The Kayotei, Yamanaka 2
April 25, 2010
On April 13, 2010, Linda and I spent a day and our second night at The Kayotei, in Yamanaka. The day began with breakfast in the same dining room where we had enjoyed a kaiseki dinner the evening before.
There were hot charcoal coals in the grill with fish and tofu ready to go on it
Our places were set with five good little dishes.
A bowl of taro root with pea pods and sesame seeds was set down.
Amy brought some miso soup.
Plain tofu and grated daikon.
Steamed tofu with tofu skin and garnishes.
There were a few small hot coals in this box to warm the nori (seaweed.) One could crumble it on top of the rice or roll it around a little rice ball and dip it in soy sauce.
Then the fish, hata hata, or sandfish, was grilled and boned. The bones were put back on the grill for further cooking as one ate them too.
Finally there was fruit in soy milk and a cup of tea.
We walked back through the ryokan admiring the flower arrangements in the hallways.
After serving our breakfast, Amy had fixed up our room, Higashiyama, removing the futons spread out in the middle and replacing the table there.
The General Manager, Jiro Takeuchi, then took us to the house, workshop and gallery of Yamanaka master wood turner Yasuhiro Satake. He was absent in Tokyo so his sons, Satsumi and Katsushi, showed us the workshop and gallery.
We also visited a master ceramist, shopped at the crafts stores in town, walked along the beautiful river gorge and went back to the hot springs bath at The Kayotei.
In the evening we had another kaiseki meal following the same formula as the night before, but with entirely different dishes. Four of the highlights were: a lovely mixed plate of appetizers; a gratinéed rock lobster, wagyu beef with fluffy potato croquettes and marinated grilled fish.
The following morning we had another elaborate Japanese breakfast, returned to buy a few smaller objets from Satsumi Satake, and went on to Kanazawa. Our stay at The Kayotei had been an excellent introduction to the world of the Japanese ryokan. Its staff was extraordinarily friendly and helpful. Its standards of traditional beauty and cuisine were exceptional. Bravo.