Posts tagged kyoto

2 Notes

Japan Day Four Part III- Finding Veggies in Kyoto

By day four in Japan, I was craving for vegetables. I’ve been eating too much raw food than what I’ve been use to and felt like I needed some healthy veggies to cleanse my system. However, leafy green vegetables doesn’t seem to be too common in Japan. Lydia searched online and found a vegetarian restaurant called Mikoan in Kyoto which had great reviews. The only obstacle was that it’s hidden in a dark, dark alley. image

Prior to dinner, we first wandered around Nishiki Market, also known as the “Kitchen of Kyoto” where you can find many famous Kyoto foods and specialties. If you want your very own set of hand-crafted knives, you can get them here at Aritsugu. We arrived just prior to closing so it wasn’t crowded. 

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Baby octopus stuffed with quail egg on a stick anyone? image

One of the famous items sold at the market are pickled veggies. image

Walk towards the end of the market and you’ll see the beautiful Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine. It looks amazing all lit up at night. image

Finally, it was time to find some vegetarian dinner. If it wasn’t for this very specific direction that Lydia found on a blog, I don’t know if we would have ever found this place. 

Copied from www.vegguide.org

(Tricky but worth it.) From the intersection from Shijo-dori and Teramachi-dori, walk 1.5 blocks South. That intersection is the southern exit of the Teramachi covered arcade. You’ll walk past the East side of the Fujii Daimaru Dept. Store on a relatively small street. Pass a bookstore on your right, then the Funahashiya candy store with some games outside on the street. Look for an alley-like entrance-way on your right with a hand-made sign saying “Vegetarian Restaurant & Bar.” Go down the narrow alley between two buildings and straight ahead through the courtyard.

imageDo you see where that red cone is placed? That’s the entrance to Mikoan restaurant. It’s a good 20 feet walking in pitch black darkness (good thing for cellphone flashlights these days). You then come up to this residential looking front door. 

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You walk right into what seems like someone’s really cluttered living room. I was surprised. I wasn’t sure if this was a restaurant or not. The dining area is this long counter and the kitchen is behind it. It’s a solo operation here, just one lady doing the cooking. We sat at the very end of the counter near the piano and guitar and piles and piles of books and magazine. I really wanted to help clean and organize, but I guess it’s part of it’s charm? This place is totally not made for tourist. image

We each ordered the set dinner and the lady started cooking. All I could think of at that time was “if there’s a grease fire, we’re all doomed!!” Hahahaha! Anyway, it would have been nice to have more ventilation with all the frying she was doing. Our set meals arrived and the lady notified us that each plate on everyone’s set was different so we should all share. Brown rice was served with tofu, different kinds of seaweed salads, vegetarian spring rolls, cabbage, braised daikon with shitake mushrooms, miso soup, etc…Everything was tasty and very good and very affordable for the amount of food that we all got. Each set cost 1,000yen which is around US$10.50.image

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The food and value was worth the adventure of finding this place.

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Thanks Lydia for sharing your photos!

For more information on Nishiki Market: 

http://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/english/

Mikoan Restaurant

570, Nakano-cho, Teramachi-dori 
Shijo-sagaru, Simogyo-ku 
KyotoJapan 600-8032

075-361-2200

1 Notes

Japan Day Four Part II- Arashiyama 嵐山

After our super yummy sushi breakfast at Endo Sushi, we headed out to Arashiyama in Kyoto. Known for it’s beautiful mountain scenery and natural landscapes, Arashiyama is a popular spot for foreign and local Japanese tourist. 

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We came to Japan the end of January, so I’m sure if we came during the Spring or Summer months, Arashiyama would be even more gorgeous. Nonetheless, it was quite picturesque with it’s mountains, river, and bamboo forest. 

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We came searching for the bamboo forest after seeing photos online. While walking down the main street, we didn’t even see the sign leading to the bamboo forest. We just followed the crowd and a group of elementary school girls with their teacher down the road; and then we walked into what seemed like a movie set. The bamboo forest is magical. 

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In addition to soaking up the scenery, Arashiyama has many tea houses, vegetarian restaurants (due to many Buddhist/Zen temples in the area), and traditional style Japanese houses. It seemed like you’ve just time-traveled 100 years back. A lot of the houses still seem to be residential, though a lot of it has been converted to souvenir shops, art galleries, and teahouses. image

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We walked and walked and walked to the next town over. It took us a long time to find our way back to the main street. When we finally got back, we stopped at the famous Kyoto brand Yojiya Cafe for some tea and pastries. image

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Dinner would be another adventure…stay tuned for Japan Day 4 part III.

Thank you Lydia for sharing some of your photos!

2 Notes

Japan Day Two- Osaka & Kyoto

We woke up around 4AM Japan time…way too early for anything to be open. But none of us could sleep anymore and decided to start our day around 5AM. We found a 7-11 convient store around the corner; the only place open at that hour. Who knew that the best omusubi (riceball) I would eat in Japan would be from a 7-11. The seaweed was seasoned and crispy, the rice was soft. It was so good. 

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Rice ball and warm coffee in hand, we went to tackle the Japanese subway and rail system finding our way to Kyoto. We had to stop and ask some of the rail attendants for directions, communicating by pointing to the map and simple sign language. At one point the guy came chasing after us with English maps of Kyoto. It was so nice of him. It’s these little gestures and and ability to overcome language barriers with using various methods to communicate that makes me love traveling so so much. It’s thrilling and so rewarding. 

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Our first stop was to visit the Fushimi Inari Taisha, a shinto shrine for the god of rice. 

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This site is famous for the thousands of torii gates that line different hiking trails throughout the mountain. It was truly beautiful and exhausting hike to the top!

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We left Fushimi in search of our next destination; lunch at Honke Owariya 尾張屋, a 548 year old soba restaurant located just south of the Nijo Castle in Kyoto. It’s a humble little restaurant located on a quite street. (It took us a long time to find). With its unpretentious set-up and surroundings, you would never know that this place had served meals for some of the most important people in Japan like emperors, shoguns, monks, and even today the Imperial family. 

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We each ordered our own Hourai Soba (¥2100 or US$23), the house specialty which consisted of 5 layers of soba noodle and came with different toppings: tempura shrimp, seaweed, shredded egg, mushrooms, toasted sesame, fresh ground wasabi, grate daikon, and green onions. You can mix as much topping into your soba as you liked. It was so good! 

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We walked off lunch and toured the nearby Nijo Castle (¥600 entrance). Later we went to the Gion district to wander around. Gion is famous for geishas and its many tea houses. It’s truly a beautiful place to visit. 

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Next stop will be dinner back in Osaka at the famous little sushi shop where Anthony Bourdain ate. Next post…

 

Fushimi Inari Shrine directions: 

Take the train on the Keihan Main Line to Fushimi Inari station (伏見稲荷駅). The shrine can be reached from a short walk from the station. Just follow the crowd. 

Honke Owariya 尾張屋
322 Kurumaya-cho, Nijo Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Tel:+81752313446
Open: 1100-1830

Take train to Nijojo-Mae Station (営地下鉄 東西線 二条城前駅). It was rather hard to find as there isn’t any street signs anywhere. We asked various shop owners for directions using sign language and little Japanese that we knew. Eventually, we finally found it and it was such a rewarding experience. 

Gion, Kyoto directions:

Gion can be reached by bus from Kyoto Station in about 20 minutes for 220 yen. Take number 100 and 206 and get off at Gion bus stop. The closest train stations are Gion Shijo Station (祇園四条駅) on the Keihan Line and Kawaramachi Station (河原町駅) on the Hankyu Line.

Thank you Lydia for sharing some of your photos!

2 Notes

Hourai Soba- 5 level soba with 8 different toppings at Honke Owariya, a 540 year old soba house in Kyoto.

Honke Owariya 尾張屋
322 Kurumaya-cho, Nijo Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Hourai Soba- 5 level soba with 8 different toppings at Honke Owariya, a 540 year old soba house in Kyoto.

Honke Owariya 尾張屋
322 Kurumaya-cho, Nijo Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto