One day trip in Kyoto

November 24, 2019

by Yuka Nakamura and Sakura Nakatani

 

When you come to Kyoto, where do you want to go? Actually, there are many famous spots such as Kiyomizu temple, Kinkaku temple and others. However, why don’t you go to Imamiya shrine and Shimogamo shrine? These are famous for dango (rice dumpling), so if you like eating sweet, please go there.

Moreover, when you go to these shrines, sometimes you will take a bus. Our recommendation is to use 1 day bus card, so we will introduce these shrine with using 1 day bus card. (600 yen for 1 passenger)

 

Schedule

  • Kyoto station → Imamiya shrine

Take a bus from station B3, Kyoto City Bus 205 or 206, get off at Funaokayama (take about 45~50 minutes)

 

  • Imamiya shrine → Shimogamo shrine

Take Kyoto City Bus 205, get off at Shimogamo Shrine (takes about 16 minutes)

Take Kyoto City Bus 1, get off at Shimogamo Shrine (takes about 16 minutes)

 

  • Shimogamo shrine → Kyoto station

Take Kyoto City Bus 205, get off at Kyoto Station (takes about 31 minutes)

Take Kyoto City Bus 4, get off at Kyoto Station (takes about 32 minutes)

 

Aburimochi at Imamiya Shrine

Imamiya Shrine is also called “Tamanokoshi shine”. How about taking back some traditional Japanese sweets home? These are called Aburimochi. Aburamochi also are reputed to have a benefit of driving out evil spirits. If you come here, please try it.

“Aburimochi” is a famous Japanese sweets shop at Imamiya Shine in Kyoto. It is rice cake that is just as big as the thumb, coated with soybean flour, grilled over a charcoal fire, and dipped in white miso sauce. Long ago, there was an ancient tradition that Aburimochi were provided to the public at the approach to a shrine.

There are two shops selling Aburimochi across from the approach to Imamiya Shine. The delicious smell of grilled sweets drifts out from the edge of the eaves, as you approach the shrine, so you may suffer from having two choices. My advice is to enter both shops if you have enough time.

 

Kazariya

Kazariya is a shop which serves Aburimochi with tea. Aburimochi is grilled and coated with soybean flour. It is a bit sweet. The point of taste is the good flavor of rice cake and mild sweetness of white miso.

Shop information

  • Shop name: Kazariya
  • Price: 500 yen
  • Nearest station: Kyoto City Bus 46 line “Imamiya Shrine” 3 minutes by walking
  • Adress: 96 Imamiya-cho, Murasakino, Kita-ku, Kyoto city
  • Phone number: 075-491-9402
  • Business hours: 10:00~17:30
  • Closed: Wednesday

 

Ichiwa

Aburimochi have been made for 1000 years with an unchanged recipe. They are coated with refreshing white miso and sweet sauce. The white miso sauce matches the mild and good flavor of rice cakes.

Shop information

  • Shop name: Ichimonjiwasuke (Ichiwa)
  • Price: 500 yen
  • Nearest station: Kyoto City Bus 46 line “Imamiya Shrine ” 2 minutes by walking
  • Address: 69 Imamiya-cho, Murasakino, Kita-ku, Kyoto city
  • Phone number: 075-492-6852
  • Business hours: 10:00~17:00
  • Closed: Wednesday

 

Which shop is tasty? In conclusion, both stores are delicious.

Kazariya’s Aburimochi are simple and look like they are handmade because of their irregular shape. The sauce is a bit sweet. On the other hand, Ichiwa’s Aburimochi have a uniform shape and good condition. Their sauce is a bit lightly seasoned. If you prefer sweeter sauce, you should go to Kazariya.

Both shops’ aburimichi cost 500 yen. Both shop offer free parking for 1 hour.

 

 

Mitarashi-dango at Shimogamo shrine

Mitarashi-dango (rice dumpling in a sweet soy sauce) came from the Mitarashi festival, which was held by Shimogamo shrine at Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto city. Although, there are other an ancient traditions, one story is that Mitarashi-dango were originally made and imitated the bubbles in Mitarashi pond in the precinct grounds.

 

The birthplace of Mitarashi-dango

Kamo Mitarashi Chaya

Mitarashi-dango came from Shimogamo shrine. Kamo Matarashi-chaya is an old-established teashop that was started in 1922. It is located in the west part of Shimogamo shrine. When you go inside that shop, you can smell roasting rice cakes. You can eat mitarashi-dango at this shop but also you can take some away if you want.

The wrapping of each mitarashi-dango has a picture of Shimogamo shrine and that shape looks like a chimaki (a cake wrapped in bamboo leaves) of Gion festival. A feature of this mitarashi-dango is that the top rice cake and the other four rice cakes are separate. There are two theories to explain this. The first theory is that the Kamakura period when emperor Go-daigo tied to draw from Mitarashi pond, one big bubble and four small bubbles appeared. Another theory is that mitarashi-dango imitated human body. Thus, the top rice cake symbolizesthe head and the others symbolize the arms and legs.

In addition to mitarashi-dango there are other sweets available here. These are are chestnut rice cakes, chestnut sweet bean jellies and bracken-starch dumplings.

Their mitarashi-dango is covered in brown sugar and soy sauce. It is matching with a rice cake and kuro mitsu (black syrup, similar to molasses).

 

Shop information

  • Shop name: Kamo Matarashi-chaya
  • Price: 420 yen
  • Nearest station: Kyoto City Bus 46 line “Imamiya Shine mae” by 3 minutes walking
  • Address: 53 Matsunoki-cho, Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto city
  • Phone number: 075-791-1652
  • Business hours: 9:30~19:00
  • Closed: Wednesday

In Kyoto, there are many sweet shops including these shops that we recommended. If you have an interest of Kyoto’s sweets, please search for them. After that, please come to Kyoto and try to eat a lot of sweets and find your favorite sweets!

Aburimochi

by Chiaki Imanaka

“Aburimochi” is a traditional kind of sweet found in Kyoto, and its connection to a particular shrine in Kyoto has ancient roots. In the year 1000 A.D., plague spread throughout the Kyoto area. In response to this, Imamiya Shrine was built, in 1001, as a place to worship, and pray that the plague would not decimate even more of the population. Despite this act of faith, the plague returned to wreak havoc again and test the people of the area. Thereafter, people started to put aburimochi in front of the shrine and prayed for good health as part of the Yasurai festival. This festival is a public event held in the spring, and during it people wish for good health as they eat aburimochi. There are people who wear formal dress, dress as demons, dance, play flutes, drums, and so on. This festival takes place on the second Sunday of April each year. Now, it has become a custom, after visiting the shrine, to eat aburimochi in order to prevent sickness.

The making of aburimochi is quite simple. The rice cake is cut into thumb-sized pieces, and dusted with soybean flour. Following this, the pieces are threaded one by one onto a skewer made of bamboo. The tip of the skewer is forked so that the rice cake pieces don’t slide off the skewer during toasting. After visitors have placed their order, the salesperson toasts the rice cakes, until they are a little burned, over a charcoal fire. Next, they are dipped into a sweet sauce made from white miso and presented to the customer. Finally, you can smell the fragrant aroma of freshly-toasted aburimochi, very delicious and not too sweet. You can take aburimochi home with you, of course, but eating it freshly-toasted is the nicest. If you take it home for later, it will likely be hard by the time you get back.

There are two stores selling aburimochi in front of Imamiya Shrine’s east gate; “Ichiwa” and “Kazariya”. Most visitors have a hard time deciding which store they would like to enter, and the staff of each vie for their custom most enthusiastically. Both shops have a long and interesting history, so I would like to introduce Ichiwa and Kazariya to you here.

Ichiwa

Ichiwa

This store has been open since 1002, and there is an old well located here from which water still springs even now, and it is this water that is used in the making of aburimochi. This well has been here since 1002, and has been used as the location for the filming of numerous period dramas. They also have a cooking oven in a recess inside the store, which uses a firewood fire for boiling glutinous rice in order to make the rice cakes. Beyond this, there is a small yard and a Japanese-style room with a tatami floor, a jar and a scroll hanging on the wall. You can stretch out your legs here, relax, and admire the hanging scroll and jar, which are changed according to the season. Why don’t you try to visit here every season to see the changes?

oven

cooking

well

yard

Open: 10:00~17:00
Closed:Every Wednesday, and the 1st and 15th of each month
(When the 1st or 15th is a Wednesday, the store will be closed on the following day, Thursday)
Address: Imamiya Shrine, east gate, south side, 69, Murasakino Imamiya-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu
Tel: 075-492-6852

Kazariya

Kazariya

This store has been open since 1656. They also have a cooking oven, a small yard, a Japanese- style room and a hanging scroll. Many famous Japanese people have paid a visit to this store.

Cooking Oven

In the garden

Inside the garden

Dining Area

Open: 10:00~17:00
Closed: Every Wednesday, and the 1st and 15th of each month
(When the 1st or 15th is a Wednesday, the store will be closed on the following day, Thursday)
Address: Imamiya Shrine, east gate, south side, 96, Murasakino Imamiya-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu
Tel: 075-491-9402

In both stores, you can buy aburimochi for 500 yen for one person. Also, you can get a take-out from 1500 yen for 3 persons. After you have visited Imamiya Shrine, you should try to eat aburimochi at Ichiwa or Kazariya at least once. If you don’t feel you have had enough to eat, why not try to eat a little more in both stores? The salespeople do say there seems to be some difference between the two. Enjoy your visit to Imamiya Shrine and the wonderful Kyoto traditional sweet of aburimochi.