Wabaru Tobira

Traditional Japanese style with modern accents, great food and a lively vibe at this street level izakaya.

The first part of the name Wabaru Tobira is a blend of “wa”, the word for things Japanese, and the Japanese rendition of the Spanish “bal”, or casual dining bar. Indeed, although izakaya are more often than not described as “Japanese pubs” Wabaru Tobira [和バル 扉] has a more European atmosphere than an English pub. Maybe I am influenced by the name, but, even when quiet, Wabaru Tobira has a lively and relaxed atmosphere vibe that is enhanced by the interior which, while clearly Japanese, does have something of a European feel.

The first thing you notice about Wabaru Tobira is it’s exterior design, based on a traditional Japanese merchant house. When approached from the side, the Japanese style windows reveal glimpses of customers sat at counter bar with high stools and diners sat around tables of two or four. The lighting is warm and inviting and popping in can hard to resist.

The way to enter, however, is through the front entrance.

Push aside the noren curtains and slide the tiny wooden door below the sugidama cedar ball the signals a purveyor of Japanese sake.

Straightening up once you are in, you find a beautifully designed interior modeled on a Japanese farm house. To the left are private tatami mat rooms which require you to remove your shoes, tables are to the right and the little counter bar, flanked by a TV screen, is in the back.

The English menu which contains Wabaru Tobira’s regular offerings is very easy to understand, but, if possible, it is always worth asking about the seasonal specials. Those not confident in their Japanese might try asking, kyo no o-susume wa nan desu ka?, literally, “What is today’s recommendation?”

As well as a great selection of modern interpretation of Japanese classics, often with interesting interpretations.

From the menu

Wabaru Tobira has a good selection of excellent jizake boutique sake varieties, both local and from around Japan, you will be hard pressed to find outside of these islands.

Wabaru Tobira is open for lunch when it serves set meals, but for me it’s all about the evening. Enjoy a full on feed or just sample a few dishes tapas-style with a few drinks.

  • English menu
  • ¥300 o-tooshi mandatory appetizer
  • Credit cards accepted

Opening hours:

  • Mon-Fri 11:30-14:00, 17:00-01:00
  • Sat & Sun: 11:30-01:00

Address: 2-7-1 Otemachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 〒730-0051
Address in Japanese: 〒730-0051 広島県広島市中区大手町2丁目7−1
Tel: 050-5589-9658

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of GetHiroshima.com and loves running in the mountains.

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