2012 - 2013

Day 6

Easing into Kyoto

The plan was to explore the local area today and spend tomorrow at Nara.
Being a quiet time of year, we thought Kyoto would be the easier portion of our trip, so we plan on taking it a little slower here than Osaka and Tokyo.

We asked the hotel staff about where else to go for breakfast nearby, but due to the holiday season most things are shut, but if we head to the main strip there is a big shopping centre with more choices.

The group had their heart set on a Maccas breakfast, so we went in search of that. Breakfast seems to be the hardest part of our day, we’re all looking forward to the next hotel where the buffet breakfast is included!

We followed the map to where McDonalds was supposed to be, but it wasn’t there. We asked a local to see if we where just reading the map wrong, but it looked like it had been moved to a more central location, so we followed the directions from the local and eventually found it.

The main street was a lot busier than where our hotel is - it was a lot more like Osaka and there were plenty of people around.

From the main street, we continued on to the Nishiki Food Market. There was all sorts of food there from fairly standard western food to stuff I have never seen before! Alot of the stalls give out free samples, so we got to try some different food and buy some snacks

After we passed through the food focused areas, it turned to more souvenirs and gifts. In between all the shops, tucked down little alleys were temples and shrines. It was pretty cool to see a really busy shopping district where there’s lots of noise, but then turn a corner and the sound dies down and there are people praying. As a stubborn westerner, I would have thought the religious sites and the loud shops would have been separate, but they are all mixed together quite nicely. I guess it shows that religion is a big part of the day-to-day life here.

This market was not where we were expecting to see our first traditional Japanese temple for the trip, but some of them were really nice and we got to see the local culture first hand.

After the markets, we made our way back to the train station. On the way there, we went past the Kyoto Town Hall to take a couple photos. Then back at the station we saw a kids magic show! It was a Japanese Charlie Chaplin and the kids (including us) loved it! There was also a person playing keyboard to make it more like a silent movie, but the keyboard was on wheels and he was able to play while we was walking around, it was pretty well done. From there Robert and Sarah went their own way and we got lunch at a local cafe. For lunch we had a burger (without the bun) with some rice and salad.

We went back home and took it easy for the rest of the day. We relaxed for a couple of hours before we got ready to go dinner. I caught up on my blogs and we watched some Japanese tv for a little while.

For dinner we asked the hotel staff for a local recommendation. Funnily enough, they recommended an Italian restaurant! Most other places were closed, but the hotel staff even called the restaurant to make sure they would be open.
We arrived at the restaurant and it looked fairly average from the outside, but on the inside, it was a mix between Japanese and Italian. There was some soft jazz playing in the background and a nice atmosphere, inside a Japanese style building with exposed beams on the inside. I didn’t bring my camera, but I did get the waitress to take a photo of us with my phone.
The food at this place was incredible! Italian food in Japan is popular, but they rarely get it right - not this time.

We ordered a set menu for about $36 which started out with a salad, then an antipasto platter with sweet vegetables, a bean and meat mix, a quiche, some fish pieces, some salmon sashimi and some bread. The main course was a pizza or a pasta of our choice - I got a prosciutto pizza that was cooked very nicely. After that we had the “special main” dish, which was a slow cooked piece of Wagyu beef that just melted apart. Then to finish it off we had a dessert platter that had a scoop of Earl Grey Tea ice cream, a panna cotta with strawberry topping and a piece of chocolate cake along with some coffee or tea.
Not only was it one of the best meals I’ve had, but for $36 it was amazing!