Average Kaiseki Unedible Zaru Soba @ Shikisai Ryokan 四季彩on 12Oct2016 – Day 1 Nikko


5 appetizers

2 main attractions of staying in japanese ryokans are (1) the sumptuous kaiseki dinner  & breakfast (2) the onsen.

of course, guests have also come to have high expectation of the service, basically the entire experience of ryokan stay. 🙂

the very first ryokan i stayed in was at senkei 仙景 annex yamagaso in hakone.

it was literally like staying in “shangri-la”, divine scenery no less, at least that was the cherished memories. ^^ there i had my first taste of kuroge wagyu, the true 黑毛和牛. 🙂

don’t know how long ago was that, maybe 10yrs now?

the best ryokan experience over the whole holiday stays was undoubtedly in tohoku in 2010, just before it was ravaged by tsunami & nuclear fallout in 2011. how sad!

food wise though, the more recent ryokans impressed much less.

  • <partly also because Singapore’s food standards (including some japanese restaurants here) have gone very much higher, comparable to the best worldwide.>

that was the case even for the kaiseki dinner at one of the better ryokans in kyushu, Gettoan ryokan 月灯庵 at yufuin 汤布院.


shikisai dining hall


shikisai dining hall – ryokan was fully booked

shikisai has a nice large dining hall, on basement level, overlooking nature & trees.


shikisai kaiseki dinner menu


shikisai kaiseki dinner menu (english)

shikisai is not a cheaper range ryokan, so we were expecting a sumptuous kaiseki.

the kaiseki menu looked like a long menu, but it actually was not. in fact it was quite a small menu c/w many kaiseki dinners we had at many different ryokans in tohoku (say).


junmai sake

wife ordered a sake.

at first she asked for a smaller sake as i do not drink.

the server came with sake in a glass full of ice.

we take sake chilled yes, in ice i never seen that before??? must be something lost in translation. anyway we rejected it & wife got a 300ml junmai. the sake was good, expensive i think 1800yen but good. 🙂

grilled saury

#1 grilled saury

the sakizuke(先附) had 5 items. they were pretty good but not outstanding.

grilled saury was good.


shimeji mushrooms with ikura

the shimkeji mushrooms with ikura quite appetising too.

marinated mussels

marinated mussels

marinated mussels so so.


duck egg was just excellent..chestnut dish quite interesting

the duck egg was excellent, not salty, not strong gamey, quite nice flavour & great texture.

the chestnut was just chestnut, nice. the “sea urchin” shell was some cracker thing, much like deep-fried spaghetti type of nice bites.


#2 great soup with gluten

the soup was good, tasty. gluten was good too.


#2 great soup with nice starchy item

it was not the standard of a good dobin mushi, but much better than any gohan soup, miso or clear soup.


#3 sashimi was good quality = chutoro botanebi maybe sawara (spanish mackerel)?

the sashimi dish was good quality, with a small botan ebi, chutoro & what maybe sawara (spanish mackerel).


#3 sashimi was good quality = chutoro botanebi maybe sawara (spanish mackerel)?

sashimi was very fresh, sweet, quite excellent.


#4 tochigi wagyu 国产牛


#4 tochigi wagyu 国产牛

after sashimi, we had tochigi wagyu.

i think it’s a 国产牛,not the standard of kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛.

but even as 国产牛, the quality was quite average. still nice, a bit beefy for wife, and the method of cooking was a bit like steaming & not pan-grilled or bbq. so maybe that suited this beef which may not be a top marbled wagyu.


#5 yuba in soya bean


#5 yuba in soya bean

we had a yuba dish, served in soya bean drink & served with dipping sauce.

a simple dish, but importantly it was nice.


#6 uni with gluten


#6 uni with gluten

the steamed dish of uni with gluten was average or poor, as the uni is the dry hard type not the sweet, fresh, melt in the mouth, exploding flavours variety.


zaru soba = an absolute disaster worse than what was served on ANA flight

the plain zaru soba ought not be served. it was hard, uncooked inedible, and had no place in a kaiseki.

as i recorded on my FB, the soba served on ANA airline packaged meal was very much better. the noodles were normal qq & the soba sauce was tasty. THIS???

even a plain rice gohan set would be better.


creme brulee combo dessert

the creme brulee combo dessert was competent.

maybe ryokan these days try to cater for wider taste, and throw in some western stuff. this was competent so nothing to complain. i guess actually more luxurious than just some red bean dessert or a plum jelly.

overall the kaiseki was a huge disappointment. very meagre by kaiseki standards, hardly anything other than a decent appetizer, excellent sashimi, average beef, no fish, no broiled dish, no braised dish etc.

this kaiseki was as disappointing as that on the first night at gettoan at yufuin, kyushu.

ok, not sumptuous is one thing, not being luxurious or top ingredients, but more importantly taste. this kaiseki could not even said to be scrumptious. maybe just excellent sashimi & a few competent dishes!

just c/w with hachi’s S$88 set lunch with 3 wagyu dishes, huge oyster, deep-fried scallops etc.

fortunately the second night dinner at shikisai was better. tell that story later la…

c.h.e.f andy



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