Try on a kimono
and have your hair done
to get into the spirit!
Ryotei are luxurious restaurants furnished with traditional Japanese architecture and gardens that serve up Japan’s most delectable cooking, Kaiseki cuisine. You may think Kaiseki cuisine is pricey. It can be, but many Ryotei offer simplified courses or economic lunches. There are more generalized restaurants that offer similar dishes, but a real Ryotei is the only place to both fill your belly and satisfy your curiosity.
Visiting a Ryotei is a rare opportunity, so let’s have fun! First, I went to Kaga Yuzen Traditional Industry Center to rent a kimono. Their kimono come in two pieces and the Obi (sash belt) is short and already tied, making them rather comfortable. After putting on the kimono with help from the staff, I visited a hairdresser in the Higashi Chaya district at which Geiko are regular customers. Check me out! I’m like a different person. During my walk along the teahouse lined street, I was mistaken for a Geiko!
Are you ready
for a culinary adventure?
Let’s go to a Ryotei!
It’s Ryotei time! Ryotei represent every aspect of Japanese culture. Their appeal lies in the food as much as the tradition of providing guests with prim service and an unforgettable experience. Until recently they were frequented mainly by politicians and wealthy businessmen, but times have changed. This is Kotobukiya, an elegant remodeled townhouse. It offers guest rooms steeped in the ambiance characteristic of the late Edo Period to early Showa Period. My room was an old storehouse remodeled into a dining room. Talk about unique!
Enjoy the Traditional Japanese garden
Japanese Vegetarian Cooking
I ordered a lunch set called “Fucha Tenshin.” It consists of many different bite-sized morsels, each a miniature work of art, with perfect shape and flavor. This dish is Fucha cuisine, a vegetarian version of Kaiseki cuisine with a Chinese twist. Japan, as a Buddhist country, refined a tradition of vegetarian cooking. Kotobukiya is the only Ryotei in Kanazawa that offers Shojin cuisine on their standard menu. The cuisine uses local vegetables, grains, and Soya product such as tofu and Yuba (soya milk skin). Fish are never used, not even for soup stock. (Mushroom and seaweed are used instead.) They also have “Modoki” dishes, which, while made solely from vegetable products, imitate the taste and appearance of meat. Think you can tell the difference?
The owner of Kotobukiya told me that Ryotei can be particular about formalities, but would never force tradition and manners upon a foreign tourist.
After lunch, he showed me the other guest rooms. The oldest one in the building dates back to the late Edo-period and provides a superb garden view. It gave me a taste of the Japan of old.
2-4-13, Owari-Cho, Kanazawa; Tel: 076-231-6245; Open: 11:30-14:00 (Lunch), 18:00- (Dinner); E-mail: email@example.com
*Reservation required. (Lunch reservations are not necessary but reccomended.)
Kaga Yuzen Traditional Industry Center
8-8, Kosho-Machi, Kanazawa
E-mail: info@ kagayuzen.or.jp
Open: 9:00 - 17:00; Closed: Wednesday (Open if Wednesday is a national holiday.); Fee for Kimono Dressing and Rental Service: ¥4,500 for 1 hour, ¥6,000 for 3 hours