Photogenic Spots in Kyoto

May 17, 2019

By Hanami Yanagi, Saya Ishida, Tomoka Yamazaki

Recently in Japan, photogenic spots are getting a great deal of attention. Such spots are increasing dramatically. There are many attractive places in Kyoto. Therefore, we would like to introduce a few specially selected locations in Kyoto that are very good for taking photographs. Not only Japanese, but foreign tourists can come to these spots. Tourists enjoy visiting these locations, taking lots of photographs and then upload their favorite images to SNS. We chose three spots to recommend and introduce them here.

Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine

Access: 7 minutes’ walk to the east of the Inari Taisha-mae bus stop on the Minami 5 line

Right next to Inari Station on the JR Nara Line (2 stations/5 minutes from Kyoto Station) 5 minutes’ walk to the east of Fushimi-Inari Station on the Keihan Main Line

Business hours: Always open

Closed: No closing days

Admission fee: Free

Also known as “O-inari-san”, the Fushimi-inari-Taisha Shrine is very famous in Kyoto. In the 1300 years since its establishment, people have gathered here to pray for good harvests, ecomnomic prosperity, the safety of their home and the health of their family. They may pray for many other things as well, such as finding a good partner, safe travels and good scores on examinations. And Fushimi-inari-Taisha Shrine has recently become famous as a photogenic spot.  There is “Senbon-Torii” in the shrine, or a thousand toriii gates, They are painted bright vermilion.

Senbon-Torii

They are placed next to each other and so form tunnels up the mountain. In the winter, snow accumulate on them, and you can take beautiful pictures that are different from the usual.  Many people enjoy taking pictures there every day, but if you want to take especially good pictures there, we recommend you to go to the shrine in the early morning.

Senbon-Torii in winter

Nanzen-ji

Access: Near to the Kyoto City 5 Bus Stop ‘Nanzenji-Eikando-michi Station’ stop.

Near to Keage Station on the Tozai Subway Line. Continue on foot about 10 minutes to reach Nanzen-ji.

Business hours: 8:40~17:00 (until 16:30 from December to February)

Closed: December 28 to 31

Admission fee: Sanmon Gate and Hojo is 500 yen, Nanzenin is 300 yen, Tenju-an and Konchi-in are 400 yen each.

Nanzen-ji is one of the most famous Zen temples in Japan. Emperor Kameyama loved this beautiful place so much that in 1264 he built his detached palace here. The temple is especially beautiful in the autumn because of the many yellow and red maples trees on its grounds.

Nanzenji

We especially recommend “suirokaku”. Suirokaku is near Nanzen-ji. It is an aqueduct that was used to carry water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto in the Meiji-era. During this age Japan was rapidly modernizing and taking in a lot of Western culture. It is said that its design is based on the ancient aqueducts of the Roman age. It is very wonderful scenery and a photogenic spot. Therefore, there are always many people there taking photos, especially in recent years.

Suirokaku

Shouju-in Temple

Access: Near to the ‘Okuyamada station’ stop

Business hours: 9:00~16:00(November 16 to March)8:00~17:00(April to November 15)

Closed: December 26 to January 4

Admission fee:400 yen

The Shoujuin temple was founded in 1291, about 800 years ago. It is surrounded by beautiful nature and fresh green. This temple treats visitor very kindly. Therefore, you can make special memories here.  The most recommend spot within the Shouju-in temple grounds is the window called ‘Inome-mado’.

Inome-mado

It is a heart-shaped window because it is based on the shape of a boar’s eye. Boar is an animal regarded for its ability to expel evil and avert fire hazards. Moreover, it brings happiness. Of course, you can enjoy seeing it. However, we want you to see the heart-shaped pool of light. You can see it between 3:00 to 4:00 pm. You must take a picture it. There are many more beautiful things here. For example, the roof has a beautiful picture. You can feel the artistry of Japan traditions at this temple.

“Photogenic” is buzzword and popular all over the world nowadays.  Kyoto is famous area for photogenic spots.  In fact, there are a lot of spots in Kyoto that we haven’t introduced here.  We want you to go photogenic spots in Kyoto and take good pictures!

Unique Buildings in Kyoto

by Noa Murakami,Masashi Morishita and Kaho Imamura

Where can you find ancient Japan? Most people will say it is Kyoto. Indeed, the cityscape of Kyoto is very old-fashioned and is famous worldwide. There are many historic buildings in Kyoto. Buildings have strict regulations to protect their traditional feel. in order to protect them and maintain the traditional atmosphere of the cityscape, the shape, color, and appearance of buildings in Kyoto are highly restricted.

History of Kyoto City

During the Nara period (710-794) the capital city was placed in Kyoto. We call the next era when the capital was changed to Kyoto the Heian period. Kana letters, yamato pictures and stories became popular in the Heian period. Many of the structures built in that era were houses with gardens. Also, the famous Byodo-in Temple, Chuson-ji Temple, and Konjiki-do were built. The original culture of ancient Japan was called kokufu culture. Kokufu were the capitals of the historical provinces of Japan. Since Kyoto was the capital during the Heian period, and many of its buildings were preserved, it now offers visitors a historic cityscape from over 1,300 years. Foreigners like the old cityscape of Kyoto.

Currently Kyoto is working to maintain this historic atmosphere of the cityscape. In January 2006, Kyoto City decided on the maximum height limit allowed for buildings in each area of the city. Currently many tourists – both domestic and foreign – come to Kyoto for sightseeing. And it is people’s desire to maintain its old-fashioned landscape that makes Kyoto such a special place.

Keikanho – Landscape Laws

Keikanho are Japanese laws designed to create and maintain a pleasant scenery in Japanese cities and rural areas. The goals of keikanho is to develop beautiful and stately land, to create rich and comfortable circumstances of life, to improve the economy, and finally to contribute to the development of communal society in Japan. The original keikanho were made in order to protect the loss of tradition because a lot of modern houses, buildings and factories were being built that did not have any relation to tradtional Japanese culture. This caused degradation of tradition and local characteristics, which disturbed the harmony between the townscape and the natural landscape. Therefore, keikanho was put forth in June of 2004 and actually became an enforceable law by June 1st, 2005. As a result, the Japanese government has been able to regulate the way buildings are designed and how they look, including shape, size, materials, and color. In fact, Kyoto now has the strictest keikanho regulations in all of Japan. In this way, the scenery of Kyoto has been protected.

Examples of Keikanho in Action

There are many ways that keikanho have affected the way buildings look in Kyoto. For example, in the famous Gion shopping street, the design of all the signboards of stores in the area are unified, creating a traditional atmosphere.

Another example is post office boxes. Everyone knows that post office boxes in Japan are red and shaped like a square box. However, in Kyoto there are still old post office boxes in the form of cylinders. These can be found on Hanamikoji-dori street in Gion, for example.

There is also an AED box that is so unique, few have ever seen one. The meaning of this kanji is “be careful about fire”.

Also, convenience stores often use different colors in Kyoto than what is the norm in other cities in Japan. For example, Lawson is usually blue, but there are some Kyoto-based branches that use brown.

This same phenomenon can also be found in Kyoto-based restaurants, like McDonald’s, Nagasaki Champon, Freshness Burger, and so on. When compared with their counterparts in other Japanese cities, they are different in Kyoto from the color you usually see. The signboards of all these shops are brown. This is one way to protect the landscape in Kyoto.

Unique Buildings in Kyoto

One unique building with an interesting appearance in Kyoto is an okonomiyaki shop called Issen Yoshoku, which is near Gion-Shijo Station. The name of this shop means ‘Western food’, but its appearance looks traditionally Japanese. Once you enter the restaurant, you can see many wooden plaques on the wall, called ema. Japanese people write their hopes and wishes on the boards and typically hang them in shrines for the Gods to receive. It is very beautiful, so you should go and see it.

Like most major cities in the world, you don’t need to look far to find a Starbucks. And as you might imagine, some of the Starbucks cafes in Kyoto have unique appearances. For example, there is one near Kawaramachi Station in an old wooden building of Kyoto. And not only do they sell items from their normal menu, but they also offer powdered green tea, which is popular with customers. Once inside, you may look at the beautiful courtyard. And one of the highlights of this Starbucks is that they have a tatami room. So you can drink your coffee or tea on a Japanese traditional tatami mat. This is the only Starbucks in the world where you can do this. Therefore, a lot of foreign tourists come here every day.

Conclusion

You can see a lot of old-fashioned, traditional buildings just by strolling around Kyoto on foot. You can meet a lot of people wearing kimonos as well. Kyoto is a fun city with old-fashioned shopping streets and shops. Kyoto is both lively and refined at the same time. Foreign tourists can enjoy the strange landscape. It is a calm space for us Japanese. Kyoto is a town in which you will never get bored. When entering one alley, it may be like a totally different world for you. Everyone, please try walking around Kyoto city.

Access

Issen Yoshoku

You can go to Issen Yoshoku about 3 minutes on foot from Keihan line Gion-shijo stati

〒605-0073

Adress:238 Gion-cho kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan.

TEL:075-533-0001

FAX:075-531-6511

Opening hours:Monday to Friday AM11:00-AM3:00

Weekends and holiday AM10:30-PM10:00

HP: http://www.issen-yosyoku.co.jp/

Starbucks in Ninenzaka Yasaka-Chayaten

You can go to Starbucks in Ninenzaka yasaka-chayaten about 18 minutes on foot from Keihan line Gion shijo station exit1.

If you use the bus, you get off bus at Higashiyama-yasui and can go to the shop about 10 minutes on foot.

〒605-0826

Adress:349 Shimogawara-Higashiirumasuya-cho, Minamimon-dori, Kodaiji,

Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan.

TEL:075-532-0601

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday AM8:00-PM8:00

HP: https://www.starbucks.co.jp/store/search/detail.php?id=1476

One Day Crazy Curry Bus Tour

by Manaka Tsuneyama, Mayu Nishikawa, & Natsumi Nishimura

There are a lot of delicious food and beautiful places in Kyoto. We recommend that you take a Kyoto city bus to visit many places in one day. You can take the bus for 600 yen a day. What do you imagine when you think about delicious food in Kyoto? Of course, you might think about traditional Japanese food, like sushi, tempura, or grilled fish. But did you know there are many traditional curry shops in Kyoto? In this article, we will introduce you to three delicious curry shops and three good places to visit along the way. Then, you can get the most out of your one-day bus pass by eating tasty food and seeing some amazing places.

Asipai & The Kyoto Nishiki Food Market

If you want to experience Japanese style, you have to go to a curry shop called Asipai. This curry shop is in an old house, so you can feel like you are at a Japanese grandmother’s house. It has a relaxed atmosphere, where you can enjoy a leisurely meal. When you enter this shop, you have to take off your shoes. It’s traditional Japanese style.

Asipai Curry

Once you are seated and ready to order, you can choose chicken curry, pork curry, the special curry plate, or a seasonally limited curry. The special curry plate comes with either chicken curry or pork curry. If you like cheese, you have to add optional cheese. We recommend the cheese topping. For example, one of us chose the seasonally limited curry named Mushroom and Eggplant Chicken Curry with Cheese. It had lots of vegetables and big chunks of meat. It was perfectly spicy and so delicious. Because cheese was added, it became so creamy. The seasonally limited curry is made with Kyoto food, so please give it a try.

After your lunch, you can go to the famous Kyoto Nishiki Food Market. It’s only about ten minutes on foot from Asipai. This market has 400 years of history, with about 130 shops on each side of the street. There are many seasonal ingredients of Kyoto available there. For example, you can buy Kyoto vegetables, yuba, tofu, dried fish and Kyoto pickles. Also, there are many foods you can taste, while you are looking around. We recommend three foods you should try:

Octopus Egg

The first is called an octopus egg. It is an octopus head that contains quail eggs. It’s so small, like a golf ball, which makes it very cute. The taste is little sour, but it goes well with beer.

Tamagoyaki

Tamagoyaki is basically a rolled Japanese omelet. It is made with broth from bonito flakes, cooking sake, soy sauce. It goes well with rice and miso soup. It is included much Japanese seasoning. So, you can feel Japanese food. 

Nishiki Food Market

Wagashi

Wagashi is the word for Japanese-style sweets. There are many varieties in Nishiki Food Market. For example, you can find Mitarashi dango and yokan. Mitarashi dango is rice dumpling in a sweet soy sauce. It is like a golf ball. Yokan is made with plant based gelatin and small red bean. It is a bar of galled sweet bean paste. The taste is so sweet, like maple syrup.

Besides these, you can find good stores in Nishiki Food Market such as KAI, which sells octopus balls, Miki Keiran, which sells tamagoyaki, and Ko-fukudo, which sells Wagashi. You can also find new Japanese foods in Nishiki Food Marcket.

Kyoto Curry Works – Karil & The Imperial Palace

The next curry shop is called Kyoto Curry Works – Karil. The shop is off the main street, so it is quiet there. You will be able to find this shop easily, because all you have to do is follow the smell of good spicy curry. This shop has eight counter seats, so it is no problem to go there alone.

Karil Curry

The curry there is made by two curry chefs. On the regular menu are dishes like chicken curry, pork curry, and beans and vegetables curry. If you like spicy curry, you should choose the chicken curry rather than the pork curry. In addition, they offer a special curry each month attract repeat visitors.

You can choose to have two kinds of curry from the four types on the menu. One of us chose to have the chicken curry and the shrimp butter curry, the latter being the special curry for the month of November. It had juicy shrimp with a creamy taste. Also, the chicken curry was very spicy and delicious.

The Imperial Palace

After you enjoy eating curry at Karil, you can visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace. You can get there in about 15 minutes on foot. The Kyoto Imperial Palace is the place where successive emperors lived. Passing through the gate, you will see a large site. The ground is covered with gravel. The Imperial Palace is surrounded by the Tsuiji wall. There are six gates in the wall: the Kenrei-mon, Sakuhei-mon, Gisyuu-mon, Seisyo-mon, Kougou-mon and Kensyu-mon. Once you are inside the palace, I recommend that you see the Shishinden, where the emperor holds important ceremonies. This is the main building of the Imperial Palace. The enthronement ceremony was held here until Emperor Showa. This was built in 1855. You can go to see close it twice a year in spring and autumn. This is the most remarkable place in the Imperial Palace. You should take a lot of pictures here. You will come to have a peace of mind after visiting it.

Songbird Coffee & Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle is one of the most famous castles in Japan. At Nijo Castle, you can experience Japanese tradition and history, such as floorboards that creak when walked on and Japanese style garden that express a fountain of got and Mount Penglai. Mount Penglai is mythical island where immortals lived in china. No matter what time of the year you visit, you will be able to enjoy all seasons. In the spring, three hundred cherry trees bloom all at the same time. In the summer, you can enjoy stargazing and illumination at night. In the fall, you can see the colorful autumn leaves. And in the winter, you can enjoy the beauty of goldfish in a special art aquarium.

Songbird Coffee is near Nijo castle. This curry shop is good for people who like spicy curry. The shop has a relaxed atmosphere, where you can enjoy a leisurely meal. The curry is called Bird’s Nest Curry because the arrangement of curry and rice resembles the nest of a bird. The most popular attraction is the soft-boiled egg top on the rice. It makes the curry taste mild. The taste of onions is sweet, and the taste of the meat is very tender. In addition, there is an optional menu for making your order even more delicious, such as by adding cheese, cilantro, natto and/or broccoli super sprouts.

Songbird Coffee

Songbird Coffee not only serves curry, but also large egg sandwiches. Furthermore, they offer seasonally limited drinks. For example, you can order sweet potato shake in the fall, which is when sweet potatoes are in season in Kyoto. Just like with your visit to Nijo Castle, you can enjoy each of the four seasons at Songbird Coffee in different ways.

Conclusion

We recommended you three delicious curry shops and good tourist spots. Do you want to try going? There are many good places in Kyoto. You will know more about Kyoto than before.

Access

Asipai & Kyoto Nishiki Food Market

・Asipai

The opening hours 11:30~14:00

Kyoto city bus stop Shijo Nishinotoin

・Kyoto Nishiki Food Market

The opening hours 9:30~18:00

Kyoto city bus stop Shijo Kawaramachi

  1. Caril ~Kyoto Curry Factory~ & The Imperial Palace

・Caril

The opening hours 11:00~15:00, 17:00~21:00

Kyoto city bus stop Fuchomae

・The Imperial Palace

The opening hours 9:00~16:30

Kyoto city bus stop Karashuma Imadegawa

3.SONGBIRD COFFEE & Nijo Castle

・SONGBIRD COFFEE

The opening hours 12:00~20:00

Kyoto city bus stop Horikawa Marutamachi

・Nijo Castle

The opening hours 8:45~17:00

Kyoto city bus stop Nijo-mae

Kyoto Horse Racing Track

by Anzu Yoshida, Nanako Yoshino and Yuki Yamakawa 

The Kyoto Horse Racetrack is a popular place to visit in Kyoto, especially for people who like horses and gambling. It is located in the south part of Kyoto, near Yodo station on the Keihan railway line. To enter the grounds, it only costs 200 yen. Races are generally held on the weekends.

The racetrack can seat more than 4,000 people. Some seats are reserved, so they cost more. But most of the seats are free. However, if it is a popular G1 race, it will be filled from the morning. Some of the big horse racing fans board the first train of the day to snatch the best seats, which gives them a clear view of the starting gate or finish line. When they go inside to buy betting tickets, they put a newspaper on their seat to save it. And as some of the stands are covered, visitors can stay dry when the weather is bad.

You can see the paddock out in front of the main stands, on the side opposite of the track. Horses go there before each race and circle around to show their conditions to the crowd. Many fans take pictures of them, and some cheer for their favorite horse and jockey. At the paddock, you can get up really close to horses, so you can feel their strength and size. Kids especially have fun seeing the horses at the paddock. But it is best to be quiet when horses are walking. Big voices would surprise them.

Kyoto Horse Racetrack has both turf and grass courses. One of the turf courses has a slope at the third corner, which is quite unique. Horses have to go up more than 3 meters. And when they run down the hill, they accelerate, so you can see a high-speed homestretch finish. It is exciting!

Many popular races are held at the Kyoto Horse Racetrack, such as the Kikkasho and the Shukasho, the Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ Cup (which is the final race of the Japanese Triple Crown), and the Tennosho, which has a long history. For those races, the racetrack is packed with fans. It is standing room only.

Ticket vending machines are put inside the building. There are many machines, so placing a bet is no problem. It can be done quickly. Also, there are lots of fans milling around the machines, trying to predict horse racing around there.

The Kyoto Horse Racetrack has many facilities other than just a race track for horses. For example, there is an auditorium where visitors can enjoy an interview with either Jockeys or someone else who is famous. And for children, there is a large playground with big equipment and a horse-riding path.

In addition, there are food court and restaurants within the main building. In the food court, you can buy something to eat very quickly, like fried noodles, fried chicken, ramen, etc.

Most of the customers are in a hurry because they want to see the next race, and sometimes the line is long, so food must be served as quickly as possible.

How the Kyoto Horse Racetrack Gets Customers

The Kyoto Horse Racetrack holds numerous events every month. They invite popular guests to promote races. It tries to get people who have never been to a horse race interested in horse racing.

For example, when a very popular male visits the track, the racetrack tries to use him to attract female visitors. Most visitors to the track are men, and even though women are coming, ticket sales weren’t growing as expected. This is probably because the women were not coming to bet. We think the JRA (Japan Racing Association) should aim to attract more male visitors by inviting guests that are popular with men.

For kids, they have a hero show. It is aimed at families with children. As described above, there is a playground, so families can all enjoy a trip to the horse races. There is something for family members of all ages.

On some race days, they offer food events, too. They invite popular restaurants from all over Japan, so people who love food will come. For example, one of the races is called the Ramen Derby. So people who love ramen will come to the track, not only to watch the race, but also to eat a delicious bowl of ramen.

Special events like these help attract visitors to the racetrack, and for this reason, visitors are increasing. However, this is not connected to the sales of betting. Therefore, the JRA must find ways to entice people to bet on the races in order to grow their sales.

The Betting Rules of Horse Racing

There are many chances to get a lot of money in horse racing all at once. Having a big win is a dream for many bettors. But how do you go about placing a bet? Well, first you need to get a betting ticket. The payout changes depending on how much you pay and what the odds are on the horse at the time you place the bet. You can place bets as low as 100 yen, which is equivalent to about one U.S. dollar.

There are a lot of ways of betting, for example, win, exacta, quinella, tierce, trio, and so on. Betting to win is the simplest way. We recommend it for beginners. In this way, you chose a horse that you think will be the fastest. If the horse crosses the finish line first, you can win money. Next, the exacta is more difficult than a bet to win. In this way, you need to choose two horses that you think will be the fastest. In addition, you need to guess what place you think the two horses will come in. If your guess is right, you win. And in quinella, you don’t have to guess their order of finish; just chose two fastest horses. Tierce is very similar to exacta. In this way you have to choose three horses and guess the rank 1st, 2nd and 3rd. If your guess of the 3 horses and rank is right, you win. And Trio is very similar to quinella. You have to choose three fastest horses instead of two fastest horses. Other rules are the same as those of quinella.

These are just a few examples. There are actually a lot of other ways to place bets. You should enjoy your favorite way. The more complicated and difficult the bet is, the rewards will be bigger. After you get your betting ticket, all you have to do next is just enjoy the race. Running horses are very cool. It is a lot of fun to watch them. And if you win the race, just follow the rules and go collect your money. Horse racing is big dream, but it is not good do it too much. Bet responsibly.

The Paddock

You can see the paddock out in front of the main stands, on the side opposite of the track. Horses go there before each race and circle around to show their conditions to the crowd. Many fans take pictures of them, and some cheer for their favorite horse and jockey. At the paddock, you can get up really close to horses, so you can feel their strength and size. Kids especially have fun seeing the horses at the paddock. But it is best to be quiet when horses are walking. Big voices would surprise them.

Conclusion

The Kyoto Horse Racetrack has a long history with many memorable races. Lots of horse racing fans go there to watch and bet on races. Recently, the track has enriched its facilities, so both children and adults can better enjoy being there. We think that once more people discover how much fun it is, the number of people who visit the track will increase in the near future.

Traditional townhouse cafes

by Mai Kobayashi and Haruko Ishii

 

Have you ever been to a café in Kyoto? We’re sure you have as there are a lot of cafes in Kyoto City these days. Also, Instagram is popular now, and a lot of pictures of cafes in Kyoto appear on it. So, cafés in Kyoto are becoming more and more popular. Recently, cafes which are in many of Kyoto’s renovated traditional townhouses have become very popular! In this article, we will look at some of these renovation cafes.

Traditional townhouses used to be merchants’ houses which were built from the Edo period (1603-1868) through to the beginning of the Showa period (1926-1989). A traditional house in Kyoto is called unagi-no-nedoko which translates as ‘bed for an eel’. The meaning of this name comes from the narrow width and considerable depth of the houses, making them resemble an eel. The reason why there are many unagi-no-nedoko in Kyoto is related to the old Japanese tax system. In the Edo period, the amount of tax was decided by the width of the frontage, so many traditional townhouses had an elongated structure. The reason why traditional townhouses are being renovated more and more recently is that people who visit Kyoto can really experience the interior spaces of Japanese tradition. Also, to keep the appearance of Kyoto, activities to protect traditional townhouses are being held. As an effort to do that, entrepreneurs have renovated traditional townhouses and are building fashionable shops and cafés.

Here are some Kyoto cafes which are renovated traditional townhouses for you to try!

SARASA-KAYUKOJI

This cafe opened in 1984. The interior of this café has a first floor with counter seating and a second floor with tables and sofa seats with almost all of the furniture is made of wood. The entrance is a very small and deeply shaped, so it looks like unagi-no-nedoko and many Japanese movie posters are hung on the walls. This café’s staff are very friendly so you can have a comfortable time enjoying the atmosphere here. On top of the interior design, there is a selection of Japanese Manga to enjoy.

Sarasa opens from 12:00 to 23:30 Monday to Saturday. On Sunday, they open from 11:30 to 23:00. At lunchtime (12:00-15:00), you can eat their daily lunch which has a main dish, rice and soup. You can have dessert and drinks anytime. There is also a lot of dishes to try at dinner time (18:00-23:00). The soup rice dish is recommended! This has a mild taste. You can choose chicken or pork. At this café, you can try dishes that are favorites of a lot of Japanese people.

 

Soup rice

 

Lunch menu

 

Chocolate parfait & Season Cake

 

The café’s address is 〒604-8024 Kyotoshi-cyuouku-shinkyougoku-shijyouagaru-nakanocyo-565-13. You can get to this café by taking the Hankyu Line and getting off at Kawaramach Station. Go to Exit 6 and when you get to ground level, go right and go to Kayukoji Street (花遊小路商店街). Lunch time and dinner time are popular, so you may have to wait.

Blue Bottle Coffee

The Blue Bottle Coffee Company is from California, America. There are 10 cafes in Japan: Tokyo, Kobe, and Kyoto which only has one café. This café is a renovated traditional townhouse that is over 100 years old. The interior has a high ceiling with large windows which let in a lot of natural light in this open space. Neon lights are on exposed earth walls with bamboo. The ceiling has modern neon lights that harmonize with the nostalgic atmosphere of this old building. Leading up to the entrance there is a gravel courtyard where you can spend a special moment in the seasonal nature: fresh green from spring to summer and autumn tints that fall in autumn.

This café opens from 8:00 to 18:00. There are 44 seats in this shop so you can take a seat to enjoy the selection of freshly brewed coffee and pastries while looking at the interior. The aroma of the coffee here is very good and has a deep flavor. If you like it, you can buy the coffee beans to take home.

A further tip is, before or after you go to Nanzenji Temple, have a break at Blue Bottle Coffee. Nanzenji is the highest rank of temples in Japan. This temple is very popular with Japanese people and overseas tourists. In mid-November, you can see beautiful autumn leaves in this area.

Latte

 

The address is 〒606-8437 Kyotoshi-sakyoku-nanzenji-kusakawacyo-64. This café is located near Nanzenji. You can get to this café by taking the Tozai subway line and getting off at Keage Station (蹴上). Blue Bottle mark is a landmark for this café!

 

 

The landscape of Kyoto is different each season so you can enjoy them from the numerous cafes dotted around Kyoto. In spring, there are a lot of cherry trees and blossoms. In summer, you can relax in a café with the sound of cicadas. In autumn, colored leaves are beautiful in Kyoto. And finally, in winter, you can see snow. So, you can enjoy not only cafes in Kyoto but also the real feeling of the four seasons. We recommend you to try out these two cafes especially.

Gozyu-no-to(五重塔)in Kyoto

Gozyu-no-to(五重塔)

〜Five Storied Pagoda〜

Saki Hirobayashi
Ikumi Maeda
Ryoya Miura

 

Kyoto has four five-storied pagodas, which are located in temples around the city: Hokan-ji, Daigo-ji, To-ji and Ninna-ji. All of them are significant buildings in Japan and have been added to the World Heritage List. They have five roofs, and each roof has a special meaning. Going from the bottom roof upwards: ‘round’, ‘water’, ‘fire’, ‘wind’ and ‘sky’. The meanings depict each worldview and express the universe in Buddhism. We highly recommend you go to these pagodas to feel each worldview. Well, let’s take a look at each one.

 

 

Five Storied Pagoda in Hokanji

Hokan-ji Temple is located in the traditional area of Higashiyama in Kyoto. Its pagoda is called Yasaka-no-to. It was built in 1440, and the height is 46 meters. Yasaka-no-to is the oldest pagoda in Kyoto and the third highest in Japan. The Higashiyama area doesn’t have a lot of tall buildings, so the pagoda is a landmark in the Higashiyama area. Yasaka-no-to is surrounded by traditional Japanese-style houses so if you go there, you can feel the history of this area.

To Yasaka-no-to takes about 25 minutes by foot from Kawaramachi. The area around Kawaramachi is quite lively and wonderful so you can go to Yasaka-no-to from there by walking while doing some nice sightseeing. Of course, you can go there by bus too. Visitors should make an appointment to go to Yasaka-no-to. Please contact there directly: Tel & Fax: 075-5512-417 (10:00am-4:00pm).

 

・Address

〒605-0862 388 Kiyomizu-yasaka-jomati, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto-prefecture ℡:075‐5512‐417

 

・Access

From Kyoto Station: Kyoto City Bus No.100, No.206

Get off at Kiyomizu-michi or Higashiyama-Yasui and walk for 5 minutes.

 

From Kawaramatchi (Shijyo-Kawaramachi): Walk for 25 minutes, or take Kyoto City Bus No. 207 and get off at Kiyomizu-michi or Higashiyama-Yasui and walk for 5 minutes.

 

 

Five Storied Pagoda in Toji

 

To-ji Temple is located in Minami-ku, near Kyoto Station. It was built in 1644; however, it has been rebuilt many times. The current structure is the fifth version. Its height is 55 meters, making it is the highest Japanese wooden building in Japan. You can see a super nice view of autumn leaves and feel the power of this five-storied pagoda in the autumn season. There are lots of tourists at that time as it is the best season for visiting this pagoda in Toji. We absolutely recommend you go there in the autumn. Of course, you can have a good experience in other seasons too!

 

Address

〒601-8473 1 Kujo-Mati, Minami-ku, Kyoto city

TEL. 075-691-3325 / FAX. 075-662-0250

 

Access

From Kyoto Station

By train: Take the Kintetsu Kyoto Line for 2 minutes. Get off at Toji Station and walk for 7 minutes.

 

From Kawaramachi (Shijyo-Kawaramachi)

By train: Get on the Keihan Line for 9 minutes. Get off at Tanbabashi Station and transfer to the Kintetsu Kyoto Line for 7 minutes. Get off at Toji Station and walk for 7 minutes.

By bus: Kyoto City Bus No. 207

Get off at Kujo-Kintetsu-mae and walk for 7 minutes.

 

Ninna-ji

Ninna-ji is a temple that was established in 888 and is now the head temple of the Shingon faction. Shingon faction is a religion that was established in the 9th century by Kukai, who was a Japanese poet. In the precincts, there is the five-storied pagoda and a two-way gate. The best view of the cherry tree is in April. The contrast between the five-storied pagoda and the cherry tree is stunning. In 1994, Ninna-ji was registered as a World Heritage Site. Historically, this temple had a good relationship with royal and aristocratic people. Many royal and aristocratic people visited here to enjoy the view and to soothe their mind. It has also been written about in Japanese poetry. It has been popular for many centuries.

 

Address

〒616-8092 Omurooouchi33, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, TEL/075-461-1155, FAX/075-464-4070

 

Access

From Kyoto Station

By train: Get on the JR Sagano Line for 11 minutes. Get off at Hanazono Station and walk for 20 minutes.

 

From Kawaramachi (Shijyo-Kawaramachi)

Take Kyoto City Bus No. 59, get off at Omuro Ninnaji and walk for 6 minutes.

 

 

Daigo-ji

Daigo-ji Temple was established in 874 and in 1994 it was registered as a World Heritage Site. Buddhist images, old rare books and pictorial art of this temple are well-known all over the world. There are about 15,000 national treasures from the middle ages in this temple. The five-storied pagoda in this temple was built in 951. This is the third oldest five-storied pagoda in Japan. The height of this pagoda is 37.44 meters and is also one of the highest pagodas in Japan. Due to its long history and height, this temple is designated as a national treasure. Also, Daigo-ji Temple is famous for its extensive grounds, so there is not only the five-storied pagoda to enjoy but also you the other buildings that are national treasures.

 

Address

〒601-1325 Higashioojityou22, Daigo, Fushimiku, TEL:075-571-0002, FAX:075-571-0101

 

Access

From Kyoto Station

Get on the Kyotosiei Karasuma Line for 5 minutes and change trains at Karasuma Oike Station. Get on the Kyotosiei Touzai Line for 21 minutes. Get off at Daigo Station and walk for 15 minutes.

 

From Kawaramachi (Shijyo-Kawaramachi)

By train: Get on the Keihan Line for 9 minutes. Get off at Tanbabashi Station and transfer to the Kintetsu Kyoto Line for 7 minutes. Get off at Toji station and walk for 7 minutes.

By bus: Take Keihan Bus No.84 and get off at Nakayamadanchi and walk for 14 minutes.

 

These four pagodas are located around the center of Kyoto City so you can visit all of them in one day. To do this, here is a recommended route. Leave Kyoto Station to go to Ninna-ji in the morning. It takes about 60 minutes by city bus. Next, leave Ninna-ji to go to Hokan-ji. It takes about 60 minutes by city bus and change to the subway. Next, leave Hokan-ji to go to Daigo-ji. It takes about 60 minutes by city bus. Finally, leave Daigo-ji to go to To-ji. It takes 60 minutes by subway and train. There are many ways to go these pagodas, but a big recommendation to buy the One-day ticket for the city buses and subway. You can buy this ticket for 900 yen. If you use this ticket, the total cost of this tour will only be 1300 yen.

 

Model plan

9:00 Kyoto City

↓City bus No. 26

10:00 Ninna-ji (60min)

↓City bus No. 26 and change to bus No.207 at Shijyo-Karasuma

12:00 Hokan-ji (60min)

13:00 Lunchtime: Around Hokan-ji (60min)

↓Subway Tozai Line

15:00 Daigo-ji (60min)

↓Subway Tozai Line and change to the Karasumi Line, then change to the Kintetsu Kyoto Line.

17:00 To-ji (60min)

↓Kintetsu Kyoto Line

19:00 Kyoto Station

 

If you visit these pagodas, you can not only enjoy viewing them but also their beautiful and historic surroundings. We hope you enjoy your trip around these national treasures!

Guesthouse Len

by Rena Tokunaga, Maya Kondo & Riku hamaguchi

Len is both a hostel and a café, with a bar and restaurant. It is located about an 8-minute walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station. Access to the downtown Kyoto area and the Kamogawa River is convenient, so you can see the beautiful view of Kyoto’s mountains as you approach. Len has a café on the first floor and a hostel on the second floor, so you can enjoy yourself even you don`t stay overnight at the hostel.

Staying at the Hostel

Len has six different types of rooming options. There are Mixed Dormitories, Female Rooms, Queen-size Double Rooms, King-size Rooms, Twins Rooms, and Triple Rooms. You can choose the one you want. The hostel can accommodate approximately 70 guests at a time.

First of all, they have dormitories. If you stay there, you have to share a room with other tourists. In the mixed dormitory, you will share one room with 6~8 people. In that room, men and women can share the room. The price is 2,600 yen per person for an 8-persson room, and 2,800 yen per person for a 6-person room.

In the female dormitory, only women are allowed to stay. So if you come to Japan with only women, it is the recommended room for you. The price is from 3,000 yen for one person.

Next, they have private rooms. In the twin room, there is one bunk bed and a desk if you want to work. Moreover, you can watch the sunrise from the window as well. The price is from 3,500 yen per person.

The triple room has a bunk bed and a single bed. It is bigger than the twin room and also you can see the view of the rising sun. The price of this room is 3,200 yen per person.

The queen double room is quite spacious. It includes a queen-size bed (1700mm), a desk, chair, and a washstand. This room is designed to make you feel at home. They prepare amenities as well. The price of the room is 4,400 yen per person.

The king double room is their biggest room of all. It has a king-size bed (1940mm), your own desk, chair, and washstand. It is equipped with three big windows out of which you can see a spectacular view of Kyoto. You must be satisfied with this room, as you relax and enjoy. The price of the room is 5,400 yen per person.

All shower rooms and lavatories are shared with all guests and open 24 hours. So, you cannot make noise at midnight, for it would disturb other guests. In addition to that, they do not have a curfew, so please consider the other guests if you come back at night or early in the morning.

Check-in & out 

Check in time is from 4pm to 10pm. Please make sure to arrive before 10pm. Check out time is by 11am. They can keep your luggage before check-in and after check-out. It cost you a small fee if you want to keep your luggage the day before you check-in or the day after you check-out.

Café bar and dining

The main floor has a café bar and a diner. These are open to guests and visitors.

Len wanted to improve their coffee, so they asked ONIBUS COFFEE`s recommendation for the best coffee. They serve not only coffee, but also baked goods such as cakes and cookies. The Café is open from 8:00-22:00.

BAR & DINING

The café area is turned into a Bar starting from 17:00. In addition to local beer, they also serve brewed craft beer and bottled beer from all over the world, along with various cocktails. Here, we can enjoy an atmosphere open for conversation and drinks. And the food menu contains a rich variety of dishes, such as all sorts of rice omelets and seasonal items. There are seasonal menu and rare menu that it is contend about “kyo-yasai” , variety of country’s food and traditional food. If you could eat only vegetable, staff and cook can make only contained vegetable meals. If you would not eat a lot of salty nutrition, you can tell staff “please decrease salt in meals”. Staff and cook can make decreased salty nutrition’s meals. And I want you to eat “variety county food”. There are rare meals that it is African past, Italian pasta, Spanish meat omelet and ancient Japanese meals. Ordinary people could not eat and see some it. You can go and relax its menu and you had never seen menus. We recommend that you must go and see your both eye and eye. Probably you will be astonished.

Voices of the Staff

Mr. M

Please visit us by all means because my restaurant is a very cozy space. When you come to Len, we will give the best time to you by serving your our most recommended food and alcoholic drinks.

Ms. R

Len is very recommended shop in because foreign guests very often want to use English with Japanese guests. Also, there are rare alcoholic drinks that cannot be found elsewhere. I think that enjoy because there is a local and limited menu of each country. We look forward to your visit.

Mr. N

We have a lot of foreigners who speak Japanese fluently, so I do not worry if you cannot speak English well. Please have a conversation with them because there are a lot of foreigners who want to know more about Kyoto. We look forward to your visit.

Conclusion

We strongly recommend that you go to Len if you want to speak English and learn about a foreign culture. We guess Len is the best space for foreign lovers because Len has a lot of foreigner guests. Also, the food is delicious and alcoholic drinks are rich in variety. So, you can try a lot of things. In addition, Len is convenient because it is open from 8 o’clock in the morning until 12 o’clock in the evening. Make sure you pay a visit to Len soon!

Beautiful Nature in Kyoto

by Suguru Takauji, Yuka Yamazaki & Hanami Yanagi

Japan has the world’s most beautiful cherry blossoms, or sakura, which bloom every year in the spring. Kyoto has a lot of shrines and temples, many of which have cherry trees on their grounds. We cannot introduce all of them at once, so in this article, we chose to focus on three that we think are some of the best places to see the amazing sakura.

Maruyama Park

Maruyama park is the oldest park in Kyoto. It is located on the east side of Kyoto, about 15 on foot from Kawaramachi station. There are many temples and shrines near the park, so you can see many different ones in a single day. Best of all, there are many kinds of cherry trees in the area. In fact, it is said that there are about 1,000 individual cherry trees blooming each spring.

During the sakura season, many Japanese go to Maruyama park, find a place to sit down, and start drinking and eating. There are lot of small shops open there selling fried potatoes and other snacks. Tons of people visit and enjoy the scene while wearing kimono. If you want to go cherry-blossom viewing and sit down while you do it, you can borrow a picnic blanket in the park.

The most famous cherry tree is called Gion Sidare or ‘Night Cherry Tree of Gion’. This impressive tree is about 12 meters tall, and the root circumference is about 4 meters. It blooms in April and it is even lit up at night by numerous lights. It is an expression of the time when people enjoyed it over 1,200 years ago. It is truly an amazing tree that people come from all over the world to see

Gion Sidare

Further inside Maruyama Park are two bronze statues, one of Ryoma Sakamoto and the other of Shintaro Nakaoka. Ryoma Sakammoto is a man of patriot. He tried to face-lift in Edo era. Shintaro Nakaoka is also man of noble patriot. They were assassinated. They buried at the Maruyama Park. Therefore, their bronze statues were built in here. Near to the road is named ‘Ryouma-zake’. If you like Japanese history, be sure not to miss these statues.

Ryoma Sakamoto & Shintaro Nakaoka

In the center of the park, there is a large pond surrounded by a traditional Japanese garden. The view changes in accordance with the seasons. Not only are the sakura beautiful, but so are the wild flowers that grow there.

Right next to Maruyama Park is the famous Yasaka Shrine. It is called Gion-san by the local Japanese people.

The most impressive thing is its ‘Seirou-mon’. This is the gate. It is symbol in here. It is found a Muromachi era. The viewing of ‘Seirou-mon’ gaze up from stone step is beautiful. This shrine is the head temple and spiritual place of disease-free.

North of Maruyama Park is a famous temple called Chion-in. It is the oldest temple made of wood in Japan. Its giant sanmon gate stands in the entrance. Next to it, there are several large, beautiful cherry trees. When their petals land on the steps, it is so beautiful.

In sum, the area in and around Maruyama Park is filled with opportunities to experience the wonderful sakura in bloom.

Kitano Shrine

Kitano Shrine is a well-known Shinto shrine located in the Kamigyoku area of Kyoto, and can be reached by a 30-min bus ride from Kyoto Station.

This shrine is associated with the god of study, so many Japanese students come to pray before they are having big exam. This is the most powerful study god in Japan. This shrine’s history goes all the way back to the Heian period, over 1,000 years ago. Since then people have been praying here for good results in their studies and exams.

Kitano Shrine

Kitano Shrine has a very nice garden with many kinds of trees. One of them is a species unique to the Kitano Shrine, called a Kitano Cherry Blossom. When it is in bloom, the color for the sakura petals is white. However, it slowly grows pink day-by-day. Finally, at the end of its bloom cycle, it has become dark pink. Isn’t that beautiful? The interesting thing is that people didn’t know it was a unique species until they researched it in the past few years.

The oldest tree on the grounds is 120 years old. How cool is that? The cherry tree is 120 years old, so it knows the end of shogun history and saw what happened in Japan during WW2 in 1945. These days, like a number of other shrines and temples around Kyoto, Kitano Shrine lights up its sakura tree collection at night. They are so beautiful.

You can not only enjoy the lit up cherry trees, but also the traditional shrine buildings. The main shrine building is such a cute structure. When night falls and it is lit up with a nice color, it is amazing.

In Autumn, Kitano Shrine has different appearance. Cherry blossoms don’t bloom this time of year. However, there are more than 300 maple trees in the garden. Their leaves turn darker in the fall, to colors like orange or brown. It is also quite lovely. It is called koyo in Japanese. Colored leaves fall down from the trees and cover the walking path. There are tons of leaves all over the place. It is amazingly beautiful. It is seems like leaf rain.

In the winter season, if you are super lucky, you can see the building covered by snow. It is also very beautiful.

As you can see, you can enjoy the Kitano Shrine in each season of the year, as each offers us a different appearance. But our recommendation is Spring. Don’t you feel romantic surrounded by 120-year-old cherry trees that get pinker day-by-day? We hope you visit there one day.

Sanzen-in Temple

Sanzenin is in the silent mountains in the countryside north of Kyoto city, in a small village named Ohara. The way to Sanzenin is a gentle slope with rice cracker shops and Japanese pickles shops along the way. Therefore, I recommend you go to Sanzenin by checking out these shops. You can enjoy Sanzenin throughout the year because the viewing is so beautiful every day. Especially, cherry blossom and hydrangeas are most famous flowers in this place. For example, several thousand hydrangeas are planted at Sanzenin. The peak bloom period is June to July. As you pass under the main gate, there is Japanese traditional garden covered with the moss. At first glance, maybe you think it has a messy appearance. However, the all positions are calculated.

Japanese traditonal garden

Also, there are a large number of miniature Ozizou-sama on the moss. Ozizou-sama is the target of belief in Japan. They are called warabe-zizou by Japanese people. The meaning of Warabe is child in Japanese. All waraze-zizou face and the body plans are different. I recommend you find your favorite one.

Inside the temple ground, there is Ojo Gokuraku in. This is temple.You can’t take pictures there, so you have to observe the rules. However, the scenery from Ojo Gokuraku in is so beautiful, and there is an old-world flavor. Although the garden is covered with green, in the autumn, you can see autumn colors. In addition, the autumn leaves fall upon the ground, so the scenery changes.

At the Yu-seien temple, there is Ougonsui of water. It is a kind of water that Japanese people say gives us long life. If you touch this water, you can get happiness. Near Sanzenin is Housen-in, a small temple where you can eat Japanese cake and green tea. This temple has a irori. Irori is Japanese traditional fireplace, that gives you a Japanese feeling. Moreover, you can see a Japanese traditional garden from the temple in which bamboo and Japanese cedar are planted.. The scenery is different from that of Sanzenin. However, it is hidden in a notable spot, so you can enjoy the silence of Kyoto there.

So that brings us to the end of our article. Remember, Maruyama Park is the oldest park in Kyoto. Therefore, you can learn about ancient Japanese culture and enjoy the same beautiful cherry blossoms that people of long ago enjoyed. At the Kitano shrine, you can enjoy viewing cherry blossoms and plums. Finally, at Sanzenin temple, in addition to cherry blossoms in the spring, you can enjoy the colorful hydrangeas in June during the rainy season.

Old Schools as the ‘New Kyoto’

Background

At present, Japan has an aging population and declining birthrate problem. Therefore, the government has been closing about 500 schools a year. Rather than let these buildings go to waste, the closed schools are being revamped into new places such as welfare facilities, hotels, community centers and so on. The closed school sites are attractive plots of land in Kyoto due to it being a crowded city that sits in a basin. The densely populated situation in the city center means that any large spaces are far and few between. Plus, the school buildings themselves have historical value.

There are 3 main advantages of using old school buildings. First, the ample space can be used effectively, for example, holding seminars in the classrooms and enjoying sports in the gymnasium or outdoor ground. Second, by using existing facilities, new ventures can significantly decrease their costs. Finally, the site of a former school is designated as cultural property as a historic building, so they should be maintained as such. The Kyoto Art Center and Comic Museum in Kyoto are both housed on old school sites. On the other hand, there are demerits too. These old schools need repair work which means they are not always easy to use as a welfare facility or for social gatherings. They also need a lot of money to look after them. As explained, using these sites has various problems which need to be considered carefully.

 

Renovations

Currently, even in the center of Kyoto, there are 10 sites where elementary schools used to be. These buildings have been turned into libraries, hospitals, homes for the elderly, NPO offices, museums, cafés and spaces for volunteer activities. Kyoto International Manga Museum is a famous museum for overseas visitors. Inside there is a café, shop, exhibition room and memorial hall about the old elementary school. Before this site was used as a museum, it used to be Tatsuike Elementary School. The wooden floors and stairs faced of stone and tiles still remain. The floor creaks under your feet when you step on it, giving sweet memories of times gone by but in a modern setting. Moreover, visitors can read various comics and books in the surroundings of an old school. In one of the buildings, there is still the principal’s office. You can see the main terrace by the playground from the window in this office.

Kyoto Art Center used to be Meirin Elementary School. You can see the design of floats that were used for traditional feasts in Kyoto in front of the building. There is a large tatami mat -156 square yards- which adds to the traditional Japanese atmosphere. This facility also has a library, cafe and workspace for art. The management of the facility wanted to revive Kyoto, so they established the center in the old school. In 2008, there was some resistance to use the site as a cultural property, but this school was used carefully for a long time by the people in the neighborhood. Even now, a lot of people go there to learn and see the art, drink something and catch up.

The Department of Administration in Kyoto City Hall has beautifully renovated these old elementary schools into new facilities with thoughtful consideration of the local community. Elementary school buildings create fond memories for many children and adults, so it is important that the new facilities do not destroy old memories.

 

Future of old schools

Finally, let’s take a look at some future plans for reusing old school sites. Until now, old schools in Kyoto have been transformed into new facilities through a careful renovation process that does not break up the existing buildings, creating spaces for bustling communities and thriving cultural exchange. Planners care about the thoughts of the local community more than anything else and intend to continue this way in the future. They have to observe the rules made by the city. For example, stores that are built inside of these old schools must be local business’ that have a link to Kyoto’s traditions. As a result, local people who have affection for the old school buildings agree to the new utilization plans. As an example, there is the case of Rissei Elementary School. It is located in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto and closed in 1993. This school will be renovated by 2020 and opened as a new complex that includes a hotel, café, library, resident committee meeting space among others with the cooperation of the city, local self-governing associations and real estate companies. Furthermore, a similar cultural complex will be opened in 2021 at the site of Shirakawa Elementary School in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. In this complex, planners intend to build shops that exhibit and sell Kyoto’s traditional crafts, a garden where local people can feel free to gather, and a hotel where guests can experience Kyoto’s culture. You will be able to see a lot more renovated buildings with new cultural complexes that protect the old school buildings. The purpose of the old schools can live on through these reconstruction projects.

The Hottest Ramen Noodles in Kyoto

by Kensei Iizuka, Yuta Kobayashi, Takanori Tsuhako

As you know, there is a lot of delicious food in Kyoto. In this article, we are going to tell you about the noodles. Kyoto, especially Kyoto City, is one of the most famous places for noodles in Japan. That is why there are a lot of great noodle restaurants here. In this article, we will introduce you to Menya-Kirameki: a really famous noodle restaurant on Kyoto Sanjo and part of the Kirameki chain of noodle restaurants in Kyoto. We will introduce other Kirameki restaurants at the end of this article. If you want to get more information about the Kirameki Group, please check them out.

Menya-Kirameki Kyoto Sanjo 

Taiwanese Spicy Soupless Noodles

The most famous noodle dish in Kirameki is their Taiwanese Soupless Noodles. This dish was born in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture in 2008. It was created from meals that were prepared for the staff of a Taiwanese restaurant in Nagoya. The Taiwanese owner used to serve these soupless noodles only for his employees until one day a customer saw them and asked him to put it on the regular menu. The owner tried to add some spices to make it tastier because it was a simple dish compared to other items on the menu in this restaurant. The dish contains ground meat seasoned with some spices that are placed on the top of super thick noodles. It also has fish meal, leeks, Chinese chives and fresh egg yolk. The way to eat it is straightforward: you just mix all the ingredients to taste them together. You might be surprised by the flavors when you eat this for the first time. However, we are sure that you will like it more and more as you continue to eat. When you have finished eating, it is recommended that you put a small cup of rice into your noodle bowl that still has some flavor from the spices. This is called “shime” in Japanese, and it is meant to refresh your mouth. To put it simply, it plays the role of brushing your teeth. By eating a bowl of plain white rice, you can ‘clean up’ the remaining flavors in your mouth. In Kirameki, you can get a small cup of rice for free when you order Taiwanese Soupless Noodles. It is okay to put the rice into your noodle bowl at the end of eating, and it is great to eat the noodles and rice together. It definitely makes you full and satisfied. But, please take care of the smell of your breath after eating Taiwanese Soupless Noodles! Those are some spicy flavors!

 

 

Chicken Bone White Broth Noodles with Soy Sauce

There is a wide range of noodles in Kyoto. Most noodle restaurants in Kyoto specialize in ‘rich noodles.’ Kyoto is called the “Student City” because there are many universities in Kyoto City. Students want to feel full and satisfied for as little money as possible. That is why many noodle restaurants are serving ‘rich noodles’ to make students-the main customers-feel satisfied. Kirameki serves ‘rich noodles.’ The soup in this dish is made from chicken bones. It takes a long time to produce the umami flavors from the chicken bones. Umami is made from the chicken bones and adjusted for taste.When you eat ‘rich noodles,’ at first, try a spoonful of just the soup and enjoy each original rich flavor. Secondly, pick up some of the noodles and eat them together with the rich soup. The noodles are all made from Japanese flour called yumemanten, which is made in Nagano Prefecture. They are really thick and chewy. Most people fall in love with these divine noodles due to their texture. Also, you can enjoy some awesome toppings such as slices of roasted pork, juicy menma (bamboo shoots), shredded green onions, and a slice of lemon. They make these noodles even tastier.

 

Chicken Bone Noodles

As well as their soy sauce dishes, Kirameki also serves noodles that have a delightful salty taste. This dish is very similar to the soy sauce options. However, the color of the soup is a little different. These dishes have a special handmade sauce that contains salt made from fresh sea water from Vietnam and France. You can taste the natural flavor of the salt, which gives you a very different taste to the soy sauce noodles. It would be great to share two noodles with others if you go to Kirameki with your friends. Comparing two flavors is just one way of enjoying noodle restaurants and becoming an expert in Japanese noodles!

 

Golden Noodles with Sesame Sauce

In Japan, especially in Kyoto, the temperature reaches up to about 38 degrees in the summer. It is said that the summer climate in Kyoto is worse than a desert. Someone might say “I don’t want to get hot food on such a humid day.” But, for those people who need to cool down in the coming summer season eating noodles can be a great option. Golden noodles with sesame sauce is a dish of cold spicy noodles. It has plenty of shredded meat on top and also some peanuts. The peanuts play an important role in this dish. The sweet taste of the peanuts balances the spiciness. In Kirameki, this dish is served only in the summer. It would be the perfect noodle dish for anyone who really wants to eat noodles even on a hot day. Although we concentrated on Kirameki noodle restaurants this time, enjoy discovering and experimenting with a variety of noodle restaurants around Kyoto. You may be able to find a special noodle restaurant that your friends don’t know, and can be your noodle heaven.

【Access】

There are six Kirameki restaurants in Kyoto:

1. Kirameki-no-tori

This was the first Kirameki restaurant opened in Kyoto. If you visit Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kirameki-no-tori is nearby. The opening hours are 11:00-15:00, and 18:00-23:00. The telephone number is 075-231-2505.

2. Yuhi-no-kirameki

This was the second Kirameki restaurant. If you visit Ichijoji, or Takaragaike, it is nearby. The opening hours are 11:00-15:00, and 18:00-23:00. The telephone number is 075-746-5388.

3. Kirameki Chicken Heart

This is Kirameki’s third restaurant. It is near Kyoto University of Foreign Studies. If you visit Arashiyama, you can go there by bus. The nearest bus stop is Shijo-kadono-oji, which takes about 15 minutes from Arashiyama. The opening hours are 11:00-14:30, and 18:00-22:30. The telephone number is 075-754-6388.

4. Kirameki ☆ JAPAN

Kirameki ☆ JAPAN, the fourth Kirameki restaurant, is near Demachi-yanagi Station and Kyoto University. Take the Keihan Railway and get off at Demachi-yanagi Station. It is easy to get there. The opening hours are 11:00-14:30, and 18:00-22:30. The Telephone number is 075-741-7174.

5. Komugi-no-kirameki

This is the fifth Kirameki restaurant. The nearest station is Kamikatsura, and Katsura. Kamikatsura is on the Hankyu Arashiyama Line. You could visit here before or after visiting Arashiyama. The opening hours are 11:00-22:30. The telephone number is 075-874-4411.

6. Menya-Kirameki -Kyoto Sanjo Street

This is the sixth Kirameki restaurant and the head restaurant of Kirameki. If you visit Kawaramachi, you can visit here. Head to north from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station. It takes about ten minutes on foot. The opening hours are 11:00-23:30. The telephone number is 075-744-6199.