Hiroshima seeing (Michelin) stars

Following Tokyo, the Kansai region and Hokkaido, Hiroshima gets its own Michelin red book this week. The special edition is published on May 17 and features reviews of 362 restaurants and hotels. 330 of those received none of the guide’s hard to come by ratings, and only one local eatery had the coveted three star top rating bestowed upon it. It may seem like a poor show, but there are less than 40 three star restaurants across this entire food obsessed nation, with over half of them are concentrated in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Hiroshima’s top restaurant according to the Michelin reviewers who started eating their way around the prefecture last autumn, is little Nakashima. Nakashima serves up seasonal Japanese dishes in Hakushima, just behind Hakushima Q Garden. You can see a bunch of photos of the beautifully simple (and one assumes delicious) food they serve here on Tabelog. The place seats 25 and the course menus – handwritten by the chef – are a rather reasonable ¥5000-8000 for dinner.

Two Michelin stars are not to be sneezed at, and five Japanese restaurants received what is still a very high recommendation.

They are Japanese restaurants Ajiyoshi (阿じ与志) in Fukuyama, Kodama in Hiroshima city, Sazanka(山茶花)in Hatsukaichi, and Tokaan (桃花庵) in Ibaraichi, as well as tenpura restaurant, and long time GetHiroshima favorite, Tenko in Nakamachi in Hiroshima city.
The following 23 restaurants were awarded one star, as was Iwaso Ryokan (岩惣) on Miyajima.

  • Hiroto (ヒロト), French in Fujimi-cho, Hiroshima city
  • Iraku-an Soba (為楽庵) Soba noodles in Ushita, Hiroshima city
  • Mille (ミル) French in Hakushima, Hiroshima city
  • Ozawa French in the Oriental Hotel, Hiroshima city
  • Kazura (葛) Kaiseki in Ebisu-cho, Hiroshima city
  • Kitaoka (き多丘) Kaiseki, Ushita, Hiroshima city
  • Takotubo (たこつぼ) Japanese in Haccobori, Hiroshima city
  • Tamano (玉の) Japanese in Ebisu-cho, Hiroshima city
  • Hanao (花お) Japanese in Aki-nakano, Hiroshima city
  • Sushi-dokoro Hitoshi (ひと志) Sushi in Komachi, Hiroshima city
  • Le Jardin Gormand (ル・ジャルダン グルマン) French in Furue, Hiroshima city
  • Fujitaya (ふじたや) Anago on Miyajima, Hatsukaichi city(穴子・安芸)
  • Matsukaze (松風) Japanese in Saijo, Higashi-hiroshimacity
  • Sushi-ya Oto</a> (鮓や 大東) Sushi in Saijo, Higashi-hiroshima city
  • Erba (エルバ) Italian in Fukuyama
  • Obanzai Kimura</a> Obanzai Kyoto homestyle  (木むら) Fukuyama city
  • Tessen (旬菜食彩 てっせん) Japanese in Fukuyama city
  • Mochizuki Sushi (寿司 もち月) Sushi in Funairi, Hiroshima city
  • Higashiyama (東山) Japanese in Onomichi
  • Le Miroir (ル・ミロワール) French in Fukuyama city
  • Esora (手打ちそば 笑空) Soba noodles in Onomichi city
  • Akatora (あかとら) Izakaya in Onomichi city

Quite a few people had been speculating whether Hiroshima’s soul food, okonomiyaki, would get a Michelin nod. No okonomiyaki shops received stars, but six were awarded a “Bibuguru Mark” – the Bib Gourmand – after the company mascot’s nickname Bibendum, who I’ve always known as the Michelin Man. This rating indicates “good food at reasonable prices” – that being anything up to ¥3500. It has not gone unnoticed here in Hiroshima that when the Kansai guide was published none of that regions’s inferior okonomiyaki restaurants made the cut.

Bib Gormand Okonomiyaki Restaurants

  • Icchan (いっちゃん) in Hiroshima city
  • Hassho  (八昌) in Saiki-ku and , Yagenbori, Naka-ku in Hiroshima city
  • Hira-no-ya (平の家) in Fukuyama which also serves Fuchu-yaki

Two locally loved Anago-meshi resturants, Ueno and Fujita-ya, found at Miyajima-guchi also got a Bib Gourmand. Another 40 or so places under a variety of categories including oysters, udon noodles, curry, pizza, meat, western, ramen, Spanish and Thai also received the mark of the bulbous one.

The Michelin Guide Hiroshima Special Edition, written in Japanese, goes on sale from bookshops on May 17 at ¥2250 and is available online right now here (for annual fee of ¥2310 – ¥1575 if you also have the hard copy).

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.