Thursday, July 11, 2019

Yuwaku Onsen

We wanted to stay close to Kanazawa on the last couple of days of our trip, so the town of Yuwaku (湯涌温泉) fits the bill perfectly as it's only 30 quick minutes away from downtown by car and so we didn’t have to spend much time commuting.

There’s not much to see in this onsen resort town especially when compared to the much touristy Takayama area – there’s just a short stretch of street lined with a few ryokans/motels, cafes, galleries/museum and a public bath, and we were too lazy to make our way up the mountain to visit the temple, but it’s all good if all you want is to relax and get away from the city.

We chose to stay in a cozy ryokan called Atarashi-ya with only 8 rooms in a classic looking but modern house not far away from the main street and with the mountain backdrop. And it turned out we were the only guests for the night so we had this huge mansion to ourselves, which included two public bath areas and a private outdoor hot spring bath just across the corridor from our room.

Dinner was served in our room and I thought it's one of the more elaborate ones we had for this trip, served kaiseki style with over 10 courses of dishes, prepared in an interesting mix of traditional and contemporary cooking style. We began with a few cold appetizers, including the tomato jelly served with the seasonal bamboo shoot, ham and caviar in a bowl.

That’s followed by a warm and hearty dish of goma tofu served in dashi consommé, along with eggplant, okra, pumpkin and shrimp in a gold dusted lacquer bowl. Our meat courses were a pair of grilled dishes – including nodoguro done saikyu-yaki style with castella cake, and beef served on a hot stone.

After the sorbet palate cleanser served in a nice porcelain cup, the traditional jibu-ni (治部煮) was served which is a rustic duck stew with shiitake, wheat gluten, samo-imo and vegetables in a thickened and sweetened stock. And we finished with two more savory dishes, which were cured aji with kaga futokyuri (local giant cucumber) and sesame dressing and a shrimp spring roll plus rice and pickles before the western style dessert of a glass of ripe mango mousse was served.

The breakfast in the next morning was no simple affair either, served in the café area next to the front reception with a table full of food in small dishes. There’s no English spoken staff but they tried their best to explain everything with the help of translation app on their mobile phone, and do make sure you brought plenty of cash as they don't accept credit cards. We never felt more pampered.

When? June 10-11 2019
Atarashiya, 89-2 Yuwaku Arayamachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
金沢湯涌温泉 あたらしや 石川県金沢市湯涌荒屋町89-2
Menu Highlights? Kaga Jibuni (加賀 治部煮)
Tedorigawa Honjozo Namazake - Yoshida Shuzoten, Ishikawa Prefecture
手取川 本醸造生酒 - 石川県 吉田酒造店

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