Did you know that Hiroshima’s nightlife is the place to try world-class sake? They’re so serious about this drink that on the second Saturday and Sunday in October each year, the Saijo district hosts a huge sake festival where you can drink to your heart’s content.
Even if the Japanese staple isn’t your favorite tipple, there are lots of places to cosy up with a glass of wine or whiskey and munch on some yakitori – Japanese-style meat on a stick.
Start at Nagarekawa, Hiroshima’s ultimate party district. Wander around the streets to check out beer gardens, izakayas, bars, nightclubs, pachinko parlors and hostess clubs.
If you’re looking for some decent craft beer, try Raku Bar, the self-styled Japanese craft beer café. They offer nomihoudai (all you can drink) so you try as many craft beers as you like. Be sure to try Kaigunsan, craft beer from Kure City in Hiroshima Prefecture.
If you’re after a more rock ‘n roll type atmosphere to swill your whiskey or shochu, Koba cranks out the tunes into the wee hours. Bom-san, the bar’s musician-owner, makes you feel right at home, as though you’ve been friends for ages. Koba also hosts live music on occasion.
With a name like Wonderful Joke Bar, you’re bound to be curious. This tiny bar has an intimate feel and there’s free karaoke if you’re into belting out 80’s hair band anthems or some sweet Taylor Swift.
Looking for something more familiar? Molly Malone’s is the closest thing you’ll get to an authentic Irish pub owned by an Irish man in this part of Japan. Popular with expats and locals, you’re bound to meet an interesting crowd here on any night. Catch up on the latest footy or rugby match and get this – you can even get a Sunday roast here!
Other hot spots in town: The Shack, Bar Pretty, Southern Cross, Le Jyan Jyan, Tropical Bar Revolucion.
You can’t leave Hiroshima without trying its claim-to-fame dish. Okonomiyaki is a one-size-fits-all crepe overflowing with noodles, meat, seafood, vegetables, and any other ingredient you want – all smothered with a savoury-sweet sauce.
One of the best places to chow down on this awesome deliciousness is Okonomimura. In this four-storey building, you can choose from loads of okonomiyaki restaurants.
Follow the crowd (or your nose), pull up a chair to the hot griddle (watch those elbows) and let the chef do their thing.
Another famous place to try okonomiyaki in Hiroshima is Micchan. This restaurant claims to be one of the city’s first, serving up the dish since the 1950s. If you're looking for the local's recommendation, they all swear by the one in Hatchobori.
Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous and you’re after a spicier version of the Japanese dish, head to Lopez Okonomiyaki for jalapeno pepper-style okonomiyaki.
Between Kabuki & Noh theatre, Sumo matches, tea ceremonies and traditional tea houses, there’s so much more to Japanese nightlife than karaoke bars. Get cultured with these top picks and see a whole new side of Japan after dark.
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