Over a recent extended weekend I found myself spending a very enjoyable time in Himeji. It was a rather cold day so I started off by warming up with a hot drink from a cafe as I waited for my party to arrive. After meeting up we decided to get a good lunch and have some fun and drinks. In a previous conversation, it was noted that it was recently February 9th so we should eat meat. For those that don't get the joke, February is called Nigatsu, ni for two and gatsu for month, and nine can be translated as Ku. If you combine Ni and Ku you get the Japanese work for meat, Niku. So we went for meat.
After doing a little research, forgetting it was a Sunday and some place's were closed while other places wouldn't open until later that evening, and a little luck, we found a Fantastic place not too far from the station. It was called やっぱ牛タン 炭家たかを or Yappa Gyu Tan. Its easy to spot because "Yup, it's a cow tongue" in the display widow by the entrance. There were actually several cow tongues on display. The whole restaurant specializes in dishes made from cow tongue which is actually a local specialty in Himeji. It's actually quite impressive at the variety of dishes they were able to make based around the main ingredient.
The food turned out to be really good too. We ordered several dishes and split them, allowing us to sample as much as we could. Maybe the only dish we had that didn't have cow tongue as an ingredient was the roast beef. Each dish used a different cut and thickness of the tongue and paired with simple sides. The recommended dish was simple cuts of cow tongue cooked in a miso sauce. The flavor was fantastic, even if I wasn't a fan of the thicker cuts. To me it felt like biting your tongue, except your tongue was cooked and delicious.
That feeling and texture completely changed with the thinner slices and I was able to thoroughly enjoy every dish more and more. Overall, The food was fantastic and paired perfectly with a cold beer. I will definitely go back there again. There are still a lot more dishes for me to try.
After a warm meal we continued the evening with more drinks and karaoke. It was all a lot of fun. As the night ended, we enjoyed a relaxing drink and dessert at another cafe near the station as we waited for our trains to depart. If you find yourself in Himeji, I would definitely recommend trying one of the places that serve cow tongue. I promise you will be impressed.