15 October 2013

Osaka Travel Trip 2013 @ Part 2 (Kyoto Temples & Nishiki Market)

This post focuses on the Kyoto excursion tour that our technical institution (SPring-8) has provided us with this fun-filled tour on Japanese culture & history. In this post, I will briefly talk about two popular temples; Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) & Sanjusangendo Temple, and then Nishiki market where you are able to find the great delicacies of Kyoto's Kitchen.

Tour Guide
Nintendo Building
 We passed by Nintendo Building on the way to the temples!

 As we arrived Higashiyama for lunch, this place was breezy in the autumn and is great to experience the preserved historic district & the old traditional Kyoto. Do make your way here early as they close quite early (around 5-6 pm) to shop for local goods such as Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, sweets, pickles, crafts and other souvenirs.

The SODOH Higashiyama Kyoto
 I am really grateful to my organizers to have lunch in the SODOH which originally was the residence of Seiho Takeuchi, a Japanese painter. This place serves fine Italian food fused with local Kyoto seasonal vegetables.

 We started with some salad incorporating Kyoto's vegetables. Some say it was good, I find it a little more bitter than Malaysian vegetables.

Baked Bread
Bolognese Pasta
 This simple spiral pasta was tossed with Bolognese beef based sauce which was a little on the dry side.

Grilled Chicken 
 Next, a simple grilled sliced chicken that was cooked to perfection served with green jalapeno on a pool of mashed potatoes. Portions were quite small though.

Pudding & Raspberry Ice Cream
 Finally, some dessert that was certainly sweet with cooling raspberry ice cream and a cup of milky pudding to close up our meal.

Sanjusangendo Temple
Our first visit was to Sanjusangendo Temple which holds the deity of the Sahasrabhuja-arya-avalokiteĊ›vara or the Thousand Armed Kannon. However, no photos are allowed to be taken inside.

Kannon Statues (taken from http://www.burgessbroadcast.org/japan/sanjusangendo.htm)
 This photo taken from the website shows the Kannon statues that were still preserved until today. Each of the statue represents a certain aspect and also differs in facial expression in each statue. This temple was definitely worth a visit and highly recommended! 

Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
Next stop, we headed to Kyoto's most famous temple!

Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
 Nothing is ever complete in visiting Kyoto without experiencing the Golden Pavilion Temple. This is a Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. They are many things that you can do to spend your time here. Try to avoid weekends as this place can get fully packed with tourists & school trip students. I do recommend to buy the omamori (lucky charms) here as it is cheaper.

"Ship" in Kinkakuji Temple
Wishing Boards
You can buy wishing boards for about Y300-Y500 each in which you write your wish and hang it here.

Nishiki Market
 After finishing temple visits, we headed over to Kyoto's famous kitchen street; Nishiki Market. This 5 block long street consists of countless store that sells culinary delights that will certainly burn a hole in your wallet! Compared to Kuromon Market in Osaka, Nishiki market definitely has more shopping variety. This is a good place to buy those dried seafood ingredients (which mums would loved!) such as dried Hokkaido scallops or oysters. Also, Kyoto's famous preserved pickles are available here which I really loved but did not buy as it was packeted in liquid filled vacuum sealed bags which I worried about leakage in my check-in luggage. 

Nishiki Market
Nishiki Market
Nishiki Market
Kyoto's Famous Specialties
Shopping Street in Nishiki Market
Temple in Nishiki Market
Besides hunting for food materials, they are also a few streets focusing on souvenir or clothes shopping which you can visit.

 For dinner, we decided to stop by at Ippudo Ramen nearby Daimaru Department Store. Ippudo is quite a popular destination if you want to try delicious ramen that will warm your stomachs. I heard Osaka's Ippudo is quite famous as the chef makes good soup, however due to time constraint, I settled for Kyoto's Ippudo which tasted like heaven.

Akamaru New (Y800)
This combination of refined flavours ramen was luscious as this Tonkotsu based soup was combined with fragrant oil (Koyu) & savory ball (Umami-dama). The pork flavour was really strong in every sip.

Shiromaru Classic (Y750)
Even this signature Shiromaru classic tasted great complementing on the balance of flavour & crunchiness of the noodles.