Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Motoyu Club, Yuzawa

Not being really in the business of reviewing onsen (nor foreign prefectures, for that matter), EOITwJ will concentrate on the food at the various Akita onsen where we just stayed, and probably just the interesting food at that. If you've ever been to an onsen you have a pretty good idea what to expect; variations on a theme. If anything, the food was disappointing in that it didn't have any game elements (I was definitely expecting some wild boar!) but there were a number of good and different bits.

Motoyu Club is a nicely-renovated, warm and friendly place. The rooms are good, the baths are clean and pretty, and they do a good line in private rental baths (Y1000 per hour, choose between hinoki and kihada baths). The food was about what you'd expect; the interesting elements that I can remember from the picture were:
  • Houba miso: Wasn't expecting to see this in Akita; maybe it wasn't really magnolia leaf? Either way, they had rustled up some good beef (Yonezawa is a stop along the way), covered it with miso, and plopped it in our dishes to cook.
  • The green-vegetable-and-goma-and-ikura thing, that was an interesting twist
  • The kiritanpo, which are widely lauded as regional food but are in fact merely sticky rice, cooked and molded around a stick, then grilled, then dropped into your soup. At Motoyu, they were trying to make them different, so it was really just balls of sticky rice in the soup (kiridango?). Since this was the only kiritampo we saw on the trip (!) it was a little disappointing
Anyway, if you've never been to an onsen before, you get some idea from the picture about the variety that confronts two people. The green lid is the stew pot, which cooks while you eat the rest (and you can see the opened version on the other side of the table). The brown thing below it is the uncooked hobamiso. The blue plates are empty because they're waiting for the grilled fish to arrive. Actually, the fish here were iwana wrapped in foil and grilled, not salt-grilled like you (I) might expect

Pretty nice as onsen go, and good value at around Y11,000 (1名1泊). Truly difficult to get to though.

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