14 12 2009


vegan wagashi from kyoto

4 09 2009

Vegan wagashi (Japanese sweets) from Kyoto:

Yum Yum! Now I have to learn how to make yatsuhashi and we can enjoy them all the time, even back home 🙂

Final day in Kyoto

17 08 2009

We had two more ‘essential’ sites to visit on our last day in Kyoto. It was still hot and humid so we took it easy. We made pancakes for breakfast, slowly left the apartment, caught the train to the eki, bought a day bus pass and waited for a bus to Ginkaku-ji. However, lots of other tourists seem to have had the same idea and the sightseeing bus was crowded. We waited 20 minutes for the bus, then it took 30 minutes to go a few stops and it was totally packed with standing room only. So we changed plans, decided to head for an early lunch first and then go back to Ginkaku-ji. We caught a local (non-sightseeing) bus to our lunch destination and it was almost empty (hint number 1:use local transport, not tourist transport). We ate a lunch set at Sunny Place which was cheap and delicious.  Soy chai, brown rice, fried gluten chicken and millet burger,  various salads… lots to eat.

After lunch we caught a bus (not full) a few stops to Ginkaku-ji. We walked up the hill, following the path of the ‘Philosophers walk’ for a while until we reached the temple grounds. The main building was going to be covered in silver but never was so maybe the name ‘silver pavillion’ now refers to the silver sands in front of the temple. The gardens were lovely and mossy. We wandered out and past the shops with sweets, souvenirs and yukatas (cotton kimonos for summer). We refreshed ourselves with a traditional Kyoto cider. Lara bought a dark yukata with pink flowers and a yellow and grey obi (belt).

It was getting late in the day so we caught a bus to Nijo-jo (Nijo castle), stopping off on the way to see if Vegie Sweets was open (it wasn’t). Atsu met us and we wandered around the palace on the nightingale floors (floors that squeek to alert the residents of intruders) past all the wall paintings. We wandered the gardens, past honmaru which is flat and quite different to other castles built as tall defences on mountain tops.

Then we bussed to Gion to try to find a sweets shop. We wandered past the giesha district which seemed very touristy with every second person holding up a digital SLR and hoping for a photo of a geisha. We left quickly and headed for Nishiki markets. We found a suitable sweets shop before we even made it to the markets and ate lots of samples and drank green tea before buying a stack of traditional japanese sweets (wagashi). Most of the Nishiki markets were closing by the time we wandered past. There was one shop that advertised tofu doughnuts. We got excited but then found out that they use egg. We bought some tofu and vegetable slices for dinner and went on our way, catching the bus number 11 back to Uzumasa.

We ate forest rice and the tofu slices for dinner, then enjoyed leftover chocolate pudding and hot soy chai for dessert while watching funny tv on the computer.