Exploring Iwakuni's Local Cuisine: Dishes, Restaurants & Traditional Recipes

Exploring Iwakuni's Local Cuisine: Dishes, Restaurants & Traditional Recipes

Exploring Iwakuni's Local Cuisine: Dishes, Restaurants & Traditional Recipes

Iwakuni, a beautiful city located in the Yamaguchi Prefecture of Japan, offers a rich culinary experience filled with traditional flavors and local specialties. From mouthwatering sushi to hearty ramen, there is something to satisfy every palate. In this guide, we will take a closer look at Iwakuni's local cuisine, recommend some must-visit restaurants, and even share a few traditional recipes that you can try at home.

1. Sushi: A Delight for Seafood Lovers

No visit to Iwakuni is complete without indulging in the exquisite sushi offerings. The city is known for its fresh seafood, and sushi is the perfect way to experience the flavors of the ocean. Whether you prefer nigiri, maki, or sashimi, you can find a variety of sushi restaurants scattered throughout the city. Some recommended places to try include:

  • Sushiya: Located in the heart of Iwakuni, Sushiya offers a wide selection of sushi made with locally sourced ingredients. The cozy atmosphere and skilled chefs make it a must-visit for sushi lovers.
  • Kaitenzushi: For a unique dining experience, visit one of Iwakuni's kaitenzushi restaurants. These conveyor belt sushi joints offer a fun and interactive way to enjoy your meal. Simply pick your favorite dishes as they come by on the belt.

2. Ramen: Warm and Savory Noodles

When it comes to comfort food, ramen is always a top choice. Iwakuni boasts several ramen shops that serve up steaming bowls of noodles in flavorful broths. The city offers various types of ramen, each with its own unique twist. Some popular ramen shops in Iwakuni include:

  • Iwakuni Ramen: This local favorite serves a classic soy-based ramen topped with slices of char siu pork, bamboo shoots, and green onions. The rich broth and chewy noodles are sure to satisfy your cravings.
  • Tonkotsu Ramen Ichiban: If you're a fan of rich and creamy broths, this place is a must-visit. Their tonkotsu ramen features a hearty pork bone broth that is simmered for hours, resulting in a velvety texture and deep flavor.

3. Kintaikyo Mitarashi: A Traditional Iwakuni Sweet

After enjoying your savory dishes, it's time to indulge in a traditional Iwakuni sweet. Kintaikyo Mitarashi is a local delicacy that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is a skewered mochi rice cake dipped in a sweet soy glaze. The combination of the chewy mochi and the caramelized glaze creates a delightful treat. You can find Kintaikyo Mitarashi at various sweet shops around Iwakuni.

Traditional Recipes: Bringing Iwakuni Cuisine into Your Kitchen

If you're feeling adventurous and want to recreate some Iwakuni flavors at home, here are a couple of traditional recipes to try:

1. Okonomiyaki: Iwakuni-style Savory Pancake


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dashi (Japanese soup stock)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • Okonomiyaki sauce (available at Japanese grocery stores)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Aonori (seaweed flakes)
  • Bonito flakes (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and dashi until smooth.
  2. Add the shredded cabbage, bacon, green onions, and eggs to the bowl. Mix well.
  3. Heat a greased griddle or pan over medium heat. Pour the batter onto the griddle, forming a circular pancake shape. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown.
  4. Flip the pancake and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until the other side is golden brown and the cabbage is cooked through.
  5. Remove the pancake from the griddle and transfer it to a plate.
  6. Drizzle okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise over the pancake. Sprinkle with aonori and bonito flakes, if desired.
  7. Cut the pancake into slices and serve hot.

2. Zunda Mochi: A Sweet Iwakuni Delight


  • 2 cups cooked sticky rice (mochi rice)
  • 1 cup edamame beans, shelled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Water, as needed


  1. In a blender or food processor, blend the cooked edamame beans until smooth. Add water as needed to create a paste-like consistency.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the edamame paste and sugar over low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly.
  3. Divide the sticky rice into small portions and shape them into oval or round balls.
  4. Dip the sticky rice balls into the warm edamame paste, coating them evenly.
  5. Serve the zunda mochi immediately or refrigerate for later enjoyment.

Now that you have a taste of Iwakuni's local cuisine, it's time to plan your culinary adventure. Whether you choose to dine at recommended restaurants or try your hand at traditional recipes, the flavors of Iwakuni are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Iwakuni, Japan