Just wanted to mention a couple of things in Kyoto u should not miss.
Walking thru the market (any market in Japan) dont miss the fresh WASABI. God gift.
Also pretty gorgeous plant the BAMBOO shoot. Fresh of course – i had it cooked and it blowed my mind away – it taste like the sweetest sweetcorn ever. Just get the whole top and steam for one our. BBQ and grill after… hm i think i can kill for it. lol. (have to mention that dont dare to try any vac packed bamboo shoots back at home from asian/chinese shops – such a massive disappointment it was!!!! i think the smell wasnt right (cheap preservatives probably) and tasted like a gummy ‘nothing’)
DANGO. I know i know… interesting idea. Sweet mochiko flour balls ‘on the grill’ basically. Usually served with a sweetened soy glaze. But they are looking at you from every corner so after a while i just couldnt ignore them anymore.
TAMAGOYAKI. Real japanese breakfast omelette. Im more a ‘granola girl’ in the mornings but as i promised to try everything during the trip – well i found some beautifully made omlettes for breakfast. There is a stand in Nishiki Market – they open earlier and using a very interesting technique making very thick and layered omlettes in different shapes, some of them even stuffed with onions, greens or fish. Wake up and go there just to see the technique, its difficult to explain – they pour some egg mix on the end part of the pan (mostly working with square shaped frying pan) what coveres like 2/3 part of the pan, when it cooks half way they fold in half and move to the center, pour some more egg mix at the end of the pan, wait till it cooks and fold again, move to the center pouring another round and so on. Using only a pair of chopsticks. Lol. All my respect. Specially that the omlette stays very moist and seasoned perfectly (i guess with dashi). With a massive mug of coffee – perfect start of the day.
PURIKURA. This is probably the most Japanese thing u can really ever do. Photo machines what creates manga characters of u. Chosing from trillions and billions of options how do u want yourself as a cartoon. Its great fun, not very cheap, i think it was 500yen one round and it gives u like 8 little photo stickers and maybe u can have 1 photo emailed to u but everything is written in ‘proper japanese’ so i was just pushing bottons whatever lol :)
Was not easy to find the place in Kyoto but as soon as i got closer i knew i reached my destination – young teenagers flowing around, queueing and discussing all the manga options they will going to choose. Look for this massive photo booth building on the corner of Takoyakushi-dori and Teramachi-dori – on the side of Nishiki Market, very close to Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine. Oh, maybe have a look first here – how to use it, cause there is a stupid time limit so u do feel the preassure while u are posing in the cabin.
CUP OF SAKE. Obviously u have to have some great sakes all around Japan. But i whisper this secret – if u are not a massive sake sommelier but love to sip some fairly good sakes every night (like i did) u can find absolute drinkable perfectly portioned ‘cup sake’ in every supermarket or 7/11 shop. Cost around 120-150yen and just fuckin great, one of the biggest invention. There is time for a lovely fancy bottle of expensive sake u share with friends – but also u can just chill with one cup of sake (dont even need fridge cause they great at room temperature) anytime anywhere.
COFFEE TIP> I am a massive coffee drinker. I love good coffee, usually have it with some coconut or soy milk, no sugar. Freshly ground beauty. I was enjoying my treat usually twice every day for a week till i realised how much money i spent only on coffees. Average coffee in any coffee shops costs about 500yen (the most expensive double espresso i had in a tiny bar was 800yen!!! – but i was desperate) so i took a step back… and found a great solution. 7/11 again. Great shops nomatter what. So 7/11 has got a big coffee machine and it also gounds the coffee beans freshly for every round. And my big white coffee was only 150yen. U can make it fancy sprinkle with cocoa or cinnamon powder and even season with vanilla or orange sugar — they have everything in 7/11. Its not the place for advertisement, but at the end of the day i had more money to spend on crazy food.
Last but not least… try to find someone on the streets of Kyoto. MASAYA YUASA. Brilliant musician. Just freakin brilliant.