One Day Crazy Curry Bus Tour

April 20, 2019

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

Saganoyu – A Very Unusual Cafe

by Sayaka Matsuda and Kyoko Kiminami

outside the cafe

We have been looking into Kyoto cafes that foreigners would find interesting. Recently, we discovered a cafe that used to be a public bathhouse, or sento in Japanese. The cafe is called Saganoyu Cafe.

What is a Sento?

A sento is a kind of a public bathhouse in Japan. It is an institution where anyone can pay a small fee and take a bath. Sento have been an important part of Japanese social culture for a very long time. It is commonly said that the bathhouse is the place where children learn social manners. Sento, in one form or another, have existed in Japan for over 800 years.

There are many public bathhouses in Kyoto today the city is home to over thirty universities. That is why Kyoto is called the “student city.” So many students live in dormitories that do not have baths or showers. They support the many public bathhouses that are in Kyoto. Nowadays most Japanese people have baths in their homes, but many local people still love the public bath. Most public baths have many different kinds of baths: hot baths, jet baths, herb baths, electric baths and cold baths. Some even have saunas. So Public baths are also a good place to relax.

We focused on Saganoyu Café, which was once a public bathhouse. It was built about 100 years ago in Arashiyama. Inside, there are still karan (water taps), tairu (tiles), bathtubs and scales. So, not only foreigners but also Japaneses can feel excited by the strange atmosphere of this café.

From the outside, the appearance of the Saganoyu Café is in the style of a typical Japanese coffeehouse. But when we enter, there is a plant with beautiful leaves. The interior design and mood is Western.

Near the entrance is a corner that displays some souvenirs crackers made from miso.

* Miso shio snack (525 yen)

* Miso irigoma snack (525 yen)

* Miso kuroshichimi snack (525 yen)

When we went to the café, we sat by the window near the terrace. At center of the cafe are many tables and seats. All the windows are open, so the room always feels spacious. On the terrace, there was once an open-air bath. In front of the café kitchen, are clothing lockers left from the café’s bathhouse days. So it was charming!inside the cafe

Caution please! Taking photos of the interior and conducting interviews with the staff is prohibited.

The Menu

★ PASTA

* Hot tomato sauce pasta — Eggplant and sausage (950 yen)

* Cream sauce pasta Cod roe and mushroom (950 yen)

* Japanese pasta — Peas and chicken (950 yen)

+ bread (150 yen), salad (300 yen)

+ topping: a raw egg (100 yen)

★ CURRY

* Saganoyu curry (950 yen)

* Cheese curry (1,100 yen)

+ salad (300 yen)

+ topping: cheese (150 yen), a raw egg (100 yen)

★ DESSERT

* Arashiyama castella pudding (600 yen)

* Brownie Kyoto style (cacao 70%) (600 yen)

* Cramble apple tart (600 yen)

+ topping : fresh cream (100 yen), ice cream (150 yen)

★ SEASONAL SWEETS

* Green tea and black syrup parfait (700 yen)

* Green tea in jelly (650 yen)

★ COFFEE

HOT

* Saganoyu original blend coffee (500 yen)

* Cafe au lait — French style (580 yen)

* Cafe chocolate — French style (600 yen)

ICE

* Saganoyu original blend coffee/iced (600 yen)

* Iced cafe latte Saganoyu special (630 yen)

* Iced cafe chocolate — French style (700 yen)

+ topping: fresh cream (100 yen), Ice cream (150 yen)

★ TEA

HOT STANDARD

* Darjeeling Morning Dew (650 yen)

* Dimbula the Earth (650 yen)

* Earl Grey Queen (650 yen)

ICE STANDARD

* Iced Earl Grey tea (600 yen)

HOT ORIGINAL

* Milk tea (650 yen)

* Island coconut milk tea (680 yen)

ICE ORIGINAL

* Iced milk tea (680 yen)

* Iced island coconut milk tea (700 yen)

+ topping: fresh cream (100 yen), ice cream (150 yen)

★ JAPANESE TEA

* Green tea latte hot/ice (650 yen/ 680 yen)

★HERB TEA

* Rief (650 yen)

* Resort fragrance (650 yen)

* Pink fruits (650 yen)

★JUICE

* Squeeze fresh juice (orange or grapefruit) (750 yen)

* Gingerale Dry (500 yen)

* Tea soda (600 yen)

* Framboise squash (680 yen)

+ topping: ice cream (150 yen)

We went at lunchtime, so we ordered Saganoyu curry and tomato sauce pasta from the special lunchtime menu. It tasted great!

saganoyu vurrypasta

How to get to Saganoyu Café

Reaching the café takes 30 seconds by foot from Saga-Arashiyama Station. From the station, go right and you won’t miss it! There is a fishmonger across the street.

Also, Arashiyama is a famous Kyoto tourist spot, so we recommend taking a break from your sightseeing at this cafe