Gotenba & Hakone

December 27, 2013 in Japan

On our first anniversary, the danna took two days off so we could have a little retreat away from all the chaos in the city. Tokyo is crowded beyond belief during year end and a toilet visit in departmental store may take up to 20 minutes depending on the queue.

We took a 2 hour drive to Gotenba (御殿場 at Shizuoka), famous for its Gotenba Premium Outlet, where all the  overseas group tours like to include in their itinerary. Shopping is one thing, but our main business here is to eat sushi lol.

When it comes to sushi, i don’t even think about Tsukiji, because i have found my absolute fav. Except that it is not really in Tokyo and we can’t really drive 2 hours away every time we crave sushi.

View from Gotenba outlet.

In winter you normally get a full, clear view of Mt Fuji very very very up close! It’s quite surreal to be so busy shopping and admiring the magnificent mountain at the same time.

 

 

And our fav sushi shop is called Uogashi. It is located right next to SLY/MOUSSY outlet stores near one of the bridges. The queue is normally about just 10 minutes. You must must must try if you go to Gotenba!

We ordered all the Aburi sushi on the menu lol. See the bottom left pair of sushi? It’s called Engawa. Keep these fellas in mind. I’ll elaborate more on that.

Then i had to revisit the fav creamy fish ball sac again wtf. It is still sooooo good.

Kazunoko is fish roe but instead of bursting little pearls, this one is kind of crunchy!

And then comes the life-changing sushi lol.

It is called Engawa, i have no translation for it in English, but basically it’s a body part of a flounder. Not a gross part. Pretty sure it’s a legitimate and politically correct body part.

The one you see is raw. The danna prefer this because he loooooves the chewiness of it. Not really my cup of tea.

The is Aburi Engawa (Seared Engawa). They just flame it slightly AND IT TASTES LIFE CHANGING.

The nearest thing i could compare its taste to is yakiniku. A super premiun slice of perfectly-marbled wagyu beef, so full of fattiness it just melts in your mouth the moment it meets your tongue. I have no idea which i like more, a slice of super wagyu or this engawa sushi. They will have to both win.

Mind you, there are other sushi restaurants that serve Engawa also, but none close to this one. Don’t say i got bad taste oh if you encounter the not so good ones!

 

 

Serving the most luxurious for the last, we have…

 

jeng jeng jeng jeng…

 

Uni (sea urchin).

Normally in Malaysia you can order it in Rakuzen for like what, RM18 er piece? This one is not cheap too, it is 1800 yen (RM58) for just two sushi.

BUT LOOK AT THE UNI MOUNTAIN?!?!?!?

 

They call it “Sungoi Uni” lol. (Means extreme/very geng uni). In fact they have a whole sushi series called the “Sungoi Series”, including ikura, sakura ebi, etc. All overflowing wan.

I call it the uni banjir. Look at how it overflows the entire piece of sushi until cannot even see lolol.

Looks like human tongue hor if it’s reddish.

Anyway this uni also tasted like no other uni i’ve tried. The rest were kinda sloppy and melty and half liquified already, but this one remains its very fine texture, which allows you to really, really taste the whole uni-ness of it.

Ok that’s all for sushi.

 

After a happy lunch and some shopping, we drove to Hakone Shrine (to give our thanks and pray).

I love Hakone!

 

 

Then we check into our ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel).

Did i mention it before (i seriously need to install extra memory chips in my brain wtf) that ryokan is my fav??? A friend said she will never stay in ryokan because it looks like the house which well Sadako climbed out from lolol.

View from our room.

Ok la i get it. Too much Japanese horror and maybe it does somehow look like those creepy olden houses. But man ryokan with onsen is the best. The BEST.

Ours was super spacious with a separate room for beds (normally they remove the dining table and put futon (Japanese mattress/bedding) over the tatami. The ryokan people will come and help you make your bed.

And serve you tea and snacks.

The one we stayed in has in-room dining. Something like a 8-course traditional Japanese dinner.

 

Oh ya and you always change into a kimono/yukata of your choice. (Only girls get to pick the colors. Guys are forever navy blue lolol. I wanna be a girl in my next life too.)

Course dinner.

Everything was very very good!!! And super healthy! All the dishes are either steamed/braised/simmered/raw, and could taste literally zero oil. The seasoning was so light yet so flavorful.

What are these?! Some unidentified fish?! Noooo they are all vegetable. Looks so cute and realistically sushi right!!! First one is obviously veggie, next one is kabu (radish, which looks like squid right??), then myoga (Japanese giner, which looks like shellfish??), and then some other preserved veg i forgot.

After dinner we went to our onsen. OUR onsen. Because we have attached outdoor onsen in our room. (!!!!) *floats into sky*

The danna says “you can go few hundred times if you want”.  i briefly considered setting the alarm middle of the night multiple times so i could go to the onsen again and again and again.

But i only took a short dip so i don’t overheat myself!!

After onsen we rested on tatami to watch TV and laughed at all the variety shows until stomach pain. I wish they air Owarai (comedy varieties) overseas and dub them.

 

The next day.

We had to check out early T____T. So bu she de to leave this place. Before that of course more dip in onsen. And then our car was frosted lol.

 

Snow in Hakone was also much more than last year.

Which was perfect for a white Xmas.

 

How did you guys spend your Xmas?? :)

 

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