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Question re. multiple kaiseki dinners at ryokans

OliverB | Mar 31, 201409:10 PM

I spoke with a wonderful lady today who was recommended by a poster on this forum as a travel agent (specializing in Japan tours) and she explained to me that when staying several nights in a ryokan, meals tend to become repetitve, sourcing the same ingredients - since the focus is on local seasonal produce. She said that there is usually only some variance when a ryokan switches betweek kaiseki and shabu shabu meals from one night to the next, but that due to the volume of guests (even at tiny and exclusive properties) they can not be expected to prepare different meals for everyone each night. I am wondering then, if it's worth saving money and only eating a single meal in each ryokan that we stay in? For instance, if we're spending 2 nights at Gora Kadan, 2 nights at Wanosanto, 3 nights at Kayoutei, 3 nights at Hiiragiya, 3 nights at Minamikan, 3 nights at Sakamotoya, etc... is there any reason to eat more than a single dinner at each of these properties? I imagine that a 9-course kaiseki dinner will be very difficult to do every single night for 5 weeks and I would not want to be spending unecessarily to essentially be repeating the same dinners 2-3 nights in a row. I just wanted to check in with the Chowhounds who might have better perspective before officially cancelling any dinners with the properties. I have never stayed in a ryokan before so while I've done my share of research, I'm not sure exactly what to expect in this regard. Is there any reason for instance, to have 2 consecutive dinners at Wanosanto? I understand that Hida beef is a regional specialty of Takayama, so is it likely that we'll get a kaiseki meal one night and a shabu shabu the next? What about 3 dinners at The Kayoutei, or Hiragiiya? Should we just plan one each? While I would really love to experience a couple of shabu shabu dinners, my wife doesn't eat red meat, so I wouldn't want to put her in that spot more than a few times. Do all ryokans shift betweek kaiseki one night, shabu shabu the next? Of the ryokans mentioned (if any are familar with them from experience) which would offer the shabu shabu course and which would you suggest that no more than a single dinner would be necessary? We're also staying single nights at Hoshi Onsen Chojukan, Kanbayashi Hotel Senjukaku, and Iwaso, for what that's worth (in terms of food!). I'd just like to get a better idea of what to expect so that when I write my travel agent tomorrow, I can request that certain meals be cancelled at different properties for the sake of savings (to spend on interesting meals elsewhere!) and also redundance.


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