Ibaraki is a prefecture near Tokyo, and it is home to many colleges and institutions. Thousands flock to Mito, the capital city, each year to visit the Hitachi Seaside Park, where different flowers are in bloom throughout the entire year. The park is decked in different colours through different seasoons and the gorgeous park is indeed breathtaking. If you're thinking of popping by Ibaraki for a short trip, you have to visit Kaniya! The service here is seriously impeccable. While we were working our way through our King Crab (9,800yen), the old lady washing dishes at the counter decided to help us. She broke the legs and fed us the succulent and juicy crab meat directly! We couldn't help but laugh as we bite the flesh off the shell, from her hands.
Started in 1946, Kaniya is a longstanding cozy diner that has been passed down through 3 generations. They focus on seafood and their ingredients come from all parts of the world. The owner speaks a little English, and we could still manage a little conversation here and there. If you've been to Japan before, you would realise that everyone who hears that you're from Singapore will mention the Merlion. It amuses me every single time even though I've heard it countless of times. This restaurant is popular with the locals and they're really good at what they do.
The Charbroiled Akagi/Kichiji/Kinki (3,500 yen) was incredible. The sweet flesh of the fish was crazy soft and every piece just melts in your mouth. The fish was sufficiently plump and biting into fat pieces of fresh white flesh took our breath away. The fish was fatty too, which made it even more delicious. A few locals in the restaurant told us that this was an absolute must-try and we were initially skeptical as it doesn't look that great, but we were really glad that we heeded their recommendation!
We decided to have some Unagi (2,300 yen), even though I'm really not a fan of unagi, and this was the best unagi that I've ever had in my life. It was grilled over a charcoal fire and the edges were so crisp and the flesh super tender. Really fantastic!
We were recommended the Whale Sashimi which comes from Iceland. It was my first time trying it and I was a little afraid to be honest. The sashimi was dark red, chewy, and had a taste that many might not take to. We were told to pair each piece with a handsome dollop of minced garlic mix and it really made the whale meat taste way better, even delicious!
We had a really fun time at Kaniya - chatting with the owners (with our non-existent Japanese language), laughing about tons of things and snapping photos together. They even gave us headbands as gifts before we left! The old lady even hugged us as she sent us off at the door. The hospitality that we experienced here is second to none.
2-5-38 Miyamachi Mito Ibaraki