You’ve got to excuse me for my long titles for the blogs about the Kyoto trip. Everyday was packed with activities, amazing sights, experiences and crazy delicious food. Arashiyama in Kyoto is an area concentrated with Japanese culture, natural beauty, and most of the first-time experiences you’ve ever dreamed about in Japan. Touristy at certain spots indeed (but just know, more than half of the tourists come from other parts of Japan), but those are the kind of places you’d want to visit no matter you’re a tourist or not. And if you care to take a little detour away from the busy main spots, soon you’ll be surrounded by the real feeling of everyday life in Japan: tiny street，modest houses filled with plants, quiet and delicate cafes and stores, ancient yet still vibrant temples, etc.
Green tea is known for cleansing to the body. Meaning you get extra hungry after drinking it. Being in Arashiyama for a good 3 days, we decided to explore the little back roads from the hotel to the main street. And thank lord we did, because the quiet residential road led us to the best little family run cafe — Cafe Takahashi.
From the outside, it looked just like a residential house, but a signage at the door stated ‘Lunch menu’ so and so.
As we went in, a cosy little hallway led to a bar seating area equipped with laboratory like coffee making facilities. A friendly grandpa manned the station alone.
Fascinated by the different tools and gadgets and antique coffee cups from all around the world, we gave up the sunny outdoor seatings and settled down right in front of the bar.
Coffees were ordered, and I went for a perfectly decadent tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet) sandwich, and hubby decided on a curry fried rice. Both dishes were done to perfection really. My tonkatsu was crispy and juicy and tender and flavourful… the lettuce was fresh and sweet, the crunchiness matched with the crisp of the bread crumbs. Washing down with a glass of iced coffee, I could think of no brunch to top this one.
I munched with affection.
Apple cheesecake and teas to finish with. (wanted to sneak those bone chinas home! But I didn’t)
A rain cloud far away in the mountains produced a beautiful rainbow in the blue sunny sky. So good I could eat it.
Stumbled upon quite a pickle shop. No website, not even on Google map, but I’ve pinned down the address for you and I promise it’s worth a visit! (嵯峨渍物，5-16 Sagashakadō Monzen Setogawachō, Ukyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 616-8421, Japan) You can try all the pickles before deciding on which ones to go for. They also had amazing yuzu liquor that was freshly made for the season.
Wondering around, we passed a very steamy street with people queueing up in the steam. Odd picture indeed. But it turned out to be an amazing local fresh made tofu shop. Just know the area is famous for soy products including tofu and all of its variations. We went for the only two options that was cooked and ready to eat on the spot. A deep fried tofu skin with soy sauce, and a tofu and vegetable ball. (address: 〒616-8447 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Ukyō-ku, Sagashakadōfujinokichō, 42 嵯峨豆腐森嘉)
Not being one of the top attractions of Kyoto, the temple had a great flow of local visitors, yet not too crowded as the other ones.
On the way back to our hotel, we stopped by the local Lawson supermarket. There’s plain rice you can ask the shop to microwave for you; all types of meat and vegetable, fresh or ready cooked; oden soup with a range of ingredients you can choose from. Taking a break from all the big meals we have planned for the trip, we bought bits and pieces from Lawson and took back to the room on the garden porch. There we opened up a few packets of the pickles, and enjoyed with tasty, chilled beers on a quiet autumn evening.