Uno Port in Tamano, Okayama prefecture is the access point to the art islands of Naoshima and Teshima. A suitable prologue to a trip to the islands, the port itself is a hidden art spot with works found here and there.
This piece by the seashore is the famous “Uno no Chinu” (‘The Black Sea Bream of Uno’). Created from garbage and driftage, visitors should definitely see this impressive work.
There are also plenty of charming restaurants to be found in the port area.
Located just 5-minutes walk from the port, this time we visited Osaka-ya. Feast your eyes on this noren‘s sincere message (a short sign curtain placed at the shop entrance)! I feel my expectations won’t be let down.
Filled with sunlight and local regulars ranging from high school girls to the elderly, this spacious restaurant is open from lunchtime to evening.
At the very reasonable price of JPY600, the restaurant’s most popular dish is this fish set meal, which includes a large bowl of rice, miso soup, a small side dish (seasoned, cold tofu at lunchtime), and pickles!
Bought at the neighborhood fish market, six to eight types of Seto Inland Sea fish including mackerel and Pacific saury fill the counter. They can be boiled in soy sauce, seasoned with salt and deep fried, etc. The system at the restaurant is that you pick a fish from among those on offer, so I choose the delicious-looking fried sea bream seasoned with salt.
I was taken away by the seafood broth miso soup with a soft boiled egg floating in the middle – a perfect combination (offered only at lunchtime)! The soup brings a wave of happiness, and I feel I’d be satisfied with just this and some rice.
This katsudon (deep fried pork cutlets on rice) is another popular dish (JPY650, served with miso soup).
Due to the Setouchi Triennale, many international tourists visit the area. As to them it is “the Japanese meal”, a lot of them order katsudon. The texture of the soft boiled egg is just right, and the thick pork cutlets are covered in crispy batter. The international tourists who see this as “the Japanese katsudon” are a very lucky group!
By the way, why is the restaurant called “Osaka-ya”?
We directed this question to Ms. Hiromi Yokota who runs the restaurant. “My mother married here from the Kansai area, and opened a set meal restaurant after the war. She named it after her hometown.”
Protecting the set meal restaurant for 65 years in the same place, the shop is currently managed by Mr. and Ms. Yokota and their daughter.
The secret ingredient at Osaka-ya is its friendly family atmosphere and warm interactions. Do come by at the start or finish of your trip, you won’t be disappointed.
Location: 2-3-20 Chikko, Tamano city, Okayama prefecture
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Eri Hatano
Eri Hatano I was born in Miyazaki Prefecture in 1978 and now live in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture. I used to be a newspaper journalist, but work as a freelance writer now. Though I left Ehime 2 years ago, I did not forget the place itself nor the unfailing hospitality and warmth of its people. I finally returned in the spring of 2017. I am absolutely positive that anyone who visits Ehime, even just once, will fall in love with it. That is why I write articles to support those who plan to visit.
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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