Onomichi is a town famous for being the setting for Yasujiro Ozu’s “Tokyo Story” and Nobuhiko Obayashi’s “Toki o kakeru shojo”, among others.
Walking up the hill while gazing at the nostalgic townscape, suddenly there is an interesting sign that reads: Traveler’s! Onomichi is a town with many ascends and descends. Climbing up a hill you’ll become hungry. After becoming hungry, how about eating okonomiyaki at Ponta’s?
Lured by the sign, I open the door of the small (5 or 6 seats) okonomiyaki restaurant to find a cheerful lady wearing a bandana!
“The most popular dish? Well it has to be the zuridama with chicken gizzard (gizzard = ‘zuri’ and ‘dama’ refers to the noodles). When you add some squid tempura it’s delicious!”
Ms. Chiemi Watanabe from the okonomiyaki restaurant “Ponta” recommends chicken gizzard and squid tempura as fillings. In this area, gizzard is called ‘zuri‘, but in east Japan it’s called ‘sunagimo’. The squid tempura, said to originate in Onomichi, is made by putting batter on dried squid after it’s been roasted, and then deep-frying it.
This is the local okonomiyaki that in Hiroshima is called “Onomichi-yaki”.
Thanks to an NHK morning drama called “Teppan”, which ran from 2010 to 2011, it became well known all over Japan.
My okonomiyaki is done! Copying the locals, I enjoy the dish straight from the iron griddle using my spatula.
Chomp, chomp… chomp, chomp, chomp… yum! Oh? Though the dish is quite voluminous, I finished before I even noticed!
Despite all the ingredients seeming to be quite strong in flavor, such as gizzard, squid tempura, garlic and black pepper in the background, the overall impression of the dish is quite light.
“The flavor is strong, but it doesn’t feel heavy in your stomach, so you feel like eating it time and time again!” says Ms. Chiemi. Actually, there are regular customers who come from outside the prefecture just to eat at this restaurant!
By the way, are you curious about the origins of the restaurant’s name, Ponta? Actually Ponta is the name of a wild tanuki that Ms. Chiemi and her husband used to take care of. “Ponta had a wife too, we called her Ponko. While we were taking care of them, they had 7 pups!”
Within the restaurant you can find a photograph of “Ponta” and “Ponko”.
Ms. Chiemi seems very happy while talking about the Ponta family. Ponta first appeared over 15 years ago, so you won’t be able to see him anymore, but even now there are many cute tanuki items standing in a row in front of the store.
“Ponta” is located in the middle of Onomichi’s popular “Old Temple Loop course”. Walking along the charming stone paved alleys, it feels almost as if even now you might run into a cute tanuki family.
Address: 12-34 Nishikubo, Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture
Business hours: 10:00〜18:00
– Okonomiyaki starting from JPY550
– Yakisoba starting from JPY500 (Toppings: Meat, raw squid, squid tempura, mochi, chicken gizzard, shrimp, clam)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Izumi Yoshikawa
Izumi Furukawa Hello. My name is Izumi Furukawa and I was born in Kagawa Prefecture. Before getting married in 2012, I wrote for various magazine companies and Internet based media organizations in Tokyo. After marrying, I moved to Hiroshima and am now raising my child as well as writing stories about my fascination with this area through Setouchi Finder. Most of the articles I write are about places I visit on weekends with my family. My favorite driving course is Route 375 from Saijyo to the Miyoshi Area, and my favorite food from the Hiroshima area is Anagomeshi (from Miyajima)!!
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