Kamikochi Diner: At the bus terminal
This is a bustling informal restaurant at Kappa-bashi bus terminal where we ate lunch on both of our days here. As the weather was wet, it seemed everyone else had the same idea, and on both occasions we had to wait for a table despite being early for lunch. On our first visit I had soba noodles in a hot soup which was described as being with "edible" (thankfully!) plants, and Chris the katsu (pork cutlet). The food was good, and the bill for the two dishes was just 2,000¥.
The next day I had a "set" with a small piece of salmon in crispy crumb, a meat patty cooked the same way, salad, rice, miso soup and pickles. It was more than I wanted but I fancied the salmon, so I ate that, the salad, a little rice and the soup. Chris had the meat patty along with his "curry rice" - the Japanese take on curry which consists of a rich meaty curry sauce with very little actual meat! The cost on this occasion was just a fraction more at 2,050¥. While this meal too was fine, I preferred my soba dish of the previous day.
After our first day’s lunch here it was time to make the short (about ten minutes) walk to our hotel.
- National/State Park
Dinner at Nishi-itoya Sanso: A Japanese feast
Stays at Nishi-itoya are on a half board basis and the dinners served are amazing, classic Japanese feasts, with multiple courses (albeit all served at once in the Japanese way). The table as we walked in to our group's private dining room on the first evening had us all gasping, and even so this was only part of our meal, as various hot items were added soon after we took our seats. Even with a printed menu sheet in English, some of the items remained hard to identify, and some of us found some of them equally hard to stomach, but really there was nothing here to deter anyone other than the ultra-squeamish (no odd parts of animals or insects, for instance!) and most of us sampled most things, though the non-fish eaters struggled a little at times. But everyone, whether they cleared their plates or simply grazed, found this an experience to remember.
The menu on that first night was (taken verbatim from the printed sheet provided):
Appetiser: walnut tofu
~ burdock rolled with sea bream
~ boiled prawn
~ cheese with citron
Sashimi: local salmon and char
Grilled char with salt
Sweet bun of lily root
Roast beef and salad
Fried salmon with eggplant
Fried potato with shrimp
Clear soup with mushroom paste
Rice with vegetable pickles
Wow! Of course some dishes appealed to each of us more than others. My own favourites were the walnut tofu (I normally don't much care for tofu but this was a revelation), the sashimi and the fried potato with shrimp - a sort of Japanese fishcake. I also rather liked the lily root bun, which had the texture of mashed potato and a fairly mild flavour. The char was good too, especially its crisp salty skin, though I found it a challenge to eat with chopsticks!
On our second evening we had:
~ grilled saury [a fish] with citron flavour
~ river crab
~ persimmon jelly
~ pumpkin millefeuille
Sashimi: local salmon and maraena white fish
Grilled sweetfish with salt
Hot buckwheat noodle
Beef steak and salad
Fried buckwheat noodle rolled with laver
Fried ginkgo nuts
Clear soup with mushroom paste
Rice and vegetable pickles
Fruit [apple slices]
Again, a fabulous spread! I loved the sashimi again and also enjoyed the buckwheat noodles both fried and served in their hot sauce. The river crab was really too tiny though to have any significant flavour or meat to it. But as on the previous evening we all came away from the table feeling very full and rather pampered by the whole experience.
This comfortable base gave us a great location from which to explore Kamikochi. But before we set out, some park regulations.
- Food and Dining
street stand: no these are not for cats!!!
Favorite Dish: fresh water fish newly grilled...yummy!!! however, by the time u reach the valley, u are so hungry that anything goes, really!!!