Okunoyu Ryokan, Kurokawa Onsen, Japan
Okunoyu Ryokan really is in the middle of nowhere in Japan. As always a traditional Kaiseki meal is served and this one was my best one in Japan. You could really taste that this Ryokan is adapting it’s food to the region its in. Located in a mountain valley (or the Japanese version of a mountain valley) it sits on a river and the outside baths (in Japan that implies mixed sex, no swimsuit) are very relaxing. The food was lovely. Mushrooms, freshwater fish, beef and other delicacies were served. The best dish by far, was raw horse meat with some soy and radish. The sweetness of the meat was fantastic. I think these place here really captured the essence of japanese fine dining. Subtle flavours, importance of balance in a dish, clean and simple presentation (yet still complicated in achieving it) really show off what this is all about. From a western perspective their are two major differences, Japanese like much more subtle flavours and they’re big on weird textures. Slimy, rubbery and gooey are common in japanese food and are a regular part of many menus. Once you figure this out, you can dine at par with western gourmet food.