Asking for travel ideas (Afternoon Edition) [Fushimicho local: Fushimi-machiko]
Fukuyama City, one of the spots where the super-express Nozomi Bullet Train stops. Those who depart south from the station with their backs to the Fukuyama Castle will see Fushimi-cho before them. Post-WWII Fushimi-cho was a place blessed with great textiles, convenient access, and the bustle of businesspeople from places throughout Japan on business trips. Though nowadays there are comparatively fewer shops, there are long-running shops from the pre-WWII era as well as new eateries just being established. Our hostel as well, AREA INN FUSHIMICHO FUKUYAMA CASTLE SIDE, opened last year in December 2018.
In that regard, the charm of Fushimi-cho comes from it’s multi-layered blend of the old and modern times. This town has been rebooted as a spot to have a good time. So, let’s look at what’s good to do in the afternoon.
1. A western diner that locals line up for
For those looking for an old-time diner, head to ‘Tomoncha’, established in 1966. The folks pictured here are digging into their trademark rice omelet. Other typical dishes such as sautéed pork, Hamburg steak, and hashed beef rice all scream retro. By the way, before establishing ‘Tomoncha’, the owner’s parents both worked at Fukuyama’s famous eatery ‘Jiyuuken’. You could say their romance at ‘Jiyuuken’ birthed this restaurant.
Tomoncha：4 - 3 Fushimi-cho
11:00-16:00, 17:00-21:00, Closed Wednesday
2. Taste red bean paste cooked by firewood, the way it was meant to be made
For sweets, the small family run Japanese sweet shop ‘Fukuya’ should be your next stop. This shop has a history of over 70 years. The husband wakes up early every morning at 5 a.m. to light the firewood to begin cooking the red beans in an iron pan to make red bean paste. He has continued this traditional method of making red bean paste to this day. Since he wants people to taste the most delicious and purest red bean paste possible, no additives are used in its creation. Those who enter the shop will meet the wife, a somewhat shy storekeeper, who’ll melt your heart with her kind disposition. The Fushimi Monaka, a wafer cake filled with red bean paste, makes a nice gift. The unique shape of the wafer was inspired by the roof tiles used on the Fushimi turret of Fukuyama Castle.
Fukuya：4 - 16 Fushimi-cho
8:00-17:00, Closed Sunday
3. Rest over at an 88-year-old Japanese tea shop
After ‘Fukuya’, head next door to the tea shop ‘Imagawa chaho’. It’s personally my usual next stop so I can get their tea or sweets. Time drifts on by whilst the young owner or staff explain and let you sample a variety of teas or perhaps brew a tea in a variety of ways for you compare. It’s a lovely place to take a rest. After you choose your tea leaf type, you’ll be delighted to see them put your tea in a tea tin featuring an adorable temari (lit. a handball) design on it.
Imagawa chaho：4 - 14 Fushimi-cho
4. The soul food for citizens of Hiroshima
If what you want is okonomiyaki, then ‘Negibou’Z’ is the place for you. There’s the Negibou’Z yaki, which is okonomiyaki filled with pork, fried squid, cheese, rice cakes, egg, and noodles. The owner recommends this to those who come in extra hungry. The love of everyone here for the baseball team the Hiroshima Carp makes the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki that much more delicious.
Negibou’Z：3 - 25 Fushimi-cho
11:00-15:00, 17:00-21:30, Closed Sunday
5. Meet locals at this unique snack bar open in the afternoon
An old snack bar in Fushimi-cho that long served the local community, recently reopened as ‘THE SNACK’. This fun place features a rotating staff both in the afternoon and night time with such offerings as a café time on Tuesday afternoons and a curry shop on Wednesday afternoons. The rotating staff adds lots of individual character to the place. ‘THE SNACK’ is an ever-changing place with a mostly unchanged interior that’s a throwback to the past! Event times are subject to change so before stopping by, please check their Facebook page for the latest hours of operation.
THE SNACK：4 - 16 Fushimi-cho
6. A hostel that captures the essence of the entire town
To wrap your afternoon up, come over to our hostel AREA INN FUSHIMICHO CASTLE SIDE. The reception counter adjoins to a lounge, so those who’re not staying with us are also welcome to stop by. With Wi-fi throughout the lounge and outlets for charging electronics, it’s a great place to get some work done when you are not on vacation.
Our menu features a full line up of local food and drink to savor. For lunch, there’s sandwiches, our signature Keema Curry, or egg over rice cooked in an earthenware pot. With your lunch also order an AREA INN original blended coffee.
AREA INN LOUNGE： FUJIMOTO BLDG. １F 4- 33 Fushimi-cho
11:00-21:00 Closed Wednesday
I heartily recommend each place for their individual taste, menu, and coziness. Furthermore, to have the best possible visit to Fushimi-cho, go ahead and chat with the staff while you are here. Everyone is quite friendly so they will be delighted to tell you even more about the great local offerings.
Translation: Peter Card