Today after my lesson, I jumped on the train to Kyoto. There are a lot of places to holo-holo (hawaiian for "go wandering")--eateries both traditional and modern, plus lots of shrines and temples. If there is one place you should visit in Japan, it is Kyoto. You can see architecture dating back to the early 1900's mixed in with modern buildings. Most buildings have a height limit --this is to protect the beauty that Kyoto holds.
My adventure started at Ichizawa Hanpu--they have been at their site for over 60 years, but I think they have been in business for longer than that. Their bags are very simple looking but very sturdy because they use sailing cloth. I'll have to save up my $$ though because they are quite expensive.
I then walked along Sanjo-dori to a store I have visited in the past, Matsuhiro Shoten. They make these gamaguchi purses (purses with these metal clasps on top). They use all kinds of different fabrics--some from old kimonos, some modern prints. Satoshi and I went there a couple of years ago and the store was so packed that it was hard to leisurely look and choose. Today, it was relatively quiet, so I had a nice time opening and closing the clasps and listening to others doing the same "pa-chin pa-chin".
Lunch was a little late at a little shopping area called Kyoen, at a restaurant called Chaimon--this restaurant specializes in foods made with sweet potato. I had their o-kayu (gruel) set. Rice cooked soft with sweet potato. There is an (a thick broth) to pour over the o-kayu.
And side dishes (from the back--forward) of kinpira (seasoned strips of burdock root and carrot), komatsuna (chinese cabbage) stir-fry, sweet potato tempura (fried) with purple sweet potato salt, an umeboshi (pickled plum) and some roasted pine nuts. The dishes and gruel were really good and tasty.
There was even imo-cha (sweet potato tea)--this didn't taste too good, almost like they made the tea from the skins of the sweet potato...kind of earthy...still, it was interesting to try.
After lunch I continued on Sanjo-dori and came upon a Japanese snack shop--Funahashiya. I've written about them before when Satoshi had his staff over for dinner last year.
I bought a package of arare (rice crackers) for Satoshi's omiyage (souvenir). When I told the girl at the register that I didn't want a plastic bag, she looked at me like I was crazy.
My last stop was a trip to Patisserie Kanae. This little shop was featured recently in a Japanese foodie magazine. The pastry chef/owner makes different types of cakes, has a patisserie class, and also makes macarons!
I've been trying a lot of traditional flavored macarons but what really caught my eye was her Japanese flavors.
Here's what I got: Right row: Sesame Noir (black sesame), Poivre Japonais (sansho--Japanese pepper), Sakura vert (the leaves of the cherry blossoms), Matcha (green tea) Left row: Charbon de bamboo (bamboo charcoal), Yuzu chocolat (citron chocolate), Sojavert-Epinard (soybean with spinach)
Everything was delicious and tasted exactly like the real thing--although I'm not too sure how charcoal is supposed to taste though it was a bit gritty .
Well, the weather has been great for the past couple of days--lovely for walks or just to be out and about. Too bad it is supposed to rain tomorrow.
Hope you have a great weekend.