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Why is it that the best places deserve the name of « kakureya/Hidden spots » in this country?
After all, you need some courage to try and entice customers away from their usual haunts.
Or is it because you simply have a lot of confidence?
Mr. Mamoru Miyaji and his sweet mother, Fusae, certainly deserve all the praise and fame for having offered first-class local products and creations in their tiny establishment for the last 34 years.
Sushi Iroha was originally opened by Mrs. Miyaji as a traditional sushi restaurant very close to the sea. Ten years ago her son, having spent a few years learning his chef skills at various establishments, took over under the guidance of his dame and added sushi made exclusively with vegetables grown in the area. Obtaining such produce after all is not so difficult as the Hamamatsu-Iwata vegetables growers are famous in the whole country. But he certainly needed all his savoir-faire to accomodate them.
On Friday, January 18th, I took the opportunity to visit Sushi Iroha as it stands only two stations away from my university. Having gone off at Toyoda JR Station I had to take a taxi (1,000 yen) as I had no clue as to which bus to ride.
I arrived just as it was opening. A good strategy as the place sits only 7 guests and is quickly full unless you had previously reserved your seat, a must on weekends.
Mr. Miyaji is a very friendly and immensely knowledgeable gentleman who will be happy to answer any questions, however tricky.
Not only his ingredients are local, whenever posiible as demonstrated by the succulent kinmeidai/golden-eyed seabream I savoured with the tuna « akami », but he also has the whole range of sake made by Senju Brewery in Iwata City:
Tamaran is actually a private brand used for « atsukan »
Shochu fans are not forgotten as they can enjoy an extravagant kome/rice shochu called Inaizumi from the same brewer:
Ladies also can please themselves with a great umeshu, too!
This said, I chose a junmai sake before ordering the vegetable sushi set I had come for!
Incidentally all vegetables are cooked or marinated, some as far as two days in advance. Moreover, Mr. Miyaji uses only salt of his own making by slowly heating sea water from Yaizu for 48 hours!
The above vegetables are from top to bottom and left to right:
Konnyaku/Devil’s Tongue Tuber
Celery marinated in Amazu/sweet vinegar and pickled Japanese plums
Shiro negi/White leek
Na no Hana/Rape Blossoms
Satsuma Imo/Sweet yams
Daikon/Long Japanese radish
All absolutely perfect! I’m not a vegetarian, less a vegan, but I certainly would not mind becoming one if served that kind of food!
Next I was served a sublime creation concocted with Ebine Imo/Ebine Tuber served mille-feuilles style intersped with sushi rice and presented with dashes of olive oil, seame oil/goma abura and soy sauce/shoyu. Enough to satisfy a hungry gourmet!
To top it all, I was served another of Mr. Miyaji’s creations, which would please anyone with a sweet tooth!
Hot pudding. The top half being a traditional cream pudding, the bottom half sweat meat/anko, the whole decorated with local strawberry!
Who said sushi does not make full? I certainly was, and I was doubly thankful when Mr. Miyaji told me not to bother another taxi as he offered me a lift! (the bill was more than reaonable!)
Iwata City, Kusazaki, 116-4
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30; 17:00~21:30
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations advisable especially for lunch and weekends