Shizuoka Hotsprings: Atagawa Dai-Ichi Hotel

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Report and pictures courtesy of Patrick Harrington


Atagawa Dai Ichi Hotel
413-0302, Kamo Gun, Higashi Izu Machi, Naramoto, 1267-2, Izu Atagawa Hotsprings
Tel.: 0557-23-2200
Prices: 10,500~16,800 per person per night, breakfast and dinner included.

You might think that a visit to Atagawa in East Izu City would be solely for the delights of a hot spring soak. But the Atagawa Daichi Hotel is no one-trick pony. Indeed it has its indoor and outdoor spas, complete with scenic views of the sea below. But we had read from customers’ comments that the food in this mid-priced hotel was surprisingly good.
And it was.


Everything was served together. Two bowls were heated by wax candles, and as these simmered away we tucked into the multitude of dishes on offer.
In one bowl were some skewered gingko nuts with azuki beans. In another were some chunks of radish and carrot in a soy marinade. My favourite was a very small dish containing some fresh seaweed with grated yuzu.
And the chawamushi was full of beans, chicken, and some tasty green leaves.
To be honest, even though there was an enormous array of dishes this kind of meal can be had in any number of decent hotel restaurants in Shizuoka and other prefectures.
Indeed the centrepiece, the sashimi platter, contained only three kinds of sushi: tuna, squid and mackerel. However the sashimi was just about perfect, firm but tender, smooth yet tasty. And this was true throughout the meal, everything was so fresh and carefully cooked.
Then we tried the hot plates that were now ready. in one was juicy pork with cabbage, in the other kinmedai fish, a local speciality, which was so tender, with thin noodles, Chinese cabbage, large mushrooms and assorted vegetables. A complimentary glass of local strawberry wine was also provided.
With unlimited rice there was no room for dessert which was just as well, since there wasn’t any, except a ponkan!

After the meal, which was served in our room, we sat by the window and watched the Christmas firework display, which reminded me of my taste buds.

Agricultural Products: Banpeiyu Citrus

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(Shizuoka Shinbun, December 28th, 2007)

Shimizu ku has of recent years at the forehead of fruit development.
The latest is the largest citrus variety know in the world, which comes under the Japanes name of “晩白柚”/Banpeiyu.
Originally from Malay Peninsula, it has successfully grown in Shimizu Ku. It can reach a circumference of 65 cm and weigh as much as 3 kilogrammes!
Even so this year’s crop was comparetively small in size and volume. I wonder what would represent a good crop!

Bryan Baird’s Newsletter

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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2007 #32

-Seasonal Release: Yamanashi Sumomo Ale
-Taproom Countdown Party (Monday, December 31)
-Hatsujozo 2008 Double IPA

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

Year 2007 is entering its midnight hour. As we reflect on time past and anticipate the year ahead, we also stumble in our cellar upon one of the beer gems of 2007 not yet to see the inside of a thirsty enthusiasts’ pint glass. Yamanashi Sumomo Ale was brewed way back in the hot summer month of July and has been conditioning cool and quiet in the recesses of our cellar
since packaging in early August. Upon cracking a test bottle, one thought became clear: this is the way the year 2007 wants to end. And thus it will be — our final beer salute to yet another fine year of living and drinking.

*Yamanashi Sumomo Ale (ABV 5.6%):

Yamanashi prefecture is the fruit capital of Japan. Our friends at Four Hearts Cafe in Kofu city make it a point to see that some of this fine fruit makes it over the border to Shizuoka prefecture where it may find its way into the brewing kettles at Baird Beer. A sumomo is a Japanese plum, deep purple in color, juicy in character, sweetly tart in flavor and pleasingly
aromatic. Yamanashi Sumomo Ale is light in body (additions of malted wheat and Japanese korizato sugar see to this), highly attenuated (due to low mashing temperatures), and briskly fruity (thanks to additions of fresh sumomo). Extra zest is provided courtesy of the all-natural carbonation produced during secondary fermentation.

Yamanashi Sumomo Ale is now being served at our Fishmarket Taproom and will be available in both bottle- and keg-conditioned form through the fine family of Baird Beer retailers in Japan beginning Friday, December 28.
Let’s bid farewell to 2007 in the finest beer fashion possible.

*Taproom Countdown Party (Monday, December 31):

As tradition now dictates, we will be partying out the current year and partying in the next on December 31 at The Taproom’s annual Countdown Party. Per our custom, the party will be organized around a delicious Mexican-style fiesta buffet that features a do-it-yourself taco and nacho bar as well as a host of other Mexican cuisine-inspired original Taproom dishes. Best of all, you can gorge all evening for only 1,000 yen per person! The buffet will be served from 5:00 PM until 11:00 PM. Reservations not required.

*Hatsujozo 2008 Double IPA (ABV 8%):

At the stroke of midnight, Baird Beer Year 2008 will be inaugurated with the tapping of Hatsujozo (“First Brew”) 2008 Double IPA. This year’s version sees a reduction in the use of Maris Otter in favor of lighter bodied Pilsner and Vienna malts, the replacement of korizato sugar with the elegant character of sudakito sugar, and a cleaner and more floral hop character (combination of Simcoe, Magnum, Horizon, Vanguard and Sterling).
Dry-hopping is conducted with loads of Vanguard and Sterling hops. A complimentary glass of Hatsujozo 2008 will be served to all patrons for the inaugural toast of 2008. Please plan to join us for a most special and festive evening.

Hatsujozo 2008 Double IPA will also be available through Baird Beer retailers in Japan. The bottle-conditioned version has been packaged in large 633 ml bottles (as opposed to our standard 360 ml bottles). Beginning in 2008, virtually all seasonal Baird Beer will be bottled exclusively in 633 ml bottles.

*Remainder: The Fishmarket Taproom will be closed on January 1-2. It will
re-open on Thursday, January 3 for a special Shogatsu celebration (noon – 6:00 PM) featuring special shogatsu dishes cooked up by Sayuri and Kyoko (300 to 600 yen) and 500 yen pints of Hatsujozo 2008 Double IPA. The Taproom will return to normal business hours beginning Friday, January 4.

Happy New Year!

Bryan Baird

Takoyaki: Yokoyama

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On Chritsmas Eve, of all dates, I paid a visit to an old favourite, Yokoyama.
This is the only place serving not only delicious, but authentic “takoyaki”.
“Takoyaki” are dumplings filled with boiled octopus cooked on a hot plate and later served with sauce and dry bonito shavings/katsuo bushi.
Yokoyama, an unpretentious minuscule shop, has a history dating back to the first days after WWII when they first offered “daigakuimo”. I cannot recall when they changed their prices, a sure sign of their popularity. At 420 yen a plate (a dozen dumplings), they do make for a great body-warming lunch or snack for anyone, Japanese or expat.
Now, people usually buy them as takeout, but I would definitely advise you to eat them freshly cooked and hot from the grill. You will have the opportunity to smear them them with plenty of their delicious home-made sauce. The owner told me he has to fence off insistent questions and queries on a daily basis about their sauce from people coming as far as Tokyo. It is and will be a well-kept secret.

Address: Shizuoka Shi, Koya-machi, 13-1, Yokoyama Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-2520312
Opening hours: 10:00~20:00.
Closed on Mondays and third Tuesday.
Takoyaki, 420 yen. Daigakuimo, 210 yen. Kaki Koori (Crushed ice flavoured with syrup in Summer only), 320~470 yen.

Natsu Mikan Sour/Summmer Orange Sour Drink

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Here is a soft drink that should please both young and old without the usual fears associated with junk drinks.
30% of it is juice from mikan/sumeer oranges harvested in the Izu Peninsula. It contains loads of Vitamin C and carotenes.
They are sold in Shimoda City, but also can be bought at Sumpu Raku Ichi Store in Asty, Shizuoka JR Station.
A good drink for your trip!

Natsu Mikan Sour
Izu Taiyo Nogyo Kyodokumiai M (Izu Agricultural Cooperative)
Shimoda City, Higashi Hongo, 1-12-8
Producer Tel.: 0558-368316

Wasabi: Winter Harvest

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Wasabi harvest has started in earnest in Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Utougi (along the Abe River), the birthplace of wasabi (c. 1600).
Growers have anounced that this year’s crop (it takes one to two years to nurture wasabi roots to maturity) is excellent witn a strong taste and aroma.
Not only the roots, but also the leaves and stems are edible (the latter are very popular as tenpura or pickled).
They will soon appear on the markets and Internet all over the country. A sizeable amount is also directly exported to South Kore and theU.S.

Umeshu: Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery

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Shizuoka not only produces some of the best sake in Japan and absolutely extravagant shochu, but also come up with the cream of Umeshu found in this country adding local Japanese plums to their sake or shochu for the plesaure of all.

Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery in Hamamatsu City has the particularity to brew sake, shochu, beer and umeshu (when are they going to make wine?).

This Umeshu called Kuramoto no Umeshu (Umeshu from our Brewery) is certainly a beauty:
Alcool: 15 degrees
Ingredients: Kome/rice shochu, Japanese plums extract, sugar.
No colouring or artificial state added.
Bottled in June 2007.

Best appreciated on the rocks or straight and chilled at all times.
Very elegant and satisfying. Will please both ladies and gentlemen.
The perfect aperitif!

Hamamatsu Brewery
Hamamatsu City, Tenjin machi, 3-57
Tel.: 053-461-6145

Bryan Baird’s Newsletter

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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2007 #31

Topic: Taproom Christmas Celebration (Monday, December 24)

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

The Taproom’s annual Christmas celebration will be held on Monday, December 24 (Christmas-eve day and Japan national holiday). The Taproom doors will open at noon and the celebration will last all day and into the evening.

The celebration will feature a very special Christmas food menu, 500 yen pints of our Jubilation Ale, and the full line-up of year-round as well as strong seasonal Baird Beers. As Christmas is a family affair, please don’t hesitate to bring the kids along. We will be playing Christmas music and showing Christmas videos throughout the day to keep the young ones fully entertained. Small gifts from Sanata Claus for the little ones have been deposited underneath The Taproom Christmas tree where they await a new and enthusiastic owner. Reservations are not required.

Also, please mark the calendar for The Taproom Countdown Party on Monday, December 31. Event details will be forthcoming shortly.

Bryan Baird

Sushi Restaurant: Suehiro-Hamanako no Megumi Aji

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I had wanted to visit a certain Sushi Restaurant in Hamamatsu City since I discovered “Sushiya No Neesan” Blog (Japanese).
My wish was finally granted last Friday, December 14th when I managed to get an evening free after University in Fukuroi City.
Suehiro-Hamanako no Megumii Aji (Suehiro-Tastes from Hamana Lake) is conveniently located at short distance from Hamamatsu JR Station South exit (only two tarffic lights away).
It is a very traditional Sushi Restaurant. It was converted into the present establishment from a Japanese Restaurant 28 years ago by the second-generation owner, Mr. Katsuhisa Yokota presently ably helped by his daughter, Chisako, who literally grew in the restaurant, learning her trade by daily observing her father’s skills.
Since this was my first visit I opted to try my favourites and gradually order recommended tidbits.
I started with some succulent “shirako” (male cod sperm sacs. This is the real translation, not whiting as some people prudely call them…) with ponzu vinegar and momiji oroshi/grated fresh daikon with chili pepper.
I then asked for the inevitable akami/lean tuna. Chisako San proposed raw kuruma ebi/prawns just caught in Hamana Lake. Succulent!
This particular Sushi Restaurant for its “fugu”/globefish. I chose to have it deep-fried/karaage. No need for chopsticks. Just eat with your fingers and lick them. I was offered chopped boiled globefish skin with it and I had to use chopsticks, then (LOL). Certainly better than your fish and chips!
Back to raw fish, I asked for hirame sashimi/sole-flounder. That disappeared quickly, I can assure you!
keeping an eye on what was on the counter, I noticed a large dish full of unagi kimo/eel liver simmered Japanese-style by Mr. Yokota. Absolutely perfect with Japanese sake!
I was going to switch onto the traditional kampyo maki/dried gourd shavings and negi toro maki/finely chopped leeks with tuna, when I was offered a dish perticular to Hamana Lake District: Haze tenpura. “Haze”, or goby is a small fish caught in Hamana Lake at low tide. It is best eaten as tenpura (with your fingers) with a little salt and pepper.

All right, I fanlly had to call it a day, what with the local sake from Hana no mai Brewery (Hamamatsu City). I had a train to take back to Shizuoka City. But it will be a short time before I visit the place again to try the other morsels!

Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, suyama Cho, 360-6
Tel.: 053-452-6288
Business Hours: 11:30-13:30&17:00-22:00
Closed on every Wednesday and second Tuesday

Italian Cuisine: Lunch at Ciccio

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Was a bit in a hurry this Sunday, in-between shopping for dinner and writing at the office (no cricket today).
I decided to visit Caffe Ciccio to check what they had on their menu.
They had the perfect snack, not heavy but hearty enough before coming back to work:
Panini Set.
Look at the picture above and you will see a crunchy raw ham (there are others) cut to size with a piece of excellent quiche, a cup of vegetables soup and a side salad and a drink.
For 1,050 yen (about 9.$50), not bad at all, and very tasty!

Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Shichikencho, 13-20
Tel. & Fax: 0542528767
Opening hours: 11:30~22:00
Clsed on Tuesdays

Shizuoka Izakaya: Hayase

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Izakayas have been “sprouting” all over Takajo Machi in Shizuoka City, an area recently referred to as the “Shizuoka Daikanyama”.
My better (worse?) half and I found this little place called Hayase along a fairly large street and decided to give a try.
An unprepossing, almost discreet, izakaya, it was open in February this year. Apparently it is already quite popular and were lucky to enter it around 19:00 as it got full within half an hour.
The inside is extremely clean for an izakaya specialized in “yakitori”. It sits about 8 people at the counter, 6 more at tables and chairs and a dozen on tatami floor.
We found ourselves in a little dilemna as Hayase also proposed some sashimi we just could not resist. The bonito was absolutely excellent.
After that we started ordering yakitori in earnest, and I just did not have enough time to take all the pictures I wished to. Which will give me a good excuse to come back, especially considering the reasonable prices for such a place which could become quickly expensive at other establishments.
The service is attentive and generous and the sake (and other drinks) are great:
4 jizake from Shizuoka Prefecture:
Karakkaze (Hana no Mai Brewery/Hamamatsu City)
Kikuyoi Tokubetsu Honjozo (Fujieda City)
Takasago Homare Fuji Junmai (Fuji-Takasago Brewery/Fujinomiya City)
Garyuubai Junmai Muroka (Sanwa Brewery/Shimizu Ku)

Look forward to my next visit report!

Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajyo, 3-22-7
Tel.: 054-221-9480
Business hours: 17:00~23:00 (Off on Sundays & National Holidays)

Shizuoka Music Cafe Bar: Lifetime

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On November 27th, 2007, Fugetsuro Hotel revamped their first floor completely to replace the simple cake-shop/cafe they previously had with a very much larger cafe bar in Kutsunoya Machi across Shizuoka JR Station.
As far as the cafe itself, it is very probably the only decent Hotel Cafe Bar in town.
It is large, but not overwhelming, seating about 80 people. One can either choose a seat at the counter, inside the room or in one of the street-facing lodges. Excellent background jazz music and friendly staff.
lifetime3.jpg lifetime4.jpg
Do not be too harsh on the English written on the menu. The place does serve quite a few dishes apart of their cakes made on site that you can either savour inside or take home.
As for drinks, every taste is covered as they include very good coffees and a surprisingly long array of teas served in beautifull china.
For the late drinkers (and their companions), malt whiskies, beer, wine, sake and even a kome/rice shochu by Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City called Saisuke!

Now the big plus is the regular Jazz Concert Programme every Thursday, but forthat you had better consult their homepage! (the list id simply too longand impressive for this posting!)

Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Kutsunoya machi, 11-1
Tel.: 054-250-0131
Business Hours: Tuesdays: 13:00~25:00
Saturdays: 11:00~24:00
Sundays & National Holidays: 11:00~19:00
Mondays: Off (except on National Holidays)

Fish, Fish, Fish (and others…)!

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(Aka Yagara, Red Trumpet Fish)

Now is a great time to vist the marine products stands at Fresh Market inside Parche-Shizuoka JR Station!
Let’s look around and see if you recognize all those creatures!
“Aka Yagara”: Red Trumpet Fish. Makes for great sashimi and meuniere. Also called “Karasu Uo/Crow Fish>
“Mako Garei”, a local Halibut/Turbot variety. Popular in any part of the World!
“Hata hata” or “Sailfin Sandfish”. Typical of Shizuoka Prefecture. Great served grilled!
“Managatsuo”. Nothing to do with Bonito. Local white-flesh fish, great both as sasimi and grilled!
“Tako” or Octopus. Can be enjoyed, raw, cooked, or pickled. Or in Italina cuisine!
“Uchiwa Ebi”. Goes by the Latin name of “Ibacus ciliatus”. In Japanese means “Fan Prawn”. Very popular as sashimi or pickled!

Shizuoka Food Markets: Sumpu Raku Ichi

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There is one (more) shop visitors, especially the ones in a hurry, should visit when going through Shizuoka JR Station, namely Sumpu Raku Ichi Store.
Apart of the vast array of sShizuoka Prefecture crafts they sell, they offer a wide range of agricultural Products from our Prefecture:
Anything concerning Wasabi, including enormous fresh Wasabi roots with their leaves, Wasabi Tsuke (Pickled wasabi stems and leaves in Sake white lees), cakes (especially made with Shizuoka Green Tea), Shizuoka Tea, Honey, Dried food, including Sakura Ebi/Shrimps, Kuro Hanpen (Dark Sardine Paste), Vinegars, Soy Sauces, Sake、Beers and fruit wines, all exclusively produced in Shizuoka Prefecture from local ingredients!
Another great source of miyage/present-souvenirs on your way back or to your friends!

HOMEPAGE (Japanese)