3 Delightful and Heartwarming Meals to Try in Hakone
February 02, 2019
Hakone is not a big city, and it might be a little tough to find good restaurants to dine in. I consider myself very fortunate because the receptionist from the onsen hotel that I stayed at offered amazing food recommendations. Personally, I find it hard to dislike Japanese food, especially when almost every meal I had during my three weeks in Japan were delicious. The temperature was around negative two to eight degrees when I visited Hakone, and I kept craving for soupy stuff. Without further ado, check out the following 3 places to dine at in Hakone.
#1 – Okonomiyaki Kaji
During my trip to Japan, I lost count of the number of times I had okonomiyaki. There are two significantly different types of okonomiyaki – the Kansai or Osaka style and the Hiroshima style. The former is created by mixing all the ingredients into a batter before grilling while the latter is prepared by grilling a small crepe-like pancake first, before layering other ingredients on top. Furthermore, the Hiroshima style uses much more cabbage than the Kansai/Osaka style.
The Kansai/Osaka style okonomiyaki is served in Hakone. There is a couple of variations to choose from, and you can add your own condiments. You can also choose the ingredients that you desire and have your okonomiyaki cooked right in front of you by the chef. The portion is pretty generous, and this is definitely the place to go for a hearty dinner.
Address: 1300−268 Gora, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0408, Japan
Opening Hours: 6pm to 10.30pm daily
#2 – Tamura Ginkatsutei
This Japanese style restaurant is famous for Tofu-katsuni, a dish made with ground pork stuffed in tofu and deep-fried in rice oil before being simmered in a broth with a beaten egg. The special tofu is made locally by a reputable tofu store that has been in business for more than 100 years in Hakone. You have to go early in order to shorten your queuing time. I arrived around 6pm, and had to wait almost an hour to be seated. Remember to take a numbered ticket from the machine at the entrance of the restaurant, and wait for your number to be called before heading in.
I had the Tofu-katsuni Gozen, a set meal which includes Tofu-katsuni, rice, miso soup, salad, dessert, pickle and side dish. The tofu was so soft, with a gingery twist. Although this restaurant is a little pricey as compared to the others around Hakone, I feel that it is worth trying.
Address: 1300-739 Gora, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0408, Japan
Opening Hours: Thu-Mon 11am to 2.30pm (lunch) and 5.30pm to 7.30pm (dinner). Tue 11am to 2.30pm (lunch). Closed on Wednesday.
#3 – Maruu Tashiro Motohakone Port Shop
Odawara’s Maruu Tashiro, a long-established shop specializing in kamaboko (boiled fish paste) opened its branch in front of Motohakone Port in July 2018. My favourite is the steamy hot Odawara oden made up of many local ingredients simmered in dashi soup. Don’t forget to dip them in plum miso. You can also take-away freshly deep-fried fish paste, and have them along the pathway surrounding Lake Ashi. This satisfying meal with a view is certainly an unforgettable one.
Maruu Tashiro Motohakone Port Shop
Address: 6-21 Moto-Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0408, Japan
Opening Hours: 10.30am to 4.30pm daily. No fixed closing days.
I cannot decide which of the three meals I liked best. You’ll have to try all, and decide for yourselves. Wishing you a “palatable trip” in Hakone!