Our first stop upon arriving was Noboribetsu – Hokkaido’s most famous hot spring resort. About a one hour drive from Chitose, its major attraction is Jigokudani also known as Hell Valley. It’s basically a spot where you get to see sulfurous vents and streams, and of course, enjoy the smell of rotten eggs.
I’m not a big fan of sulfurous stuff and would prob have skipped Noboribetsu if not for the inn we stayed at. Great service at Boro Noguchi started the minute we pulled into the driveway. Our car was valet parked and we were ushered into a chic reception area where we were served a yummy concoction of ginger and honey while the staff checked us in. Very Banyan Tree. We were then led to our spacious suite which came with our own private onsen *woohoo!* This is a big deal if you’re anything like me and have issues stripping down to your birthday suit at a public bath.
Dinner was included in the package and this part totally blew me away. Each guest gets a private dining room and this is where we were served a 12-course traditional Japanese dinner. Each dish was exquisitely put together using the freshest ingredients, and the chef made a convert out of this non-sashimi eater. For the first time in my life, I finally understood how raw fish could taste sweet. By the time the main dish came, I was only able to finish off the foie-gras and a couple of pieces of the beef that was so so good. Yet I found space to polish off a bowl of "Rice grown by Mr Yosetani" – a pot of plain rice that was strangely served just before dessert. I know this sounds crazy but that, my friends, was The Perfect Bowl of Rice. Each grain was light, glossy, fluffy and cooked to perfection. Happily stuffed, we took a heavenly soak in our onsen and slept like a baby that night. The Japanese breakfast the next morning was just as good. Highly recommended.