Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Gion and Yummy Izakaya Dinner @ Kyoto Station :)

PicMonkey Collage1

We take Bus No. 100 from Ginkakuji-Mae Bus Stop (which is just located along the road from Ginkakuji to main road) to Gion. Gion is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west.

Overall, Gion has too huge a crowd in the evening and also has lots of high-end souvenir shops and restaurants. We roam over 2 streets, take photos with this cute Hello Kitty and we start to feel bored. We did not see any geisha or maiko too. 😛

PicMonkey Collage2

photo 2 (5)

Feeling hungry, we decide to take Bus No. 100 from Gion Bus Stop (where we alight just now) back to Kyoto Station. It is a mistake to wear my jacket onto the sardine packed bus with heater on full blast. I am nearly fainting and sweating by the time I reach Kyoto Station. >.<

We settle down at this traditional Izakaya located within Kyoto Station, nearer to the Hachiko Exit side. We order many dishes and I remember the bill coming up to around S$60++ which I find it quite reasonable.

Of cos, beers are not to be missed when having dinner at Izakaya! Yummy! Even though I turn super red and feeling hot after just downing half of it. Hur.

1479121_10151786696151027_878498737_n

We are lucky to get a huge table enough for 6 and also a tatami seat! How nice and authentic to eat at such a Izakaya! Totally loving the experience!

1470336_10151786695976027_992602913_n

Complimentary dish. It’s some chicken meat with a greyish like jelly and bamboo shoots. Quite nice! 🙂

\1456680_10151786695916027_1309801830_n

Super smooth Tofu with a little of Soya Sauce. Great appetizer.

1452348_10151786696246027_125085433_n

Silver fishes with Radish Paste. After adding in soya sauce, it makes quite a good appetizer too.

936013_10151786696476027_873605275_n

This is Raw Yam with Seaweed Slices. Erm cos it does not says raw yam in the menu, but just says yam, and I thought it’s steamed or fried yam. Raw yam is a unique taste and we don’t like it.

154697_10151786696751027_536602623_n

photo 3 (4)

To the main dishes. Grilled Chicken Butt with Sprinkled Salt. Delicious!

1379929_10151786696351027_12361393_n

photo 1 (3)

Fry Chicken Lung with Butter. Buttery and crunchy good, I would say. A different way to eat Chicken Lung. Thumbs up!

1450983_10151786696576027_638143491_n

Chicken Stew! Great stew to a perfect state with a light yet flavourful base. Oh and the chicken meat are so very tender!

1479480_10151786696606027_17333206_n

Grilled Chicken Wings with Sprinkled Salt. Super yummy! The chicken skin is grilled to crispiness while the meat is tenderly good!

1488174_10151786696931027_90158498_n

Guess what is this? Grilled Chicken Liver with Yakitori Sauce! Chicken liver is so much nicer than Pig Liver or maybe it’s cos the way this Chicken Liver is done makes it great? Not too raw but not over-cooked, just on the dot. Super good. 😀

PicMonkey Collage4

Miscellaneous Yakitori. From the left, Grilled Chicken Meat with Minty Leaf, Grilled Chicken Lung, Grilled Chicken Meat with Onion, all sprinkled in salt. Yummy much too!

I highly recommend this Izakaya and I will definitely return if I am in Kyoto. I regret not taking note of the Izakaya’s name though but it’s easy to find as it’s most of the time fully packed. We waited for quite a while before getting a seat too. Oh and ask for the English menu too. 🙂

Advertisements

Lunch and Dessert @ Lee Taiwanese and Blackball @ Star Vista :)

PicMonkey Collage

OOTD for the day. Crop stripe top, jeans and scandals are from Forever 21, tank top is from New Look and the new green stripe bag is from Isetan. Necklace is from H&M. The little deer chain on the bag is from Nara, Japan. Heh.

photo 5 (2)

Initially, I want to bring my mum to Star Vista for the Blackball dessert as we are really missing those that we ate in Jiu Fen, Taiwan. But before dessert, we still need to have lunch right? So we decide to go Lee Taiwanese for lunch as I heard that it serves quite authentic Taiwanese food.

We both love Taiwanese food so much that we could gain a few kilograms when we are in Taiwan for holiday! 😛

PicMonkey Collage2

The business at Lee Taiwanese is quite good and the service is quite up to standard. We order a few dishes to share and the above is Tofu with Century Egg, some sauce, green onions and Katsuobushi (柴鱼) which I thought is quite yummy but nothing too special.

I remembered I ate the tofu with fried century egg, garlic, green onion and some special sauce in a night market in Yilan and it was much better than this. We also order the Red Milk Tea and it’s so-so, I have drank better ones. >.<

photo 1 (2)

This is pig intestines! I like this! It is soft, and the sauce is great, and most importantly, it does not have the stinky after taste that some pig intestines may have. BUT I thought the pig intestines slices could have been bigger, otherwise it’s not much of  a kick.

The one that I ate at a Taiwanese Food Fair in Takashimaya Singapore was the best! Exactly same taste but in bigger portion and slices.

photo 2 (3)

Beef Noodles. The soup is beef-y and thick, I love the thick white fat noodles too but the beef are too thin! Comparing with the famous beef noodles in Raohe Night Market in Taiwan which has thick beef with mixture of meat and tendon, and big slices of tendon, the beef noodle at Lee Taiwanese is not as great.

photo 3 (2)

卤肉饭. Not authentic enough. I think my mum can cook this too. Opps.

photo 4 (2)

咸酥鸡. Alright, I thought this is the best! It’s crispy, and the chicken meat is tender with a thinly coated outer layer. Salt flavouring is just nice.

photo 3 (3)

综合冰. Next best! Even though I still love the ones I had in Taiwan more, but this is actually not too bad! The green beans and the red beans are big, fat and sweet. The yam is not as great though cos I thought it is more like yam paste and the yam taste is not very strong too. 😀

All in all, I would still come back to Lee Taiwanese for the 综合冰 and 咸酥鸡, and if I have certain strong cravings for Taiwanese food, I will make do with Lee Taiwanese. However, the total bill came up to $60 ++ just for what we ordered above, so…… it’s quite expensive, and so I thought. Heh.

PicMonkey Collage4

photo 5 (1)

There’s nothing much to shop at Star Vista but I bought a pair of white heels for just $24 at Foot-In! Happy! The basement of Star Vista has Chinese New Year decorations too!

PicMonkey Collage1

Even though still full from lunch, we continue with our original plan which is to have my favourite blackball dessert! Yummy!!!! 🙂

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – It’s UNESCO World Heritage – Ginkakuji ^^

PicMonkey Collage

From Shijo Takakura Bus Stop (the same bus stop that we alight for Nishiki Market), take Bus No. 203 to Ginkakuji-michi Bus Stop. We encounter changing of Bus Driver half way through the journey. Hur. It takes about 30 minutes from Nishiki Market to Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion). 🙂

Once alight at the Bus Stop, turn left and walk till a junction, and we see the signage pointing the direction to Ginkakuji. Just cross the road and walk towards it.

PicMonkey Collage2

This is the Philosopher’s Path leading to Ginkakuji. The walk to Ginkakuji is quite long and probably takes about 10-15 minutes. But we manage to skip the walking by taking a rickshaw to Ginkakuji and it is so so fun! Oh and look at the blue plastic bag, it actually contains my loots from the super huge drugs store at Nishiki Market. 😛

photo 2 (1)

PicMonkey Collage1

That’s the rickshaw man for us! He’s quite cute, very funny and super friendly. He can speak a little English and somehow, we manage to communicate with him throughout our 10 minutes ride. Oh and he’s really strong cos he can pull the rickshaw with us on it, run like super fast and talking at the same time. Haha.

It’s my first time on a rickshaw and I really love it. Especially when he runs fast, and the cool wind blows against our face, with great passing scenery. I thought it’s a good cultural experience though an expensive one. We chose the 10 minutes ride which will go one short round and then ending at the entrance to Ginkakuji, and cost around 3000 yen for 2 pax.

PicMonkey Collage6

The entrance to Ginkakuji.

1479549_10151784270876027_796669122_n

1460039_10151784271121027_689091307_n

We need to purchase entrance tickets which cost 500 yen per pax. Again, I thought the tickets look nice. Heh.

1463081_10151784271226027_537935889_n

1476015_10151784271491027_190164279_n

Ginkakuji is a Zen temple along Kyoto’s eastern mountains (Higashiyama). In 1482, shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa built his retirement villa on the grounds of today’s temple, modeling it after Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), his grandfather’s retirement villa at the base of Kyoto’s norther mountains (Kitayama). The villa is converted into a Zen temple after Yoshimasa’s death in 1490.

PicMonkey Collage3

Despite its name, Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) is never covered in silver. Instead, it is believed that the name arose as a nickname more than a century after the building’s construction to contrast it with the Golden Pavilion. Alternatively, it is explained that moon light reflecting on the building’s dark exterior (which used to be covered in black lacquer in the past) gave it a silvery appearance.

photo 5 (1)

photo 4

There are many tourists when we are here and everyone are fighting for a chance to capture a photo with Ginkakuji and so am I! 😀

photo 2 (2)

From Ginkakuji, there’s a walking path that takes us through its moss garden, which features ponds with islands and bridges, little streams and various plants.

PicMonkey Collage4

1456624_10151784282026027_1930539532_n

The path then climbs a hill behind the buildings from where there are nice views of the entire temple grounds and the city beyond.

1482827_10151784281441027_1231054574_n

And I like this photo that I take of the sun, the red and green leaves and a glimpse of Ginkakuji. 🙂

photo 1 (2)

photo 3 (2)

Outside of the entrance to Ginkakuji, there’s this ice cream store which sells great Vanilla Milk Ice Cream! The milk taste is so strong and fragrant.

photo 3 (3)

On the walk out to Ginkakuji-mae Bus Stop to take a bus to Gion, our next stop! Though Ginkakuji is not as grand as Kinkakuji because it’s not silvery, but I still like it. 🙂

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Munching munching @ Nishiki Market

PicMonkey Collage

First post of 2014, Happy New Year! Feeling lazy to continue on my travelogue until I decide that I need to continue before I forgot everything. Heh!

From Nijo Castle, we took bus no. 12 on the same side / bus stop that we alighted for Nijo Castle to Shijo Takakura bus stop which is in front of Daimaru Department Store. Turn right and walk till the first small alley / road on the left side (If I did not remember wrongly, the small road is next to Mizuho Bank) and turn in. Walk all the way in and Nishiki Market is on the right.

It’s just 2 minutes walk. Initially, we did not really know the way in cos there’s no signage around. So we asked a pretty おばさん for direction. 😀

photo 1

The first store we spot in Nishiki Market is this super super big, newly opened drug store and I tell you, it’s so big that we gone crazy shopping in it, coming out with a super big bag of loots. And since it’s newly opened, there’s this geisha at the entrance for photo taking. Omg, she is so mini besides me, small size desu ne!

Also, the price are relatively cheaper than the drug stores in Tokyo, the items / merchandises are more complete and come in greater variety. If it’s not for the concern that I may have difficulty carrying my loots to Tokyo, I would have bought so much more. Hu!

1385370_10151778493866027_1530212077_n

1470280_10151778494916027_638668037_n

Nishiki Market is a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than 100 shops and restaurants. It is also known as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’, this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi.

The stalls here mostly specialize in a particular type of food, and almost everything sold at the market is locally produced and procured.

PicMonkey Collage4

This is Tofu Doughnut which is famous in Nishiki Market. It’s really small and cute! The tofu taste is strong and it is fluffy and soft. I love this cos it’s not sweet. 🙂

PicMonkey Collage2

一木鸡卵 is famous for the Tamago and I really love this kind of egg! Whenever I am in Japan, I will get egg overdose because I can eat a lot of it! The Unagi Tamago (Egg roll with Unagi wrap in it) is sold out so I just make do with the original plain Egg Roll. I finish the whole roll by myself for breakfast on the next day (review will come later). Hehe.

1480603_10151778493986027_328978285_n

PicMonkey Collage7

Maybe it’s a Saturday, so it’s really duper crowded that we are squashed in between, even taking a nice photo with food is difficult. Start from the left 1st photo, this is grill scallop and squid with glutinous rice in it. The sauce is perfect, and the scallop is so so sweet! The squid is not bad too but the limelight is overwhelmed by the juicy scallop.

The 2nd photo, this is Octopus. It’s not just a normal Octopus, there’s hard-boil bird egg wrap in the Octopus head. Believe it or not, Japanese are such creative and smart people. How yummy!!! The Octopus is not hard or chewy, and when I bite of the head, the egg and the Octopus just match so so so well.

PicMonkey Collage1

photo 2

Sashimi on a stick is also one of the famous ‘must-try’ at Nishiki Market. I bought the salmon and tuna stick with lemon juices on it. Hmmm… I find the sashimi too thick and after 2 bites, I kinda get a little scare of it. But it’s fresh, just too thick! Just probably me. 😛

photo 4 (1)

This is fish cake, super juicy fish cake that the juices spurge on my face when I bite it. Good!

photo 3 (1)

Onigiri! Salmon flavor. Yummy!!!

1475977_10151778495261027_485692310_n

This store is probably famous cos the queue is super long and the food are not consider cheap. BUT hey, it’s damn good! These are my favorites at Nishiki Market! The grill squid is so fresh, fat, crunchy, juicy and totally matching with the sauce. The other stick is fried fish with sea salt sprinkle on it. The fried outer layer is thin but crispy, and the fish meat inside is thick and juicy! Coupled with the sea salt sprinkle on it, it’s just too delicious. 😀

If I have 2 stomachs, I would have eaten more. If I have a chance, I will choose to come back here again. Next stop, Ginkakuji!