Deep in the heart of the woods by the foot of a tranquil waterfall, the least likely place for a restaurant, is a restaurant. It’s called Mitaki-en, it serves vegetarian cuisine prepared by using seasonal wild mountain plants, it’s a little pricey and it’s undeniably beautiful.
If you are searching for a place to take your Gaijin folks/friends to show off traditional Japan (food, culture, architecture) then Mitaki-en should be it (just be sure to make a booking before you go). Unfortunately you only have 2 weeks left to do it though as Mitaki-en closes December through til Spring because if you didn’t know, the heart of the woods is cold. And by cold I mean unbearable. Nevertheless, whether you make it in the next couple of weeks or sometime next year, I guarantee you’ll be impressed.
Food wise: at the main restaurant, there are three menus to choose from and the cheapest starts at 2400 yen per person. If you think that’s a tad too much for lunch then you can enjoy a cheaper meal of homemade udon or cake and coffee from the other two eateries in the same vicinity.
My favorite details include the wild chickens, the handmade konjac and the outofthisworld stone-ground kinako (soybean powder) tochimochi (mochi rice with Japanese horse chestnut) – it is the best mochi I’ve ever had since being here and I’ve had too mochi – see what I did there?