Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Japanese Food Adventure Chapter 2 - Day 13. Kyoto Railway Museum and cycling around the City

We were up nice and early this morning to try out the hotel buffet breakfast.

Being a Japanese breakfast it was very different to what I'm used to, I was keen to try everything on offer though. It consisted of onigiri rice balls, potato salad, tofu, vegetables and noodles. My favourite item was the sweet and sticky beans, really delicious! The toast had chocolate swirls running through it and the fruit juice was a bit like V8.

A new railway museum had recently opened in Kyoto, it sounded interesting so we made it our first stop of the day. As we walked through the park we noticed these trollies, they are used to transport small children from schools to parks. It's quite a sight when you see a convoy of these passing by full of children, must be great fun!

This tram outside the museum had been converted into a cafe.

It looked really good inside, we'd just eaten breakfast though so didn't feel the need to order anything.

These biscuit tram handles were difficult to resist though so we took one to eat on the way, a great idea for a novelty biscuit but it was so dry! Definitely something that requires a drink to accompany it.

Although I mentioned the smoking situation in Japan earlier in the trip I still found it quite bizarre and so opposite to the rules in the UK.  So just to recap, it's ok to smoke in most bars and restaurants in Japan. If you want to smoke outside though then you need to find a smoking area like this.

Certain areas of some cities have public non-smoking areas. Light up on these streets and risk a fine of ¥1000 (about £7)

Passive smoking doesn't seem to be the main issue in Japan, it's all about the danger of holding a hot object that could potentially burn others.

This was a good find in the vending machine, lemonade flavoured jelly and fruit in a can. 

 The Kyoto Railway Museum had only recently opened, the trains in Japan are very impressive so visiting this place was a must. The entrance fee is ¥1200 (about £8.50)

This was the first ever Shinkansen built in 1964, very sleek!

It was possible to buy bento boxes in the museum and eat them inside this carriage.

There was a vast selection of trains to look at, get inside and walk around, these were my favourites.

You could walk underneath this train to gain a better understanding of the undercarriage.

 Up on the second floor you got an excellent view of the trains down below, you can see why Shinkansen are known as bullet trains.

The second floor had a vast number of exhibits on display including these 1970's ticket barriers.

There was also a section dedicated to ekiben meals, I loved this Shinkansen lunch box.

Up on the roof terrace you could watch the trains passing down below, occasionally a Skinkansen would come whizzing past.

From the train museum we made our way to a bicycle hire shop, Kyoto is a big city and we figured we could see more of it on bikes. The cost of hiring a bike here was just ¥600 (about £4.30) for 8 hours, bargain!

The bikes came fitted with this simple locking system. One thing to be aware of though was bike parks, they were scattered around the city and it cost to leave your bike in one although a few were free of charge. If your bike was left illegally somewhere then it could be removed and compounded until you paid a fine to get it released.

 My wife had a map with all the places we wanted to visit attached to her handlebars, I let her lead the way. Just a few minutes up the road and I was thinking to myself how glad I was we'd hired bikes, this was great fun!

Our first port of call was the famous Nishiki Food Street, not the easiest of places to be pushing a bike down.

These looked interesting, we decided to try some.

This slightly rubbery textured cheese and bacon snack was delicious when heated up, a strange texture but great taste.

This one was even nicer, it contained octopus.

I eat sweet potatoes baked in the oven at home nearly every evening. I had to try this, sweet potato in a sticky sweet sauce, I really liked it but my wife wasn't so keen.

There were plenty of samples to try here but with bikes it proved very difficult so we decided to return here again tomorrow on foot to further explore it.

 Our next stop was the Manga Museum, there was an exhibition we wanted to look at.

You couldn't take photos inside the Manga Museum and once inside we realised that the exhibition we were hoping to look at had ended which was disappointing. It was still a fascinating place to look around though with a massive selection of Manga books on display spanning decades.

 The cafe outside the museum served a great ice cream, the lady serving it studied it closely to check it was neat enough.

Back on our bikes we headed down back streets we probably wouldn't have seen on foot, occasionally we come across something amazing like these roadwork barriers.

 We stopped by the river for a rest and an ice cold Asahi.

Our next destination was Ryozen Kannon, a giant Buddha statue could be found there as well as a shrine to WWII. We made our way along the really traditional streets of Kyoto lined with wooden buildings.

We got slightly lost and ended up here instead, it was a beautiful temple that was well worth visiting. The garden area was really impressive, look at those neatly raked stones.

By the time we finally found Ryozen Kannon we realised there was nowhere to leave our bikes and it was about to close, we decided to return again tomorrow on foot.

We cycled to the outskirts of Kyoto to familiarise ourselves with the route to Fushimi Inari Tasha where we would be visiting tomorrow.

Cycling around Kyoto had been an amazing experience, we definitely plan to hire bikes more often when on holiday, such great fun! 

Before returning our bikes we stopped off at a supermarket to by some food to eat in the hotel, this bento box was a bargain at just ¥398 (about £2.80)

A delicious selection of breaded chicken, battered prawn, sausage, egg, potato salad and pasta.

Click here for Day 14
Fushimi Inari Tasha revisited and Ryozen Kannon Temple


  1. Not relevant to this article specifically, but I notice that your 'follow me by e-mail' isn't picking up all of these Japanese articles. The last e-mail notification I got was dated 17th June, for day 3.

    1. I'm not sure why it's not working as it should, I'll look into it though. I'll be publishing a blog post a day for the Japan trip at around 6pm everyday. At the end I'll post a page with a link to each day.