The Gastronomy Of YUKIGUNI Tour

Due to the snowy climate and long winters, the warmer months are used in part to prepare foods for the winter. This results in a unique cuisine that combines preserved ingredients alongside fresh meats and vegetables. The area is also well known for the quality of its sake thanks to the abundant clear water that snow provides as it melts. The cuisine here is designed to warm both the body and the soul.

When you head into the mountains to collect mountain plants and are surrounded by air that is so different to normal, you realise that both your mind and body are refreshed.

In the dining room the chef has transformed the blessings from nature that you just picked into high cuisine.It is a long way from everyday life;

forage, prepare, and eat.Take a journey to experience the blessings of the area with all five senses.

TOUR INFORMATION

Price: JP¥ 11,000 (Charges will vary depending on the transportation and number of people)

Best Time of YearAll Year
Ideal no. of People2~
Booking DeadlineAt least 10 days before
Mode of TransportJR, Bus
Cancellation Charge3 days prior 30%
day before 40%
day of 50%
no contact 100%

Itinerary

A. Mountain Scenery and Onsen Cooking 

Echigo Yuzawa station – Hokuhoku Line – Matsudai station→Matsunoyama Onsen→Mountain vegetable/ mushroom harvesting and cooking experience→Doma Cooking Gastronomic experience with a local chef ryugon

B. Cultural experince in Akiyamago

Echigo Yuzawa station – route bus + shared taxi – Akiyamago Koakazawa/Hostel Deguchiya→Enjoy chef prepared meal using locally gathered ingredients

C. Savoring local cuisine and Japanese sake in YUKIGUNI

Echigo Yuzawa station – JR Echigo Suhara station – Suhara hostel→Meguro House(Gono-no-yakata), Yukikura Brewery (Visit and sake tasting)

Overview

Forage, Prepare, Eat! YUKIGUNI gastronomy

Forage

Relax surrounded by the fragrances of spring

The long YUKIGUNI winter will soon be over. Spring has finally come and the life that has been nurtured under the snows is starting to sprout. Accompanied by a guide who can find the charms of the season, it is time to head into the mountains. Fukinoto, kogomi, taranome, warabi, zenmai, … 

In patches where the snow has melted you can see the slender shape of the mountain vegetables as they start to sprout. Once you have found them, and start to gather them one by one, you soon get engrossed by the search and your day-to-day worries start to slip away. Enjoying the balmy spring air all around you, it is easy to get carried away and pick them all, but beware! The spirits of the forest could be right behind you watching.

Mountain Vegetable Picking

This experience finds you collecting mountain vegetables in the hills not far from the main onsen street. A local guide accompanies you and teaches you what you are looking for in the bush. Once you have recovered from your exertions, it is time for a party.

You have picked these ingredients yourself, so you will appreciate their flavor even more. There are many ways of preparing them, for example as tempura, boiling, or frying. Each method changes the flavor.

Everything is accompanied by rice cooked in the traditional kama pot, and a hearty miso soup.

Hinanoyado Chitose

Hot springs in the snow. Japanese Modern Luxury Ryokan "Chitose"
Hot springs in the snow

Matsunoyama Onsen is a small hamlet deep in the mountains surrounded by scenery reminiscent of original Japan, with rice terraces and native beech forests. Enjoy the outside bath filled with onsen water direct from the spring source that is one of the top three curative onsen in Japan. The rice is from the nearby terraces and a perfect accompaniment to the countryside cuisine which is rich in mountain vegetables.

Prepare

After picking, prepare. This is the new common sense.

With your basket full of the blessings of YUKIGUNI it is time to head back to the ryokan.

Spread out the haul, and reveal what you have managed to forage. The local expert identifies all the different mountain vegetables and plants, what they are good for, and how they are traditionally eaten. The chef is expectantly waiting in the open kitchen to get his hands on the freshest of ingredients. You lend a hand in the preparation and because of this, the connection between what you have gathered and how it is prepared is incredibly vivid, much more so than just taking notes. The finished dishes are far more stylish than you could have imagined, and you come to realise the potential in simple mountain plants.

Enjoy every aspect of “Forage, Prepare, Eat” during this amazing experience.

Head into the mountains with a local guide to forage for ingredients, and then head back to a chic ryokan where, together with the head chef, you help prepare a fantastic dinner. Enjoy the finished dishes along with specially selected, locally produced sake and wines.

Hatago Isen

A stylish ryokan that combines the comfort of an onsen inn with the convenience of a hotel. Relax around the open hearth at the end of the day.

Eat

Receiving the blessings of YUKIGUNI.

The table is set, and everyone sits down to enjoy the meal. You take a bite and are surprised by the delicacy of the freshly picked mountain plants, without a hint of harshness, and unintentionally your eyes meet. You both break into a smile. This is dining on the freshest flavors of the blessings of the mountains. There is very little harshness in the mountain vegetables of YUKIGUNI, just a very clean taste.

Though saying that, you can definitely taste the spring-like bittersweet flavor. The reason for this has not been fully explained but theories about the cleansing effect of the snowmelt water, or the fact that no kinds of insect repellant have been used have been suggested. Take a moment to fully savor the blessings of YUKIGUNI which are only available at the start of spring. It is the very best part of YUKIGUNI Gastronomy Tourism.

A walking tour of the back woods

This walking tour is available daily to the house guests at Satoyama Jujo. Head out with a guide and glimpse small lizards, enjoy the views of Mount Makihata, and of course try your hand at gathering mountain vegetables…. It is a casual 30-45 minutes of walking while taking advantage of the therapeutic effects of the negative ions.

Collecting mountain plants is the main focus of this walk until the start of June. Head out into the woods on a little adventure as you search for 10 different kinds of edible plants.

Satoyama Jujo

This accommodation aims to redefine luxury through experiences and discoveries. Each of the 12 guest rooms has a different theme, and the restaurant provides creative, organic cuisine, with all the experiences combining to stimulate the five senses of visiting travelers.