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.
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.
This was our private panoramic round wooden onsen tub, fed continually by hot springs heated by volcanic rock.
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.
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.
Very good and a perfect match with the cuisine.
Keiko brought the courses one or two at a time from the kitchen.
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
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
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
I did not understand what the silvery fish was; the other two were red tuna and arc shell clam (akagai.)
Japanese daikon radish, scallop, prawn, lily bulb, kikurage mushroom, chrysanthemum greens, starched dashi soup and ginger
In contrast to the previous dish, this one seemed somewhat dainty.
Sirloin wagyu-beef, bok choy, deep fried tofu, green onion, and shimeji mushroom cooked in a hotpot with soymilk
The thin wagyu slices retained their good flavor despite what seemed to us to be an unsuitable cooking method.
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.