Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Fam Does Japan: A Stay in a Ryokan in Nikko

From Yokohama, we got real friendly with the train networks again to make the long commute up to Nikko.


We got there just in time for a late dinner at the local Skylark (a family restaurant chain)... the only place still open at that hour. Chains are a huge turnoff for me, but I'm pretty sure Austin couldn't have been more excited. This was the last time he ate for the next two days.

That night I booked a super classy ryokan at my Dad's request. They had to experience a stay in a traditional Japanese Inn, and he didn't want to be stingy on the choice here. SO, I did my homework and picked a place that none of us were disappointed in.
I don't know how Austin did it, but literally within seconds of walking in, he had spotted, sat down in, and got this massage chair up and runnin'. I still wake up some nights, dreaming about the day myself and that chair can be reunited again.

We had to read the English instructions about how to put on our yukata, but I thought we did a pretty good job. That was until the woman 'attending' our room pretty much yelled at me and my Mom for having crossed the front the wrong way. Apparently, the way we were wearing it is only worn for funerals, so that was a big no-no. It was soooo complicated, though. We had to put on one yukata to walk around the ryokan and to the onsen in, then put another one on after the onsen. The onsen (natural hot spring), by the way, was fannnnnnnnnntastic! Felt amazing and put me right to sleep.

Tea, anyone?
Those white things on the ground are futon, but they are different and more comfortable than any futon I have ever slept on at home. I slept like a baby, whose Mom gives it a 'taste' of liquor before it sleeps so it won't wake up in the middle of night.

Breakfast the next morning was in a small communal dining room overlooking the beautiful garden. Everything is laid out for you upon arrival. The presentation was incredible, and I'm sure the dishes and tableware are of the utmost quality (not that I could ever recognize or really appreciate that aspect). The meal was massive and delicious... to those that enjoy Japanese food. To those that don't (cough cough, Dad and Austin), it might be interesting to sample a pinch here and there, ask for some more water politely, and then give the rest to me! Thanks for the effort though guys, and letting me enjoy the amazing meals:)
Clockwise from top left: fresh salad with creamy dressing, sweet egg roll, creamy tofu, mushroom, and green onion nabe, sauce to put in nabe, fresh squeezed vegetable juice, pickled vegetables, rice, miso soup, grilled salmon, ume, fish eggs, marinated greens, and a small bean and vegetable salad.
Here's some more pictures of our room and it's views, and a video tour of the ryokan room.

The ryokan's lounge area... although I never saw anyone lounging in here.

video

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