February 22, 2019 | Hoshino Resorts
From tasting delicate floral confectionery against a landscape of cherry blossom, to sampling locally-produced sake in tiny Japanese izakaya bars, experiencing the food and drink of Japan is a fascinating – and delicious – way to learn about the country’s distinct cultural traditions and wonderful local bounty.
Prized as one of winter’s choice treats, the Japanese zuwaigani (snow crab) is a delicacy in season between November and March. Inhabiting the coldest reaches of the Sea of Japan, it is known for its long, flesh-rich claws, succulent texture and deep, umami flavour. The sign of a meat-packed zuwaigani is a whitish colour on the crab’s underbelly.
At the luxury hot spring hotel Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga (three hours by train from Tokyo), the outstanding signature dish Shimenawa-Mushi is prepared by steaming the crab while it’s wrapped in a saltwater-soaked rope, ensuring that the crab meat is plump and flavoursome. Shimenawa is a type of rope made from hemp traditionally used for decorating houses and shrines during the New Year period to guard against misfortunes for the coming year, so the dish is an apt way to celebrate the New Year holidays. Enjoy this special delicacy as part of a Winter Special Snow Crab Tasting menu which, in addition to Shimenawa-Mushi, also features the crab cooked in a variety of ways, such as charcoal grilled, fried and sashimi. Or go for full-scale luxury and sample the Premium Kiwami menu, a multi-course extravaganza which features the crab cooked in dishes such as hot pot and traditional rice porridge.
£271 pp including overnight stay at Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga (two sharing) with breakfast also included. Available until 10 March 2019, and from November 2019 to March 2020.
£362 pp including overnight stay at Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga (two sharing) with breakfast also included. Available until 10 March 2019, and from November 2019 to March 2020.
To book or for more information visit www.kai-ryokan.jp/en/kaga/.
Asahikawa in Hokkaido (a 1hr 40 flight from Tokyo) is the place to learn about and sample Japan’s favourite tipple. It’s home to three of the country’s most well-recognised sake brands – Otokoyama, Taisetsu no Kura and Takasago – which use crystal clear, pure spring water from the Daisetsuzan mountain range to produce the traditional fermented rice wine which has been part of Japanese history and culture since ancient times. Sake is particularly associated with Japanese izakaya bars – casual drinking establishments where a steady stream of shared small plate dishes such as Japanese-style fried chicken, yakitori, edamame and sushi are delivered to patrons’ tables to help soak up the alcohol.
Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa offers sake-themed tours of the city, led by its very own OMO Rangers – local guides who divulge the city’s best-kept secrets and hidden spots. Guests are taken bar-hopping to the most authentic izakaya to sample varieties of sake, as well as cocktails, wine and as many delicious fried and salty snacks as are needed. The hotel is a stylish and affordable bolthole in the heart of the city, featuring 237 bedrooms decorated in contemporary style, laid-back social areas and a loft-like ‘Books Tunnel’ for spending lazy afternoons. A neighbourhood GO-KINJO map encourages guests to further explore the local area, with insider tips on restaurants, bars and sights.
OMO Ranger guided sake tour costs from £6 pp (cost of drinks and food extra).
A night’s stay at Hoshino Resorts OMO 7 Asahikawa costs from £70 per room (two sharing) room only.
To book or for more information visit www.omo-hotels.com/asahikawa/en/.
Kyoto, the country’s ancient former capital, is where the finest ingredients and techniques from around Japan have converged through history to form its unique and distinctive wagashi culture, inspired by the area’s beautiful changing seasons. Wagashi is a traditional form of Japanese confectionery often served with tea, typically made from mochi (glutinous rice cake) and azuki beans, in delicate fruit and floral flavours such as cherry blossom and sprouting mountain trees.
At Japanese ryokan HOSHINOYA Kyoto, tea parties are held at the hotel’s private bar and salon during the cherry blossom and autumn leaf seasons. From this converted traditional Japanese building, guests can taste the handcrafted sweets surrounded by the breathtaking Arashiyama scenery and Kyoto gardens which have inspired the delicacies, accompanied by the sounds of chirping birds and a babbling brook.
Wagashi tea parties are held from April 1-10 and November 20-December 5 and are free of charge to guests.
A night’s stay at HOSHINOYA Kyoto costs from £570 per room per night (two sharing; room only).
To book or for more information visit www.hoshinoya.com/kyoto/en.
Notes to Editors
The origins of the Hoshino hospitality brand started with the opening of the first hot spring resort in 1914. The company was rebranded as Hoshino Resorts by current CEO Yoshiharu Hoshino in 1995, and now includes four hospitality brands under its parent company:
Hoshino Resorts operates 38 properties (35 in Japan, plus one each in Bali, Tahiti and, from June 2019, Taiwan), together with other unique lodgings.
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