Kasuke Hoshino was the man who opened the first Hoshino Onsen Ryokan, a simple ryokan on the site of the current resort, over a hundred years ago. In a fitting tribute to him, the authentic Japanese restaurant at HOSHINOYA Karuizawa, which is still family-owned four generations later, is named Kasuké
In the main building of the resort, Kasuké is entirely open to the rest of the grand, high ceilinged lobby, except for the exterior wall which is all glass, offering views out onto the terraced ponds which splash down small waterfalls between trees and small gardens.
Echoing the terraces of the rivers outside, Kasuké is laid out in descending levels, each with several low tables over foot wells.
In the evenings, when the natural light from the huge windows fades away, low hanging lamps strung from the high ceiling give off a low, warm light.
The dinner course here is magnificent, and it is a real luxury to allow a thousand tiny, beautiful dishes to flow across your table in a symphony of color and flavor.
The food is fresh and, as far as possible, locally sourced. The mushrooms, for example, have been picked in the forests nearby, and the carp come from the next town along. The menu is seasonal, meaning each meal is based around what can be found in nature at the time, so the flavors match the weather perfectly.
Presentation is a key element here, and each course is beautiful with tiny details, like fresh autumn leaves on the side of a plate. The staff knows exactly what is in each dish, and will explain it to you as it arrives on your table.
There are also drink courses of wine or sake that have been designed to perfectly match the flavors in the food, and each glass comes with a description of what you’re drinking.
Kasuké also serves breakfast until the very civilized hour of 12pm, giving you ample time to sleep in and bathe before you take a seat beside the window to enjoy the morning view with your breakfast.
The breakfast course, too, is seasonal, with local vegetables and fish presented in tiny, beautiful dishes. The flavors are simple, but varied, and it really is a lovely way to start the day.
Finish breakfast with a Maruyama coffee, and resign yourself to another hard day of total relaxation in HOSHINOYA Karuizawa.
Kasuké is only open to guests at HOSHINOYA Karuizawa, so if you want to dine here, you’ll have to book yourself in for a night (or two) at the luxury resort. Which, let’s be honest, sounds pretty good.