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Daytripping Kyoto

Another day, another three onigiri from the free breakfast buffet.


Omiyage is a cultural practice of bringing the specialties of an area back as a gift or souvenir. Of course, the Japanese have elevated it to a level of ingrained social obligation - meaning it's big business. I forgot to take a shot of the Osaka and Kyoto stations, which both had elaborate areas of prepared foods, all nicely packaged, and suitable for omiyage giving. This one is mochi, azuki beans, and candied chestnut.


Instead of staying in Osaka, which I could have easily and happily done, I decided to zip over to Kyoto for the afternoon.


Coming soon to a McDonalds near you - Filet O' Shrimp


A statue in the garden of the Kyoto National Museum or the Kyoto Museum - can't remember which.


Kyoto was the seat of power for a period, so the architecture reflects strength and impressive scale.



Coincidentally, I unknowingly visited the temple that inspired the Kammondo in Ueno Park. This is the Sanjusangen-do Temple in Kyoto.


A Japanese pine trained in the the bonsai manner.


Requisite jackass tourist picture


To show you what a buffoon I am, I had no idea what was inside the building, and I almost didn't go in. Words aren't adequate, but essentially, there are hundreds of life size brass Buddhas, all individually cast and intricately decorated, along with statues of the gods of the Buddhist pantheon. Their relationships to the original Indian gods are all outlined. The scale of the building and the making of the Buddhas is truly awe inspiring. No photos can be taken in the building, but I'm sure you can find better pictures than these.

Back to food: A quick spin through a different Takashimaya gourmet basement, and I ended up with this.


Inside were some fried doughballs with curry filling or stew filling. Essentially like Armenian bouregs, but tiny and not spicy.

Nearby is the Nishiki market, or Nishikiichiba.


Big ol' matsutake mushrooms


Your basic bean specialist


The Japanese appreciate more of the chicken than just the breast, thigh, leg, and wing. This butcher cuts like they do in a yakitoriya, a specialty grilled chicken shop. So they have the gizzards, the hearts, the necks, the oyster (that tiny knob of meat near the thigh), the chest cartillage (the little triangle thingies) and the knees - all available for purchase separately.


prasantrin had lived in Kyoto and recommended this restaurant, Katsukura. It was hard to find, even though it's right off the main street, next door to a Lipton Tea shop.


It's simple, but really pleasant inside. This is the communal table downstairs.


They specialize in tonkatsu, breaded pork cutlet. You choose what type and size of pork you would like. The other components of the set are all-ru you can eat-u. This includes rice with barley, finely shredded cabbage, which they provide yuzu dressing for, and the base for the sesame dressing. The tiny mortar (suribachi) has sesame in it, and you grind it to your liking, then add the dressing base. They serve the tonkatsu on a tiny rack so that it doesn't get soggy while you're eating. All this for about $12US. Great value. I would eat here all the time if I could. Seriously, one of my favorite meals on the trip so far. Just simple and done perfectly.


Next time, I'd spend more time in Kansai than in Tokyo, and more time outside the big cities if I can.

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