Gora Kadan-The Japanese Royal Treatment
It is difficult for me to put our experience at Gora Kadan into words. I heard about this place from a friend in the travel industry that explained this to me as the quintessential Japanese experience. As soon as we arrived it was hard to miss the countless Bentleys and Rolls Royces parked out front. Upon check in, we were introduced to our room attendant that would be dedicated to serving us during our stay. Yumi was extremely dedicated in providing us the highest level of service. She anticipated our every need. She walked us to and from our meals, she made suggestions for activities to do with the kids, she served us all of our meals herself, she prepared our room and beds while we were eating dinner, she swapped out our floor table when she saw how tall Adam was, for a western style table with chairs, she made sure every detail was perfect.
At Gora Kadan, the food is a special experience on its own. For dinner, the restaurant offers the traditional Kaiseki meal. Kaiseki is the pinnacle of Japanese cuisine where a chef takes the freshest ingredients of that season and presents them in beautiful small dishes to deliver the perfect synergy between cuisine and artistic expression.
Now if you are visiting Japan and you are not an adventurous eater, this probably will not be for you. Adam and I consider ourselves adventurous and open minded and there were a few things on the menu that even we could not get down with. (Like the whole fish that was served broiled (sounds great!) but Yumi instructed us to eat the whole fist from head to tail, with literally the bones and organs still inside. Yea that was not our favorite). Also, by looking at the food, it definitely looks like a work of art, but yet you will probably not be able to identify what anything is! Thats why having a (an english) menu is so helpful.
Another cool aspect was that the experience and rooms are created to allow you to never leave your room. (Great for Covid!) Yumi offered to set up all of our meals inside our room. (She even replaced our table that was low to the floor with pillows as chairs for a taller table when she realized that Adams hips were definitely not going to let him get down on the flood cross legged). We chose to have dinner in a private room because cooking the beef on the grill would be a bit smokey. This picture is of us enjoying our beautiful *Western* breakfast, which we were so delighted to have. The Japanese breakfast of fish and miso soup isn't our favorite either.
Another highlight of the hotel is the Onsen. The showers, the hot tubs, the hot spring, the sauna and cold tub, all were beautiful and zen. My favorite part about this was that Adam was finally able to take the kids to the Onsen. Lots of my local friends told me their kids love the Onsens and love to go in and out of the hot and cold tubs etc, but since it is all done in the nude, I have never been able to take my kids to the Onsen. This was the first time that Adam was there, and they enjoyed it together. Nakedness and showering in a bath house is very common in Japan. Its definitely something that takes a while to get used to. For the first couple of times when I just came to Japan, I would find myself walking around covering up with a towel. After a while you get used to it, but Adam still will not take the kids in the Onsen if there is anyone else in there. (He still thinks its weird for little kids to be around naked adults, even if it is something super common in Japan and Japanese culture.)
While we were at dinner and then the Onsen after dinner, Yumi rushed into the room to set up the "futons" for the kids. In America we think of futon as like a couch, that folds into a bed, usually found in college dorm rooms or frat houses. Here a futon is a thin mattress that goes on the floor for kids (or adults) to sleep on. Check out this example of one of the standard rooms in the hotel with beds on the floor:
Adam was scheduled for an in-room Shiatsu Massage at 9:30 pm, and the futons in the room were where the location for them. It was the perfect night cap after that huge dinner and trip to the Onsen. He said it was one of the best massages he'd ever had, and that means a lot from a guy that gets a massage almost every day at the baseball field.
Overall, this is definitely an experience I would like to share with my friends and clients, so if it fits your budget, you should definitely come experience this little slice of heaven :) These types of hotels tend to charge a per person rate for the room (since it includes the meals). I believe for the 4 of us it was about $2,800 (including the wagyu beef upgrade). Shhhh don't tell Adam, he probably doesn't read my posts anyway ;)
Check out this video of some of our highlights from our stay: