Nagoya is a battleground of foods.
Nagoya’s many kinds of “Nagoyan rice” such as kishimen (rice noodles) and miso katsu (miso cutlets) are in the spotlight by people all over the country.
A power food, hitsumabushi, a unique way of eating unagi (eel), is a must-try dish in the home city of Nagoya.
I will introduce some of Nagoya’s most popular hitumabushi restaurants.
- What is Hitsumabushi?
- How to eat Hitsuzumabushi for three times
- No.1 Atsuta Houraiken / The area around Atsuta Jingu
- No.2 Maruya Honten / Around Nagoya Station
- No.3 Hitsumabushi Inou Eska / Around Nagoya Station
- No.4 Hitsumabushi Nagoya Binchou Lasik / Sakae Area
- No. 5 Unafuji / Tsurumai area
- No.6 Shirakawa Joshin Honten / Nagoya Castle Area
- No.7 Ichibiki / Around Nagoya Station
- No.8 Unagi Kiya / Around Nagoya Station
- No. 9 Ibasho / Sakae Area
- No.10 Miyakagi / Nagoya Station and surroundings
- No. 11 Owada / The area around Atsuta Shrine
- No.12 Nagoya Namazuya / Chikusa area
- Summary and Map of Hitumabushi Shop
What is Hitsumabushi?
Rice is spread over a Ohitsu (a special bowl) and grilled and chopped eel is placed on top of it.
You eat it mixed with rice and eel.
It is the feature that you change way to eat as you go along first, second and third.
How to eat Hitsuzumabushi for three times
hitsumabushi is a dish of thin, savory unagi (eel) carved into strips and served on a bed of rice. The most distinctive feature of hitsumabushi is the way it is eaten. Here are some of the most common ways to eat Hitsumabushi.
How to Eat Hitsumabushi
For the first set, enjoy the taste of the dish as it is.
The second set is accented with green onions and wasabi on top.
For the third set, the condiments and chopped seaweed are topped on top of the second set and dashi is poured over the top, making it “unachazuke“!
The combination of the unagi fat, the excellent sauce, and the mildly fragrant dashi broth makes it easy to forget that this is the third meal, and it sits so smoothly in your stomach.
For the last meal, you can choose the way you feel the most delicious among the three.
By adding a variety of flavors, you can eat hitsumabushi without even bothering.
Enjoying every last bite, this is the Nagoya way!
No.1 Atsuta Houraiken / The area around Atsuta Jingu
“Hitsumabushi” is actually a registered trademark of this restaurant!
The winner of the award is Atsuta Houraiken.
Founded in 1873, its sauce, which is said to have been protected by the air defense system during the war as a representative of Nagoya’s flavor, has been orally handed down only to the founder’s family, and is characterized by its extreme mellowness.
The sauce is passed down only to the founder’s family and is extremely mellow.
Ochazuke, served in bonito broth, is also unquestionably delicious.
There is a never-ending line for this restaurant, so you may come back to the restaurant after you’ve enjoyed sightseeing in Nagoya.
Access: 7 minutes on foot from Denmacho subway station
Price: 3,990 yen (including tax) for Hitsuzumabushi
No.2 Maruya Honten / Around Nagoya Station
You can only enjoy the taste of this restaurant if you pay close attention to pickles and tea.
The second ranked is Maruya Honten.
This is another famous restaurant that has many enthusiastic fans across the country.
The eels are carefully selected from designated suppliers according to the season.
Only the best, fattiest eels are judged with craftsmanship.
The sauce, which can be called the restaurant’s “life“, is based on the traditional sauce and is mixed with several types of soy sauce and mirin in a strangely balance.
With a direct connection to JR Nagoya Station, this restaurant is popular with business travelers as well.
Access: Directly connected to JR Nagoya Station
Price: mini-hitsumabushi 2,550 yen (including tax), whole-hitsumabushi 3,250 yen (including tax), high-hitsumabushi 3,850 yen (including tax)
No.3 Hitsumabushi Inou Eska / Around Nagoya Station
Crispy and thick! Eels and happiness are both packed in a rice bowl
The crispy, fragrantly grilled skin and plump, first-class flesh.
Hitsumabushi Inou’s Hitsumabushi is a dish of exquisite unagi (eel) served on a table crammed in bowl and served with a rich, sweet and spicy sauce that was created through trial and error.
At 2,980 yen including tax (3,720 yen including tax for the Kamihitsumabushi), you can enjoy such luxurious and delicious food at a relatively reasonable price, which is only possible at Inou!
The Eska shop is about a 3-minute walk from JR Nagoya Station. It is a stylish shop with a modern Japanese atmosphere, marked by a large white curtain.
Access: 3 minutes walk from JR Nagoya Station.
Price: Hitsumabushi 2,980 yen (including tax), Kami-hitsumabushi 3,720 yen (including tax)
No.4 Hitsumabushi Nagoya Binchou Lasik / Sakae Area
With its golden glow and fragrant smell, it will impress you like never before.
The reason why hitsumabushi Nagoya Binchou is so delicious is because it is the ultimate in grille.
Eels are grilled over high heat using binchotan charcoal without the steaming process, and the fragrant, elastic flesh and crispy skin will delight your thirst.
The new rice, which would be a feast in itself, and the slightly thicker sauce made with Aichi’s finest Tamari Shoyu (soy sauce) and mirin, which are the pride of the local area, and the eels, which are carefully selected by the chef, are all part of this magnificent collaboration.
The combination of these two ingredients makes for a dish that needs no explanation.
The Lasik restaurant is a three-minute walk from Sakae subway station.
It’s a great place to stop by after a day of shopping in Sakae.
Access: 3 minutes walk from Sakae Subway Station
Price: Hitsumabushi 3,400 yen (excluding tax), Kami-hitsumabushi 4,250 yen (excluding tax)
No. 5 Unafuji / Tsurumai area
This is a famous restaurant that serves not only Hitsumabushi, but also rice bowls and other dishes.
In the competitive gourmet district of Nagoya, “Unafuji” has become a famous restaurant in just 25 years.
Its excellent taste is proven by its selection as Bib Gourmand in the “Michelin Guide Aichi, Gifu and Mie 2019“.
They stock a steady stream of truly delicious unagi (eels), which are bright blue in color and well-fleshed to the tail, and serve them with a sauce that you cannot get anywhere else.
It’s no wonder that people line up for their meals every day.
They also have a popular “En-Yukari” table for people with disabilities.
Forward-looking Hitsumabushi is waiting for you at Tsurumai Subway Station, about 8 minutes on foot.
Access: 8 minutes walk from Tsurumai subway station
Price: Hitsumabushi 4,400 yen (excluding tax), hitsumabushi with liver (limited edition) 5,600 yen (excluding tax), top hitsumabushi 6,100 yen (excluding tax), top hitsumabushi with liver (limited edition) 7,300 yen (excluding tax)
No.6 Shirakawa Joshin Honten / Nagoya Castle Area
You’ll enjoy every last bit of rice in a bowl! Moving experience!
Shirakawa’s Hitsumabushi is a delight for its customers with the right amount of fat, flavor, and flavorful skin.
The restaurant selects the best eels that are available at the right season.
In addition to this, the Japanese brand rice and the secret sauce that has been matured give eel powerful taste, and it makes highest level of flavor.
Then, a finale is served with ochazuke, a richly aromatic broth based on light broth.
You are guaranteed to be moved over and over again.
Access: 1 minute walk from Josin Subway Station
Price: Shirakawa’s Hitsumabushi 2,800 yen (including tax), mini Hitsumabushi 1,880 yen (including tax), high Hitsumabushi 3,460 yen (including tax), special Hitsumabushi 4,990 yen (including tax)
No.7 Ichibiki / Around Nagoya Station
Enjoy unagi (eel) at a restaurant in the Nagoya business district!
Eels served so extravagantly that they almost overflow from the bowl are marinated in sweet and spicy sauce and grilled with binchotan charcoal, resulting in an almost crispy, savory finish.
Numbered tickets are given out from 10:00 a.m., and they end as soon as tickets are gone.
Please note that this restaurant is called “unagi-mabushi” on the menu.
Access: About 15 minutes on foot from JR Nagoya Station.
Price: 3,600 yen (including tax) for the small-sized eel bun, 4,000 yen (including tax) for the large-sized eel bun
No.8 Unagi Kiya / Around Nagoya Station
The deep taste of a long-established restaurant will charm you!
Every time you pass by, the smell of grilled eel is sure to whet your appetite.
The smell makes you want to stop in front of “Unagi Kiya“, which was established in the late Edo period.
The sauce, which is sticky and wraps around the eel, boasts a deep, sweet and spicy flavor that captivates Nagoya people who love strong flavors.
So it’s a local Nagoya flavor!
They let eels swim in water to remove the smell, and then grilled over high heat with Kishu-binchotan charcoal to make them crispy.
You will be hesitate to finish your meal, but your chopsticks will go on and your bowl will soon be empty.
This is the work of a long-standing restaurant!
Access: 4 minutes on foot from City Hall subway station
Price: Ohitsumabushi 3,000 yen (including tax), Upper Ohitsumabushi 3,700 yen (including tax), Special Ohitsumabushi 4,700 yen (including tax)
No. 9 Ibasho / Sakae Area
Ibasho, one of the birthplace of Hitsumabushi, is a restaurant with unbeatable taste!
Although located in Sakae, Nagoya’s busiest area, “Ibasho” has a quiet atmosphere and an unshakable presence with a traditional taste that has been preserved.
Founded in the late Meiji era, it is one of the birthplaces of Hitsumabushi.
If you order hitsumabushi for two or more people, the portions are placed on one large Ohitsu and served to you.
This is said to be the proper way to eat.
Sencha(tea) is served with ochazuke.
If you prefer a stronger taste, you can try the secret sauce here.
Access: 5 minutes on foot from Sakae Subway Station
Price: Hitsumabushi 3,250 yen
No.10 Miyakagi / Nagoya Station and surroundings
The ultimate choice between eel and chicken, looming for the old shop!
Established in 1899. Miyakagi is a long-established restaurant specializing in Kashiwa (chicken) and eel.
The restaurant has about 130 seats.
You can enjoy the pride of Nagoya’s traditional flavors in a relaxed atmosphere.
The miso-suki chicken nabe is very popular, but the hitsumabushi is a must-try dish.
The bouncy meat is irresistible!
Eel or Kashiwa – the ultimate choice.
By the way, if you choose to have a one-course meal, you can enjoy both in a luxurious way.
Access: 15 minutes walk from JR Nagoya station, 7 minutes walk from Fushimi subway station
Price: Hitsumabushi 3,800 yen (tax included), Hitsumabushi set meal 4,280 yen (tax included)
No. 11 Owada / The area around Atsuta Shrine
Enjoying the beautiful view of the garden while tucking into the exquisite “Hitsumabushi!
The elegant white walls of “Owada” are eye-catching.
They are proud of thick-fleshed eels, which are slow-roasted and soft.
The homemade sweet and spicy sauce highlight the original flavor of the eel, creating an elegant taste.
The third set of “Hitsumabushi”, a hearty dish, is served with bancha (green tea) instead of dashi (Japanese soup stock) so that you can enjoy it until the last bite.
The restaurant’s high-class Japanese-style garden, which is the pride of the restaurant, is also amazing.
Enjoy the beautiful view while tasting the highest quality food.
About a 3-minute walk from Jingu Nishi Subway Station.
Close to Atsuta Shrine, so you can visit after visiting the shrine.
Access: About 3 minutes on foot from Jingu Nishi Subway Station
Price: Hitsumabushi-ordinary 3,000 yen (including tax), Hitsumabushi-ue 3,600 yen (including tax), Hitsumabushi-special 4,200 yen (including tax)
No.12 Nagoya Namazuya / Chikusa area
The ultimate taste of sparkling, outstanding craftsmanship!
The eels are slowly grilled and soaked in the secret sauce.
Nagoya Namazuya selects only the thickest and softest domestic eels that are tasty at any given time, regardless of the brand name, and makes them crispy and fluffy.
The sauce, which has been made with additional ingredients since the establishment of the restaurant, has a rich and deep flavor.
And they do not forget to adjust the flavor to be spicy in summer and sweet in winter.
Finally, pour some dashi to make a perfect ochazuke.
It’s hard to put into words, but you’ll have an unforgettable experience here.
Access: 5 minutes on foot from Chikusa Subway Station
Price: Hitsumabushi 3,300 yen (excluding tax), Hitsumabushi small size 2,100 yen (excluding tax), Hitsumabushi extra 4,175 yen (excluding tax)
Summary and Map of Hitumabushi Shop
Hitsumabushi is a dish that highlights the luxury ingredient, eel, three times over.
Eel, rice, sauce, condiments and dashi, a simple composition, yet this is a dish of happiness that will bring you new discoveries and impressions time and time again.
It’s sure to satisfy you, no matter which restaurant or way you eat it!
I’m proud to recommend Nagoya hitsumabushi to you.