I was invited to go to Cultural Division’s Trip to Kyoto. This is one of my favourite cities and opened an opportunity for me to discover it with the locals.
We caught the Shinkansen from Nagoya and got there in under 40 minutes (about 110km in distance). Imagine how long it will take us to travel from Melbourne to Castlemaine.
First thing to do when we got there was EAT! It is a bit much for morning tea but these two dishes would be the best things to have after a long day and wash it down with beer.
Straight afterwards we headed to Arashiyama, the mountains are just beginning to turn yellow and red. I hope in early December it would look more spectacular.
In Kyoto there are many people on their bikes and also there are also rickshaw. As we were walking up to the a famous Haiku poet’s residence. I spotted an unmanned rickshaw with a very nicely illustrated stool.
I don’t know anything about this Haiku poet, from what I can gather his residence is heritage and provides an insight to visitors of the place and landscape that would have inspired this poet.
As we walk down back down I cannot resist the temptation of the amount of tofu soft serves scattered around the area. Tamamura san asked me to choose a place, so I thought the foul-safe shop would be one that sell only tofu dishes. Funny enough just off the side of it is a shop that sells white and black tofu soft serves. It seems this place boost about the concentration of beans in the ice cream. Tamamura san here is demonstrating that the soft serves are so thick it can turn upside down without any crying faces. As I was happily eating this a flashback of the time Jacq and I tried to make soybean milk went through my mind. We were frustrated that the soybeans that were used had very little taste. Jacq said a few times, “This is not beany enough!” Well, this time however, it is very very beany.
That night we went to town and had a very traditional Kyoto dinner. All the dishes were very beautifully presented. It was not something that I would be able to eat if I was on my own. The white miso soup here is probably the best miso soup I have ever tested. I can hear Jacq’s voice again when I was tasting the soup, “Just taste that buttery goodness”.
Fortunately for me, the sizes of the tradition dishes were too small for the hungry travellers. So Tamamura san took us to the tsukemen place I asked him about earlier on in the day. Tsukemen is ramen separated from the soup. The noodles are dipped into the soup when you are ready to eat it. So the noodle remains firm and chewy for longer.
The next day we were focused on the main event, Jidai Matsuri. This festival celebrates important people in different eras of Kyoto. Luckily I watch enough Japanese TV to know who’s who and roughly what they did. It’s quite embarrassing that my Japanese history has a better foundation than my Chinese history.
The weather wasn’t the best and many photos had the glare attack.
Soon after the parade I went solo to other locations. First was to the Kyoto Uni for one of their T-shirts but it closed. Then I went to the to Yoshida Jinja, Daitokuji and Imamiya Jinja. Near Imamiya Jinya is the famous Aburimochi, potentially the mother of the modern Japanese sweets. I was surprised how much I enjoyed them despite of their appearance.