November 3, 2014
By Haruka Chaya and Ayaka Endo
Visitors to Kyoto often take back Japanese pickles for souvenirs. Nishiri is one of Kyoto’s famous tsukemono, or pickles, shops. It is located in Arashiyama, but it is not quite like other pickle shops. It offers something different. Japanese have been eating pickles since olden times and they usually eat them with rice. Like this:
The traditional basis for a Japanese meal is often referred to as “one soup; one dish.” Rice and pickles are givens, so the fundamental Japanese meal consists of one soup, one dish and then rice and pickles. This is the usual manner in which Japanese eat. However, we’d like to recommend another way of eating Japanese pickles.
In the Nishiri pickle shop, there is a meal that looks like a box of carefully prepared sushi called Kyo-tsukemono-sushi. Almost everyone likes sushi, don’t they? So this bento meal looks quite appealing.
However, the individual items are not raw fish placed on cakes of rice. In this case, all of these toppings are different types of Japanese pickles that are made from eggplant, radish, ginger, daikon and shibazuke (chopped vegetables pickled in salt and shiso leaves). This really suits the Japanese taste.
Furthermore pickles are good for you. They have a lot of dietary fiber, vitamins and lactobacillus. Also, they are low in calories, and are good for your skin. If you get tired after walking through Arashiyama, you can take a rest at Nishiri and eat pickle sushi. Besides experiencing traditional Japanese tastes in a novel way, you will get health and beauty.
If you decide to buy a box of pickle sushi for your family or friends, please be careful because it spoils easily and needs to be kept refrigerated. It is worth giving to a friend at least once; imagine their surprise!
Nishiri also sells small servings of pickles in what is called a “cutting cup.” This enables customers to try a wide variety of pickles without spending a lot of money. The price of just one cup of pickles is 108 yen. Three cups are 324 yen. You can enjoy sampling many kinds of pickles this way. At Nishiri, the foods are dished up so beautifully. This is an example of Japanese sincerity when it comes to guests.
UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage Certification
Traditional Japanese food —washoku—was recently added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural heritage list . Japanese food was evaluated as being fresh, healthy, well-balanced in nutrition, and beautiful.
Where is Nishiri?
Nishiri is in Arashiyama in western Kyoto and is near the famous Arashiyama landmark, the Togetsu Bridge. From the bridge please go straight east down the bustling road and you will see Nishiri on your left side.