Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Ryokan

Sunday & Monday in Izu

After a surprisingly restful night sleep on our futons, we woke to intense thunderstorms over the water. This curtailed our plans to walk to the 7-11 for coffee. Another interesting thing about the Ryokan, it only had green tea available. We sipped green tea with each meal. We had to wait until after breakfast for our coffee. Breakfast was another interesting experience. Our dining time was 8 am. Again, when we arrived, the table was already set and the dishes were prepared for us. I counted five different dishes with fish. Including the one on the grill! Even the salad had fish on it!! Plus, rice and tofu.

At breakfast we were able to see the beautiful view of the water and islands from our dining table. Breakfast with an assortment of fish was very different. Surprisingly, the grilled fish was actually pretty good. It was a little tedious to pick out the bones, but it had great flavor. Needless to say, our chopstick skills were tested this weekend!

After breakfast, we went out for coffee and a walk. The rain had let up a little bit. We walked up the hill so we could see the hotel. Our hotel was the pink one. You walked into the lobby on the fifth floor. Our room was on the second floor. We had to take the elevator down to reach our room from the lobby. The restaurant where we ate was on the fourth floor. It made my head hurt each time we went to the elevator! I took a picture of the hotel map to help the layout make sense.

Before too long, it was raining again. We had planned to take a boat ride to explore the caves. However, the continuous rain showers deterred us. Instead we relaxed, ate sushi lunch, and soaked in the hotel onsen. The hotel provided yukata (summer weight kimonos) for guests to wear to the onsen and to dinner if you liked. We did wear them to the onsen, but picked our clothes to wear at dinner.

Before dinner, we went out to watch sunset. We were amazed with the spectacular sunset. I suppose the rain was worth it!

Before leaving for dinner, I took a couple more pictures of our room. Aren’t the leg-less chairs adorable?

Our dinner Sunday night was a little less intimidating than Saturday night. There was a lot of sushi, appetizers, crab legs, soft shelled crab, tempura vegetables, bone soup, rice, udon soup, cabbage, and more sushi!

About the only thing difficult to stomach was the sea whelk. Not my favorite. In fact, after Dave told me it was worse than sea urchin, I passed.

Before they brought over the three soups, they asked us if we wanted them. No, thank you. We were so full! Instead, dessert was served. Yum, fresh fruit! My favorite!

We returned to our room to find our futons setup for us.

We couldn’t help but laugh at the distance between them! We moved them closer and again added a few more futons, comforters, and our own pillows. Ahhhhh. Much better.

Monday morning, we had a chance to get out for coffee before breakfast. As we walked and talked, we both discussed how delicious an American breakfast sounded. Instead we had more fish. This time, only three fish dishes, a cold poached egg, tofu, squid, rice, pickles, a salad with tiny croutons, and seaweed soup. Plus, a great view!

We loaded up the car and checked out of our room. We made the trip back home safely and without issue. We also agreed to enjoy a few traditional American meals this week. It was a great weekend. We had fun relaxing and exploring when we could. The biggest adventure was definitely the meals!

Izu Peninsula Roadtrip

Dave and I planned a road trip to the Izu Peninsula for Labor Day weekend. We left Friday afternoon and drove to Shimoda.

Friday night we stayed at the Shimoda Prince Hotel. The hotel came highly recommended by a couple friends. Honestly, I was a little underwhelmed with the overpriced dinner option and the dated accommodations. The room was plenty big for the two of us. The separate twin beds are pretty typical in Japanese hotel rooms. Fortunately, it was only for one night.

Saturday morning, we were hoping to catch the sunrise over the water. Unfortunately, rain and clouds prevented much of a view.

Originally, I planned for us to visit a near by nature reserve with 7 waterfalls. The rain made us rethink those plans. Instead, we decided to make our way to the other side of the peninsula where we would be spending Saturday and Sunday night. We kept our fingers crossed for sunnier skies on the other side.

We stopped at a marina along the way. The rain had let up a little and the view was lovely.

At the marina gift shop there were a lot of wasabi products. This area is known for growing wasabi. We purchase some wasabi, wasabi salt, and wasabi ginger dressing. In case you didn’t know what a wasabi plant looks like, I snapped a picture of the sample they had on display. The edible part is the root. The leaves resemble the leaves of elephant ears.

We finished our drive over to Dogashima and parked at our Ryokan. A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese Onsen (hot spring) Hotel. Ryokans are very popular in this area because of the thermal vents near Mt. Fuji. The view from the parking lot was spectacular! Plus, we managed to get away from the rain!

We arrived before our permitted check in time. This gave us time to grab lunch and do a little exploring. We opted for a sushi lunch. The squid was the best I have tasted!

At lunch, we noticed a poster we saw during our walk. We inquired about the Nishiizu Beach Candle Night. It was scheduled for Saturday evening. The restaurant owners said the event was about a 10 minute walk. However, it was weather dependent. We kept our fingers crossed for good weather!

After lunch, we walked around the town a little more and explored some of the cliffs. This area is considered one of the top three beautiful viewpoints in Japan. It was stunning and on a clear day, I’m sure it would be even more lovely.

After our walk, we made our way back to our Ryokan. We checked into our room. Dinner and breakfast were included for each night. We were asked to schedule a time for both. We selected 7 pm and 8 am. We were also allowed to schedule time at the larger private hotel onsen. We picked 8 pm for Saturday night and 4 pm for Sunday afternoon. After arranging our itinerary, we were then escorted to our room. It was clearly marked. The room was very spacious. The floors are covered with Tatami mats. No, I didn’t forget to take a picture of our bed. It wasn’t set up yet!

The room also had a small balcony with a private onsen. Our view was incredible.

At one point as I was taking pictures, my phone slipped from my hand and fell into the onsen!! I immediately grabbed it. And to my delight it still worked. Dave suggested I use the hair dryer to make sure the charger and headphone sockets were completely dry. I can’t believe my amazing luck!! Here was the last picture I took before I dropped it and the first picture I took after I turned it back on. Whew!

The weather seemed to be holding as sunset drew closer. Dave and I decided to walk down to se if the Beach Candle event was still going as scheduled. We were excited to see everything being set up!

Soon, numerous volunteers were lighting the many candles. As the sun faded, the glowing candles became even more beautiful.

We made our way back to the Ryokan for our dinner reservation at 7 pm. We walked into the dining room and found our table already set! I had never seen anything like the it! The spread was incredible. There had to be 15 different courses!

Several types of sushi (including lobster), a grill for steak and vegetables, salad, pickles, small appetizers, soups, rice and so much more!

The most shocking experience of the evening was the live abalone (sea snail) being cooked on the small grill in front of us. I honestly wasn’t prepared for this. I was grossed out and mesmerized watching it cook.

I did try it after it was completely cooked. It wasn’t my favorite. It was very chewy. Fortunately, they gave us a knife and fork so we could cut it into bite sized pieces and didn’t have to use chopsticks! Dave ate the remainder of what I couldn’t eat. This meal (and the three others) included many Japanese delicacies. We didn’t have an option of ordering food. The table was set and the food was prepared before we arrived. It was a culinary experience like nothing we’ve ever experienced. We were treated with wonderful hospitality. It was a wonderful opportunity and experience even if it pushed us outside our culinary comfort zone.

After dinner, we returned to our room. While we were at dinner, housekeeping setup our futons for us.

After our huge dinner and soak in the onsen, we were ready for a slumber. We did modify the futons a little bit. We brought our own pillows and placed a couple extra futons underneath us. Surprisingly, we slept pretty soundly.

I’ll share our Sunday adventures next time. More to follow tomorrow!

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