Monday, June 22, 2015

Isaribi - Authentic Yakushima Cooking

Alright, I'm going to be bluntly honest: If you're looking for a quiet, peaceful dinner, you should probably go somewhere else, and if you eat at the counter, you should be prepared for a bit of clamour from the kitchen. (One could argue a bit of clamour shows how close the staff are to each other.)

But the food is so darn good it makes up for all the fuss and then some. Isaribi is extremely popular, and you'll want to make a reservation during the tourist season. It's hard to visit Yakushima without being served a flying fish fried whole or broken-neck mackerel sashimi, (and you can eat those here too! In fact, the mackerel is very good!) but this is my next recommendation to excite your taste buds. Very Japanese, very Yakushima, and very good.

Closing a rainy day with an original
fish&yama-imo porridge (left front)
and ocha-dzuke!

The menu has a rather skillful English translation, although I don't think English does Japanese cooking justice. Set meals run around 1400 yen, or you can order several individual dishes. There's a lot of tempura, a lot of sea food, some ocha-dzuke (rice, topping, and tea that you mix together and eat like a porridge) dishes, and a whole bunch more. Many dishes incorporate locally popular foods like mackerel or gooey grated Japanese yams called yama-imo. The chef often watches proudly from the kitchen to see your reaction to your first bite. I never let him down.

Location: Miyanoura 2450−64 (30.4205,130.5813), on the main road near the high school.
Hours: 5pm-21:30pm (I believe.) Closed on Wednesdays.*

*Hours are subject to change, so please call the restaurant or check ahead.

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