Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy 2014 from Izumo of Shimane, the land of Gods!

To my Kyoto Now blog followers:

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I have had to return to my hometown of Shimane.  I do however hope to update my blog in the near future and look forward to once again bringing you the latest events of Kyoto.

In the meantime, I wish you a healthy and prosperous year of the Horse and please remember to check back to view my blog!

Thank you very much for your support.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

"Masaichi" of Higashiyama

I had lunch at a soba (buck wheat) noodle restaurant "Masaichi" in Ichinen-zaka Slope of Higashiyama.

There are several kinds of lunch menus.

I chose the soba lunch set for 980 yen, which has soba noodle, a small bowl of an immersed tuna fish on rice, sesame tofu, fried chicken and fried potatoes.  All were delicious!

The cold water had a twist of lime and was lovely.  It's a small restaurant and very good service.  I'd like to visit again for their hot sake at night.

The autumn leaves are getting brighter day by day.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

"Kagura" Sacred Court Dance in Wakayama

For me, Autumn means "Kagura" season!

The only time I can see Kagura in Kyoto is on the night of Yoiyama during the Gion Festival.  But a friend of mine got the news that Kagura is performed in Wakayama Prefecture (next to Kyoto), so we went to see.

Two Iwami Kagura dance teams from my hometown in Shimane were invited for the 40th anniversary of Inami Town Cultural Association in Wakayama.

The sacred court performance started with a traditional playing "Ohayashi" by 4 people.

The first program was "Ama-no-Iwato (The Cave of the Sun Goddess)," a very famous Japanese myth.

Next followed by "Ebisu," a charming God's dance.

"Phantom Spider" was very dynamic.  Kagura's other attraction is their gorgeous costumes!

I especially enjoy the dance of demons!

"Kirime" is a dance based on the story about Inami Town's Prince Kirime.  This is another reason why Iwami Kagura was invited.

It lasted long time of 3 hours. For the finale was also a very famous myth "Yamata-no-Orochi (an 8-branched giant snake)."

I've seen Kagura countless times, and never get bored.

After Kagura, we had pizzas, over looking a beautiful sun set.

Thanks to my friend, I had a very happy Autumn day!

Next, I must see Kagura Grand Prix performance:  November 23rd in Hiroshima Kagura Dome!!

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

I visited Kitano Tenmangu Shrine.

The purpose is to get this commemorative stamp: JR Tokai's 20th anniversary of "Yes, let's go to Kyoto" campaign.

Kitano Tenmangu is famous for a cow, and the image of a cow can be seen here and there.

Can you find one on this lantern?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Chinese Restaurant "Gihan Ebisu Do"

At a request of my brother-in-law, I went to "Gihan Ebisu Do" Chinese restaurant, which is in Sanjo-dori Avenue, just west of Horikawa-dori Avenue. 

The restaurant was with full of people and several people were waiting to be seated when I went at 7:30PM. My brother-in-law recommended shrimp vegetable ramen noodle, but it was already sold out!  So I ordered the tantan ramen noodle, which was very good!

I also ordered the most popular item of the restaurant "a set of three kinds of Xiaolongbao."

Black truffle, crab meat, and Shanghai style Xiaolongbao.  They told me to eat crab meat and Shanghai style Xiaolongbao with black vinegar.

They were all super delicious!  I certainly will be back again for the shrimp ramen!!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Italian Restaurant "Robinson Karasuma"

Let me introduce the Italian restaurant "Robinson Karasuma" in Bukko-ji Street, near Maeniiya Guesthouse.  It's their 8th anniversary and their course menus of lunch and dinner are discounted until the end of October.  Lunch course of 3,800 yen is 2,500 yen (2,800 yen on the weekend).  

Three kinds of appetizers:   Carpaccio of a white fish, terrine, and prosciutto ham.

Japanese pumpkin potage.

Ten kinds of bread are freshly baked, and you can have as many as you like!

Pasta with meat sauce and chick peas.

Main dish:  Grilled chicken with curry flavored sauce, and a salmon with tomato sauce. The crunchy skin of the salmon is very delicious.

And the dolce of four kinds, with a choice of coffee or tea.  Great lunch, but please make sure to go with a very empty stomach!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Dinner of "Kasuien-Minami" Ryokan in Tamatsukuri Hot Spring

One of the pleasures of travelling is enjoying different meals.  When we were seated, a small Jubako (layers of lacquer boxes) was served.

In the Jubako boxes, the upper box has "hors d'oeuvre":  sesame tofu, kidney bean, burdock root and a maple leaf shaped wheat gluten with miso based sauce. A beautiful presentation from the beginning made us excited!

The lower box has an "appetizer":  ika-no-shiokara (fermented squid) in a yellow dish, and jellied enoki mushroom and junsai (brasenia) in a glass dish.

A beautiful arrangement in a nice Biwa guitar shaped dish!

A very warm soup of sea bream, shrimp dumpling, iwanori (rock seaweed), white onion, Japanese wild barsley, and sansho pepper. Awesome shrimp dumpling and great soup!

Assortment of sashimi.

A famous Shimane beef steak!

Flatfish with root vegetables.

The plate called "Two Summers".

The round dish contains Japanese pumpkin dumpling with baby corns in thick soup, and a square dish contains deep fried sweetfish with vinegar sauce, baby potatoes, lotus root, baby okra, grape leaf shaped carrot.

And mozuku seaweed was really nice and refreshing, after the main dish.

The local specialties of "Nita rice" cooked with famous Mt. Sanbe's spring water, and Lake Shinji's shijimi (basket clams) in miso.

Dessert:  black sugar syrup gelee with grape beans and yellow peach on top of green tea pudding, seasonal fruits, and chestnut cake.

After the meal, we went to watch the famous and humorous local dance performance called "dojou sukui (loach catching)."  We were totally entertained!!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Tamatsukuri Hot Spring in Shimane

Tamatsukuri is a very renowned hot spring town in Shimane and there are many historic ryokan accommodations.  This time, we booked our accommodation at "Kasuien-Minami."

Upon our arrival, we received a welcome gelee and tea in the lobby. 

Our room on the 7th floor.

Complimentary green tea, coffee, and sweets in the room.

View of hot spring town from our room.  Lake Shinji in the distance also.

And the roof top hot spring onsen bath!