Trip to Japan Spring 2015 Day 16 – Ryoutei bento

No.165

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Hello from Kanazawa. How are you? I am writing this post on Saturday April 4. We are in the middle of the season of Sakura. I don’t know how many cherry trees are here in Kanazawa but when they all bloom at once it looks like we have so many cherry trees. Literally everywhere is pink, pink, pink. Both Kanazawa Castle park and Kenrokuen park are now open late to the public free of charge and at night you can experience the cherry blossoms light-ups. Today I took some Onigiri and a bottle of tea with me and sat under a blooming cherry tree and enjoyed the beautiful flowers.

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Oh, it was so peaceful and beautiful. I wish you were sitting next to me and experience this.

My mother was home for a few hours yesterday as my sister and her family came from Tokyo to visit us. My sister’s daughter, she is the oldest niece of mine, came together with a little son of 2 years old. He is a cute rascal and he kept us all very busy for 3 days. My mom wanted to gather everyone for a nice lunch at home and we catered bento from a Ryoutei called “Kinjouro 金城楼” in Kanazawa.

Kinjouro is an old and traditional Japanese restaurant in Kanazawa. It has a long history since 1887. Even if you say “a Japanese restaurant” in one term, there are many types. In an old and traditional city like Kyoto or Kanazawa, there are luxurious first-class Japanese restaurants called “Ryotei”. The best Ryotei I have ever experienced is Kikunoi in Kyoto. It is not a cheap restaurant but the experience itself is a life-long memory. The Japanese food they serve is just amazing and when you come to a Ryoutei like Kikunoi or Kinjouro, you feel you are welcome and entertained and everything they serve you is more than perfect. I have always admired the Chef and the owner of Kikunoi Mr. Murata for his philosophy and hospitality. If you like to read how he explains what Ryotei really is, here is his testimony here.

As Mr. Murata says a little luxury will move you out from your everyday life. When I came to Kinjouro to pick up our bento, I felt I was in a different world. Through the thick and heavy door I was welcome into a time slip. A super polite old man came out and helped me. He perfectly remembered my name, the type of food I ordered for the day and how many bentos to be picked up.

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The photo shows the gorgeous entrance hall of Kinjouro. (You can click on the photo and get it enlarged) It is simple in style but very beautiful. When you want to be simple and beautiful you have to get close to perfection. With a magnificent gold Japanese Byobu folding screen and a wonderful antique kimono hanging on a special kimono rack in the hall, it was very holy. I was standing and waiting for the bento, behind me were 4 large glass doors framed in Japanese Shiraki wood, the floor I am standing on is a black Japanese stone floor. On my left there was a sofa where you could sit and wait for your car to come. Of course you will get super service once you entered into this space. They will treat you like King or Queen. When the season changes, they change the Byobu screen and the decoration. It should be seasonal, customers come in to their space and they should be able to feel the season they are in.

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I hurried home, everyone was waiting for this special lunch. It was delicious. More than delicious. In the 9 different compartments of the black bento box they have cooked and packed the luxury and the extraordinary with care and hospitality. The family lunch with bento from Ryoutei, it was another memorable time.

xxx Rie

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4 thoughts on “Trip to Japan Spring 2015 Day 16 – Ryoutei bento

  1. Dear Rie,

    Your details of Ryoutei Kinjouro brought it alive. Thanks for sharing. Is the bento box made of wood? Is it to keep or return?

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. I am glad to hear you enjoyed this post. This bento box is made of an environmentally friendly material and I think the frame is made of strengthened paper. Like many of bentos we buy at the station, it is now put emphasis to use environmental boxes. Many years ago when I was a little child, bentos from Kinjoro was in wonderful wooden boxes and they were to return.

  2. Rie, I read your post twice over, trying to place myself at your side and experiencing the beauty of Japan. I’m so glad you got to see the blossoms, and try bento with your family, even though your bento is better! Easter Blessings!

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