Intricate and elaborate meals

July 19, 2010 at 6:36 pm (Uncategorized)

We spent a few nights at places where dinner and breakfast are included. When I say dinner and breakfast, it’s not your typical continental breakfast or buffet. There are about 10 little dishes that come at a time. And each dish has multiple elaborate components with lots of decoration and things tied with bows.

The first place was a ryokan in Takayama, a quaint mountain town. The building was an old merchant’s home and our room had a little patio area overlooking the river. That’s where we had some tea while our dinner was being prepared. Dinner was a few waves of many beautiful dishes. And all the plates and bowls and cups were beautiful too. We were able to try regional specialties like Hida beef and this savory paste/jam-like dish that’s cooked on a leaf over a fire.

Wait a second. They’re eating beef? We decided that because Japan has a more thorough policy for oversight of their beef, we would eat beef when it’s some special dish.

We also stayed at a Buddhist temple in Koyasan, this mountain with lots of temples and an amazing ancient cemetery. There are hundreds of thousands of graves of old monks and samurai and shogun and regular folks, from the past thousand or so years. The vegetarian food was also amazing. Especially this particular tofu dish. Very soft with an unusual delicate texture.

We also immensely enjoyed our room that overlooked the mountains and trees. The bonus was that the temperatures were cool AND there were no mosquitos so we could leave the windows open.

We’ve been wondering why the trees here look so beautiful. It turns out that many of them are manicured. There was a little section on the hill outside our room that was maintained by a team of gardeners.

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