Practically every travel guide tells you okonomiyaki is a must-try when in Hiroshima. Such joints are legion in the city, you'll have no issue finding one. Only trouble is - which one! As we didn't have that much time, we settled for something within the JR station (which is pretty huge itself). Near the delightfully named Asse Shopping Mall on the second floor, we found a row of restaurants. Rei-chan Okonomiyaki looked the most popular - so much so that they had two branches, and both were fully packed with customers!
Rei-chan has a lively atmosphere in all aspects of sight, smell and sound. It's fun watching the skilled and energetic ladies working the griddle while entertaining guests. The din of cooking adds to the irresistible aromas that pin you to the site. It's also a highly efficient place. They take your order even as you queue, and food arrives almost as soon as you are seated.
So here it is. Hmm, I hadn't expected a foldover of a pancake but I guess it's so huge, it wouldn't fit on the plate unfolded. Hiroshima's style of okonomiyaki involves more layering of ingredients whereas Osaka's jumbles everything together. These two cities are fiercely loyal to their version, and God forbid you tell a citizen from one city that you prefer the other city's style!
We also had a yakisoba (fried buckwheat noodles) which came with an overwhelmingly generous sprinkling of aonori (green seaweed bits). Tastewise, as with the okonomiyaki, was so-so. Perhaps we didn't order the right variant (many types of ingredients available). Something smelt really good cooking in that shop but whatever it is, it didn't land on our plates.
But I have to say the friendly ladies there were simply wonderful. They gave us a little calcium wafer bar for Nadine since she was too young to partake in the fried foods. So kind and thoughtful of them! I'll say it again, the Japanese really love children!
2F JR Hiroshima Station (two branches)
also other places near the station