Monday, April 15, 2013

Isshinkan, Kinugawa

In March 2007, M & A-Mao were visiting some customers in Tokyo for few days. M returned to Taiwan in advance, while I started my two-day travel, without plans in detail, in Nikkou & Kinugawa by a World Heritage Pass. I encountered Koos from Netherlands, and both of us happily spent a whole afternoon in Nikkou. After that, we said goodbye and then were on "different trains"—somehow it reminded me of this Reich’s music. He got to go to Tokyo, whereas I had to continue my travel. It was snowing in Kinugawa at night, and I found no cheap hotel or guest house there. Well, what could I do? I went to an “onsen hotel” and negotiated by my poor Japanese. Finally, it took 20,000 yen “only” for one-night stay as well as dinner & breakfast at this Isshinkan.

As soon as loosing my backpack in my personal, exclusive Japanese-style room, I enjoyed Kinugawa hot spring. Their appointment is pretty good, and the feeling is so gorgeous & tranquil that my body & mind totally relaxed. And then, foods again! The appetizers came with a doburoku (or home-brew style of sake). A young waiter was fast describing all ingredients in Japanese. As long as I had a question, amazingly, he could answer immediately—but I could understand 40~50 percent only. The fried shrimp and fish from river is the best, the tofu with green source made from something is not bad, but the beef is overcooked. Regarding the others, I forgot.

Then, a soup and sashimi was served. Everyone can image that the soup is pure Japanese traditional type. As for sashimi, the two shiromi (or white fish) with skin is very fresh, but the akami (or red fish) of tuna is not defrosted yet (minus), and, even though I paid 20,000 yen, there is one small, delicious amaebi (sweet shrimp) only (minus). However, the piece of konnyaku goes very well with wasabi soybean source.

This nimono, the waiter's favorite, is simmered with pork, burdock, carrot, green bean & ganmodoki (a fried tofu). A simple but impressing dish.

This wild ayu (or sweetfish) is grilled just with salt. Its posture is so vivid, and the whole fish is eatable with a special aroma, but I left its head alone.
Next, A-Mao enjoyed a "toubanyaki" of mushroom, asparagus & Tochigi beef as well as a French-style soup made from yuba which is famous there. Hum, I started feeling it is worthy of 20,000 yen, a little bit.
My God! This tempura is as crispy as splendid! With the green tea flavor salt, I was almost full up then but still chewed it within loudly crunchy sounds.
After another nice hot spring, I had this delicate overture as breakfast. Even though my appetite is not always good in the morning, I finished one bowl of oishii rice along with spicy mentaiko & grilled, dried horse mackerel. While I was leaving for Ryuuoukyou, their staffs were seeing me off in the front of hotel. Well, it is really touching. (You artificial Japanese! I'll be back!)

Can you see three monkeys?

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