Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Japan >
Aug 7, 2014 07:41 AM

MATSUMOTO & GIFU - Hikariya Nishi + Ishii Miso + Michiya-Zushi Okimuraya + Yamatake-Shōten

Hey CH'ers,

Can anyone tell me whether reservations are needed or suggested for any of the following restaurants in Matsumoto and Gifu?

- Hikariya Nishi (Matsumoto)

- Ishii Miso (Matsumoto)

- Michiya-Zushi Okimuraya (Gifu)

- Yamatake-Shōten (Gifu)

Thanks for your help!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Adding a few more to the list that I'm unsure about:

    - Otomezushi in Kanazawa.

    - Sen Izakaya and Komatsu Yasuke in Ishikawa.

    - Maguro Koya and Hiraso in Nara.

    Are the above all OK for casual walk-ins?

    24 Replies
    1. re: OliverB

      If you can't get Sawada or Saito I would try Hashiguchi.

      1. re: OliverB

        Otomezushi, Sen Izakaya and Komatsuyasuke are all in Kanazawa. Otomezushi and Komatsuyasuke are pretty close to each other, less than half a mile away. I would suggest reservations at both although depending on the day of the week it might not be necessary at Otomezushi. One time I went it was full, the other time we were the only party there after an earlier party left.

        1. re: killersmile

          Thanks killersmile!

          It's a bit of a trek from our ryokan in Ishikawa, but we'll have a car rental so I'm going to make dinner reservations at Otomezushi nonetheless!

          Komatsuyasuke will be a bit more difficult to plan for as we were hoping to do lunch during a day-long visit from Ishikawa (our 3rd full day) but uncertain about times so I was really hoping for a walk-in. Oh well, we'll just ask our ryokan to make a reservation this week and then tighten up our schedule to make it fit. Here's what I had tentatively planned for the day (obviously not realistically doing everything below; it's just a reference list) and was hoping for a flexible lunch that could be woven around our itinerary, but I really want to visit Komatsuyasuke, so...

          • Early (!) Morning Breakfast in Higashiyama Suite at The Kayoutei
          • Drive to Kanazawa *
          • Wander through Kenroku-en Garden, Kanazawa Castle Park, and Oyama Shrine (!)
          • Visit 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (!)
          • Prefectural Museum of Art, Honda Museum, Prefectural History Museum (??)
          • Lunch at Komatsu Yasuke
          • Visit Nishi Chaya Shiryokan and Ninjadera/Myoryuji (?)
          • Explore the Nagamachi Samurai District – Nomura-ke, Shinise Kinenkan
          Museum, Ashigaru Shiryokan Museum, Maeda Tosanokami-ke Shiryokan, etc. (!)
          • Wander the Higashi Chaya Old Town – Shima and Kaikaro Tea Houses, Hakuza, etc. (!)
          • Gyokusen-en Nishida Family Garden (?)
          • Ishikawa Prefectural Noh Theatre (?)
          • Sake and Shochu at Daiba
          • Latenight Dinner at Sen Izakaya
          • Return to The Kayoutei; Moonlight Soak in Open-Air Onsen

          Any idea what Komatsuyasuke's mid-week lunchtime hours are? Ideally we'd reserve for around 1-2pm and then drop into Sen Izakaya at the very end of the day, before driving back to Ishikawa.

          Thanks again for your help!!

          1. re: OliverB

            >• Sake and Shochu at Daiba
            >• Latenight Dinner at Sen Izakaya

            Just a quick comment - Daiba and Sen are both izakaya, which are drinking spots that serve food, so the general routine is that you eat and drink at the same time, rather than have pre-dinner drinks and then move somewhere for dinner. I prefer Daiba for both food and drink, but that's just my opinion.

            (Also, it's too bad that you're driving....)

            1. re: Robb S

              Thanks Robb,

              We might take a taxi - we're driving to Otomezushi for dinner from Kayotei the night before so depending on how easy it is (I'm not used to driving in Japan and I'm not familiar with the area but we'll have English GPS) and how we feel that evening, we'll decide whether to arrange for a taxi or transfer from Kayotei somehow... assuming that doesn't cost a fortune.

              Thanks for the tip on Daiba, what do you like there? Do each have their strengths?

              Btw, how long would you typically suggest for Kenroku-en, Kanazawa, Oyama, and the MoCA? Since we need a res for Komatsu Yasuke, I'm thinking that if we have breakfast at Kayotei we should be good until around 2pm. Would that be sufficient time for the above?

              Then we could explore the Nagamachi District and Higashi Chaya and make our way over to Daiba or Sen when we get hungry again for dinner.

              1. re: OliverB

                At Daiba I like the grilled meats, the sashimi, the Kaga-ryori regional dishes, and in particular the "super-premium" sake list.

                I think a day in Kanazawa is probably enough to see some things, but I don't know what your pace is. Do check out the James Turrell installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art though. Kenrokuen is a huge park - you could spend hours there, or take a quick run through in under an hour....

                1. re: OliverB

                  Itaru (Honten) is a great seafood izakaya, and something of a local institution. Nice selection of local seafood (best time to go is winter when buri, kani and shirako feature prominently), but my standing order is for the kani-miso: crab innards mixed with leg meat and the layer of fat that lines the shell, then grilled and served in the shell. Nothing like the wretched processed stuff you usually encounter at izakaya. I believe they have a range of course options, which would make ordering easier for you. They stock a good range of local sake, too.
                  It's in no way refined dining, but it's reasonably priced (cheap by Tokyo standards) and has a friendly, convivial atmosphere.

                  Koide is a step up in price and quality, both in terms of the food and the sake selection. Excellent seafood selection - all locally caught, and the sake line up is killer.

                  1. re: wekabeka

                    Thanks wekabeka!

                    Koide especially looks wonderful and is exactly the sort of thing I was looking for!!

                    1. re: OliverB

                      It's a gem! There is zero English spoken and the menu will be impenetrable, so you might want to get your hotel to call and arrange a course for you. I'd have them stress that you are adventurous eaters, too. Budget about ¥10,000 p/p for food and about ¥5,000p/p for sake (more if you get tempted by the limited ed. Juyondai).

                      1. re: wekabeka

                        Wonderful info!!

                        I've created numerous .pdf's from sample menus that I've found online which have both english translations along with rōmaji and the original Japanese characters for reference purposes. I've uploaded them all to my iPad and plan on printing some of them out to bring with us. Are reservations usually needed for Koide (it looks pretty casual) or would you only suggest having the hotel call in order to arrange courses?

                        I'm very excited about this place and admittedly wasn't that partial to the other izakayas I'd been considering, so this is a really huge help. Thanks again!

                        1. re: OliverB

                          Koide is popular so I would definitely make a booking to be safe. It was full the mid-winter night I was there.

                          1. re: OliverB

                            HI OliverB. That is a great idea! Would you be willing to share your menu pdf files?

                            1. re: caje

                              Hi caje,

                              Sure, just send me an email at oliverbesner @ sympatico . ca

                      2. re: wekabeka

                        Hi wekabeka,

                        Would you mind posting the full English address for Izakaya Koide? I'm organizing all our reservations now and would like to add it to my TripIt app.

                        Thanks so much!

                        1. re: OliverB

                          5-7 Kasaichimachi

                          It's about a 10-12min walk from the east exit of JR Kanazawa Station.

                    2. re: Robb S

                      One more question:

                      Are the restaurants (particularly the izakayas like Hizuki etc) highlighted at the top of this page any good? Are they geared towards tourists, given the experience-kanzawa website?


                      Do you have a favorite izakaya in the area?

                      I'm not particularly attached to Daiba or Sen. Would prefer something with fun lively atmosphere - I like oldschool places like Ishii in Tokyo. Ultimately, the food should be the determining factor though. Are Daiba and Sen the last word, or are the better/other options that you could suggest?

                      I've also discovered this local blog, but I'm finding it difficult to ID restaurants and translate names and details despite the English:



                      1. re: OliverB

                        I'm guessing that the listings on Experience Kanazawa are simply paid listings - they may be good, but I don't think anyone chose them because they're the best.

                        My favorite izakaya in the area is Daiba (the branch near the train station: 076-263-9191), but I'm really not any kind of expert on Kanazawa. Like you, I do a lot of research before my trips there, I've been to maybe a couple of dozen places over the years, and Daiba stood out.

                        1. re: Robb S

                          Thank you Robb, that's great to know and it sounds like we'll probably end up at Daiba for dinner. I'm not going to make any reservations on this night as I'd like to let our afternoon plans and pace determine the time and place, but I've prioritized Daiba in my notes, so we'll aim for that. Thanks again for all the helpful info!

                    3. re: OliverB

                      Just note that you need reservations in advance for Myoryuji/Ninjadera. It's not some place you can just drop on by and take a look around. It is interesting though, but since you seem to be short on time and trying to fit in the most possible, maybe you might consider skipping it. To be honest Nishi Chaya isn't worth seeing since you will be visiting Higashi Chaya anyways. If you go at a quick pace, you probably could see most of the sites on your list. Personally I take my time and enjoy gardens and museums so I would only be able to see maybe 3-4 sights on your list in a day factoring in time for shopping as well.

                      1. re: killersmile

                        Thanks so much!

                        How do advance reservations for temples generally work? Would I be able to call the morning of, after guaging our time and schedule, or would it need to be days before, weeks before, etc?

                        Would you suggest that it's worthile making advance reservations at temples or would it be more fun to just wander through towns like Kanazawa and Kyoto exploring on our own and at our own pace? I'm similar to you in that I prefer to take my time and not feel rushed, so I'm inclined to avoid most "pre-arranged" necesseties on our itinerary with the exception of great food - unless they're incredibly interesting or really culturally significant.

                        Thanks for the tip on Nishi and Higashi too. Would you recommend Higashi over Nishi? I'd intended to visit the old tea houses (Shima and Kaikaro) so I wasn't prioritizing Nishi very highly. In all likelihood, we'll probably spend most of the morning in the park, just wandering around and enjoying the gardens, visiting the castle and shrines. Then lunch, followed by the museum for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Then we'll kill time before dinner in Higashi Chaya, wandering around and exploring the shops, perhaps a tea service and sweets in Kaikaro, etc. If we still have time and it's not out of the way, there's always Fukumitsuya which might be a fun tour. Ultimately, the park, Komatsu Yasuke, the museum, Higashi Chaya, and dinner at Koide are going to be the focus so I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to experience it all at a leisurely pace if we blow into town from Kayotei early enough!

                        1. re: OliverB

                          Most temples don't need advance reservations to see. I'm not sure how far in advance you would need to make reservations. Myoryuji is special in that entrance is only allowed by guided group tours, so reservations are needed. Basically you make reservations in advance and they give you a time for your tour. You show up and they group you together with others for the tour depending on the size of your group. The tours are all in japanese, but there is a binder in english that they hand out to those who can't understand japanese which covers the details of the guided tour with photos and explanations. No photos are allowed in the building and the tour takes about 40-50 minutes. I found it interesting, but YMMV. The only other temple I went to that needed advance reservations was Saihoji, the moss temple in Kyoto.
                          I spent several days in Kanazawa so I had time to see all the sights, but since you aren't spending that long, maybe it's better not to tie yourself down with reservations.
                          All of the sights are in a relatively condensed area so getting to them doesn't take much time at all. Kenrokuen, Kanazawa Castle Park, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art & the Prefectural History Museum are all right next to each other so you can walk to each one without much trouble. Also, Komatsuyasuke is only like 10 minutes away by car so it is convenient for you.
                          Higashi Chaya is definitely more interesting than Nishi Chaya. There are more shops there to poke around in, but even Higashi Chaya is rather small in scale. While you are there you could also take a look at the gold leaf museum which is only a couple minutes walk away. I found that interesting as well since it shows how they create the gold leaf Kanazawa is known for.

                          1. re: killersmile

                            Thanks ks,

                            I really appreciate all of your help!!

                2. Hikariya Nishi takes reservations online, right now until the end of October. Looks like there are seats available for every service, but it can't hurt to book.

                  Ishii miso no need.

                  Michiyazushi and Yamatake I dunno.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Gargle

                    Thanks so much Gargle!

                    I'm going to get in touch with our ryokan for Hikariya Nishi because I don't trust my Google Translate skills enough to navigate the website and make the reservation, but thanks for letting me know; I'll do that tomorrow!

                    Do you know about the Ishikawa, Kanazawa, and Nara restaurants by chance?

                    1. re: OliverB

                      I don't know Otomezushi but it's a 9 seat restaurant with 4+ on tabelog, so I'd bet a reservation is recommended. Komatsu Yasuke same story (lunch only, mind you). Maguro Koya and Hiraso probably no need to reserve.

                  2. I'm trying to figure out when to make reservations at Hikariya Nishi and was hoping to get some quick feedback.

                    We're staying at Myojinkan Ryokan and would be driving into Matsumoto to visit the Castle between 10-11 AM, most likely. It could be earlier. We'll have the usual breakfast in our ryokan beforehand. I'd like to set aside enough time to visit the Castle park as well as Nakamachi Street without feeling rushed. I would also like to drive around Kiso-ji Road, time permitting. We'll have a rental car so we'll basically spend the morning touring the Castle and then surrounding areas of the city and/or countryside. We have no other plans except that we need to check-in to Wanosanto Ryokan no later than 7 PM that same evening as it will be our first night stay and we have a kaiseki dinner as well as the usual ryokan check-in routine. So I would not want to eat lunch too late in the day. If it's recommended, we could always skip our breakfast at Myojinkan, leave earlier for Matsumoto, and have an earlier lunch.

                    It looks like Myojinkan is about 30 mins. (without traffic) from Matsumoto, but I trust the feedback that I've received from you more than I do the Google Map suggested times between destinations, as it often doesn't factor in a lot of things. Any help with planning this day out would be hugely appreciated!

                    Thanks as always!

                    PS - If we plan to visit Matsumoto Castle for 10 AM (leaving Myojinkan at 9:15 in order to account for traffic and parking) and give ourselves 3 hours which seems like more than enough time to not only take the tour but also wander around at out own pace and visit the museum, etc. - we would be finished by 1 PM. We could then potentially go straight to Hikariya Nishi for lunch and visit Nakamachi Street and all other sightseeing destinations afterwards, before driving to Wanosanto. Does that seem like the best way to plan out our day?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: OliverB

                      I'm not sure if this is timely, but...

                      I won't beat myself up if I can't get a reservation for Hikariya Nishi. It's not bad food (and generally rather tasty) but not all that memorable; esp since you'd be dining in Tokyo too.

                      It's the top western restaurant in Matsumoto (at least according to Tabelog when I went 2 years ago), but don't forget that Matsumoto doesn't exactly have a thriving "western food scene". The French / French-inspired meals that I had in Tokyo were much more interesting (in terms of use of ingredients, pairings, etc).

                      (edit: having said all that, the setting of the restaurant is really quaint though, and as I mentioned, the food's not bad; if I have a few days in Matsumoto I'd keep the reservation if made. But I may pick another place to try if not - some Japanese place specialising in horse meat perhaps?)

                    2. Also, has anyone tried the Hida Toro at MICHIYA-ZUSHI OKIMURAYA in Takayama?

                      I've only read about it through this blog and the author suggests that it's the oldest sushi-ya in Takayama:


                      1. I actually have one final question... Kensantei in Kaga: anyone know anything about it? Supposedly known for their fried Noto oysters. I can't seem to find a tablelog listing so perhaps I'm screwing up the English translation. I found this on a sample itinerary from a TA and it sounded interesting. Would love to get more info; find out whether it's worthwhile, what the atmosphere is like, prices, necessity of reservations, etc.

                        Thanks again!

                        7 Replies
                          1. re: Gargle

                            Thanks Gargle!

                            Didn't realize it was a curry restaurant; somebody had mentioned it served regional dishes. I'm assuming there's no such thing as Ishikawa style curry? :) Doesn't seem all that unique and while I find tablelog difficult to translate, the reviews don't seem too enthusiastic. I suppose there's no reason to single this one out as a lunch spot, huh? I don't understand why I'd noted a curry spot as a place for fried Noto oysters... I wonder where I got that info?

                            Anyhow, do you have any interesting alternatives to suggest? I'm looking for something casual, not expensive, no reservations. Preferably unique to the area (jibuni, Kaga ryori, etc) or if not, exceptional homestyle cooking. I would like to find something near The Kayotei ryokan or close to Kakusenkei Gorge where we'll be spending our morning hiking.

                            On another note, is there a particularly good place to sample kabura-zushi or narezushi?

                            The Kanazawa tourism website highlights Shijimaya Honpo and I see that they even host a workshop. It looks to be a historic tsukemono shop dating to 1875. This is definitely my speed! I'm making note of this place for our time in Kanazawa and I would love to know whether it has any sit-down accommodations, whether it's take-out only, or whether it's suitable for a quick visit just to sample kabura-zushi in the shop?

                            PS - this place looks to serve regional local/fare:

                            Is there an English translation for the name that I can search for? Otherwise, is anyone on CH familiar with this place? Looks like they serve wild duck among other things, including delicious looking crab!

                            1. re: OliverB


                              P.s. Japanese curry often goes hand in hand with fried items, so it's not an unlikely combo.

                              1. re: OliverB

                                There might be an ishikawa style curry, but there's definitely a Kanazawa style curry. If you've been to GoGo Curry in NYC, you've had Kanazawa style curry. They are a local Kanazawa chain that happened to open in NYC, mostly because the owner is a fanatic for Hideki Matsui (no 55) when he landed with the Yankees. However, this shop seems to serve a different local style of curry than its neighbor to the north.

                                As for something local and mid-range, this place is more my speed.

                                1. re: E Eto

                                  Thanks E Eto!

                                  Do you have an English translation for the name of that place you linked to? The food and ambiance look great and right up my alley!

                                  Do either of you know anything about the historic tsukemono shop in Kanazawa that I linked to for kabura-zushi? Am I correct in assuming that it's less of a proper eatery and more of a place that might be suitable to pop in for a late afternoon snack?

                                  1. re: E Eto

                                    PS - It looks like that place is in Kanazawa as well. Do you know of anything in the town of Kaga (about 1 hour south) that rates highly for lunch? I don't want to have to drive into Kanzawa for every meal; we'll be spending the day in and around Kaga so a more conveniently situated lunch option would be best. I'm still curious to know the English translation of the name as I'd like to note it for our time in Kanazawa. Thanks!

                                    1. re: E Eto

                                      That looks like Itaru Honten Izakaya, right?


                                      Is there something similar in Kaga that anyone could recommend?