While researching Miyajima one may assume that this tiny island with its Shinto shrines and scenic views of nature might lack an entry in any culinary journal. Those that make that assumption find how wrong they were the moment they walk around Miyajima’s main streets. Step into any restaurant and feast on seafood caught in the local waters. Get a jolt of caffeine while sipping espresso drinks or indulge in ice cream served on a sweet bun. Satisfy your food cravings by sampling any of the snacks offered by the local street food vendors.
With Miyajima’s proximity to water, seafood dishes take the top spot at many of the island’s restaurants. Miyajima’s most popular seafood dishes include conger eel and oysters caught in local waters. For a taste of both conger eel and oysters visit Tori-I. Those who wish to eat oysters may order inside the restaurant or from the takeout window to the right of the entrance. Order the oysters raw, grilled, or deep-fried. Those that order the grilled oysters will find them seasoned with a soy-sauce based sauce. Diners sitting inside the restaurant may choose from such dishes as udon with shrimp or grilled conger eel. The grilled conger eel sits on a bed of rice in a bento box.
Miyajima Itsuki Coffee
For a classic cafe experience head to Itsuki Coffee. The menu at Itsuki Coffee has various espresso choices, served either iced or hot. Besides espresso the menu features pastries such as muffins, scones, and biscotti. This cafe is perfect for visitors needing a caffeine fix or somewhere to sit and unwind. Itsuki Coffee’s décor is modern but warm with wood accents. Seating is available inside, or outside with weather permitting.
Regardless of the day’s temperature, few can resist the draw of warm baked dessert bread with ice cream. The chain Melon-Pan Ice opened a location in Miyajima, where tourists and locals both line-up for tasty treats. Melon-Pan is the name of a sweet bun popular in Japan. The bread bun is soft in the inside but the top has a thin layer of crispy dough that resembles that of a cut and diced melon. Melon-Pan Ice takes the fresh-baked warm bun, cuts it in half, and adds a scoop of ice cream. The resulting combination is so delicious that a nearby sign proclaiming it as “Japanese soul food” isn’t an exaggeration.
Miyajima Street Food
For those in need of a quick bite, or if you don’t have time to sit at a restaurant, you’ll find many street side vendors selling various snacks. One dish in particular to try is a fried pastry made in the shape of a star. These fried stars come filled with your choice of cheese, custard cream, or red bean. Non-fried options include fresh-baked steamed buns filled with beef. Another popular street vendor sells rolled up fish cakes, grilled and served to customers right off the hot stove.