Kyoto was the second stop on my Japanese adventure. It was so different from Tokyo. Where Tokyo is all about modern Japan, Kyoto felt like it was all about traditional Japan. What better place to try okonomiyaki?
We stayed at a great little hostel called the Capsule Hotel that had showers right in the room with blue lights inside them (romantic? sexy?). They also gave us a little guide that showed local restaurants that were near where we were staying, economical, and had various types of Japanese food. It was so helpful! The first night we went for okonomiyaki at Chabana. The one above is seafood and the one below is chicken and leek. It is like a savoury pancake - batter poured over "fillings" and cabbage, topped with Japanese mayo and a sweet sauce. They were really good, but very rich, so by the end you feel crazy full.
After, even though we were stuffed, we stopped at a "standing bar" and couldn't resist splitting tempura ice cream. To die for!
While in Kyoto we visited the Nishiki Market. It was crazy! Read the sign below the octopus lollipops. We saw a guy buy three! Also, check out the sack of fish row. It was the size of a small salmon.
In the middle of our big temple and shrine touring day we stopped for our favourite: Tonkatsu.
One evening we went to an amazing Yakitori place. Basically Yakitori is grilled skewers of chicken, but not just chicken breast, all sorts of chicken parts. We had chicken skin, chicken meatballs (middle right), chicken hearts (top right), a lot of chicken thigh and leek, and then we took a break from chicken and had some mushrooms wrapped in bacon (bottom left), and some littleneck clams in a wine and butter sauce (yup, as good as it sounds - bottom right). Oh I wish I could have more.
In the mornings we didn't have breakfast buffet like in Tokyo, so we stopped at a little bakery. The one on the bottom was almond paste in a pastry that was dense like a bagel, and the top one has eggs, bacon and cheese baked in. I liked that one the best.
In the morning we would also get ourselves vending machine drinks. I like the iced coffee, even though at home I don't really drink coffee, because it was heavily sweetened. My husband got hooked on Royal Milk Tea, which is basically half tea, half milk, sugared to within an inch of its life. It is served cold as well.
And what is a trip to a foreign country without a stop at McDonalds to try things we don't have at home. We got a Salt and Lemon chicken sandwich (left) and a German Sausage Chicken sandwich (right), neither of which we were very impressed with. We also got a Shake-a-Shake-a Chicken (a breaded filet with a package of seasoning in a shaking pouch). It came in pepper (good), cheese (a bit too Kraft dinner for me), and lemon (didn't try). My husband loved the white grape drink.
Unlike Tokyo, I feel like I have "done" Kyoto now, so I am not sure I will be back, but it was really nice and some of the cultural sites were amazing! It was also cute that we were approached by many groups of school children asking us to do a quick interview in English. How did they know? Haha.