When you come to Aichi, you may want to try “Hitsumabushi”, a grilled eel on rice with soup poured over it, one of the most popular local dishes of Aichi.
There are many “Hitsumabushi” restaurants in the downtown area of Nagoya. Hitsumabushi restaurant near Nagoya Station and Atsuta-Jingu Shrine are especially popular for tourists and always lined up. A lot of “Hitsumabushi” restaurants are listed in the guidebook, such as Atsuta-Hōraiken, Shirakawa, Binchō, Maruya and so on. I have had a “Hitsumabushi” from all of the above restaurants, and I can say each restaurant has a delicious Hitsumabushi, so you would be satisfied wherever you eat. Knowing all of that, I would like to introduce this restaurant.
The restaurant, SEIGETSU is located nearby the famous Japanese garden, Tokugawa-en, so if you are planning to visit Tokugawa-en and feeling for eating something local, I recommend this restaurant. It’s only 10 minutes on foot from the garden. The closest train station is JR Ōzone station and MEITETSU Morishita station.
An owner-chef of SEIGETSU used to work as a chef at one of the most well-known grilled eel restaurants, UNAFUJI in the Tsurumai area. It means SEIGETSU is a restaurant where you can eat one of the best Hitsumabushi of Nagoya, also at a relatively reasonable price. On weekends, there are always people lined up in front of the restaurant, so I recommend to go at night on weekdays, or book a seat in advance. (You need to book at least 1 day prior.) You can have their meal to-go but I think dining-in the restaurant is much better when you eat a Hitsumabushi.
Let’s go in!
For the main dish, there is a choice of Hitsumabshi and Unadon. Unadon is simply a grilled eel on rice in a bowl. As explained, Hitsumabushi comes with seasonings and soup for pouring over rice and a grilled eel. The only difference between their regular Hitsumabushi and the special Hitsumabushi is the amount of grilled eel. If another grilled eel is sandwiched between rice, it’s a special one. Also, they have a very-Japan like appetizer menu which goes with Japanese sake, beer, and tea.
This time I ordered a Hitsumabushi (3,650 Yen ) and a Tokujyō-Unadon (3,900 Yen). (Tokujyō means special or premium.) from the menu.
They grill the eel very well, crispy outside but soft and tender inside. Even if an eel itself is a good one, the way how it is grilled is very important.