When staying at a ryokan or other lodging facility, may have a choice of breakfast options. Often times there will be a traditional Japanese breakfast and western style alternative. The western style breakfast is similar to what you may find in the United States or Europe. You should expect some combination of eggs, fruits, and meats. Other options may include pancakes, waffles, or toast. Juice, tea, and coffee are common breakfast beverages as well.
The western style breakfast pictured contains fried eggs, fruits, ham, bread, juice, and coffee. A selection of butter, jam, and honey was provided for the bread. Expect the breakfast items to change depending on the season or even daily at a ryokan. If your lodging does not serve breakfast, you can find western style options at local cafes and restaurants.
Ryokans offer many opportunities to enjoy Japanese culture and cuisine. Some ryokans offer their guest the option of ordering a traditional morning breakfast served in their room. While it is not an inexpensive option (around $25 per day), a traditional breakfast is certainly worth trying. If you are not interested in a traditional breakfast, most ryokans offer a western style option with items you would normally expect. Keep in mind that breakfast items can vary by day and season. You may not know what you are ordering until it actually arrives.
One of the unique aspects of a traditional breakfast is how everything is served. Each item is a small portion put into separate dishes. The breakfast usually includes fish, rice, vegetables, and tea. Expect a mixture of hot and cold seasonal items. The entire breakfast can vary in size depending on your ryokan and what they have available. The next time you stay at a ryokan, remember to order a traditional breakfast for an adventurous and delightful experience.
Below is a list of the items pictured:
Sake is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice. Different brewing processes produce a multitude of varieties. A traditional pub in Japan to drink sake is known as an izakaya. Sake can be served in different ways depending if it is ordered at an izakaya or enjoyed at a friend's home. When sharing sake with a friend, the traditional custom is to pour for each other. However, it may be best to let someone pour their own cups and only drink what they are comfortable consuming. Sake can be served at room temperature, chilled, warm, or hot. Different serving temperatures depend on the type of sake and preference of the consumer. Some of the more common ways to serve sake are listed below.
Traditional Large Sake Cup (Guinomi)
A large sake cup, known as a guinomi, is commonly used for sake drinking. They are made of materials such as wood, clay, ceramic, and glass. It is larger than an ochoko and shot glass.
Traditional Small Sake Cup (Ochoko)
A smaller sake cup is known as a ochoko. The main difference between a ochoko and guinomi is their size.
Sake Serving Pitcher (Tokkuri)
The pitcher commonly used to pour sake into a ochoko or guinomi is known as a tokkuri. The tokkuri can be used to serve sake at various temperatures. It is typically made of ceramic or other materials that can hold hot liquids.
Square Wooden Box (Masu)
Sake can be poured in a square wooden box called a masu. You can drink straight from the masu. Also, you can set a tall cup in it and drink from that instead. When pouring sake in the cup inside the masu, you can over pour to have sake flow into the masu. Sake that has overflowed can be drunk from the masu or poured back into the tall cup once the sake inside the tall cup has been consumed.
Glassware (Wine Glass, Shot Glass, Other)
Various types of glassware can be used to enjoy sake. Wine glasses are a good option to show off the color and aroma of sake. Shot glasses can serve as a alternative to other cups. There are other types of glassware that sake can be served in as seen below.
Sake can be consumed in a multitude of fun and interesting ways. Regardless of how it is served, the most important part of drinking sake is enjoying the experience with others.
While exploring Japan, you will likely come across outdoor food stalls at festivals and around tourist areas such as temples and parks. These stalls feature various assortments of Japanese food as a snack, meal, or dessert. It is rare to see people walking around holding food items on the streets, but there are exceptions to every rule. Here are a few of the common food items you should try on your next adventure around Japan.
Karaage is a Japanese style of fried chicken served on a stick. It is very tasty and a great snack to eat while wandering the grounds of a festival.
Yakitori is something you may have heard of when people talk about Japanese food. It is as simple as grilled chicken on a stick. There are a few different styles of yakitori such as different parts of a chicken (liver, tail, neck) or different styles of marinade.
Okonomiyaki is famous in the Osaka region, but can be eaten in many other places. Different regions of Japan serve the dish in their own way. At its core, Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake with meat (usually pork) and vegetables. Some styles contain noodles as well.
Takoyaki are balls of pancake batter containing pieces of octopus. They are usually topped off with a sauce, seaweed flakes, and/or bonito flakes. Takoyaki is very popular and a staple of festival food options.
Ramune is a carbonated soda widely available in Japan and around the world. While you may have tried one of these "marble" drinks before; Japan offers them in a wide assortment of interesting and unusual flavors.
There are plenty of other great festival foods to try, but you should definitely try some of these during your next trip to Japan.
Have you ever heard of Hitachino Nest Beer? Does a beer bottle with a cute owl symbol ring a bell? Hitachino Nest Beer is made by Kiuchi Brewery located just outside Naka, Japan. The brewery is also known for making a variety of Japanese sake. Hitachino Nest Beer is available worldwide in many countries. According to their website, they export 60% of their beer internationally. Beers by Kiuchi Brewery only are produced in Japan. Other famous Japanese brands such as Sapporo and Asahi are brewed under licensing agreements in other countries. While the cost of a Hitachino beer is higher, you are drinking a truly authentic Japanese product.
What Makes Hitachino Nest Beer Special?
Beyond the beer brewed and bottled in Japan, many of their beer varieties have won international awards. The most recognized and highly praised beer they offer is the Hitachino Nest White Ale. The unfiltered White Ale is the flagship product of the brewery and the most commonly available. It is a Belgium White Ale with hints of spices and orange. A truly outstanding body and flavor. Many of the other beer varieties, such as the Japanese Classic Ale, are rich in flavor and aroma. Another popular and unique option is the Red Rice Ale.
Where Can I Enjoy Hitachino Nest Beer?
In Japan, you can sample their varieties of beer at special tasting bars and pubs. You can find the different options and locations here. In the United States, they recently opened a new location in San Francisco, California called Beer&Wagyu Hitachino. In addition, you can find Hitachino at various bars and restaurants across the United States that carry Japanese or specialty craft beer.
Where Can I Purchase Hitachino Nest Beer?
Kiuchi Brewery has a list of international distributors that carry their products. You can try contacting one close to you or a local specialty beer shop to place an order.
Kiuchi Brewery Location