Good Standard Breakfast @ Shikisai Ryokan on 13Oct2016 – Day 2 Nikko

shikisai-breakfast

shikisai japanese breakfast

next morning we had breakfast at 8am on 13.10,2016. ^^

it was some redemption (though only breakfast). 🙂

i would put this breakfast up there, as meeting the standard this ryokan should offer la. 🙂

shikisai-dining-hall

shikisai dining hall

nice dining hall, and in the morning light, a different feel – bright, “airy”, feels expansive looking out at the greens. would have been lots better if they were koyo colours & momiji of course. sigh!

appetizers-fish-roe-marinated-herrings-etc

appetizers=fish roe, marinated herrings etc

the appetizer dish included fish roe & a marinated herrings dish (both were very nice) & some gluten. 🙂

salad

salad

salad was good also, with the orange thing some savoury stuff. good! 🙂

onsen-egg

onsen egg

onsen egg maybe ordinary, but it’s my perennial favourite. 🙂

steamed-dish-yuba

steamed yuba dish

wife liked this steamed yuba dish a lot.

and it was very good la! 🙂

soup

clear soup with nori

there was a packet of nori (seaweed) on the table. i added some to the clear soup & some to my rice.

steamed-egg

steamed tofu

the steamed tofu dish was very good too.

steamed-tofu

steamed tofu

especially when added to the sauce & taken together.

steamed-cod

steamed cod

additionally we had a steamed cod.

steamed-cod2

steamed cod

this method of preparation similar to the beef last evening, just placed on a oppa leave & light up below & covered. maybe steamed/simmered?

the cod was pre treated, quite often the case including in bentos.

steamed-cod3

steamed cod

it was nice & tasty.

dessert

red bean dessert

& ended with a simple red bean dessert.

this breakfast was not luxurious, but the food items were certainly tasty & delicious, and adequate, and so it meet the standard for breakfast for such a ryokan like shikisai, where the kaiseki diner did not la.

c.h.e.f andy

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

5-appertizers

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-3

shikisai dining hall

shikisai-dining-hall-2

shikisai dining hall – ryokan was fully booked

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

shikisai-kaiseki-dinner-menu2

shikisai kaiseki dinner menu

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

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.

mushrooms-with-ikura

shimeji mushrooms with ikura

the shimkeji mushrooms with ikura quite appetising too.

marinated mussels

marinated mussels

marinated mussels so so.

duck-egg-chestnut

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.

soup3

#2 great soup with gluten

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

soup2

#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.

sashimi-was-good-chutoro-botan-ebi-maybe-sawari-spanish-mackerel

#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).

sashimi-was-good-chutoro-botan-ebi-maybe-sawari-spanish-mackerel2

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

sashimi was very fresh, sweet, quite excellent.

tochigi-wagyu

#4 tochigi wagyu 国产牛

tochigi-wagyu2

#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.

yuba

#5 yuba in soya bean

yuba

#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.

uni-with-gluten

#6 uni with gluten

uni-with-gluten2

#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-a-disaster-worse-than-on-ana-flight

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.

dessert2

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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Shikisai Ryokan 12-14Oct2016 = OK but Not Good Value & Poor Service – Day 1 Nikko

shikisai-room2

shikisai ryokan room

wife booked shikisai ryokan 12-14oct2016.

nice ryokan. room was big. n0t much view, and matters not whether lakeview or mountain view, since it was a short distance upon the slope & everywhere blocked by trees.

shikisai quite a popular ryokan. this period fully booked. there is a bus stop outside named shikisai & there is big signage at the lake chuzenji stop directing traffic at the road T junction turning left towards lake chizenji.

shikisai lobby - checking in

shikisai lobby – checking in

shikisai picked us up at tobu nikko station.

there is free coffee, tea & water at the lobby area.

view from shikisai lobby

view from shikisai lobby

the lobby had glass all round.

view from shikisai lobby 2

view from shikisai lobby

looking at the trees outside.

unfortunately autumn came late this year, so not yet seeing the koyo colours & momiji.

view from shikisai ryokan room

view from shikisai ryokan room

same for view from the ryokan room.

shikisai ryokan room

shikisai ryokan room

mochi green tea @ shikisai ryokan room

mochi green tea @ shikisai ryokan room

there was the standard welcome tea at the ryokan room, with a nice mochi & plum sweet & green/red tea we make ourselves.

service was very poor for this price of ryokan!

in many ryokan of this price range or lower, the service staff bringing us to the room would make the tea ready for us, and several even provided macha抹茶 instead of just cheap green tea in bags.

on the next night 13.10.2016, we had to move to a different room as ryokan was fully booked & we could only get a substantially more expensive room with an outdoor jacuzzi (a completely waste of time & money!). i asked the service staff if he wanted to show us how to use the outdoor jacuzzi, he basically just waived me off. we didn’t bother as the jacuzzi looked miserable & useless.

shikisai-dining-hall-2

shikisai dining hall – dinner

shikisai has a nice dining hall at the basement near to the onsen.

shikisai-dining-hall

shikisai dining hall – breakfast

looked even better in the morning for breakfast dining.

shikisai ryokan room3

shikisai ryokan room

as is the practice for ryokan, they will make the bed for you when you have dinner. nice & warm. 🙂

& they will keep them for you while you having breakfast.

one comment on the onsen. couldn’t/didn’t bring phone to take pictures, but the onsen at shikisai really poor by japanese standards for this price of ryokan – plain, rundown, no rock deco etc. many ryokan onsen are just beautiful!

they do have sulphur or natural occurring onsen. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Nikko Heritage Sites Walk + Kanman Abyss on 12Oct2016 (Day 1 Nikko)

kanman abyss + nikko historical walk

kanman abyss + nikko historical walk

we were hoping to catch the autumn colours koyo (red leaves) & see momiji (maple leaves) on this hiking trip at nikko 12-17.10.2016. ^^

our ANA flight arrived early at haneda (6.05am instead of 6.30am). we travelled very light, just a haversack for me & cabin bag for wife, no checked in luggage, so we were out at arrivals at 6.30am. 🙂

we took the direct keikyu train from haneda to asakusa in 40mins at 620yen which we researched earlier.

keikyu-train-haneda-to-asakusa-620yen

from asakusa, it was another direct train to nikko.

we were spending 4nights 5days at nikko so not fully covered by the all nikko pass. at the tobu asakusa station information counter, we were advised to purchase the all nikko pass for 4520yen in any case + buy the onward one way ticket by rapid trains 1360yen. it was good advise! 🙂

we took the 8.10am rapid & arrived tobu nikko station at 10.19am on 12.10.2016, train timetable here. ^^

taking from tobu asakusa station end station was ok, but the rapid train filled up quickly so some had to stand the whole 2 hrs journey.

farm-fields

farmlands

country-blue-sky

country blue sky 

train took us through the country side.

tobu nikko station

tobu nikko station 

arriving at tobu nikko station, we left our bags at the station lockers (cost 700yen).

shinkyo神桥

shinkyo神桥 in nikko 

and took the tobu bus to shinkyo神桥 costing 200yen.

kanmangafuchi-abyss

kanmangafuchi abyss 

& started our walks to the kanmangafuchi abyss & the toshogu shrine heritage sites historic walking tour.

jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽2

jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽

jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽5

jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽

first came to the jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽.

jizo (buddhist guardian deity) at jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽 3

jizo (buddhist guardian deity) at jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽 

saw the jizo (buddhist guardian deity) at jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽.

jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽 4

jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽 

jizo (buddhist guardian deity)

jizo (buddhist guardian deity) 

more jizo (buddhist guardian deity) at jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽.

bonsho-temple-bell-1450-oldest-in-nikko

bonsho temple bell-1450, oldest in nikko  

bonsho temple bell-1450, oldest in nikko, at jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽.

jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽 6

jokoji temple 浄光寺 閼伽  

nice small temple.

kanman-path2

kanman path 

a pleasant stroll along kanman path.

jizo-along-kanman-path2

jizo along kanman path

jizo-along-kanman-path

kanman path 

more jizo (buddhist guardian deity)along kanman path.

kanmangafuchi-abyss2

kanman abyss

kanman-abyss-form-by-lava-eruption-of-mt-nantai

kanmangafuchi formed by lava eruption of mt nantai

kanman-abyss-form-by-lava-eruption-of-mt-nantai2

kanmangafuchi formed by lava eruption of mt nantai

kanman-abyss-form-by-lava-eruption-of-mt-nantai3

kanmangafuchi formed by lava eruption of mt nantai

kanman-abyss-form-by-lava-eruption-of-mt-nantai4

kanmangafuchi formed by lava eruption of mt nantai 

the kanman abyss was formed by lava eruption of mt nantai.

kanman-path3

kanman path

nice walking walk along kanman path.

daiya-river

daiya river 

alongside the daiya river.

rinnoji

rinnoji轮王寺 

after kanman, we proceeded with the historic walk.

first the rinnoji轮王寺.

not so much to see, as the place is likely permanently under restoration.

towards-toshogu-shrine

towards toshogu shrine东照宫 

walking towards toshogu shrine东照宫.

torii-gate-toshogu-shrine

torii gate @ toshogu shrine东照宫 

torii gate @ toshogu shrine东照宫 at the entrance.

pagoda-toshogu-shrine

pagoda toshogu shrine

pagoda-toshogu-shrine-2

pagoda toshogu shrine

pagoda-toshogu-shrine-3

pagoda toshogu shrine 

& 5 storey pagoda.

nikko-futarasan

nikko-futarasan 

towards-futarasan

towards futarasan 

walking from toshogu shrine东照宫 to nikko-futarasan

sake-drums-futarasan

sake drums futarasan 

sake drums.

according to endomondo (top photo), we walked 6km in 2hrs, with all the stops & photo taking. 🙂

crispy-red-bean-cake

crispy red bean dessert 

we were back to tobu nikko station just past 2pm.

our ryokan, shikisai, was fetching us from the station at 2.40pm (checking in time is 3pm), so we picked up our luggage, and walked around the shops a bit.

took the popular, very nice, crispy, fluffy red bean dessert. very nice, warm & shiok!

quite similar to the one i took at takao san. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Krisflyer Gold Lounge @ Changi Terminal 2 on 11Oct2016

Krisflyer gold lounge food

Krisflyer gold lounge food – miesli with nuts 

wife & i flying off for a short walking holiday at nikko 12-17.10.2016. ^^

we were flying ANA to haneda airport, tokyo so checked in & boarding at changi T2 on 11.10.2016 night. 🙂

Krisflyer gold lounge

Krisflyer gold lounge

DBS asia treasure lounge at T2 under reno & re-opening in dec2016.

wife got invitation to krisflyer gold lounge + 1 guest.

Krisflyer gold lounge

Krisflyer gold lounge 

lounge was comfortable enough.

internet was ok.

Krisflyer gold lounge food

Krisflyer gold lounge food 

food though was not quite the same la…c/w with asia treasure lounge.

Krisflyer gold lounge food

Krisflyer gold lounge food 

some noodles, tofu (hard, quite poorly done), mushrooms, asparagus. nothing that attracted.

anyway still a good stop before boarding ANA. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Krisflyer Gold Lounge @ Changi T2

Address:

60 Airport Blvd, Singapore 819643

Opening Hours:

24 hours