If you are looking for the greatest izakaya (Japanese style tavern) in Toyama city, Arakawa will be definately a good choice.
Toyama is known as one of the best prefectures in Japan, which offers delicious seafood such as glass shrimp, firefly squid, yellowtail and snow crab.
Probablly, you will be at a loss to find your favorite out of many candidates.
So that’s why I recommend you to visit Arakawa.
One of the good points of Arakawa is that it selects recommended food for you based on your budget of 3,000 yen (20 USD) to 5,000 yen (35 USD).
How can I get to Arakawa?
Arakawa is located at the business quarter in the south of JR Toyama station.
It takes 7 minutes to the tavern.
Please go through the shopping complex called “CIC(City In City)” where you can enjoying shopping. Arakawa is a stone’s throw away from the south exit of “CIC”.
What does Arakawa look like?
Arakawa is classified as “kappo”, which stands for a high-end tavern where rich diners enjoy the familiarity with the cooks who are engaged in cooking the food.
There are a bar counters and several tables for dining.
Why don’t you get seated close at the bar counters and enjoy talking with the cooks? Despite the meaning of kappo, all cooks are also friendly to strangers and budget tourists.
What food does Arakawa offer?
As Toyama boasts a variety of seafood, the authentic chef and cooks are willing to cook delicious food with wonderful sea ingredients such as nodoguro (blackthroat seaperch), firefly squid, Tateyama beef, Himi beef and so on.
Now let me show you what I was served with the budget of 5,000 yen.
hiya-yakko (cold tofu)
It was a tofu dish topped with ginger and tenkasu (crunchy bits of fried batter). I found it was unique in that it gave crunchy mouthfeel which a common tofu dish doesn’t offer.
Uruka (salted gut of sweetfish)
Fish gut is commonly cooked and consumed in Japan. I was served shiro (white)-uruka which uses testis of sweetfish. It tasted too salty but had a mild nuance.
Surimi （Paste) of deepsea smelt
Although I personally didn’t like to eat the fish paste, I became fond of the one served in Arakawa. The surface of the food is completely deep-fried and it has a crispy mouthfeel on the surface and fluffy inside.
Kobu-jime refers to the preserved sashimi (fish fillet) wrapped with kelp. Kobu-jime is not only a good way to preserve food but also add savory taste and chewier texture than ordinary sashimi. I would like you to experience various mouthfeel of each fish fillet.
Tempura of pumpkin
While the mouthfeel of the tempura is similar to surimi mentioned above, it has a mild nuance which came from pumpkin. You will definately enjoy the wonderful balance of taste if you add the grated radish with ponzu (sour) soy sauce.
Ryoshi-meshi rice bowl
Ryoshi-meshi refers to “Fisherman’s staff meal” which was made by their wives with all their heart. You will definately enjoy warm and fluffy rice (harvested in Toyama) and chewy sashimi topped with a mild raw egg. Let’s have it mixed with the raw egg.
Local sake (rice wine) in Arakawa
Sake is a kind of liquer made from water and fermented rice and usually available in almost all Japanese style tavern.
Arakawa also proudly offers some brands of Toyama’s local sake.
Hane-ya Kirabi (Fumi-giku Shuzo)
Fumi-giku’s sake is usually flavorful and has silky and smooth texture. It’s good to pair with a little delicate food such as shiroebi (white shrimp served raw) and tempura.
Hayashi Junmai-Ginjo Gohyakuman-goku (Hayashi Syuzoujo)
Although the texture of the sake is light, you can significantly rice’s umami with substantial notes. It goes well with grilled fish or thick fish sashimi.
Chiyozuru Junmai-Ginjo (Chiyozuru Shuzo)
Although the brand is lately gaining popularity, it is rarely sold in Tokyo. If you are interested in Chiyozuru, definately you should visit Toyama. It has light and fresh profile with fruity notes going well with firefly squid dishes.