Along with the world heritage site of Miyajima and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, one of the areas most popular sightseeing spots is Onomichi.
There are plenty of great restaurants in the city, but this time we headed to the JR Onomichi station building. If you go to the grocery floor located in the first basement of Onomichi Fukuya…
You will see 惣菜 (souzai = side dishes) written in large characters. Why would we go all the way to Onomichi just to visit a delicatessen?! Because there is a gem of a dish we want to introduce you to!
Here in the delicatessen named Onomichi Funaben (‘boat lunch’), somewhat appropriate for a port town, you can see an abundance of different side dishes and boxed lunches. Starting with locally grown fried oysters, you can see foods made with local produce lined up on the shelves.
And here is the item I want to introduce!
Lemon Leaf Sushi!!
While Hiroshima is Japan’s No.1 area for lemon production, the Setoda area, which stretches south from Onomichi along Shimanami Kaido, boasts the largest share within the prefecture.
Before looking at the ingredients, here’s an introduction by Ms. Sugami Yoshida, the shop owner.
“Lemon leaf sushi is made with plenty of Setoda lemons. The whole lemon including the peel is grated and mixed with sushi rice, and the sushi itself is wrapped in lemon leaves. For the toppings, we use as many local ingredients as possible, so this sushi allows you to enjoy the seasonal flavors of Setouchi.”
After listening to Ms. Yoshida’s explanation in her lovely kimono, I finally open the box!
The moment I lift the lid, the fresh fragrance of lemon fills the air…. The variety of different seafood interwoven with lemon leaves forms a brilliantly colorful whole.
I try the plump shrimp first! The sweetness of the sushi rice is just right, and inside the sushi there is tsukudani (ingredients preserved with soy sauce) among other ingredients, which makes a perfect balance. Even though I finish the 6 pieces in no time, the lemon fragrance lingers and makes me feel happy for a long while.
Apparently, Ms. Yoshida’s grandfather used to run a wholesale store selling produce to the boats that sailed the Seto Inland Sea. Do come and visit the Funaben shop where the sailors of yesteryear may have had their lunches!
*Lemon leaf sushi is sold only on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays.
Location: Onomichi Funaya BF1, 1-10 Higashigosho-cho, Onomichi city, Hiroshima prefecture
Open: 9:00-18:30 *From March 10:00-19:30
Closed: New Year’s Day only
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Izumi Furukawa
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)!!
> 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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