Awaji Island, located in the Seto Inland Sea is the largest island in that region. Throughout history, Awaji has been renowned as “Miketsukuni,” as its abundant seafood and produce have been offered to the Imperial Court over the centuries. In this Food travel article we would like to introduce the local specialties of Awaji Island and where you can go and eat them. Make sure to check out our list of itineraries to plan a perfect Awaji trip for you and your companions!
Table of Contents
Food Travel: Awaji Island Local Specialties
Awaji Island Onions
No Onion No Life!
Among the remarkable array of specialties found on Awaji Island, the onions stand above all else perhaps. Awaji Island onions have gained popularity primarily due to their remarkable sweetness. This exceptional taste can be attributed to the abundant sunlight the island receives and the mineral-rich composition of its soil. In fact, these onions are approximately 1.4 times sweeter than your average variety. Characterized by their tender texture and elevated moisture content, Awaji Island onions can be consumed without cooking, making them a perfect addition to salads when enjoyed raw.
Awaji onions are not only a key ingredient in local dishes but are also appreciated nationwide. They are often used in salads, soups, and even as tempura. Don’t miss the chance to taste these crisp and sweet onions when visiting!
The “Awaji Beef” title is reserved for only a handful of cattle, guaranteeing that only the finest and most exceptional animals are granted the privilege of being called “Awaji Beef”. Through these meticulous requirements, “Awaji Beef” has earned the name, “phantom beef” due to its exceptional rarity. The scarcity and exclusivity of this premium meat enhance its appeal, making it a sought-after delicacy for those fortunate enough to enjoy its unmatched flavor and quality. Only about 150 cows are shipped out each year, making it a rare and must-try food on your trip to Awaji Island.
Awaji Beef also stands out for its remarkable quality flavor and exquisite marbling. When indulging in this delicacy, one can savor the harmonious interplay of flavors, where each element complements the other to create a savory and mellow taste.
It is worth noting that Awaji Island cattle serves as a crucial foundation for Japan’s renowned beef brands. Remarkably, around 65% of the widely recognized brand beef, such as Kobe Beef originates from calves that were initially born and nurtured on Awaji Island.
Awaji Island Ebisu Sea Bream
Awaji Island Ebisu Sea Bream is a new brand of fish that debuted in the autumn of 2021. The brand refers to natural sea breams caught at fishing ports around Awaji Island. Awaji Island is surrounded by three straits — the Naruto Straits, Akashi Straits, and Kitan Straits. They are known for their powerful tides and this results in a rich supply of flavorful, high-quality sea bream. The rapid currents also encourage these sea bream to be active, leading to a muscular texture and exceptional taste.
Awaji Island Ebisu Sea Bream is a culinary delight available at inns and restaurants across the island and is truly an authentic representation of Awaji Island’s maritime magnificence.
Awaji Island Shirasu (Whitebait)
Hyogo Prefecture holds a distinguished reputation for its valuable shirasu (whitebait), proudly bearing the title of Japan’s largest contributor of the ingredient. Nestled in an optimal maritime location and blessed with abundant fishing grounds, Awaji Island is a significant provider of this small and cute looking fish.
As a result, restaurants that showcase this delicacy hold an esteemed reputation, adeptly turning shirasu into a culinary gem.
Hamo, the esteemed Japanese pike conger, shines a spotlight on Awaji Island’s culinary scene. A sought-after delicacy, hamo graces the table as a seasonal treat that enchants refined tastes. During the summer months, the enticing call of Awaji Island’s hamo draws numerous guests to try this specialty.
The hamo found on Awaji Island has a distinctive physique, featuring a compact body and elegant form, with a majority being females. These pike congers are caught one by one using a special method ensuring their meat remains intact. They are harvested from the water near Nushima (an island south from Awaji) and mature in soft sandy surroundings, safeguarding the delicate belly skin from friction and resulting in a tender texture. The environment of Naruto Strait is believed to contribute to the superior meat quality, richness, and color of Awaji Island’s hamo.
Best Places to Eat Awaji Island Cuisine
There are multiple food travel places on Awaji Island where you can easily and reasonably eat all of these local specialties. Here we have listed some of those places but be sure to check our other restaurants for more of the island’s delicacies!
Ocean Terrace: Awaji Beef Menu
Ocean Terrace is one of the restaurants located on Awaji Island that owns Awaji Beef Certification. As its name suggests, the restaurant provides an inviting atmosphere, offering terrace seating that affords captivating views of the clear blue sky and the enchanting Seto Inland Sea, which shimmers with the sun’s reflection.
|816 Nojimahikinoura, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1721
|Lunch 11:30~15:00 (L.O.14:00) / Dinner 17:00~21:00 (L.O.20:00)
Auberge “French Forest”: La Rose
Auberge “French Forest” is widely renowned as one of the most luxurious restaurants on Awaji Island. It is also known for its authentic French cuisine, showcasing the finest fresh ingredients from Awaji Island. Among the three French restaurants at Auberge, La Rose is a restaurant that represents a fusion of Japanese and French culinary traditions.
La Rose serves the famous pike conger along with other marine delicacies such as abalone and sea urchins. This unique menu promises a harmonious blend of flavors, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the essence of Awaji Island, complemented by wines chosen by a certified sommelier.
Please note the best season to enjoy pike conger is early summer (June~July) and late autumn (Oct.~Nov.).
|Auberge “French Forest” La Rose
|2593-8 Kusumoto Aza Banaka, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-2301
|Official Web Site
|Lunch – 11:30~15:30 (Last Entry: 13:00)
Dinner – 17:30~21:30 (Last Entry: 19:00)
miele, meaning “honey” in Italian, is known for its cuisine and sweets made with fresh, local ingredients and honey produced on Awaji Island. One that has gained particular fame is the shirasu pizza (also known as whitebait pizza), which is a must-try for anyone visiting the restaurant. The staff will keep pouring shirasu onto your pizza until you signal to stop!
|785-9 Nojimahikinoura, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1721
|Weekdays 11:00~19:00 (L.O.18:30)
Sat., Sun, & Public Holidays 9:30~19:30 (L.O.19:00)
In Aug. and Sept. it will not be closed on Tuesdays
SEIKAIHA Aonoya is a renowned sushi/tempura restaurant celebrated for its exceptional location on Awaji Island west coast. Every table strategically offers breathtaking views of the Seto Inland Sea. Here, you can relish the panoramic views of the sea while indulging in a unique delicacy “sea bream soumen” made from the entire body of Awaji Island Ebisu sea bream. It is a traditional dish that has been cherished through the years. Moreover, Aonoya’s allure lies in the offerings of freshly prepared sushi, flavorful tempura, and meticulously crafted Japanese side dishes that are sure to leave a lasting impression.
|SEIKAIHA - Aonoya
|70 Nojima-okawa, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1723
|11:00~15:00 (Last In 14:00, L.O. 14:00)
17:00~21:00 (Last In 19:30, L.O. 20:00)
We hope you have enjoyed this food travel explanation to the culinary world of Awaji Island foods! Please check out our articles on a day trip itinerary for culinary delights and the local farm-to-table restaurant Haru San San.
There are more places to see and enjoy on Awaji so make sure to go through our website to get the best idea of the places you want to visit!