Hakone Getaway

SMS and I decided to get out of town in celebration of our 1 year anniversary!  Sagoy!  It simultaneously feels way longer and way shorter than 1 year.  So much happened in a year’s time yet I still feel like we’re the two crazies who barely knew each other but decided to take a trip to Hawaii with my family after three weeks of dating!  We each collected more degrees via SMS’ MBA and my board-certification.  We each moved to Japan and since moving is so much fun, we decided to move separately so we could experience it twice as a couple (ha, ha).  We took many, many trips both to see each other and see new places.  This upcoming year will mirror our final year in Japan since hopefully I will get into fellowship and we’ll be moving this time next year.  I know, I know.  Maybe it seems a little melodramatic to say “final year” when we’re only here for two (or even a little less), but there’s so much seasonality to Japan that we want to make sure we experience the festivals, events and, most definitely, the food!

We decided to go to Hakone.  Initially, I was hoping for a trip where we could go on the Hakone sight-seeing loop to see the Open-Air Museum, little towns and the ropeway but that is best done when it’s sunny and on Saturday, we woke up to the third day of almost continuous rain.  That’s ok, though!  I mapped out the route and we headed out.

Entrance way and Yukata selection table.  I’ll take them all!

We arrived at the ryokan right before dinner.  We changed into our yukatas and Hapi coats and headed downstairs.  We were ready for a kaiseki feast!  (I actually thought that this ryokan had in-room kaiseki meals but that was not an option.  I’m a little confused since my parents and I thought the same thing in Miyajima so somewhere along the way, something is being lost in webpage translation.)

Course 1

The food was amazing!  There were several courses and the detail and presentation is exquisite.  Our table was ready when we sat down with a (Japanese) cornucopia of delights!  There were fruit, vegetables, tofu, fish and several gelatinous creations all on one little dish.  There were so many mini-dishes within the dish.  I’m glad we remembered our wallets because dish-washing at this place would be no joke!  The little glass to the right was a shot of peach nectar- probably alcoholic but a little hard to tell.

Course 2
To be totally honest, I can’t quite remember the order of dishes and I didn’t take photos of every one.  The one I didn’t photograph was the penultimate course of miso soup, rice with lots of whitefish :o/ and pickles.  There may have been one other that didn’t make the photo cut but I really can’t remember.  But moving on!  Let’s call the sashimi course #2.  It was amazing!  The fish was so fresh and even though I normally have a rule about avoiding seafood in a mountain town, I’m fairly certain the sashimi had been caught that morning it was so fresh and tasty!  The presentation was also pretty awesome- a pottery sculpture set on a complementary plate.
Course 3
The next course was also tasty but the one I was a little squeamish about.  See the cup on the right with two fish tails sticking out.  Well, the heads were still attached.  When SMS ate it, I was kind of grossed out which the waiter found funny.  But I got over it and ate my two little fishes.  They were pretty good but I wouldn’t eat a whole bowl full.  This course also contained conch, marinated leek, sweet potato, tofu and a small piece of sushi.
Course 4

Then it was time for us to do our own cooking.  A hot stone was placed in front of us and soon after, a small steak course with pepper and onion was served.  The steak was meltingly delicious.

Course 6

Then came the non-photographed miso, rice and pickles.  Finally, dessert was served.  My favorite was the macho-flavored tofu(?) pudding.


The next morning, we came down to an awesome breakfast spread.  There was steamed pork and vegetables over a burner in the top left corner.  There was a teeny-tiny fish, rice, miso soup, salad, an egg custard, pickles and a little bento box with omelet and a few gelatinous mini-dishes.

We loved the ryokan and highly recommend it.  Although the in-room kaiseki meal continues to be elusive, it was a small dining room and romantic setting.  It may be a little difficult to find but it’s very worth it: Hakone Fura.


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