Odawara is the closest castle town to Tokyo, making it perfect for a day trip out of the city. Located at the base of Mt. Hakone and home to Odawara Castle, it’s an ideal location for a weekend of sightseeing. Odawara is also the perfect place for a culinary adventure, as it has a multitude of dishes made from flavorful local ingredients. When you go on your weekend getaway to Odawara, make sure to check out these restaurants to get a taste of what Odawara has to offer.
Tomoei Unagi, located between Odawara and Hakone, is distinct for being the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the area. At Tomoei Unagi, you can get a box set filled with delicious eel, coated in a savory-sweet sauce that saturates the rice beneath, so rich and flavorful that it’ll make your mouth water. The eel comes from a nearby port and is cooked in high-quality spring water sourced from right beneath Odawara. The menu here may only have two options—Unaju (eel with sweet soy sauce) and Shirayaki (eel seasoned with just salt)—but these two recipes have been so perfected over the years that either one will be sure to satisfy.
Daruma is housed in a building that has been deemed a cultural property, as its architectural style is representative of 19th century Japan, the era of its establishment. Serving traditional Japanese dishes such as soba, tempura, and sashimi, you are sure to find something that will satiate your appetite. Highly-recommended is the tempura set at Daruma, which has a light texture and satisfying crunch that will make leave you wanting more, even after your last bite. With a multilingual and friendly staff, eager to accommodate your needs, it is the perfect place to sit down and enjoy a meal in comfort.
If you’re in the mood for something warm, check out Chowaro Soba Mikura, one of the best places to enjoy soba in Odawara. The soba noodles here are made fresh every day from Hokkaido buckwheat flour and hyakunensui, “100-year water” from Hakone’s springs. Chowaro Soba Mikura is located in a renovated storehouse styled after traditional Japanese restaurants, in the Suzuhiro Kamaboko Village. This village is the perfect place to explore after your meal to learn about Odawara’s history as a major provider of kamaboko, a type of fish cake or fish sausage, that was eaten by samurai and nobility since the 12th century and is still popular today.
The Fish Market Den is a unique and tasty experience that you can only find in Odawara. Owned by Odawara Fish Port Wholesalers, freshness is guaranteed, as you are getting your meal straight from the source. With daily recommendations posted in the front of the store, showing you the catch of the day, you won’t know what to get until you’re there! Just a short walk away from Odawara Station, this is the best place to get a quick and cheap meal in Odawara.
Ryo is more of a high-end establishment than the rest of the places on this list, though the price is quite reasonable for the amazing quality you receive. With their emphasis on farm-to-table cuisine and dedication to serving up only the best of Odawara, this is one place that you will want to visit. Even if your Japanese is not the greatest, you’ll have no problem here, as they have a number of English-speaking employees and an English menu available to help you out. Ryo is just a short drive away from Odawara Castle and it’s a great place to sit down for a meal once you are done admiring the architectural beauty of Odawara Castle.
Odawara has a very relaxing quality, great for when you need a quick break from the turbulent atmosphere of Tokyo. If you decide to seek respite here, make sure to stop by any of these establishments listed to explore what Odawara has to offer.
Francisco is a student who is currently studying abroad in Japan. He enjoys walking around the streets of Tokyo and discovering great places to eat.