Hakozakigu Shrine, nestled against the backdrop of Hakata Bay, boasts a lengthy 850-meter approach from its first torii gate to the main shrine. At approximately the midway point of this path lies a Japanese circuit-style karesansui (Zen rock) garden, landscaped with moss, stones, and pines. As you venture through the entrance of the flower garden, a lively display of seasonal blooms greets you, hydrangeas, lilies, peonies, and more. A turn to the right leads you to our destination, the La Saison Hakozakigu Guest House.
Inside, tables adorned with pristine white tablecloths are elegantly arranged, each offering a picturesque view of the tranquil Japanese garden, a vision of beauty regardless of the season or weather.
As of June 2023, La Saison Hakozakigu Guest House has embraced a new ethos, highlighting a more sustainable approach to dining, where all ingredients, primarily sourced from trusted producers within Kyushu, are honored. A blend of French cooking techniques with the essence of Japanese cuisine defines their new style, and each dish is served on beautifully simple and modern Arita-yaki ceramics from the neighboring Saga Prefecture.
During our visit, we savored the ¥16,500 dinner course. Comprising six delightful dishes and accompanied by a glass of champagne or a non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice, it was an indulgence in culinary excellence in an unforgettable setting.
The menu featured:
A creamy mousse of Saga’s white asparagus, topped with luxurious caviar.
A unique pairing of Ayu fish from Miyazaki and fresh cucumber.
A signature dish featuring terraced rice, known for its sweetness developed through slow growth in mountainous regions with abundant water and significant daily temperature swings. This special rice, cooked al dente, is bathed in a creamy soup and paired with sea urchin from the Hibiki Sea.
Canadian lobster known for their supreme freshness, as they are kept alive until just before preparation and served with a beet puree sourced from Kubota Farm in Itoshima.
A playful palette cleanser known as the “bomb,” a rotating surprise of passionfruit from Okinawa, lychee, or ginger, and the mystery only revealed to those who taste it. It’s another hallmark of this restaurant.
Finally, tender venison from Ukiha, encased in a net of fat and accompanied by eggplants and figs, brings a unique textural interplay and sweetness. This creative combination is beautifully paired with a fruity Italian red wine, balanced with the perfect hint of tannins.
Indeed, the rebranding brought about a notable elevation in their drink offerings. Each seasonally changing dish can be complemented by carefully curated wine pairings. They are also working on introducing non-alcoholic pairings soon.
The enticing drink selection is the brainchild of Asuka Sugiyama, a sommelier and sake connoisseur. Choices range from a lovely rosé from Alsace, the Crémant, to the unique “Shirokuro” from Savigny-lès-Beaune—a white wine crafted entirely from Pinot Noir, a red grape variety, and “Ubusuna,” a sake birthed by a young brewery in Kumamoto.
The desserts, crafted by patissier Masaya Sakai, are a delightful finish. They include a playful mini tomato-based creation served in a glass and a summer tribute featuring white and yellow peaches from Ukiha. These whimsical desserts perfectly complement the chef’s dishes, each delivering a captivating charm.
Chef Hiroki Sakayama, with his robust experience working as a chef at Hotel Nikko Fukuoka and in France, delights in presenting modern gastronomic interpretations of local Kyushu ingredients. His affinity for fish dishes shines in the succulent lobster and crispy, fragrant ayu, which reveals a fluffy interior beneath its enticing skin. The chef’s impressive technical skills are on display in every dish, the perfection of the sauces heightening the anticipation for the next seasonal offering.
In essence, the newly rebranded La Saison Hakozakigu Guest House offers an immersive culinary experience, skillfully weaving together Japanese flavors with French culinary techniques. It’s a gastronomic tribute to the seasonal ingredients of Kyushu, serving not only a feast for your palate but also a visual treat, with the restaurant’s stunning views and artfully presented dishes.
Menu (including tax):
Lunch ¥5,500 (4 dishes, bread, dessert, coffee & petits fours), ¥8,800 (5 dishes, palate cleanser, bread, dessert, coffee & petits fours), Lunch Pairing ¥3,850 / 3 glasses or ¥5,500/4 glasses
Dinner ¥13,200 or ¥16,500 (Glass of champagne or non-alcoholic, 6 dishes, palate cleanser, bread, pre-dessert, dessert, coffee & petits fours), Dinner Pairing ¥8,800 or ¥11,000/ 6 glasses
Note: Dinner is fully reserved up to two days in advance. Please consult over the phone.
For those who want a non-alcoholic pairing, please reserve in advance.