Gôra Kadan, Day 1

January 20, 2015

Linda and I stayed the nights of October 29 and 30, 2014, at Gôra Kadan, a Relais & Châteaux Ryokan in the Hakone National Park, 90 km southwest of Tokyo. Its original building was a summer villa for a junior branch of the Imperial family. That part is used now as a restaurant for non-residents, mostly at lunch, and for wedding banquets. In 1989 an adjoining modern building was opened as a ryokan hotel spilling seven stories down the hillside. The entrance lobby is on top, another lobby below that and then five stories of ryokan rooms.

Here is the view of the old building and the driveway towards the new entrance as you arrive.
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This is the view of the old building from the entrance to the new one.
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Linda is about to enter the lobby.
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This is the lovely stone water reservoir, which you can see in the lower right of the previous photo.
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This is the sitting area off to the left of the reception desk.
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Our room, the Yuri Suite, one of two set up for westerners with beds instead of futons, was on the top of the five floors of rooms. Its décor was ryokan style with tatami floors etc. We wore our yukatas when in the room. Here you can see the view from our little terrace down over the roofs of the terraces of rooms below and their gardens.
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This was our private panoramic round wooden onsen tub, fed continually by hot springs heated by volcanic rock.
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Soaking in the warm spring water after a day of touring with a lot of walking and climbing was very nice. Our onsen was open to the view over the wooded area behind the ryokan.  In back was a shower and, behind the glass, modern sinks etc.

This is the floral arrangement under the scroll in the niche in our living/dining room.
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This was in the hallway outside the door to our room.
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In the evening, our room attendant, Keiko, came and set up our dinner on the high table with chairs that had been installed for us, instead of a Ryokan’s typical low table, in our living room. She brought the menu of the evening printed in English. The course titles below are from that menu.  We had ordered a bottle of Hokusetso Daiginjo sake which Keiko put into a carafe on ice for us.
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Very good and a perfect match with the cuisine.

Keiko brought the courses one or two at a time from the kitchen. 

Savory steamed egg custard with abalone, gingko nuts, taro stem, sea urchin and topped amber sauce and wasabi
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The sea urchin and abalone made this an excellent, rich dish to start.

Hors d’oeuvre
Persimmon dressed with tofu, chestnuts, and dry baked wheat gluten, dried wolfberry,
shiitake mushroom, grilled barracuda sushi, pickled sliced daikon radish, salmon and salmon roe, salmon roe with grated daikon radish, deep fried prawn and arrowhead dumpling,
skewered yam bulblets with pine leaf, and sweet potato
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All these varied tidbits could be served at room temperature. I do not think I have had barracuda sushi before.

White miso soup served with gingko tofu, carrot, and Japanese mustard
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White miso, fermented for a shorter period, has a less salty, milder flavor than the more common red miso and so this soup had more muted flavors, with the little accent of a dab of mustard on top.

Trio platter of seasonal fish with tosa soy-sauce
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I  did not understand what the silvery fish was; the other two were red tuna and arc shell clam (akagai.)


Grilled dish
Grilled sawara (Spanish mackerel) marinated with sweet saikyo-miso,
simmered chestnuts with inner skin, pickled turnip with yuzu, and stick ginger
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This was a very good, earthy dish.


Boiled dish
Japanese daikon radish, scallop, prawn, lily bulb, kikurage mushroom, chrysanthemum greens, starched dashi soup and ginger
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In contrast to the previous dish, this one seemed somewhat dainty.


Small dish
Sirloin wagyu-beef, bok choy, deep fried tofu, green onion, and shimeji mushroom cooked in a hotpot with soymilk
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The thin wagyu slices retained their good flavor despite what seemed to us to be an unsuitable cooking method.

Rice dish
White maitake mushroom and crab rice
Dark miso soup with nameko mushroom and mitsuba parsley
Assorted Japanese pickles
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The rice had a lovely flavor from the crab and mushrooms with which it was cooked, but it still needed to be sparked up with the pickles.


Matcha Bavarian cream with chestnut paste and azuki sweet beans, whipped cream
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This fusion cuisine dessert was good and seemed appropriate, although fruit would have been more traditional.

This elaborate meal was consistently good and interesting. It is for this type of meal that one goes to a highly rated ryokan. Keiko was always efficient and charming in her service. The pace was just right. There is a calm effect created by eating in our own room. You can concentrate on and enjoy the creations, for their beauty as well as their taste.

And so we went to bed satisfied, ready for the next day’s adventures, which I will describe in the next blogpost.


To see the next blogpost on this visit click here.


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