April 27, 2010
On April 14, 2010, Linda and I went for lunch at Kincharyo, once the home of a retainer of the local feudal lord, converted to a ryokan in 1933. There are five guest rooms where breakfast and a kaiseki dinner are served to those staying in them. Unusually, these rooms are also used to serve lunch to those not staying at the inn. The building complex is scattered on the side of a hill in a lovely old garden; one report says that the ladies who escort guests in and out have a system of signals so that one guest never meets another. Henry Kissinger once stayed here; I wonder with whom he was meeting.
We entered the fenced compound through a gate from the street and then down a hidden walkway on the right.
Then down some garden stairs to the right.
Our suite had an ante room, main room and a back corridor to a bathroom. There were garden views on two sides.
We were given a lovely little printed menu on fine paper, but it didn’t help us much. Our server spoke little English.
Our starter tray included a fruit flavored sake aperitif to start. There was a hot egg custard on the left; a mixture of fish, octopus and shrimp on top
A good start,
The beautiful “Bento Box” had too many ingredients to list. (The broad beans had been converted to little frogs with black sesame seed eyes.)
Next came deep fried ballah fish, or yellowtail, on top of eggplant strips braised with a bit of soy sauce. It was topped with grated daikon and accompanied by a potato wedge. This course was excellent.
Rice with bamboo shoots, Japanese pickles and a thin soup came next.
A sweet rice confection and frothy matcha finished things off.
We walked a bit in the garden after lunch.
Linda on the way out.
While the traditional ambience and presentation of the meal are what sets Kincharyo apart, the quality of the ingredients and of their preparation were high.