It was by happy chance that my family and I selected Iwamura on Miyajima's Omotesando shopping street for a late lunch. From the outside, the plastic versions on of the dishes on the menu displayed in the window had us expecting something rather ordinary. It turned out, however, that we were in for a delicious treat.
We didn't realize at the time, but we were to be the last customers at the end of a busy day. Nonetheless, the lady dressed in kimono who seated us was very welcoming and happily shifted tables around to accommodate our family. The interior is clean and simply designed in a Japanese style, though seating is at table and chairs. Delightful ink paintings on the wall and brightly colored orchids added some nice touches.
The menu featured very nice and very clear hand drawn illustrations of the dishes on offer and all menu items were labeled in English as well as Japanese. Iwamura is know for its don rice dishes and udon noodles. This being Miyajima, it is kaki oysters and anago conger eel that are the star ingredients, and unless you have an aversion to these local sea delicacies, you would really be missing out by not to ordering one or both of them.
It is the the kaki don (oysters with lightly cooked egg on a bed of rice served in a bowl) and kaki udon (thick white udon noodles with oysters) that Japanese customers seem rave about. On this visit, however, we opted for the Fried oyster teishoku set which included 8 juicy deep fried oysters with tartar sauce and salad, a bowl of rice, miso soup and pickles (¥1600) and the anago meishi (healthy portions of anago conger eel) served in a lacquer box on a bed of rice (¥1700). Washed down with a big mug of draft beer, it proved to be a great way to refuel after an afternoon of cherry blossom viewing. The kids had their favorite, tempura udon (¥850) noodles with two large shrimps fried on tempura batter.
One tip for those who aren't quite sure how they'll like the taste of conger eel, is that if you order a an udon or soba noodle dish you can add a mini portion of anago rice for an additional ¥500 (¥550 if ordered by itself).