"Let's go to Japan", my best friend said to me, and "Yes" is my answer. Or the correct answer is I want to go there all the time, if I can, haha.
This is my Third times, and for me Japan is such an interesting country, I can't have enough of it. We planed to go there in the end of January and it's winter time. I was excited to go to Kyoto (again, I really love this city), and this time we went to Osaka too.
After 7 hours flight, three of us (me, my friend and her sister) landed on Kansai Airport around 3.30 pm.
Immigration process was very quick, because the waiting line was not long when we were arrived, if you fill the Immigration form correctly, you won't have any problem ^^.
From Kansai Airport, it's easy to take an air port limousine bus to Kyoto station (our Hotel is close to the station), you can buy the ticket from the vending machine inside the airport (the fare is 2,550yen for adult and 1,280yen for children - the rate is in January 2017).
The weather was very cold, so we had to put on our coat before going to take the limousine bus. And after taking the bus, you can sit and relaxing until you reach your destination.
But don't close your eyes or pay attention only to your phone, look out of the window, there are a lot of beautiful views to see, life is full of them. Just a simple view can make you feel so good.
We checked in at New Miyako Hotel (新・都ホテル | 京都) this hotel is in very good location, opposite to the Kyoto station, means you can go anywhere from here. It's late at night and we were hungry. But we already had our plan, the first meal in this trip must be ramen (ラメン）.
About 10 minutes walk from the hotel, 新福菜館 本店/しんぷくさいかん (Shinpuku) was the place that we wanted to eat. The line was still short (it's cold!!!!!!), we choose what we wanted to eat while waiting to go inside.
We were so happy when the waiter told us to go in but we still had to wait for 10 minutes more (watching all the people eating, while we're hungry, CRY!). I think we put some pressure on them, haha. There are about 30 seats inside, it's small but full of life. Everyone seen to come and eat very quickly.
Finally our time had come, we ordered the food and went to our table.
I tried my best to take the photo but with a lot of eyes (from the waiting line), all I can do was taking only 1 shot of everything.
We ordered Yakimeshi (焼き飯 -500 yen) or Soy sauce fried rice with egg, pork and spring onion. If you love Chinese fried rice I think you will love this It comes with a cup of soup. First I think it's the same taste as the ramen but it's not, very delicious rich soup.
And because of our hungriness, we ordered Tokudai (特大新福そば-900 yen), it's soy sauce base ramen noodle with spring onion, raw egg, bean sprouts and roasted pork in extra large size (don't forget that we are just 3 small size girls, haha). The rich soy sauce base is so thick, I imagined that it's much be salty (from the look), but it's not. You can have a spoonful of soup without feeling guilty (from eating too much salt). The roasted pork is very delicious too, it's soft and juicy ^^.
The other dish that we ordered was Take-iri (竹入り-800 yen) it's the same base as Tokudai (soy sauce base ramen noodle with spring onion and roasted pork), but in regular size and with bamboo shoots.
The waiter was kind enough to bring us the bowl (he noticed that we were sharing the food), ありがとうございました。Thank you so much, we had a good time at your place, and your ramen and fried rice are delicious.
We finished all the food and went for a little walk on a cold, cold night.
From the ramen shop, we passed the Kyoto tower (京都タワー), to tell you the truth, I never pay attention to it in the day light, haha, but with light up, it's so beautiful.
Kyoto station (京都駅) is very busy and many shops are open until late at night, so rather than walking in the chill air we went into the station instead.
Many sweet shops were still opened but after large bowl of ramen and rice, I couldn't eat anything, just window eating, haha, imagined about the taste of anything that came to my eyes.
The next morning, we planed to go to Gion (祇園), but we all waked up late (it's vacation anyway, haha, so let's us did whatever we wanted), we didn't have enough time for morning coffee.
Traveling in Kyoto, I really recommend Taxi, it's easy and not too expensive (esp. when you have friends to share the fee). Subway and bus are good but you will need time for walking to your destination, so if you want to go to many places and save your time, Taxi is the answer. At the Kyoto station you can find sightseeing Taxi too, the rate of the fee are the same as the normal taxi but the drivers are willing to help you (and they have application in their phone that will translate the words so there are less language barrier). This time I travel with Taxi more than train.
We hired taxi from Kyoto station to Gion, it costed us about 1500 yen (but safe us 30 minutes walk). We wanted to have our lunch at famous unagi restaurant Ukeya u (う桶や う) .
If you want to eat here it's good to make a reservation ^^", but we didn't prepare for it so we came here before time, hoping that we could have our lunch here.
We're the first to arrive at the shop, so 3 of us were the head of the line. The line went longer and the time was coming close ^^.
While waiting, let's take a photo of the surrounding, haha.
When the restaurant opened their door, we had to accept the truth that, without the reservation, we couldn't go inside -*-.
But we wanted to eat here, I asked the waitress for the reservation on the 1.30pm (about 2 hours after) and she said yes, so we had to go to other places before coming back here.
I wanted to go to Ajiki roji (あじき路地) that's close to Gion, so we walked to the place name Nichiyoubi no panyasan (Sunday bread shop) 日曜日のパン屋さん just to find out that the shop was under relocation, -*-. We had to find some place to go now, and I really wanted to have my first cup of coffee.
But we're lucky enough to find this cute cafe, SAGAN (サガン). This cafe has very good atmosphere, it's great fro us when we're tired and needed a rest.
And now, I had my Latte, I couldn't say that it's very delicious but it's easy to drink (the milk was too hot ^^", but the taste of the coffee is not bad).
With this kind of cafe, you can sit here listen to lovely music and enjoy the moment if you have enough time.
Even we already had the reservation for our lunch, eating some sweet would be a good idea. The first one is Matcha Mount blanc (抹茶モンブラン ).
Green tea sponge cake with whipped cream and green tea flavour sweetened white bean paste.
But I really fall in love with this one ^^, toasted thick slice of bread with sweetened red bean (azuki).
It's simpleness in its look, but it's so delicious. You can make it easily at home too, and I think I will make it!!!!
When the time was close, we walked back to Ukeya u (う桶や う) . There were so many things to see, and yes, to buy if you want, but I still had to go to many places, shopping was not today mission.
Gion is beautiful, esp. if you love to take a photo, this place full of beautiful Japanese style buildings.
Finally, the time for us had come!
We went inside the restaurant and waited for the table. After taking of our boots (the seats are on the second floor), we went upstair, they grill the eel on the first floor of the restaurant.
This restaurant has only 20-25 seats, and it's the reason why reservation is needed ^^.
"Five years for cleaning, eight years for skewering and a life time for grilling." This Edo-style unagi grilling is not a easy to master. The Unagi are grilled with high heat over binchotan 備長炭 (traditional Japanese charchoal) from Kumano (熊野).
Brushed with delicious special sauce and grilled until perfect!
Because we're 3 people group, we decided to order U-Oke (うー桶 -10000 yen), grilled unagi fillets on rice, served in a cedar tub.
This dish comes with kimosui (きも吸) or eel liver clear soup.
We didn't have to wait for long, after breathing in delicious grilled fish smell and prepared ourself for lunch, our cedar tub was delivered.
It's not too large for 3 people, and each one will have 2 pieces of eel (and a lot of cooked rice ^^).
With 3 bowl for dividing the rice, the waitress wanted to divide the rice for us but we wanted to take our time, so we did it by ourself.
The soup was delicious and refreshing ^^, good to have with this rich unagi rice dish.
You will have large bowl of rice, haha, but it's so delicious, you won't find any problem.
The sauce is delicious, not too sweet and not too salty, at first you may think it too bland but when eating it for a while the taste will stand out and it's so good.
The rice was cooked to the perfect point, well I had a good time and great meal, we finished all the rice (hehe, we are very strong at eating!). Now, we were ready to go for a walk.
As I said that Gion is the photogenic place, there are many things to see and worth pressing the shutter. I can walk here taking photo all day if I have time ^^.
Or having someone taking photos of yourself is another great way to spend a day here. You can rent a kinomo, walking and taking photo around I really wanted to rent it but due to our schedule we're not allow to do that.
After walking for a while, my stomach was crying for something sweet. I read about 祇園下河原 page one a cafe that serve delicious shaved ice (Kakigōri -かき氷) sprinkle with fresh fruit juice.
We're lucky that the shop was empty by the time that we arrived.
If you don't pay attention, you may not see this place ^^".
This tiny little cafe was warm and clam, with a nice background music, it's good to sit here on a rainy day ^^.
We ordered Ujikintoki (宇治金時 - 1000 yen) Green tea shaved ice with red bean paste and shiro tamago, Lemon shaved ice (生搾レモン- 800 yen) and some drinks.
And waiting for more than 20 minutes for our shaved ice, ^^". I thought that they forgot our order so I asked them for the shaved ice, and the waitress said that they're making it. I just had to wait longer.
But when it's arrived at our table, I had no word to say!, The green tea shaved ice was served in a ice bowl, it's large and beautiful.
And the taste is superb! You can taste the delicious green tea in every bite, and the ice is so, so soft. Because it's in ice bowl, you can take your time (after taking your time on waiting for it, haha), on eating without being afraid that the shaved ice will melt.
The Lemon shaved ice was very delicious too, with fresh lemon juice this one was so refreshing, and it's not too sour or too sweet, it's the power of freshness in every spoon!
Having a good time with our food and sweets we went for a walk again (because we had reservation at Italian restaurant at night, haha, eating again). Allow me to go for a walk before coming back to show you the stunning food and views that will make you want to go to Kyoto on my next post!!!! Hope you enjoy it.
Eating and eating in Kyoto: 京都