A hidden gem of Hiroshima City’s nightlife and a perfect place to sink your teeth into some okonomiyaki.
Osuga Cho, a hidden gem of Hiroshima City’s nightlife, is jam-packed with tiny restaurants and bars. The neighborhood’s nickname, Eki-nishi, gives a clue as to its convenient location: immediately west (nishi) of Hiroshima station (eki).
Osuga Cho’s restaurants are neither pretentious nor expensive. The collection of shops, compressed into just five narrow alleys, offer a range of fare. You can find classics like Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki (layered savory pancake), teppanyaki (food cooked on an iron griddle), and Hiroshima-style tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen alongside Okinawan cuisine, high-quality Japanese food, and Western food. There’s even a little place offering after-dinner drip coffee and a standing bar (search 盤処呑処FRESH) doubling as a record shop tucked into Osuga Cho’s deepest corner.
The neighborhood’s streets light up at night with laughter from the restaurants spilling out into the dark. Narrow steep stairs and positively minuscule bathrooms are an Osuga Cho trademark; the restaurant interiors, narrow themselves, are warm and elegant.
Osuga Cho’s cramped layout is a stark contrast to the wide boulevards so common in Hiroshima as if the neighborhood escaped the post-war city planning measures. Although Osuga Cho’s trendy transformation is apparently a semi-recent development, it’s still possible to catch a glimpse of the past. Older shops, including “snacks” (hostess bar lite), karaoke bars, and truly grungy okonomiyaki shops, stubbornly hang on to their territory.
Although it may be difficult for Osuga Cho’s restaurants to seat a great number of walk-ins all at once, the neighborhood is ideal for small groups or lone extroverts. Because space is so limited in most of the restaurants, with the first floor often containing only a kitchen and counter seating, it’s relatively easy to chat with the owner or other customers. Luckily for introverts, people generally keep to themselves on the slightly more spacious second floor.