Saturday, December 10, 2016

Eating Well While Travelling In Japan - Part 2 - Kyoto Dining (Ekiben, Bullet Trains, Fushimi Inari Food Stalls)

We took the bullet train from Tokyo Station down to Kyoto Station.  Our day started pretty darn early as we left our hotel, the Citadines Shinjuku, before 7 AM to make sure we would miss the morning rush hour on a Monday.  We skipped breakfast and headed the few blocks over to board the Marunouchi Line subway to get to Tokyo Station.  At Tokyo Station, we hit a convenience store to get some canned coffees and some rice balls for a quick breakfast.

We then visited Ekibeniya, a shop that sells ekiben (train bento) with ekiben from all over Japan.  They must stock a hundred different box bentos.  There is also a wall of drinks so you can get your green tea, soda, or beer here for the train ride ahead.  The store isn't huge, but it isn't small either, and you should be able to find something you want to eat on the 2.5 hour trip down to Kyoto.   All the ekiben are so nicely packages and have very pretty packaging.
Ekibenya food model display.  It is soooo cool.
Ekiben
More Ekiben.  You'll have chopsticks or cutlery in the packaging.
Even more Ekiben
Our Nozomi train.
Back end of our train.  Still streamlined.
Comfortable interior of the train.  There are tables that fold down like on plane, and the pairs of seats can pivot around so a group of four can face each other.
We could see Mt. Fuji for a few minutes at one point in the trip behind a plain of rice fields.
 After the train had been rocketing towards Kyoto for an hour, we decided to have an early lunch (brunch?) on the train.  We had picked three different kinds of ekiben.  All three were very tasty.
This is a steak bento.  You wouldn't want to eat cold steak right?  Well this bento is thicker than most because it self -heats.  There is a string you pull to start an exothermic reaction that heats it up.  In five minutes you have a nice hot meal.  It was steak and veggies on rice and was really good.

Steak and veggies on rice.  The heating element is under the tray.

A seafood bento.

It is nicely packaged with chopsticks and napkin inside.
There were was a great variety of food items from the fish cutlets to little clams, some egg omelet, veggies, and of course rice.
And yet another fish bento with seaweed salad and veggies on rice.  The seafood bentos were cold, but still very tasty.  Better than airline food unless you're flying first class.
Kyoto Station platform.  Trains pass through here every five or ten minutes.
When we arrived in Kyoto we saw this Mr. Donut and decided to have a treat.
This is a tasty doughnut.  Chewier than most with strawberry glaze.
In Kyoto, the forecast was for rain the next day so we decided to go to Fushimi Inari Shrine early that afternoon.  We took a cab over to our hotel, the Sunline Gion in Gion, then left our bags and headed out.  The sun was shining and it was a nice afternoon.  I'll blog more about this fantastic shrine, but boy was it ever crowded with people that day.

Fushimi Inari with its thousands of red torii gates.
On the way to the shrine from the train station, you run a gauntlet of souvenir shops and food vendors.  It is all very civilized, but boy, were the smells of tasty BBQ in the air.  Fresh orange juice, takoyaki, sembei, fried chicken, and all kinds of grilled meats.  I stopped to buy some food and we then headed to see the shrine.
Grilled pork belly.  Boy was it good.
Bacon wraps. 
Fresh chicken karaage.  This was really good too.
That night, we just went to a place near the hotel.  Mimikou serves a type of local curry udon that was different from anything I had before.  It had an intense herbal component that was just different, but still quite tasty.  It was supposed to be a healthy curry I think.
Curry restaurant.  They gave you a paper bib so you wouldn't splash your clothes.
Very thick curry broth.
Big udon noodles and pieces of pork.  I'd say it isn't my most favourite curry, but it was very interesting to try.
We did a little walk around the main street that leads up to Yasaka Shrine and wandered a bit in Yasaka Shrine too.  Very atmospheric at night.  There is a Lawson convenience store right across the street from the front gate of the shrine and we picked up a few snack and drinks for the hotel there.

Fantastic assortment of drinks at the store.

The next day we would head out to the Kyoto Railway Museum and there are plenty of cool pics of the great food at Nishiki Market.  Stay tuned for part 3.

Tokyo and Kyoto Trip Fall 2016 


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