DAY TRIP TO KYOTO
Beautiful ancient Kyoto, Japan’s original capital city. The city was filled with beautiful scenery, even if we were only able to visit a small part of it. The city left a memorable impression for me and I can’t wait to go back.
After a good night’s sleep at a lovely hotel in Osaka, we took the train to Kyoto for a day trip. When in Kyoto, of course I had to try on a kimono for the day, but when we got to our destination, nothing was open. Fun fact, Japanese restaurants (unless they specifically do breakfast) are not generally open before 11. So if you’re looking for breakfast, either do your research, or go to a convenience store (their food is excellent anyway, so no big deal). After a bit of wandering, we found this place.
Shoku No Gen
Japan, 〒605-0862 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Kiyomizu, 4 Chome−139 ラ・トゥール清水
The only restaurant that was open was this Chinese restaurant on our way to see Kiyomizu-dera. We both joked about our first official meal in Japan being Chinese food as we walked in. Don’t let the place fool you. Yes, it’s not a looker, but the food brought out the nostalgia in me. I ordered an Egg & Tomato on rice and it came with a soup and some pickled ginger. When I say nostalgia, I mean it. The meal tasted exactly like my mom’s cooking, and everything about it screamed home cooking. What more can I ask for? I do really recommend this place if you’re looking for authentic Chinese food in Tokyo. The owners (I assume) are fluent in both Japanese and Chinese, and we definitely forgot to try English, so if you go, let me know!
2 Chome-239 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan
Once we made it up to Kiyomizu-dera (in our very pretty kimonos by the way), we were fascinated by all the interesting food and stalls that were available on the way up. We stopped to get some pickled cucumbers on a stick (which is so not my thing) and ice cream. Now, I am not an ice cream eater, I have it maybe a couple times a year and that’s it. But the flavours looked so fun that I couldn’t help myself. I went for the Nihon Shu (Japanese wine/sake) flavour, because when on vacation. I found the flavour subtle but refreshing and we were lucky that they had seating inside for us to enjoy our ice creams.
Apparently Okabeya is a tofu specialty store and restaurant and now that I know this information, I feel like I need to revisit this place for more than their delicious ice cream.
Kuromame-Chaan Kitao-Nishiki Branch
黒豆茶庵 北尾 錦店
192 Higashiuoyacho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8055, Japan
After enjoying our day in kimonos, we wandered our way to Nishiki Market. This was the first market we visited in Japan and it was as varied as promised. We couldn’t visit a market and not eat now can we? We wandered into a store that seemed to specialize in black soybeans. When you walk further in, there’s a set of stairs that lead you up to a teahouse. After taking off our shoes, we ascended the stairs.
The teahouse is as quaint and traditional feeling as expected, and their menu is filled black bean-based goodies. We went with blackbean warabi mochi with kinako on the side. What is warabi mochi and kinako you ask? Warabi mochi is different from standard mochi as it has a more jelly-like texture. Kinako is apparently roasted soybean flour. I usually associate it with mochi, so I suppose having it for warabi mochi makes sense. The jelly-like texture is a lot of fun, even if it does take some time to get used to picking it up with chopsticks.
With black soybean being the specialty, the tea and even the edamame was black soybean based. I was so enamoured by the tea that I thought about bringing some home, but the expiry date on the tea was too soon and I couldn’t bring myself to buy some to bring home. I do highly recommend anyone wandering Nishiki Market to check this place out.
Thus was the end of my day trip to Kyoto and I can’t wait to go back!