Saturday, 11 October 2014

The Japanese Food Adventure - Day 6

Day 6 - A bullet train to Kyoto and okonomiyaki

It was time to pack our cases and leave Tokyo for a week, we would be returning again towards the end of the trip though. Our next destination was Kyoto and we would be getting there by bullet train. This handy Hyperdia app was really useful throughout our trip for using trains, well worth getting (free for 1 month) if you are visiting Japan.

Something else I recommend getting if you plan to visit over parts of the country is a Japan Rail Pass. Ours lasted for 7 days and we planned our trip around the days it was valid for.

 The JR700 shinkansen (bullet train) can travel up to speeds of 170mph. I couldn't wait to board it and knowing we would be passing Mt Fuji I wondered if we would get a glimpse.

 A team of cleaning staff prepared it for the passengers so we picked up some food for the journey, the choice was vast and it took some time to decide. We had to be quick though as these bullet trains run to the second and Kyoto was calling us.

 This vegetable and fruit juice drink looked promising but tasted pretty grim, fans of V8 would like it though.

 The shinsanken carriages were way wider than the ones I was used to on the Greater Anglia Norwich to London service. Five wide seats across with a generous walkway down the middle ensured you had plenty of space, everything was spotlessly clean too.

 Once seated we popped open the Picola. Very nice chocolate filled wafer tubes, they sell a similar thing at Poundland in the UK though.

A pair of boiled eggs in a net was the next thing to explore, every egg we had eaten in Japan so far had tasted amazing so we wasted no time in getting the eggs out.

 True to form these boiled beauty's tasted amazing with a large deep orange yolk.

 They went perfectly with a can of beer.

The sliding door at the end of the carriage opened, the ticket inspector bowed very graciously and examined all the tickets, as he left the carriage he bowed again.

A passing drinks trolley was the perfect excuse for another beer, we moved to one of the smoking carriages and looked out for Mt Fuji.

 It was a bit cloudy but Mt Fuji was visible in the distance with her peak poking out above the clouds.

Ekiben (railway boxed meals) are a specific type of bento boxed meals, sold on trains and train stations in Japan. We had picked up two of these from the platform shop before boarding the train, now we had passed Mt Fuji we could fully focus on them.

A selection of large prawns and vegetables coated in tempura batter lay on a bed of rice. The batter was almost soggy but the prawns were amazing and the sticky white rice was easy to pick up using the chopsticks.

Included with the Ekiben was some pickled ginger, wasabi paste and soy sauce.

My wife produced a packet of moomin cookies from her handbag, good times!

The sliding door opened and the lady selling refreshments bowed before entering the carriage. 

We ordered some coffee, although the sugar was granulated on this occasion it is often served in Japan as a syrup in a small pot.

The train finally arrived in Kyoto, some of the architecture here was almost as amazing as we had seen in Tokyo.

Our home for the next two nights was at the APA Hotel Kyoto Ekimae, costing £49 per night for a double room. We were impressed when we entered the room, although fairly small it was well equipped and had free wifi.

 Two yukata's (summer kimono) lay on the bed with a pair of origami cranes.

I was expecting traditional in Kyoto but could only see modern at first.

About ten minutes walk from the hotel this all changed though as we came across this large temple. We removed our shoes and entered the temple immediately feeling a sense of calmness.

As the sun started to set we headed to Kyoto's oldest area north ot the city.

We spotted some cats along the way, very tame and friendly.

I had been looking for okonomiyaki since arriving in Japan, finally I had found a restaurant serving it. I added a pin on my phone map, I had every intention of returning here later.

A bit later we spotted another okonomiyaki restaurant, this was mentioned in the guidebook as being Kyoto's best so we would return here later. I can only imagine it was okonomiyaki in the bag the boy was carrying!

The okonomiyaki could be seen cooking in the kitchen, some places cook it in front of you and others give you the ingredients to cook your own at the table. I'm no expert though so was very happy to let the chefs take care of things when I returned later.

The oldest part of Kyoto was stunning, every street we walked down was breathtaking.

We had passed no end of temples whilst walking around, this one looked a bit special though so we went to take a closer look.

I have no idea what was written on these lanterns. On the subject of lanterns though most restaurants have them outside and illuminate them when they are open for business.

We spent fair bit of time looking around here, really impressive! Now though it was time to eat so we tracked down the second okonomiyaki restaurant we had found earlier.

It's yammy! Great I was really hungry and had been looking forward to this for ages. I didn't realise there were different types of okonomiyaki, we were about to try it kyoto style.

The waitress told us they only served one thing here and opened the menu, great I said, exactly what I wanted! 

The sign outside promised you would be dining with some of Kyoto's most beautiful ladies, sadly they didn't have much to say though..

Finally my okonomiyaki moment had arrived!

My first thought were that it was a bit smaller than I was expecting and it looked suspiciously like ingredients wrapped in a pancake. It smelt great though so I picked up the chopsticks and made a start.

Inside it was very wet and the ingredients complimented each other nicely. The egg tasted amazing as all Japanese eggs had so far. I did leave feeling slightly disapointed though as this wasn't the big round okonomiyaki I had been reading about before arriving in Japan. I knew I was going to have to search further and Osaka could be where I would find it in a few days time.

As we got nearer to the hotel everything started to feel very Blade Runner again.

Some of the devices and gadgets I had seen in Japan were incredible, this kettle was not one of them though. It seemed to take forever to heat the water up and never to boiling point.

This 7-11 sandwich looked interesting so I investigated further. The crusts had been chopped off which is how sandwiches are served in Japan. The first one I tried was a simple ham and mayo, next was breaded meat cutlet which was really delicious. The last one I tried was the egg and tomato, the rich egg yolk really shone through, best egg sarnie ever!

Tonights chocolate treat came in the form of Pocky. Biscuits dipped in chocolate similar to Mikado.

Click here for Day 7
A visit to the stunning Fushimi Inari-taisha, more eggs and a very strange drink.

1 comment:

  1. The Okonomiyaki looks nice...apart from the garnish which looks too much like a spider for this arachnophob! That egg sarny does look good though.