Eat&Drink Travelers' Experiences

Trying the Rare Japanese Delicacy Pike Conger on Awaji Island

The pike conger, known as hamo in Japanese, is a culinary treasure that has impressed many people worldwide with its rare and remarkable presence. It stands apart from the multitude of seafood options available in Japan, not only due to its distinctive appearance, but also because of the unparalleled flavor it offers.

In terms of its physical attributes, the pike conger is unlike any other eel variety typically encountered. Unlike its counterparts, it possesses a slender and elegant frame that hints at its uniqueness. Its skin also shimmers with a silvery hue. Another unique feature of the pike conger is that it has an astonishing 1200 bones, which makes it very challenging to cook and process.

It is the captivating flavor profile that truly sets pike conger apart. While many seafood dishes in Japan have bold and intense flavors, pike conger takes a different approach. Its taste is subtle, almost ethereal, with a delicate, slightly sweet undertone. It is a testament to the Japanese culinary philosophy of letting the natural essence of ingredients shine through. The texture of pike conger is equally enchanting – tender and fatty yet firm, offering a mouthfeel that is truly unique.

Extraordinary Experience Eating Pike Conger at Aonoya on Awaji Island

It was dinner time and as I entered Aonoya, I was immediately impressed by the restaurant’s elegance and attention to detail. The soothing melody of jazz music played by a talented violinist added a layer of sophistication to the ambiance. My seat which afforded me an uninterrupted view of the serene Awaji Island sea was also lovely. It was a setting that promised an exceptional dining experience.

Opting for the autumn-limited Pike Conger set menu (Hamo to Matsutake no Aki Gouzen, available until October 31st), I eagerly anticipated the food coming to my table while enjoying the restaurant’s refined atmosphere, the soul-stirring notes of the violin, and the breathtaking sunset unfolding before my eyes. When the set menu arrived, it was nothing short of a masterpiece. The unique presentation, serving the food in a drawer-like wooden box, allowed me to explore the different ways of eating pike conger from sushi, sashimi, and hot pot.

Before I could delve into the dishes, the restaurant had one more surprise in store – a projection mapping show. What was once a huge picture window offering a panoramic view of the sea and the sunset, had now transformed into a canvas of beautiful projection mapping, featuring mesmerizing sea creatures and cascading fireworks. It was a visual spectacle that left me in awe with the way that the different colors of the projection mapping contrasted extremely so well with the night background.

Enjoying the Rare Pike Conger Amid Stunning Projection Mapping

With the projection mapping show as a backdrop, I embarked on a small culinary journey with the autumn-limited pike conger set in front of me. The pike conger sushi was my first bite, followed by the sashimi version, both revealing the delicate yet distinct nature of this rare ingredient. While the flavors were subtle, the interplay between the soft flavor and the unique texture was nothing short of extraordinary. The restaurant also thoughtfully provided some sauces, among which the tomato-based sauce acted as a brilliant accompaniment that perfectly complemented the eel.

Then, it was time for the pike conger nabe (hot pot), which was brimming with Matsutake mushrooms, vegetables, and raw pike conger. As the eel immersed itself in the broth, I ate the pike conger and Matsutake tempura, with their crispy texture, provided a delightful contrast to the other dishes. This further showcased the culinary versatility of this rare ingredient.

Once I had tried the pike conger from the nabe, I understood immediately why it is a prized delicacy in Japan. Its flavor, akin to the sushi and sashimi, felt more indulgent and aromatic in this warm, comforting dish. The combination of the nabe‘s warmth, the freshness of the vegetables, and the nuanced flavors of the eel left an indelible mark on my palate.

As I savored the last bite of my meal and soaked in the exquisite surroundings, I found myself in a state of quiet reflection. The elegant ambiance, the stunning sunset, the projection mapping, and, above all, the exceptional food combined to create an unparalleled dining experience.

About Aonoya on Awaji Island

Aonoya, situated on the West Coast of Awaji Island, is a culinary destination celebrated for its remarkable offerings. At the heart of its reputation lies a huge commitment to serving exceptionally fresh sushi and an artful mastery of rare ingredients. Moreover, the restaurant’s enchanting ambiance, complemented by mesmerizing projection mapping, adds to its allure, making Aonoya an irresistible destination for visitors from Japan and around the world.

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Name SEIKAIHA - Aonoya
Address 70 Nojima-okawa, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1723
Tel 0799-70-9020
Website https://awaji-seikaiha.com/aonoya/
Reservations https://www.tablecheck.com/en/shops/awaji-seikaiha/reserve
Operating Hours 11:00~15:00 (Last In 14:00, L.O. 14:00)
17:00~21:00 (Last In 19:30, L.O. 20:00)
Closed: Thursdays

Click here for details of SEIKAIHA - Aonoya


My visit to Aonoya on Awaji Island transcended the ordinary. It was a culinary experience that celebrated the unique Japanese delicacy of pike conger. The combination of exquisite flavors of the dish, the presentation of the menu, the ambiance of the restaurant, the sunset, and the brilliant projection mapping created a memorable experience during my visit. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Awaji Island during summer or Autumn, I wholeheartedly recommend trying the pike conger menu at Aonoya. It is an experience that promises to be as rare and unforgettable as the delicacy itself.