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Japanese Hot Spring Inn (Onsen-Ryokan)

Author: rogue.wave.traveler
Date of Trip: February 2014

It was a bit of a surprise that dinner was not served in my room but it soon became abundantly clear why.

My western style dining area with table and four chairs was very private and surrounded by a half wall separating the space from the adjacent tables.

My bartender was my waiter and he placed a blanket over my knees to keep the chill off. There was really no need but it was a comfort to have a giant fluffy napkin to protect the yukata.

Epic meal time begins with a warm towel to cleanse the hands and the presentation of a calligraphed menu on beautiful rice paper.

Houjicha (Roasted Tea) is served and hold onto your hats...like individual rain drops adding up to a torrential downpour these tiny, impeccably presented dishes just kept on coming from the kitchen. Here is my limited memory of what was served, apologies if there are errors or omissions.

Crab. (I wish I had been paying more attention to the waiter who explained each plate to me using a Japanese- English dictionary but I was too overwhelmed early in the meal.)

Black sesame tofu with sea urchin.

Leeks & herring served with quail egg and vinegar.

Sea cod with nappa and yuzu (local citrus) zest in broth which tastes deliciously of smoke.

Sashimi tuna and sea bream with mejiso (little red shiso sprouts)… tastes like pepper. Also garnished with blue shiso flower buds.

Fiddleheads with king crab and daikon & rice porridge.

Ribbon eel (amazing texture...pretty in the water and pretty in my mouth) and scallop with seaweed, fish eggs and carrot with miso paste, sudachi (tiny lime) and black soy beans. This might have been my favourite dish.

Chawanmushi (egg custard texture) ginger and soramame (fava bean) soup served hot.

Chilled green bean, cream and black pepper soup…tasted a bit like blue cheese.

Duck with foie gras and kabocha (pumpkin), balsamic vinegar sauce and burdock root.

Tsukemono (pickles), miso soup with tiny clams, gohan (rice)

Dessert served at the bar:

Green Tea, yogurt with apple and kiwi sauce. Yuzu sorbet. Fresh fruit plate of grapefruit and strawberry with crème fraîche.

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