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Restaurant vs Ryokan Dinner 2019/2/10 01:11

I'm currently planning a 21days trip accross Japan and I'm often hesitating between reserving ryokan with dinner included or to have dinner in local restaurants to have different food experiences

I already have ryokan with dinner included at Hakone, Tsumago, Okuhida, Shirakawa-go & Koya-San. This might already be plenty enough experience with ryokan dinners.

I'm hesitating regarding Miyajima & Takayama between booking ryokan + dinner also, or just booking the night without dinner to wander at night in streets and find good local restaurants that might bring something different.

However I'm not sure if both Miyajima & Takayama are very lively at night and well furnished in restaurants for it to be worth it.

Additionnaly, do you think Miyajima stays worth it with the Torii renovation being planned?

Thank you a lot.

by Corrado (guest)  

Re: Restaurant vs Ryokan Dinner 2019/2/10 11:24
If it is a luxury ryokan with over 15000Y per night, do not eat at out.
by Nalice (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurant vs Ryokan Dinner 2019/2/10 11:49
I'm with you regarding ryokan (kaiseki) dinner vs. eating out at a restaurant. I love Japanese food and I have never been served anything bad at a ryokan, but I have issues with their quantity and timing. They serve too much food and they come out all at once (or they are all there when you are seated). I enjoy eating slowly with wine/sake, usually one or two dish at a time. At a restaurant, you order what you want and that's it - nothing unexpected. I will stay in a ryokan and eat their dinner if that is the only option or there is no town nearby with choice of restaurants.

In Miyajima, there are several good restaurants for dinner (I don't know about "lively"). But I had difficulty finding a place that served breakfast before 9:00am (I get up very early). So, for the second morning, I bought some food the night before and ate it in my room. There are more to see in Miyajima than the giant Torii gate, and I would not cancel the visit just because of renovation work. However, I must admit, I have seen it partially scaffolded before and it does not look as photogenic.

Takayama has lot more restaurant options than Miyajima, so I would not worry about finding a place to eat there.

by O92 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurant vs Ryokan Dinner 2019/2/10 15:01
If it were me Ifd say you already have enough Ryokan with dinner experience.
There is one more downside to Ryokan dinner. You normally need to be there at like 18:00 (+\-). That shortens your day considerably.

Enjoy your trip to Japan!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurant vs Ryokan Dinner 2019/2/10 15:11
Another vote against too many ryokan dinners - you might even try to cut down on some of the ones already scheduled. Kaiseki dinners in a ryokan tend to focus very heavily on seasonal ingredients, which means that you might be having small variations on the same meal everywhere you go.

Also, dining in your room night after night might be less interesting than seeing other diners in a restaurant setting.
by Umami Dearest rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurant vs Ryokan Dinner 2019/2/11 00:45
Just for your reference, one of the things locals typically do is to experience one dinner at one ryokan each, and eat out for the rest. This includes second visits to the same ryokan for which they would not book dinners at all.

Exceptions are (A) the ryokan is in a resort where there are very few or no restaurant options or you are not sure if there are, (B) you have small children, (C) you prefer not to go out after changing to your sleepwear the yukata or washing off your makeup, (D) you love to lay down while you enjoy your desert alcohol, (E) you know that the specific ryokan serves food better than anywhere else.

Personally, I am the (E) type. In other words, I either chose a ryokan that serves great food I never get tired of, or I choose a modern Western type accommodation in which (C) and (D) is not an option anyway.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurant vs Ryokan Dinner 2019/2/11 16:54
Ifm shirakawa and Koyasan Ifm assuming youfll be staying in a gassho zukuri and then a temple.
If thatfs the case then the food you will have will not be the typical ryokan kaiseki.
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurant vs Ryokan Dinner 2019/2/12 04:20
Agreed that ryokan dinners can get too much. That is especially the case where you are staying a few nights in the one place. Ideally for me there would be one every 4 days or so, but for our next trip we have a few places where they dont offer a breakfast only plan so we have to have the kaiseke 2 nights in a row twice.

Miyajima is nice regardless of the Tori which actually is a bit underwhelming up close. When we were there (10 years ago) nearly all of the restaurants closed at dinner but that might have changed. We had amazing kaiseke at Grand Hotel Arimoto.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurant vs Ryokan Dinner 2019/2/12 06:33

Thank you for all your responses!

You confirm what I was afraid of. I ll probably keep miyajima as a destination during the trip, although the torii will be covered. I ll stay at Momiji-so with the dinner, since restaurants seems to close early.

For Takayama, I ll probably stay at Asunaro ryokan without dinner since it should be close to okuhida ryokan onsen dinner with hida beef oriented menu at Suimeikan Karukaya. I ll take advantage of night time to visit the historic town at night and dine in an izakaya or try some street food :).

Thank you a lot!

by Corrado (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurant vs Ryokan Dinner 2019/2/12 15:02
Just on a side note, I could not have the kaiseki dinner then back up for ryokan breakfast. So much food!

When I have the chance I would eat breakfast at the ryokan, glass of water for lunch, and have dinner out somewhere. You can then have as much or little as you want for dinner, depending on what's happening for breakfast the next day.
by Who? (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurant vs Ryokan Dinner 2019/2/12 16:50
I agree - you have enough kaiseki already booked. I love onsen+dinner combo, always sooo much good and beautiful food. We choose places where can eat in restaurant area, not in own room. But dinner is quite expensive, and honestly too much food too early evening.
Of course in some onsen-villages there is no other option then eating in your ryokan. Takayama is not the case.
I oftenly struggle with breakfast - even eating everything in the evening, in the morning would just fancy coffee, sandwich and yogurt. Normally there is available just rice, fish, tofu and raw egg:(
by girlwithpearl (guest) rate this post as useful

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