The Full Japanese Experience in Bali: Shiatsu, tea ceremony, cooking class and Izakaya-style dining at Hotel Nikko in Benoa

Chef Goda presiding over a Japanese Tea Ceremony. Photo: Coco Travel
Chef Goda presiding over a Japanese Tea Ceremony. Photo: Coco Travel

Japanese-owned, Hotel Nikko Bali in Benoa is one of the places to head to in the island’s south if you’re after some flavors and culture from the Land of the Rising Sun with a Balinese backdrop and hospitality. 

You can find us eating all the nasi campur, babi guling and other local specialties when in Bali, but sometimes a hankering for sashimi, shiatsu, and matcha take over.

From the spa to the kitchen, Japanese brand Hotel Nikko imports treatments and cooking from the homeland, with shiatsu as one of its massage options and its Izakaya (casual Japanese pub-style) restaurant, Nagisa. 

We stopped by Nikko one afternoon after an invitation popped up to get a taste of its Japanese offerings.

First up was a stop at the spa for a shiatsu massage (IDR590k/US$42.30 for 60 min) — a technique that unlike your typical Balinese treatment, features no oil and is geared towards putting pressure along your meridians to balance out your body’s energy flow. The massage definitely relieved some tension on our neck and shoulders (hello, laptop work) and we were big fans of the spa’s colorful Indonesian aesthetic (yes to fusion and incorporating local design elements). As for the flower bath that followed the treatment (pictured below), the tub looked like a shallow bucket, but it was actually deeper than it appears and surprisingly comfortable to soak in.

Photos: Coco Travel
Photos: Coco Travel

Next on the agenda was a Japanese tea ceremony (IDR50k/US$3.60), lead by Chef Goda (yep, he’s actually from Japan and apparently a legit, certified Tea Master). The Japanese are meticulous (in general, but especially when it comes to tea ceremonies), so it was interesting learning both how the tea is properly prepared and how involved all the customs around drinking the tea are. Plus, we were just happy to drink some matcha.

Cooking class featuring yakisoba lead by Chef Goda at Hotel Nikko Bali Benoa Beach. Photos: Coco Travel
Cooking class featuring yakisoba lead by Chef Goda at Hotel Nikko Bali Benoa Beach. Photos: Coco Travel

As for the food at Nikko, the hotel has seven dining options (among them Italian, Indonesian, and seafood), but we can say after our feast, that Nagisa is where it’s at. Chef Goda heads to the market every morning himself to pick his fish fresh (that’s where that off-menu speciality came into play).

Left: Chef's Special creation from catch of the day. Center: Steamed egg custard. Right: Robatayaki (prawn, eel, chicken, beef, shitaki mushroom, eringi mushroom). Photos: Coco Travel
Left: Chef’s Special creation from catch of the day. Center: Steamed egg custard. Right: Robatayaki (prawn, eel, chicken, beef, shiitake mushroom, eryngii mushroom). Photos: Coco Travel
Left: sashimi platter. Center: cocktail and mocktail options. Right: Ice cream from the grill served in an orange peel. Photos: Coco Travel
Left: sashimi platter. Center: cocktail and mocktail options. Right: ice cream from the grill served in an orange peel. Photos: Coco Travel

The highlight of our little foray into ‘Japan in Bali’ had to be the yakisoba cooking class (IDR350k/US$25.10; 50 percent off for children under 12), followed by a multi-course meal complete with sushi, sashimi, an off-the-menu catch of the day, yakitori (grilled skewers), fried ice cream, and more. Small in stature, but full of energy, Chef Goda is a fun guy to cook with — making the yakisoba on the grill with him felt so theatrical and the chef certainly plays his part. And most importantly, the food was tasty. 

New Year’s Specials

Marking, the end of the year, Nikko has a couple of set-meal options for New Year’s Eve: an eight-course Shiwasu set menu (IDR650k/US$46.60), a seven-course Teppanyaki set menu (IDR900k/US$64.50), an eight-course Robatayaki (IDR800k/US$57.30) set menu, or a more traditional Toshikoshi Soba (IDR350k/US$25.10). Advanced bookings are required for NYE.

FIND IT:

Hotel Nikko Bali Benoa Beach
Jl. Pratama no. 68X
Benoa, Nusa Dua
(0361) 773577

Editor’s Note: Coco Travel was invited by Hotel Nikko Bali Benoa Beach. The shiatsu massage, tea ceremony, cooking class, and dinner were provided as complimentary by the hotel, however, Hotel Nikko had no editorial involvement or oversight in this article.

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