As New Year’s well wishes fade from conversations across Japan, an unspoken but equally cheerful sentiment permeates the atmosphere of Hiroshima Prefecture: “Happy Oyster Season!” Echoes of this can of course be heard and tasted year around in the prefecture, but the abundance and quality of oysters harvested in the winter months turns late January-February into the quite celebration.
Wherever your tastebuds lie on the shellfish enthusiasm, scale, Hiroshima’s diverse methods of preparation, the season’s swell of availability, and related drop in prices, are sure to keep your mind and mouth open to the possibilities.
If you’re most familiar with your oysters served on the half-shell, you may be surprised to discover some of the popular Japanese options. Although you can find some delicious ‘nama-gaki’, raw oysters, around Hiroshima, the Japanese specialties usually involve some heat. Most common is the ‘kaki fry’ or fried oysters, which are served mostly in set meals with Worcestershire or tartar sauce on the side.
The fried oysters are widely available at many restaurants and even supermarkets during the winter months in Hiroshima. A set meal featuring kaki-fry will usually set you back between 1000-1500 yen, and you can typically buy a package of them at the grocery store for around 500 yen.
Hiroshima Oyster Road
This is the name given to a few restaurants that open both seasonally and year-around for oyster-lovers in Hiroshima. Here are two of its popular restaurants to try:
Oyster Hut Ujina
Open: (seasonally from October 24, 2015) 10:30am-9:00pm
Location: in Hiroshima Minato Park, Ujinakaigan 1-chome, Minami-ku, Hiroshima City
Official Website (Japanese): http://www.hiroshima-oyster.com/area/
Oyster Hut Fukuromachi
Open: (all year) 5:00pm-12:00am
Location: 8-11 Fukuromachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City
Official Website (Japanese): http://umihei.com/
If you make your way to Miyajima island, there are many stalls that sell another version of the oysters, grilled. It’s a great way to test out the idea of cooking the shellfish that won’t break the bank. At most stalls you can buy 3 shells for 500 yen, and during this season the streets are even more crowded with vendors selling the juicy dish.
The most popular area to get your oyster fill is anywhere along Omotesando, the shopping street.
Reference website (English)
To continue reading a full story and learn about Oyster Season in Hiroshima, please click Getting Into the Spirit of the Hiroshima Oyster Season