{Japan: Eat} Seared Bonito at Myojin Maru, Kochi, Shikoku

hirome ichiba

Hirome Ichiba Market on Obiyamachi Shopping Arcade

In a Nutshell:

  • Where: Myojin Maru inside of the Hirome Ichiba Market, Kochi, Shikoku
  • When: May 29, 2012
  • *Notes: Hirome Ichiba Website, Katsuo no tataki (seared bonito) is the #1 food that Kochi is famous for.  Katsuo no tataki (5 pieces) + shrimp tempura (4 pieces) + kakiage + miso soup + rice = 2000 Yen.

Full Report:

When traveling through Japan, M and I always make an effort to try and eat the regional foods specific to the area that we’re in.  For Kochi, Shikoku, this meant that we were going to have to sample some of their famous katsuo no tataki (seared bonito).  From doing research before our trip, we knew that Myojin Maru (inside of Hirome Ichiba Market) was THE place to get it at.

Hirome Ichiba turned out to be easy to find.  From Kochi Castle, we had to walk a short ways to the Obiyamachi Shopping Arcade where it was located.  Inside were a number of shops selling souvenirs (the famous Ryoma Sakamoto was on EVERYTHING) and all sorts of food.  At the food court area, Myojin Maru not only had the longest line but the roaring fire where the bonito was being cooked was definitely eye-catching.

Myojin Maru

seared bonito being cooked

As it turned out, M had consumed too many onigiris for breakfast and wasn’t up for lunch at that point.  He grabbed a table for us while I waited in line.  One of the restaurant’s workers approached everyone and asked what they wanted to order.  He would write it down and convey the order to the kitchen so that it would be ready by the time you paid for your food.  Luckily he was carrying a pictured menu so I could just point to what I wanted (my Japanese is quite poor and that’s being generous!).

In addition to an order of seared bonito (which came with rice and miso soup), I also picked up a little cup filled with shrimp tempura and a piece of kakiage.  All of this cost approximately 2000 Yen.  I initially thought that the price seemed a bit steep for counter-service food.  But as I started eating, I came to the conclusion that I would have paid double for what I was eating.  This was, without a doubt, the best meal I had in Japan during our 2012 trip.  The seared bonito was excellent, the fish was beyond fresh.  But the big surprise was the shrimp tempura.  It didn’t come with the usual tempura sauce and at first I was contemplating putting a little soy sauce on it.  Thank goodness I didn’t!  It turned out that there was sea salt sprinkled on the shrimp.  I can’t put in to words how something so simple tasted that good.  To this day, when people ask me what I remember most about our 2012 trip, that shrimp tempura is one of the first things I mention.  Oh yeah, and the kakiage…..not so good!

katsuo no tataki

hirome ichiba inside

We came back and took this picture when it was less crowded. This place is very popular in Kochi so during lunch and dinner it gets crazy!