Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tateyama's Hasshokudon

"Omotenashi"
Japanese philosophy
of hospitality


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Ikoinomura Tateyama (いこいの村たてやま), where we made the stop for our lunch.

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We were greeted with gorgeous swaying palm trees upon our arrival to the hotel.

Tateyama is a town blessed with beautiful sea around its surrounding. Realizing this fact, the city has come out with a local specialty menu based on the concept of "omotenashi" or Japanese hospitality. This menu which made its debut early this year on January 30, 2013, is called Tateyama's Hasshokudon (八色丼), or literally, "eight colours rice bowl dish".

The main characteristics of this menu is that eight different kinds of topping is served in eight mini rice bowls, giving us the chance to enjoy various flavours in one meal. You may wonder why the number "8" is chosen here. The eight different mini dishes included in this set symbolizes the orbs possessed by the eight warriors from the story "Nanso Satomi Hakkenden" (南総里見八犬伝), or the "Tale of Eight Dogs".

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 Upon entering the cafeteria, we came across these mysterious-looking gigantic bowls!

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An aerial shot of our lunch set.

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A closer look at the condiments, pickled vegetables, clam soup and dessert.

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Another shot from the top.

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However, I am very sure everyone is curious what is inside the huge bowl on the left. Hmmm....

Each of the eight rice bowls is carved with Japanese kanji characters that represents the kanji appeared in the tale. All eight bowls which contain about 25-30 grams of rice is placed in a huge bowl with a cover which measures 36 centimeters in diameter and 25 centimeters tall.

The names of the eight bowls are "jin" (仁丼), "gi" (義丼), "rei" (礼丼), "chi" (智丼), "chu" (忠思), "shin" (信丼), "kou" (孝丼), "tei" (悌丼). "Tomo" is placed on the centre, "jin" is placed on the 12-o-clock position, and the rest will follow on clock wise rotation. The condiment to be enjoyed together with the rice dish is also arranged according to the same order.

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 Tada! There you go - eight little rice bowls, each containing different kinds of rice dish.

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Lets take a closer look at the colourful dish.

From this wonderful dish, you can get to taste everything Tateyama has to offer, as each dish features famous ingredients from the area, such as vegetables of the season, aji (horse mackerel), Ise-ebi (spiny lobster), pork, fish of the season, hijiki seaweed, and fruit of the season. Within these standards, each establishment determines the method of preparation and seasonings for these ingredients. 

The fish used in the dish differs from one restaurant to the other, and depending on the season, the types of fish in the same restaurant might be different. This gives people the chance to try out this dish multiple times as it offers a different kind of menu and experience on each visit. This unique dish can be enjoyed for just 1,800 yen.

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This is what they call Tateyama's hasshokudon.

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And, now you know why nobody can beat Japanese omotenashi.

Another half of the Chiba Kun Ambassadors had the opportunity to try another local specialty - Aburikaisen-don, which I have tried early this year. One thing to take note is that these two dishes are only available in five selected restaurants within Tateyama city. Furthermore, the number of meals served per day is limited to 125 sets for aburikaisen-don and 70 sets for hasshokudon. It is recommended to make a reservation before you visit the restaurants, especially during the weekends.

By the way, the place we had our lunch - Ikoinomura Tateyama (いこいの村たてやま) is a hotel that sits on a magnificent location just right in front of the Pacific Ocean. This strategic location offers a picturesque view of the ocean and islands far beyond the horizon from the room and public bath.

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 The Chiba Kun Ambassadors enjoying our sumptuous meals.

The best way to drop by this hotel is by car, on the way driving through Minamiboso area, because the nearest train station is location quite some distance away. However, there is a bus stop nearby the hotel which the local bus runs on a frequent basis. Alternatively, the hotel is accessible from the station by taxi in approximately fifteen minutes.

By the way, there is a tropical botanical garden called Nanbo Paradise (南房パラダイス). It was built in 1970, and has set up a partnership with Singapore Botanic Gardens. There are about 5,000 kinds of tropical plants in a large glass houses with 11 rooms. And in the site, there are the beds of flowers, the house of butterflies, petting zoo and other some facilities.

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The three popular local food from Tateyama.

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Finally, a group photo of Chiba Ambassadors in front of the hotel we had our lunch.

|| INFORMATION ||
Ikoinomura Tateyama
Check-in time:
15:00 p.m.

Check-out time: 10:00 a.m.
Lunch time: 11:30 - 14:00 (abura-kaisendon and hasshokudon is only available during lunch time)
Closed days: None (except special holidays)
Number of seats: 200 seats
Number of servings per day:
Aburi-kaisendon - 20 servings; Hasshokudon - 10 servings
Parking spaces:
60 cars (no charge, no reservations required)

Address: 1495-1, Fujiwara, Tateyama-shi, Chiba Prefecture, 294-0224, Japan.
Tel: 
0470-28-2211        Fax: 0470-28-2215

Website: http://ikoi-tateyama.com/index.html (Japanese only)
Access:
Tateyama is located in the southern region of Bōsō Peninsular. It takes approximately 90 minutes from Tokyo; and 30 minutes from Tateyama Station by car.

Five establishments offer Tateyama's Hasshokudon:
・Umi no Hana (Tel: 0470-25-5151) 2903-101 Hojo, Tateyama
・Hana Sohonten (Tel: 0470-22-1385) 2619-6 Hojo, Tateyama
・Kyukamura Tateyama (Tel: 0470-29-0211) 725 Kenbutsu, Tateyama
・Ito Daibo Kobo (Tel: 0470-29-1221) 963-1 Ito, Tateyama
・Ikoi-no-Mura Tateyama (Tel: 0470-28-2211) 1495-1 Fujiwara, Tateyama 
Inquiries: Tateyama New Local Gourmet Promotion Council (within the Tateyama City Tourism Association)

Website: http://tateyama-gourmet.com (Japanese only)
Tel:
0470-22-2000

2 comments:

HeartIsRed said...

Hi calvin ! I'm wawa and I'm malaysian student who's currently doing an exchange student program here in South Korea. I was searching information from google about Japan, and I've found your blog. I'm planning to go to Japan on december, and since you are staying there I bet you must know and have much more experience in this,I would really appreciate if you could suggest me a reasonable guest house/accomodation. Thank you :)

calvin said...

@ HeartIsRed:
Hello Wawa! Great to see you leaving a comment here. I wouldn't say I know everything about Japan but I'll try to assist your trip if possible :D

If you don't mind, I guess it will be better if we take this conversation to somewhere not public, maybe? You can drop me a message on my Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/calvin.ong.07