Delicious Cheap Eats, Rickshaw Ride, Seiryō-ji Temple & RAINBOW in Arashiyama, Kyoto

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. 

No matter how exciting the day ahead looks, I never forget to take advantage of the in-room hot spring bath first thing in the morning! Naturally high in mineral content, the hot spring water makes my skin unbelievably hydrated and soft, and relieves all the tiredness from walking up and down the mountains of Arashiyama everyday. 
After a 10 mins dip in the hot bath, I put on my Yukata(Japnaese bath robe), and sit down in the little outdoor porch that also came with the room. Brew a pot of green tea, and just enjoy the morning fresh air and the beautiful autumn ombre that’s brought on by the colour changing of the leaves. 
This little morning routine, although only lasted for the 5 days I stayed in Suiran, has admittedly become one of the most missed aspect of Japan from this trip. Just for revisiting a morning like that, I would fly all the way back to Arashiyama in a heartbeat. 

Well, enough with the sentiment, let’s talk a little about fashion. 
Remember this jacket that I wore during the trip to Paris last year? (probably definitely not, but) My point is, I’ve brought it again to Japan this time around too. I can’t recommend taking a reversible piece on your holiday more, for the obvious reason — you can flip it over and escape easily when you get followed on the street!

Be it a reversible jacket, coat or blanket cape, here are some suggestions for you:

The rest of the outfit is basically the same as the other day,

Fleece Long Sleeve T-shirt

Cropped Flare Jeans

Just a new addition from shopping in Kyoto — a new, the fluffiest bag I own. If you’re also looking to get a fluffy shoulder bag, I’ve been drooling over these ones as well:
Perfectly wintery, and extremely soothing to touch if a moment of panic occurs unexpectedly. Handy!

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)

After brunch, we went back on to the main road, where it was always packed with people, cars, and ebisuyas.
It’s not about whether you can walk for miles or not, the Ebisuya (Rickshaw) ride in Arashiyama is something you should always try. All the coachmen are young and fit with perfectly toned legs. They are cheerful and friendly, and will talk to you all about local haunts around the routes you select to go about. And through all the crowds in Arashiyama, almost everyone needs to give priority to the ebisuyas(except maybe just trains). I promise you’ll feel so important by the end of the trip.

Clearing traffic for us.

After a half hour trip on ebisuya, we got off the enjoy this unbelievably summery autumn day on foot. 

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)

Food after food, we finally stopped at a local little temple of Seiryō-ji 清凉寺 for some feast for the eye and soul. 

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. 

You have to take your shoes off when visiting the main indoor area of the temple, where you can do some serious praying for whatever you wish for, admire the ancient architecture and the delicately planted Japanese garden scape. 

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.