When visiting Japan, it’s obvious that you have to visit Tokyo, but it’s also highly recommended to tour the outside regions. Kyoto was high on my list, so my friends and I took a 2 hour train and stayed several days in the area. Kyoto, unlike Tokyo, is more historic with older homes and even older residents. In my opinion, the food in Kyoto was slightly better in quality than the dishes I’ve had in Tokyo. Even the snacks at 711 in Kyoto tasted better than the same ones served in Tokyo’s 711s. One of the must see places to check out includes Kiyomizudera, one of the most popular temples.
The path leading up to the temple is full of restaurants and shops. The entire feel of the walkway is old school Japan.
At the start of the walkway is a restaurant known for their udon. Fresh noodles are served with a dipping sauce and various toppings such as sesame seeds, steamed sweet potato, green onions, and mushrooms. I had my udon with perfectly fried tempura.
If you’re feeling extra hungry, opt for the sushi set or vegetarian sets. Sushi is Kyoto is prepared differently than sushi offered in Tokyo. Since the fish isn’t as fresh as the ones found in Tsukiji market, it is first salted to preserve the quality. Although I didn’t try the sushi this time, it’s on my list for my next visit.
On to the temple!
It costed only 300 yen to enter the Kiyomizudera, which in my opinion, is well worth the fee to see the most architecturally sound temple in Japan. Not only do you get to see it, you get to also enter the temple, always a plus in my book.
Walk across the bridge and see Kiyomizudera in a different view.
If you have time, make sure to also check out Inari Shrine.
It’s quite a hike if you want to get to the top so if you’re looking for just a quick picture, walk up to the first post, snap your camera and head back down to the vendors. The best snack at Inari Shrine? The fried chicken. At 500 yen you get several large pieces of spiced fried chicken, the best that I’ve ever had.
On the way back to the subway, check out the udon restaurant with a cat picture outside. What makes this udon different than others is that the noodles are prepared with 2 different flours then pressure cooked. The broth is prepared with loads of bonito flakes and kelp to produce a flavorful stock. I ordered the udon and egg bowl (tamagodon) combo, both equally delicious. New goal: learn how to make udon broth.
Check out the rest of “A taste of Japan” series:
Part 1: Tsukiji Market
Part 2: Sushi Dai
Part 3: Tokyo
Part 4: Kikunoi