The morning at the ryokan began, as usual, with hot baths at 6 A.M. I never sleep on Planet Japan. I don’t think anyone does. I opened the sliding glass doors and as the snow fell in the forest, bathed alone in hot pools.
Breakfast followed: Lovely Japanese cuisine centered on heat, texture, color. Dried fish, little potatoes, tofu, seaweed.
In the car, a drive deep into the mountains. As snow swirled, mountaintops of pine trees drooping with snow were downright poetic and inspiring. The silence and visual aesthetic of the Planet always inspires my emotional life and, as a result, I feel more at home in the world.
We reached a tiny tofu factory and enjoyed stunning, double fried tofu. Double portions, one could not stop eating. The secret? The secret is in the water.
Later, we had lunch at our host Jiro’s favorite Italian restauarant: Bigoli and shitake and duck. Wow!
The village of Yamanaka, adjacent to The Kayotei, our ryokan, is filled with guests enjoying this onsen “hot spot.” We visited a wood worker I have met twice before: This time he had a Shiba with him, which looks like a fox.
In the evening: Shabu-shabu, sparking sake, and first-rate Japanese whisky.
One among us noted, hearing the tune played: “Someday My Prince Will Come.”