Tag Archives: nagano

Ryokan Repast

As I type, I am sitting in my tatami mat room at a stunning Hokkaido ryokan, or traditional Japanese inn. Recently reconstructed, this Noboribetsu ryokan is a creative blend of East and West built with comfort in mind. Beautiful baths, cozy couches, gorgeous green scenery, what’s not to love? But a ryokan stay would not be complete without an intricate kaiseki dinner. Last night’s food was rich, delicate, and oh so plentiful! It was so good that I forgot to document nearly half the meal. With that in mind, I thought I’d take this opportunity to showcase a May meal from a ryokan in Nagano.

DSC_2872

The dauntingly long, yet promisingly delicious menu.

DSC_2865

Our appetizers.

DSC_2868

Next up, sashimi!

DSC_2871

And… one of my favorite spring dishes: mountain vegetable tempura.

DSC_2879

Your basic nimono, or simmered dish.

DSC_2889 DSC_2893

Polished off with pickles and rice.

DSC_2896

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true ryokan meal without a, shall we say unusual, fruity desert.

DSC_2899

Tagged , , , , , ,

Misuzu-kan

DSC_2768

Located in the mountains of Nagano, in a town called Ueda, Misuzu-kan is famous for its classic jam candies. On our way to Bessho-onsen for an overnight ryokan trip, we hopped off the shinkansen at Ueda and headed up the street to Misuzu-kan.

DSC_2774

Still situated in its original 1924 building, Misuzu-kan seems to have hardly changed since its inception.

DSC_2744

We step inside, only to be greeted by a little man pouring tiny cups of fresh apple juice, textured and tasty.

DSC_2760

I admire the space, the antiquated aesthetic, the stunning old light fixtures that Mom adores.

DSC_2755

Then, we approach the counter, where each product is laid out beautifully, scores of samples at our fingertips.

DSC_2759

I work my way from one end to the other. First, the nama-zeri, directly translated to fresh or raw jelly–the kind that is totally natural, with even its sugar content at a minimum.

DSC_2748

These samples were followed by a jar of special sugar jellies, along side a dish of red bean paste, or anko.

DSC_2749 DSC_2750

But the real standouts were Misuzukan’s signature jams and fruit jellies. With a bowl of every flavor of jam on offer, as well as massive pile of individually wrapped jam candies it was tough to decide what to taste, let alone buy!

DSC_2752 DSC_2754DSC_2766DSC_2762 DSC_2764

In the end, we settled on apricot and plum jam, a large box of traditional jam jellies, and a container of sugar encrusted ones to boot!

DSC_2765

The wrapped up our purchases and we headed out to the onsen, large shopping bags in hand.

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Train Station Feast

Last Night, my family and I headed to Nozawa Onsen, Nagano for a relaxing post-exams weekend of skiing. It just so happened that our shinkansen (bullet train) was leaving from Tokyo Station, a train station with an excellent food court. Hence, ‘train station feast’!

First stop, onigiri (Japanese rice balls).

Train Station TreatsHere you have the full array of onigiri offerings:

DSC_0856

And… my personal favorite, konbu, or kelp with a sweet-ish soy flavoring. This particular konbu onigiri was made with sesame seed and shiso leaves to boot. Yum!

DSC_0861

Next, we stopped at a vendor that makes healthy and delicious wafū, or Japanese style, salads.

DSC_0865 DSC_0867

Last but not least, we grabbed some inari-zushi before bolting for our train. (Inari-zushi are a type of sushi made by filling a pocket of fried tofu with rice.)

DSC_0868 DSC_0871

Once safely on board, we broke out our banquet. Eating in my family is a communal event. What we don’t share to begin with, we mooch. It works out well and everyone gets some of everything!

DSC_0872

A crunchy salad with strips of yuba (a type of tofu), greens, and daikon (Japanese giant radish), topped off with jyako (tiny dried fish).

DSC_0874

An avocado and tofu salad.

DSC_0875

Smoked salmon salad.

DSC_0876

Takana onigiri.

DSC_0878

Chirimen (rice with jyakoinari.

DSC_0882

My konbu onigiri. Delish!

DSC_0887

For desert, we devoured a bar of amaretto-marzipan chocolate cached in Dad’s backpack. I am categorically opposed to putting alcohol (and cinnamon and coffee) in chocolate. Why mess with a flavor that’s already perfection? But, I have to admit, this wasn’t half bad. Ok, it was more than half good. (And it didn’t hurt that it was called Mozart chocolate, seeing as I am pretty much addicted to western classical music, his in particular!)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: