Fugu (blowfish) is an important aspect of Japanese cuisine. In addition to its delicious taste, it gained its fame due to the fact that many parts of the fish are lethally poisonous, including the organs, eyes, and skin. There are strict regulations around serving fugu, such as a law that only chefs who have undergone at least three years of training are allowed to prepare the fish. For these reasons, restaurants that serve fugu are limited. In Hiroshima, you have the following top choices.
A favorite with locals and foreigners alike, Umeda offers a small menu of dishes (a sign of quality), all of which are prepared with fresh ingredients. You can try fugu as both sushi and sashimi along with other seafood and basashi.
Where: 10-34 Nishitokaichimachi, Naka Ward (map)
Open Hours: 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Monday to Sunday
One of the top kaiseki restaurants in Hiroshima, Shoben Tango serves both lunch and dinner. The fish, including the fugu, are kept in a tank in the restaurant and prepared at the moment a customer orders a dish.
Where: 10-26 Mikawacho, Naka Ward (map)
Open Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for lunch and 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m for dinner Monday to Sunday
If you want to indulge in fugu and other fish, try Ore no Kushikatsu Kuroda. This all-you-can-eat restaurant serves kushikatsu: skewered, deep-fried seafood and vegetables. You pay for the number of minutes you want to eat (ranging from 90 to 150) and choose if you want the A or B menu — B has more options than A. Open until midnight, this restaurant is the perfect place to come for a late-night feast.
Where: 10-32 Matsubaracho, Minami Ward (map)
Open Hours: 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Monday to Sunday
Although it’s popular with locals, Genpin Fugu Kamiyacho no Seki is relatively unknown by visitors, making it a great hidden gem where you can eat delectable fugu. Whereas the fugu is likely to be the highlight, there are plenty of other dishes you can order to complete to your meal, including hotpot, fried chicken, and rice porridge as well as sashimi made with other types of fish.
Where: 1-6-1 Kamiyacho, Naka Ward (map)
Open Hours: 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday to Sunday
Kobushiroman is an izakaya restaurant with a lot of character. You’ll take your shoes off at the door before you’re shown into a private space — separated from the other rooms by sliding doors — and sit on a tatami mat. The restaurant serves a wide variety of dishes, including Wagyu beef as well as fugu and other seafood.
Where: 9-3 Teppocho, Naka Ward (map)
Open Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., dinner 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday
Although fugu has the potential to be deadly, the strict controls in place mean it is perfectly safe to eat in restaurants around Hiroshima. This is definitely an experience you’ll want to have while you’re in Japan.