Monday, December 12, 2016

Eating Well While Travelling In Japan - Part 4 - Kyoto Dining (Kyoto Style Sushi, Arashimaya, and Kinkakuji)

Having breakfast while staying in Gion was a little more difficult than in some places as I didn't see too many western style bakeries or coffee shops offering breakfast sets or a fast food chain like a Yoshinoya which also offer Japanese style breakfasts.  There was a Starbucks and a Lawson on Shijo Dori, the main street through Gion, near Yasaka Shrine that we used a few mornings.  I pretty much never have breakfast in hotels as it is usually pretty overpriced for what you get unless it is already included.  On mornings where we needed to get going quickly, you can buy pastries, sandwiches, riceballs, and canned coffee the night before from a store, put them in the fridge, and quickly eat in the morning before you go.
Starbucks in Japan is always a good choice.  Some of the others travelling with me had cake for breakfast, but I like their bacon quiche served warm.  Look at the nice pieces of bacon on that!
Look at the great assortment of baked goods for sale at Starbucks there.  Something there for everyone.

We went to the Kyoto Railway museum this morning.  This is the original series bullet train from the 1960s.
Insidie the Kyoto Railway Museum.  Their gift shop here was pretty amazing for rail themed stuff.
After visiting the railway museum we stopped back at Kyoto Station in the Porta underground mall there.  I saw an outlet of Tokyo Soup Stock there and I knew I had to try it for lunch as it has been on my try list for awhile.  They have really good soup and I can say their chicken curry is quite good.
Tokyo Soup Stock Menu.  Many healthy items.
A soup, drink, and curry set for lunch.  The lobster bisque and the chicken curry were delicious.
After lunch, we went to the massive Yodobashi Camera Store near the train station.  It was pouring rain, but fortunately train stations and malls in Japan often go a long way underground.  We walked the couple of blocks to the Yodobashi underground from the Porta Mall to a basement entrance to the store.  They have a great toy floor at the Yodobashi along with the great selection of electronics
Hundreds of gashapon or capsule toy vending machines to blow your yen on.  We spent awhile here.
Gundam model kits, but there was a pretty huge toy section in the store.
After Yodobashi, we explored Nishiki Market by taking the subway north to the Daimaru is connected to the Porta Mall too.  I showed all the great food available at Nishiki in the previous blog post.  That evening, after resting at the hotel for a bit we went out to have Kyoto style sushi, which is very different from Tokyo style sushi we are all used to eating.

We went to Izuji which is right across the street from the front gate of Yasaka Shrine.  This place is small and narrow, has great character, and serves great versions of the local sushi.  The restaurant has been around for a long time.  We ordered their Inari Sushi (rice in fried tofu pockets), their saba (mackerel) sushi, and their deluxe Hakosushi.  The Hakosushi is made by pressing everything together in a square box and cut into cubes.  The seasonings were also different in this sushi, with an herbal flavour to some of it which was reminiscent of the flavoring in the herbal curry we had a few days before.  This sushi was tasty to us but different enough that some people who like the regular Tokyo style sushi we get overseas will not like it.  We thought this place was great and it was different as the sushi uses more cooked fish such as a hamo or pike conger eel.
Plate of the Kyoto style sushi for three.
The next morning we went to Arashimaya Bamboo Grove and visited five temples or shrines that day.  It was a pretty busy day of running around using trains, buses, and taxis.  On days like this, I like to keep some riceballs or sandwiches in the backpack as you know you'll want to eat something but will get stuck somewhere where you don't have handy dining options.  A snack will tide you over until you can get a proper meal.
7-11 riceballs.

The beautiful Arashimaya Bamboo Groves
After the bamboo groves we visited some Adashino Nembutsuji and Otagi Nenbutsuji temples on a very beautiful walk through historically preserved streets.
Preserved streets.  I felt like you walking in the country as some points.
Unique stone statues at Otagi Nenbutsuji temple.
As we were leaving the temple at the furthest point, we managed to flag a passing taxi to get back to the train station and Tenryuji Temple, saving us a good 30 to 35 minute walk.  Tenryuji Temple is famous for its garden and pond and worth a visit if you like gardens.  After viewing the gardens we were starved and found a little restaurant serving donburi (rice bowls) just down the street towards the river from the train station.
This vending machine had an AED dispenser built into it.  Very cool.
Pond at Tenryuji

I forget the name of this place but they were doing a booming business selling pork cutlet and egg rice bowls.  It was delicious.
After lunch we took a taxi over to see Ryoanji Temple and then another taxi to Kinkakuji Temple.  Cabs can save you a ton of time and don't cost a ton if you are splitting the far three or four ways.
Beautiful Kinkakuji Temple and the lake it borders on.
That evening we took a bus from Kinkuji towards downtown Kyoto around rush hour.  This was a terrible idea as the bus was completely full the entire trip with people packed wall to wall in the aisles and all the way down the bus.  We survived, did some shopping at the Tokyu Hands and the Kit Kat Store in the Daimaru Department Store.

Dinner was at Gogyo, a more upscale ramen restaurant and izakaya.  We were there for their which  for burnt miso ramen and some very nice side dishes.  This restaurant has a cover charge, but it was worth it to us, but we were seated upstairs in the back in a large room where smoking was permitted.  Fortunately a large party with smokers just started when we were wrapping up.  I did like the food here though.
Gogyo Sign
The burnt miso ramen has a ton of flavour and is one of the house specialties.  It was quite delicious but was a very dark soup with burnt, smokey tinges of flavour.  You can see the nice pieces of pork, the onions, and nicely done eggs.  This is an unusual ramen which I was glad I was able to try.
A fried tempura version of tuna tataki. Delicious again.
Lightly fried Pacific Saurey.  I had to try this fish and it was delicious as tempura.  I'm glad I had it.
That was it for the day in food and the next post is about our last day in Kyoto.  It is always nice to have a sit down meal after a long day of walking. Dinner at Gogyo was pretty memorable.  I also needed the GPS to find it as I was reading my map wrong and was out a block in the dark.  Doesn't take much to miss the restaurant which really wasn't hard to find as it is very close to Nishiki Market.

Tokyo and Kyoto Trip Fall 2016 

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