Close to our hotel, we ventured into this tiny restaurant - and we're glad we did. As mentioned, the owners are delightful and try to make conversation. You sit round the hot teppan cooktop, which is used to prepare your food, then keep it hot as you eat. We were the only foreigners in the restaurant (again!) but were made to feel at home. The only bad bit was when I was worried that I had accidentally ordered Two okonomiyaki, which I could never have finished. Fortunately the second one was for my neighbour! One dish each, plus 1 beer - ¥1550. Amazing value.
While visiting Hiroshima, we stopped in for a quick dinner and were greeted by the friendly owner and his delightful wife. It has a neighborhood-hangout vibe, complete with jerseys from the local team (the Carps), but was welcoming to two guys who were obviously tourists with no Japanese beyond "thank you" and "delicious." The "Japanese pizza" (as the owner described it) was cooked right in front of us and was totally filling. Meanwhile, we discussed American tv and watched Japanese wrestling. It's only a five-minute walk from Hiroshima station, in a small neighborhood of similar shops in the shadow of a highway overpass. Well worth stepping off the main track.
We had a great day in Hiroshima and wanted to try the Hiroshima version of the famous Onkonomiyaki and were not dissappointed with this recommendation. Not only did we have the best version of this dish we've had so far, but we also met some of the nicest people you could hope to meet when travelling. An incredible husband and wife team, and a really wonderful group of regular customers all happy amd incredibly welcoming. It was a terrific experience. If you are a baseball fan, and if you love good food and good people it is a must.
While in Hiroshima, one thing on everyone's list is to try 'Hiroshima-style' Okonomiyaki. You will see several restaurants in Hiroshima station, and they do look very popular- but are you willing to wait a long time in queue? You're better off making a beeline for one of the smaller restaurants outside the station, which are frequented by locals. Sankanou is a short distance away from the train station (though finding it in the dark might be difficult!), located on the ground floor of one building in an area with many other restaurants (and somewhat dark alleyways). The food is good, especially for those on a budget. The owners are very friendly and will have you talking in no time. The place is decorated with manga style pictures of the owners (drawn by them!), pro-wrestling posters, and gundam model kits. Their washroom is decorated with AKB48 posters- the very first time I've had girls stare back at me while I use the loo. The ground floor is where the teppan (hot plate) is- that's where all the action is. Upstairs, there's a separate room with an extra large Gundam statue. Sankanou is a great place if you're traveling solo- larger groups might not be able to walk in and have a place at the counter though.