Tokyo Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

The Mount View Hakone Ryokan Hotel

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

The forests, lakes, mountains and sheer natural beauty of the Hakone region are all great, but to tell the truth, we were most excited about the hotel which had invited us to stay for the night. The Mount View Hakone is a traditional Japanese ryokan in Sengokuhara, and we planned on taking full advantage of its baths, food, and relaxing atmosphere.

After checking in, we were shown to our suite. This was exactly what I imagined a ryokan to look like: the floor covered with tatami mats, the decoration minimalist, the furniture comfortable, and the futon bed large and inviting. We were each provided a yukata, or Japanese robe, which we were meant to wear throughout the extent of our stay in the ryokan.

We had scheduled both a private bath and a full kaiseki dinner in the evening, but now had a few hours to stretch out and relax in our suite. After three months in Tokyo, it was wonderful to be somewhere spacious and so blessedly quiet. For perhaps the first time since we had arrived in Japan, we had no urgent plans driving us forward, no work to be done, no special sight that had to be visited. We were able to enjoy simply existing for awhile. I got into my yukata, stretched out on the tatami floor and fell asleep.

Soon enough, dinner time rolled around and, after shuffling downstairs in our robes and slippers, we were shown to our private dining room. Our meal had already been laid out onto the table, and I nearly burst out laughing at the sight of it. So much food! This was going to be a struggle, but one I’d enjoy every bite of. Sushi, soba, miso soup, a beef hot pot, marinated octopus, rice and much more, the meal was like a Greatest Hits collection of all our Japanese favorites. (Well, the Greatest Hits… plus a giant, slimy black snail).

When we finally stood up from the table, our stomachs were bursting, and it was an effort to waddle down the hall to our next appointment: a nigori-yu, or private bath, in the cool evening air. We stripped down, and stepped outside to reach a bath that looked out on a garden of bamboo. The bath was already filled to the brim with revitalizing volcanic water straight from the hot springs of the surrounding mountain. The water is apparently good for muscle tension and the endocrine system.

We fell asleep early, and awoke the next morning fresh as newborn babies, ready for another big day. First, though: breakfast. Western options are available, but we chose the Japanese set, and were served another massive meal of delicious cuisine.

As we removed our yukatas and put back on our boring Western-style clothes, I felt nothing but contentment. Our stay in the Mount View Hakone had been exactly what we needed. Ryokans are normally expensive, but the prices for rooms and baths in this hotel are down-to-earth. So if you’re planning a trip to the Hakone region and want to experience a traditional Japanese lodging, this is a great choice.

Location on our Map
Mount View Hakone – Website

Japense Cookbooks

, , , , , , , , ,
July 11, 2014 at 2:37 pm Comments (2)

Our Introduction to Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Kaiseki is Japan’s haute cuisine, a traditional meal of several individually-crafted dishes. It’s as expensive as it sounds, and since our budget won’t allow us to repeatedly indulge in kaiseki, we wanted to be careful about the restaurant in which we’d experience it. After considerable research, we decided upon Tofuya-Ukai. I doubt we could have made a better choice.

Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai

Found at the foot of the Tokyo Tower, Tofuya-Ukai is one of the most popular kaiseki restaurants in the city. From the moment we walked through the gate, we were enchanted. In the middle of noisy, modern Tokyo, the Tofuya-Ukai offers an oasis of serenity and tradition. A path through a Japanese-style garden, complete with cherry trees and a koi pond, brought us to the main building where a woman dressed in a kimono greeted us with a deep bow.

After checking our reservation, she showed us to our table. And I don’t mean, she pointed us to a spot across the dining room full of other guests. No, we followed her on a circuitous course through the building, which looks more like the residence of a powerful daimyo than a restaurant. She led us through a hall with enormous sake barrels and down a long hallway, before sliding open the doors to our compartment. We removed our shoes and stepped into a simple tatami-floored room with large windows looking out onto the garden.

Our kaiseki lunch was served in seven courses. As indicated by the restaurant’s name, tofu is the house specialty and was the centerpiece of the main dishes. I don’t mind tofu, but have never understood its appeal. However, I’d never had tofu like this. Delicate and rich, the white squares floating with kelp in a large copper pot were so pure and lovely, I didn’t want to touch them. All the tofu served at the Tofuya-Ukai is made in-house, and it’s delicious.

The food was just a single part of what made the experience so memorable. The quarters were lovely, and I’d have been satisfied to simply spend an afternoon sitting on the tatami and looking out onto the garden. And the service! The waitresses brought in the plates one by one, theatrically placing each in front of us with precise, studied movements. The plates and bowls were always different, individually suited to each dish, and the presentation of the food was thoughtful, emphasizing the freshness and color of the ingredients.

The Tofuya-Ukai wasn’t cheap, but it was worth every penny. Kaiseki is an essential Japanese experience, and one we’re happy to have had at Tofuya-Ukai. If you’d like to eat here yourself, make sure to get reservations early, as the restaurant fills up weeks in advance.

Location on our Map

We visited the Tofyua-Ukai with friends from Spain, one of whom writes about food on the blog Chic Souffle. If you can read Spanish, or just want to see more mouth-watering photos of the food we ate, check out her take on the Tofuya-Ukai.

Japanese Cook Books

Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
Kaiseki at Tofuya-Ukai
, , , , ,
June 4, 2014 at 8:39 am Comments (2)
The Mount View Hakone Ryokan Hotel The forests, lakes, mountains and sheer natural beauty of the Hakone region are all great, but to tell the truth, we were most excited about the hotel which had invited us to stay for the night. The Mount View Hakone is a traditional Japanese ryokan in Sengokuhara, and we planned on taking full advantage of its baths, food, and relaxing atmosphere.
For 91 Days