Report and pictures courtesy of Patrick Harrington
Atagawa Dai Ichi Hotel
413-0302, Kamo Gun, Higashi Izu Machi, Naramoto, 1267-2, Izu Atagawa Hotsprings
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.