To be upfront, this post has been something that I’ve been planning to do for almost a year now when we went to Hokkaido for our beginning of the year trip in 2015. While I don’t remember all the specific details, but that said, the experience at the ryokan Takinoya located in the Onsen town of Noboribetsu.
Takinoya is probably rated as one of the best ryokan in the area and probably also one of the best in Japan – the price is quite dear – about 6,000 HKD a night just for a standard room, but for a treat, it was well worth the money – for the price you get accommodation, breakfast and dinner – for this, we picked a larger room for 3 nights which from memory was about 8,500 HKD a night for 2 people – and the room came with it’s own private bath.
What stands out a fair bit is the food and the service – because we were staying 3 nights, the menu was different for all three days – you can get meals in room if you choose the most expensive room, but frankly, I actually enjoyed the facility a fair bit more. Every morning you go into your own private room for breakfast – waiting for you to begin. You’re assigned a “host” for your stay, for ours, it was an incredible lady called Chiyo – and although she didn’t speak a bit of English and we didn’t speak Japanese – we ended up still having incredible conversations through action – she was definitely the highlight of the stay as the service here actually made you feel that you’re being looked after by a family member.
Generally, breakfast were generally lighter dishes to accompany some really tasty rice, one morning we had it with freshly made boiled tofu while other days there were fish to go with the rice – all the ingredients were incredibly fresh and definitely had love an care put into the preparation.
The night meals were quite a fair bit different – normally you’d go into the private room and a menu would be waiting for you.
The dishes normally come in courses, and I wish now I had better documented my photos because now I can only do a quick dump of the dishes – one thing that I did love so much about the dishes were the presentation. The actual plates and containers used were all carefully selected to match the food it was holding – and the food within still managed to always outdo the high expectations from the presentation.
One dish that I have to give special mention to was the beef dish that used local wagyu meat. Wagyu is actually quite common now in Hong Kong, but I’m still of the opinion that Japan rightly keeps the best for their own consumption, that way you can guarantee that visitors will have the best to enjoy when in Japan. The beef here really did melt in your mouth, and it wasn’t oily or fatty – there was still a very good beef taste to it – I was a bit sad only a few pieces were offered – but there is some beauty in scarcity.
After all the mains – the closer was normally a simple yet elegant dessert dish – it acted as a light final touch to close the meal while you take some time to reflect on the excellent food and also the view.
After the meal – you can go back to your room to relax a bit before enjoying the onsen available on another floor – unfortunately, no photos though.