“Uontana Shopping Street” has a 400-year history in Akashi City.
Uontana Shopping Street is located on the south side of JR and Sanyo Electric Railway Akashi Station, and it is about a 3-minute walk from the station.
This shopping street has a long history.
Fish merchants sold fish on big wooden boards lined up in front of houses in the castle town of Akashi around 400 years ago, when Akashi Castle was built.
This is the origin of the name “Uontana” (the shelves of fish).
There are about 110 shops in the 350m long arcade, selling fresh fish and marine products.
You can get various kinds of seafood here!
10 o’clock in the morning.
You will find many delicious “sozai” dishes on the counter of each shop.
The local specialties of Uontana are cooked soft octopus, grilled conger eels, and kugini (a kind of tsukudani, or fish boiled down in soy sauce), sand lance…
Moreover, there is tempura, croquettes, and kamaboko (steamed fish paste)…
It makes you hungry just to look at all this food!
“Mitsuboshi Kamaboko,” the taste of memories for people from Akashi
“Mitsuboshi Kamaboko,” the shop with the big 3-D octopus signboard, is a “tempura” shop which opened after the war.
Actually, “satsuma-age” (deep-fried minced fish and vegetables) is called “tempura” in western Japan.
Therefore, this shop mainly sells a kind of “tempura” which is a kind of deep-fried kamaboko.
There are many unique “tempuras” here, such as whole conger eel role, octopus with green laver, and whatever vegetables are in season.
The long time best-seller is “hand-made jo-hiraten (fine flat tempura).”
This tempura is a little bit thinner than the regular one, and has a slightly sweet taste.
Many people living in Akashi have eaten this one since they were kids.
Yes, the size is pretty ample for a between-meals snack.
But maybe you won’t be able to stop eating because it is so tasty, and it is easy to have 2 or 3 pieces at once.
This octopus kamaboko, which is full of big pieces of Akashi octopus, is very popular among people from outside of Hyogo as a souvenir.
小見出し／If you want to get fresh fish, head to “Hiruami” of “Uori Shoten.”
Mr. Toshimichi Ohigashi, the owner of “Uori Shoten” gave me some very important information.
“If you want to get fresh fish, the best time is around noon.”
The fish sold in the morning is of course fresh, but the fish from “Hiruami” is sold at the counter of this shop after noon.
“Hiruami” is a very unique style of retail shops which take part in the auction of the fish unloaded during the daytime at the fish market.
Therefore fresh fish is sold without the middleman in this store.
What will be the special of the day…?
You never know what you might get until it’s shown on the counter, but this is what makes it really exciting!
“Tamago-yaki” with soft and light temptation of “Yoshikawa.”
If you are hungry and want to have a snack, I would recommend you try the “tamago-yaki” known as “Akashi-yaki,” the specialty of Akashi, which is grilled dumplings with bits of octopus inside.
“Tamago” means “egg” and “yaki” means “cooked” or “grilled.”
Actually, Akashi-yaki is like “takoyaki” (octopus dumplings), but much softer and lighter than takoyaki.
“Yoshikawa” is the oldest tamago-yaki shop among those in Uontana Shopping Street, which opened right after the war.
Two generations of shop owners have preserved its taste since it opened..
When you watch someone make tamago-yaki, maybe you will be concerned that it cannot be cooked well or tasty because the batter is so watery.
But, don’t worry!
You will get soft tamago-yaki after 5 minutes.
Only skillful cooks can make this sensitive tamago-yaki, using only heat and chopsticks.
It is pretty hard to eat properly because it is so soft!
Actually, it is like eating “chawan-mushi,” a Japanese cuisine which is a custard-like egg and vegetable dish, steamed in a cup.
To eat this, dip one into the dashi-soup briefly, and slurp it up.
You will find a delicate taste of dashi complementing mild tamago-yaki.
If you dunk it in soup for too long (don’t wait for longer than a few seconds), it will dissolve, and you cannot retrieve it with your chopsticks.
But I think you won’t be able to stop eating them one after another.
Dashi is the most important flavoring for Yoshikawa’s tamago-yaki.
They use dashi made from kelp for tamago-yaki, and dashi made from kelp and dried bonito for dashi-soup.
Using more dried-bonito shavings than “people think is good” is the secret of the taste.
The local octopus is of course the principal ingredient in tamago-yaki.
The catch has been declining recently, and the price is getting higher. However, Ms. Chisa Imamura (the person in the middle), the hostess of the shop says, “it has to be octopus from Akashi.”
“We cannot cheat people who already know how it tastes,” she says, and smiles.
“Tako-meshi (octopus rice)” is also exquisite, and is recommended as a side dish with tamago-yaki.
Maybe you will end up with many shopping bags in both your hands, but don’t forget to bring a cooler bag if you want to buy some fresh fish.
Please enjoy this shopping street, which will appeal to both your eyes and your taste buds!
Uontana Shopping Street (the office of Uontana Shopping Street)
Address／2nd floor of Uonoeki, 1-1-16, Honmachi, Akashi-shi, Hyogo
*Business hours and closing days differ for each shop, so please confirm them on websites.
Nearest station／JR Akashi Station, Sanyo Electric Railway Akashi Station
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> 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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