in Hiroshima, it is definitely a place to include and tick off on your Hiroshima bucket list.
There are many, many more places to discover in Hiroshima, but make sure to visit these three for a taste of class and freshly buttered toast.
〒730-0051 Hiroshima-ken, Hiroshima-shi, Naka-ku, Ōtemachi, 5 Chome−6 (map link)