Looking for a real adventure? Try a traditional Japanese breakfast...

One of the best parts about staying at a ryokan, is that you can order traditional breakfast and/or dinner to be served in your room.

Breaky at Wakamatsu Honten ryokan, where we stayed for two nights, was amazing. The presentation was immaculate, and the food ultra fresh. That's the way with Japanese food - it's incredibly fresh and flawless. It's typically pretty healthy too.

Japanese breakies aren't for the faint-hearted or fussy. Mum and I have often had no idea what we've been eating, and sometimes it has been hard to distinguish whether the tasty morsels have been animal, mineral or vegetable. It's a good thing we're game, cos if we'd be pretty hungry if we'd have waited for cornflakes to be served.

Breakfast, like most meals in Japan, consists of rice (gohan), miso soup (or some variety of clear soup), pickles (and there seem to be hundreds of pickled things to choose from - ginger, cucumber, root vegetables - you name it, they'll pickle it), some sort of fish (we've eaten a LOT of salmon), and oddly, a small packet of dried seaweed - like the kind you use to make nori rolls. The breaky at Wakamatsu Honten also included a little salad, tofu and sliced oranges.

Oh - and then there's green tea. Which accompanies every meal - sometimes two or three cups. There seems to be an endless supply of ocha (Japanese tea), kocha (black tea) and kohi (coffee).

Traditional Japanese Breakfast
Our one dinner at Wakamatsu Honten, which was a real treat, and something I was fortunate enough to try here about three years ago - was absolutely incredible, taste and presentation-wise. As well as the obligatory rice, pickles, soup and green tea, there were small plates of the freshest sashimi, delicious morsels of seafood terrine, grilled eel, grilled pork belly and a bubbling hotpot with Japanese mushrooms and all manner of yummy stuff.

Both breakfast and dinner are served on a delightful mish-mash of serving platters, bowls and dishes. It's as much as the overall presentation as it is taste, and the Japanese are very focussed on the "power of five". I came across this fascinating blog post about how Japanese cooking seeks to incorporate the five senses, fve colours, five tastes, five ways and five attitudes.

With so much care, and attention to detail in preparation and cooking, it's no wonder that Japanese food, pretty much everywhere in Japan, from supermarkets and fast-food outlets, to the high-end restaurants, is outstanding!

Traditional Japanese Dinner

Sashimi - it's all about fish!

Pickles of some description accompany virtually every meal

Crab claw rolled in crushed rice crackers

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