Inujima, being a small island, has very few options in terms of food and places to stay. There is only one cottage that can be rented out on the island, 3 restaurants, 2 places for a snack, and 1 café. For people who are a little scared of visiting local places because of a lack of Japanese language skills, I would probably advise them to pack a lunch, but in reality, the places are very friendly and the people have warm hearts. I would hope they would go out of their way to help you but the friendliest place to eat for a foreigner would have to be trees Inujima or the Benesse shops. The Benesse shops are located in the Seaside Inujima Gallery, which has bento boxes and a small seating area, and inside the Seirensho Art Museum where there is also a café but your options on food would be very limited.
If you only need a little food to survive, there is the 在本商店 shop that is a general tourism shop. It is run by an older lady who has a few souvenirs, a few simple dishes, as well as tours of the island. Their claim to “fame” has to be the obviously named Inujima-don. It is a simple dish that was, to be very frank, not the best meal I ever had. It was still a lovely homemade style dish that is easy to make and keep. For a small island with relatively few visitors, it is hard to make many dishes, and on a weekday, it is unlikely they would have many visitors. It was simply a bowl of rice, some fish, veggies, burdock, and a broth to make it a cross between a typical donburi and ochazuke. It was hearty enough that I could get through the day easily but not as hearty and satisfying as eating in Takamatsu. It wasn’t very cheap either but when you are supporting a local who could use the money, I can’t help but feel a bit happier. Plus, you can’t say the food wasn’t made with love.
The shop I wanted to visit was trees Inujima. It is a restaurant/café located near the main port in Inujima. It was run by a younger man who seems to be a bit of an artist. The shop itself is very small, but this wasn’t really any different than any other shop in Inujima. It was a lovely little house with various couches and a tatami room to sit in. Their main dish is the curry set, but unfortunately with only 1 hour before my ferry, I didn’t have time to try it. I was more interested in trying the beer though. trees Inujima has their own craft beer that they make. They have the Inujima Jamboree and the Inujima Mugimonogatari. I had the Mugimonogatari and it was a nice little beer to try. While it wasn’t outstanding, it wasn’t bad either. I would happily enjoy trees’ beer more often but it appears the beer is limited to only their shop as well as being a bit expensive to be sent to Tokyo. If I had a choice on where to eat next time on Inujima, I would definitely choose trees for many reasons but the atmosphere was more pleasant for me than the small shop where I had the Inujima-don.
Food in Inujima can be difficult to find but it is available in Inujima. For an average person, visiting Inujima won’t be on their to-do list, but for those who love art, architecture, or music festivals, Inujima could be the place for you. I hope you can try out these two shops and help support them in their adventures on this tiny island.
Food of Inujima is part of a series of posts on the Setouchi Triennale. Follow the links below to read more about the different aspects of the Setouchi Triennale.
- Dru’s Great Setouchi Triennale 2013 Misadventure
- EAT&ART TARO on Shamijima
- Food of Inujima
- Teshima – Kou and Ieura
- Teshima – Karato
- Eating on Teshima
- Ogijima (Part I)
- Ogijima (Part II)
- ONBA CAFE
- Naoshima (Benesse Art Site)
- Naoshima (Honmura & Miyanoura)
- Naoshima (Transportation)
- Takamatsu Revisited
- Takamatsu (Setouchi Triennale Edition)
- Ferries in the Setouchi Triennale
- trees Inujima (Japanese only)