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Day Trip Ideas: Mitaki-En

27,Aug 2015 Day Trip Ideas

Many people choose to come to Japan to indulge in the cuisine, or to reinvigorate themselves by soaking up the awe-inspiring sights of natural beauty. At Mitaki-en, a restaurant complex that is nestled amongst lush greenery and located on a mountain in Tottori prefecture, it is possible to do both.

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To get to Mitaki-en requires one to drive up a winding mountain road, going past rows and rows of trees as the landscape beneath grows flatter and farther. When one finally reaches the complex, it is like entering a different world: the buildings are rustic log cabins, with moss growing on the thatched roofs; somewhere, a stream babbles and the soothing sound of running water is all around; unseen birds and other animals chirp and twitter – completely unlike everyday city life. Stone pathways run all around the complex, connecting the buildings together, and guests are free to walk along and explore the surroundings. The woodland setting is so peaceful and tranquil that one could almost expect to see fairies round a corner.

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The buildings are not the only things at Mitaki-en which are handmade; the food, too, is all carefully prepared from scratch, or taken off the land. From the miso, to the konnyaku, to the vegetables and fish – everything on the plates is organic, attentively selected, seasonal, and delicious. The dishes are varied, healthy, and filling – the mountain vegetable set, for instance, comes with an appetiser of tofu, seasonal vegetables, and fungus braised in sweet soy sauce; tofu; steamed egg custard with seasonal vegetables; stewed konnyaku and seasonal vegetables; crispy tempura of seasonal leaves; mixed rice, and miso soup. The diner will rarely, if ever, leave Mitaki-en either unsatisfied or hungry.

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Upon finishing the meal, guests can stroll around the complex, or perhaps retire to the cafe to soak up more of the beautiful scenery. If one is particularly taken with the flavours of the cooking, there is a souvenir shop where one can buy an assortment of goods, from cooking ingredients home-made at Mitaki-en, such as homemade miso, konnyaku and mochi; to simple souvenirs like straw slippers, crackers, and more.

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Mitaki-en is about 1 hour’s drive from Kifu no Sato. It is open from 8am to 5pm from about April to November (it is closed in the winter – around December to March) with meals served from 10.30am, and reservations are recommended. The sets start from ¥2500 for the mountain vegetable set, to ¥3700 and ¥5500 for the sets with more elaborate dishes, such as grilled fish and sashimi.

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Why not have a taste of the traditional way of life and cooking by visiting Mitaki-en? If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to write to Kifu no Sato.

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