|Warakuen 和楽園 in Ureshino, Japan, decked out for the New Year|
This trip was in January, hence the New Year's decor in the opening pic, but in true e_ting style, I almost never wrote this up.
The ryokan and the town themselves were fairly quiet and had seen better days, but, possibly because it was still the New Year holidays, was actually fairly busy. When we were checking in, there was an interesting mix of grannies, young men in their late 20s (not in the same party!) and a large extended family travelling together.
Ureshino is known as a spa town, with natural onsen water, so our hotel had pretty impressive indoor & outdoor public baths. (It's also known for tea, and tea leaves were even steeped in the baths). We had nonetheless booked a room with a private onsen, because my friends aren't exhibitionists like I am (I exaggerate, of course, but really, I don't mind being butt naked if everyone else is, and it's not like people stare or anything. I also like that the bathing area is usually steaming hot - it's almost like a steam room.)
|Japanese style dan dan noodles, and a ceramic "grill" on the left with a knob of butter, being prepared for grilling our three measly slices of beef|
The meals we had at Warakuen weren't groundbreaking, but some of the local products really stood out. The first, as mentioned, was the rice. On the menu, it was simply called "Hizen rice" (肥前) - which could have either referred to the historical province covering modern-day Saga and Nagasaki, or an actual town not far from Ureshino.
|The most amazing rice I've ever had|
Hizen rice. Find it. Eat it till you feel sick and/or are too embarrassed to ask for more. It's worth it.
|Breakfast at Warakuen|
I tried to find the rice at the hotel's souvenir shop (where they had all sorts of other food omiyage) and the tofu was there, but alas, we checked out sans rice.
After the sad state of the beef at dinner, we drove to Saga city proper and had a pretty full-on beefy lunch. You'll find all you need about that on Instagram...
Tel: +81 (0)954 43 3181