Maybe it’s because Anita’s been making me jealous with her Japanese escapades, because David had to bring up okinomiyaki at work yesterday, because it’s mid afternoon and I haven’t eaten lunch yet, or because I have a midterm tomorrow, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about all the restaurants in Nagasaki I want to go to again. So I made a list of my top five for anybody who might be in the area. I have no idea what any of these places are called, but I think I found them on this map of the Hamanomachi are, give or take a block (thanks Google).

Traditional Sushiya
This is a tiny little place that only holds about five or six customers, and never would have been found without the guidance of my okaasan, Irie-san. It’s the type of place where you sit at the bar (no other choice) and the chef makes the sushi right in front of you, places it on the wood counter, and you pick it up and eat it right there as it’s done. I recommend the red miso soup.

I love Unagi
Everybody loves an unagi donburi. Seriously. It’s one of my favourites. Contrary to the sushiya, this is a restaurant that I knew full well was there but would never have dared enter without my okaasan, Irie-san again, to foot the bill. Eel is their specialty, but I never did get to see the menu. As soon as I sat down (on the tatami floor, shoes whisked away to some unknown location by the staff) my host mom ordered for all of us. It was fantastic.

Hyakuen Ramen
Just down the street from the unagi restaurant is a little cheap place that’s very well known in Nagasaki for it’s raamen noodles. Nothing compared to Sapporo, I’m sure, but good nonetheless. Once a year, to celebate the anniversary of their opening, they sell bowls of raamen for just 100 en, or about $1 (give or take, due to the exchange). They come in droves, but I forget which day it is. Possibly March 8th (“Sanhachi Ramen”?). Down the street, at the corner of Kankodoori, is a place that sells Udon for 100 en year round, but in that case you get what you pay for.

Okinomiyaki is one of those weird foods that I can never explain properly, because it is literally whatever you want it to be. I’m horrible at translations, but I’d say the name means something like “Fried stuff you like” or “Your favourite food” or something. Calling it “Japanese pizza” just confuses people. Oh well. This place was discovered along with Anita (and someone else… maybe Lars and Emi) in one of our wanderings around town, trying to decided where to eat. It’s on the second floor and you’d walk right by it if you weren’t looking out for their advertisement on the street. Tthe second time we tried to find it, we walked by it at least three times.) There were two other Okinomiyaki places Irie-san took me to — one where you make it yourself at your table and another where you sit at a big grill and the cook makes it there for you — but I’d never be able to find either of them again.

Aisu Kuriimu
Just need an afternoon snack on a hot summer day or dessert after one of the other restaurants, stop by this place for a parfait larger than should ever be believed. But be careful, as this is another tricky second floor place that you’ll walk by ten times if you’re not careful.

Honourable mentions, but ones I’ll never be able to find again, are that spaghetti place Laura and I went to and got free drinks at because one of my Juunshin Japanese teachers worked there, the all-garlic restaurant my first okaasan Kumazawa-san took me too (not as smelly as I expected), and that kaitenzushi place in Sanwacho that the Nishiyama family took me to (the best one I ever went to, to be sure).

For those less adventerous types, you could go to Chris’s Pizza near Suwa Jinja. He has crabs. Great pizza, too. Or, there’s always the McDonalds at the middle of Hamanomachi and two more in Yumesaito. But if you’re just going to eat a happy meal, you really shouldn’t be in Japan anyway.

Random FAQ Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Nagasaki Tour Guide”

  1. david says:

    while i was talking about the okinomiyaki, i was also craving korean pancakes…ohhhh yummm.

    i really have to go down to nyc or something this summer for some real chinese/korean/whatever foods. you can’t even get a proper spring onion pancake in the chinatown here. blah.

  2. david says:


    do you like chinese tea?
    remind me to give you some tea some time. i have this huge stash that i don’t know what to do with them cause i really only like iron buddha but my mom gave me tons of jasmine and black tea..

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