High in the hills above Lake Biwa, in a tiny village beside the Katsuragawa, sits the wonderful luxury rural retreat that is Hira Sanso. The family-run business specialises in ayu sweetfish, and in the winter, kuma ryori bear cuisine, with ingredients sourced mostly from the surrounding forests.
When FGL visited recently we were treated to a feast of ayu no shioyaki, superb salt-grilled wild sweetfish, deer carpaccio, koi no arai carp sashimi, grilled eelshirayaki-style, ayu gohan rice, local Karakara sake, and more. Hira Sanso is an hour from Kyoto station by taxi, but it is certainly worth the journey to this magical hideaway. You can also stay overnight, from ¥30,000 per person.
Salted grilled wild ayu sweetfish is superb and nowhere is it better than at Hira Sanso
Venison carpaccio. Deer hunted in the summer are said to be the tastiest.
94 Katsuragawa Bomura-cho, Otsu, Shiga tel: 077 599 2058 Japanese website: http://www.hirasansou.com Meals served 11.30am to 2pm and 5pm to 7pm Closed Tuesday Ayu Manpuku ¥6,500 Ayu Kaiseki from ¥13,000 Matsutake Course (from October) ¥30,000 to ¥13,000 Reservations required Credit cards accepted Non-smoking