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Izu Peninsula - Day One

Posted on 2006/11/23 07:03:21 (November 2006).

[Tuesday 21st November]
As I had the week off work, Chie and I decided we ought to go somewhere, even if just a short trip. For a long time we'd been talking about going to visit an onsen (hot spring) somewhere, and finally by today we had managed to get our act together and had chosen (albeit somewhat randomly) to visit the Izu Peninsula. It's just under a three hour train journey from Tokyo, it has plenty of hot springs, was by the sea, and all in all suited our needs perfectly.

We got on the train from Tokyo at midday, which got us to Shimoda - a town on the tip of the Izu peninsula - just before three. We more or less headed straight from the station to our ryokan - the Kurofune (black ship) hotel. Oh, we did stop off en route at a convenience store to buy some essentials (sake!).

The room was really fantastic - it was ryokan style - so tatami, sliding doors, sitting and sleeping on the floor, the works. It was also quite large for two people - at least 12 tatami mats in the main living/sleeping space. The best part was, of course, our own private outdoor bath on the balcony, filled with onsen water, and overlooking the sea. It was nice and roomy - probably big enough for four people, and the great thing about an onsen bath is that it is always full and always hot.

So largely we spent the remainder of the day lounging around in the bath, looking out to sea, sipping sake. It had been a long running ambition of mine to sit in an onsen and drink sake from a jug floating on a little tray, and having bought a collection of potential floating trays from a hyaku yen store (everything for a pound) earlier in the day, I'd been able to realise that dream. Absolute bliss.

I didn't have high hopes for the food - my previous experience of ryokan food was that basically it was a set menu, and no scope for making anything vegetarian.

This place was completely different though - Chie had told them when we booked I was vegetarian, and the chef had devised an entire menu especially for me, all of it 100% vegetarian (even the usual fish stock problems had been dealt with) and of a really good quality. I particularly enjoyed the chargrilled tofu steak, and the vegetable shabu shabu with matsutake. Absolutely one of the best meals I've ever had in Japan - my hat off to the chef at the Kurofune.

Overall I don't think I've ever had a better hotel experience than this - absolutely fantastic.

Comment 1

What a great experience... Drinking in the bath I mean!! :)))) Haven't done that for years!!! I feel a trial run coming on!!

Also loved the wodden puzzle. We saw a similar one at the "TechnoQuest" we took the kids to last summer. One ofthose simple but infuriating games!

Posted by Nigel at 2006/11/23 07:41:57.

Comment 2

When we went to Iceland I had a similar experience with our own personal hot spring bath, 3 o clock in the night, floating jug with cold beer (not cold for a long time though), pop corns, and NORTHERN STARLIGHT! Class!

Posted by Lox at 2006/11/23 09:12:19.

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