“Sometimes the best things in life are the hardest to see and they are usually the ones that have been right in front of you the whole time”
This quote sums up my experience of trying to see Mount Fuji. On my first trip to Tokyo, we spent 5 days in Tokyo city and none of the days were clear enough to see her. We even made a day trip to Hakone hoping to see her up close and it snowed instead…
For this 2nd attempt to see her, we allocated 2 nights stay in Lake Kawaguchi (Kawaguchiko) area hoping to see her beauty. We stayed in Shuhoukaku Kogetsu which is ryokan offering a magnificent view of Mount Fuji. Although there were quite a number of ryokans lined along the lake area which has unobstructed view of Mount Fuji, it was quite a challenge getting a room with just 2 months in advance. As with most Japanese Inns, they include multi-course Japanese kaiseki dinner when you stay with them. Although we stayed for 2 nights, we had different meal plans so there was no duplication of dishes.
Once we arrived at the ryokan, our assigned attendant took care of our luggage and led us to our room. After we settled down she presented us with a welcome snack and a cup of freshly brewed green tea. This form of hospitality is part of the unique experience of staying in a ryokan.
As dinner would be served in the privacy of our own room, the attendant came punctually at our arranged time to set up our table. Look at the spread! And this was only the first part of the meal.
We commenced our meal with an aperitif of Plum liquor in a really cute cup, followed by appetizers of Citron and soybean milk, Salmon served with kelp and Konjac with vinegared miso.
Other items on the table include Crab and Japanese white radish with oil, Soup dish of Sea bream dumpling, shrimp, thin Japanese white radish, citron. Love that the soup was kept warm using the shichirin stove.
Sashimi of Pacific bluefin tuna, shark, shrimp decorated with Japanese white radish carved into a snow hut. Main dish was Yamanashi prefecture Pork in shabu-shabu pot with variety of vegetables.
After we finished part 1 of the meal, the attendant returned with more dishes. She presented the baked dish of Beef roast, bamboo shoots, arrowhead with Japanese wasabi sauce and even explained to us that the arrowhead is an auspicious dish eaten in Japan during new year/spring time. We also had warm dish of Trout, taro, pumpkin, vinegared dish Conger eel, burdock, cucumber, ginger and lastly Rice & soup with pickles. The burdock is another auspicious root vegetable well-liked by the Japanese as it symbolises long life.
Dessert was Citron pudding with strawberry.
Some photos of our room for Day 1:
Reminds me of the scene often seen in Doraemon =)
Yukata provided for use during the stay, can be worn around the ryokan. Somehow many folks like to wear it to breakfast. Do note the proper way to wear the yukata is to cross the left side over the right (right-over-left is for the deceased).
After the dinner, the staff came to set up the futons for the night.
Breakfast was a buffet spread at the restaurant instead of in our room. Really loved the Japanese breakfast which is often light and healthy. Take your pick from choice of protein (fish, egg, bean curd etc) and side dishes (pickles, seaweed, steamed veg). Complete the meal with a bowl of warm porridge. Simple yet satisfying.
When we woke up the next day, we were disappointed that the lake was filled with fog and there was no sight of Mount Fuji. Although we were amazed by the magical feeling where everything outside was covered in snow overnight. With poor weather predicted for the day, we made use of the time to do a day trip to Gotemba Outlet Mall. We almost missed our dinner back at the ryokan as the bus journey took a much longer time due to icy road conditions…
Our multi-course Japanese kaiseki dinner for 2nd night is pictured below but we forgot to bring back the menu so I can’t really name all the items. The ingredients used for the meal seems slightly more premium than the day before, not sure if its because we upgraded to a room with private onsen for the 2nd night. Notably we got to try Yamanashi‘s delicacy of boiled abalone.
For mains we opted for 2 different sets – 1 Kani hotpot and 1 Beef hotplate. I was impressed by the beef hotplate, especially the sea salt condiment that helped to accentuate the flavour of the meat.
Sashimi included Lobster, tuna, scallops, sea bream etc. All my favourite items!
Remaining courses featured a soup with dumpling, squid ink egg custard, a vinegared dish and a warm dish. Last but not least, the Rice & soup with pickles and ending with a Fruit platter sesame pudding.
Some photos of our room for Day 2:
Highlight of the room was the private onsen~
We were surprised that it also has an outdoor footbath attached.
On a clear day, the room offers clear view of Mount Fuji. During our stay, we could only see part of her beauty… It snowed overnight and we were treated to this powder white landscape the next morning~
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