Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shinshin-Do Cafe

"Shinshin-Do" cafe restaurant is quite famous in Kyoto. And it celebrates 80th anniversary this year! After I visited Chion-Ji Temple, I stopped by and had lunch. I had a curry and rice set (750 yen), which had a very nostalgic taste.

Because it is very close to the Kyoto University, there were lots of students studying and reading books in the restaurant. It was very quiet inside with no BGM. I really liked the atmosphere.

I couldn't take photos as it's prohibited, but I found that Kyoto University has a detailed write-up of Shinshin-Do in their website.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

25 Bodhisattva Prayer Ritual at Chion-Ji Temple

I went to Chion-Ji Temple to see the 25 Bodhisattva Prayer Ritual. The number of audience was unexpectedly small, and most were followers. It seems not many people know about this event.

The event started with a traditional court music.

There is a guide next to each Bodhisattva, who shows the way as Bodhisattva cannot see the surroundings because of the mask.

I saw the same event at Sokujo-In Temple last October, but this one appears more solemn religious event.

The high rank priest has attendants.

They solemnly entered the main hall for the service.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Yoshida Yama (Mt. Yoshida)

Very sunny, warm Sunday! I climbed up Mt. Yoshida, which is located just the east of Kyoto University.

Yae-Sakura (more petals and deeper color than Somei Yoshino) in the mountain was in full bloom.

Kaede's red flowers are tiny and beautiful. (kaede = maple)

A honey bee was getting nectar.

There is a nice cafe/teahouse called "Mo-an" on top of Mt. Yoshida.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Old Cobblestone Alley

Our machiya guest house "Maeniiya" is situated in the long, narrow alley where no cars can pass through. Lots of these cobblestone alleys disappeared rapidly due to development and became very rare in Kyoto, which is sad.

But there has been a very strong movement to restore old Kyoto. Fantastic!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tsuboniwa's Spring

Trees and shrubs in our tsuboniwa garden of Maeniiya Guest House began to bud.

Tsuge (Japanese Box Wood): This tree is used to make combs in Japan. Tsuge combs have been loved by Japanese women for centuries.

Nandina (miniture type)


Jinchouge (Daphne): flower is very fragrant!

Our garden's troublemaker, very invasive "dokudami (houttuynia cordata)" also began to thrive, and I've been very busy getting rid of them.

When I was pulling out dokudami plants yesterday, some seeds were attached to them, and they were corns! Very lovely♪

I trust these were from "popcorns" which our guests made during their stay! I miss the family who stayed at our machiya a few months ago -- especially their 3 year old beautiful Princess...

I took these corns to my house and planted in my planter.
But, can we harvest corns from planters...!?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yaoi's Pickles

The standard of Kyoto's souvenirs is tsukemono (=pickles). There are a lot of pickles shops, and you can sample tsukemono in most shops.

My favorite pickles shop is Higashiyama's "Yaoi."

Their original product is "Kaiseki Takuan" which is a mix of chopped pickled radish called "takuan," shiso (Japanese herb), ginger and sesame seeds.

The store's recent popular item is "Yamaimo (Japanese yam) pickled with horseradish." This is truly delicious!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hokkaido Food Fair

Takashimaya Department Store (7th Floor) is having Hokkaido Food Fair this month.

Lots of "bento" boxes (lunch/dinner in a box) are also sold at the fair.

Hokkaido is famous for many delicious foods. And ramen noodle is one of them. I tried a miso ramen (950 yen) from Asahikawa's ramen restaurant "Ichikura" in the eat-in area. The braised pork belly called "kakuni" was more than 2cm thick!! It was not oily but very crunchy. Kakuni in ramen is a good idea!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kyoto Zoo

Kyoto Zoo is more than 100 years old and the 2nd oldest zoo in Japan (Tokyo's Ueno Zoo is the oldest, and was established in 1882).

They have more than 700 animals, 170 species in the zoo.

There is a small recreation ground with a few rides for kids.


I had lunch at "Asahiya," soba (buckwheat noodle) and saba (mackerel) sushi restaurant that recently opened in Shimo Kawara Dori Avenue of Higashiyama.

They took me to a counter seat with a garden view.

Soba with yuba (tofu skin) and maitake mushrooms was 1,400 yen and saba sushi (2 pieces) was 400 yen. I found the soup of soba was a bit light, but the saba sushi was awesome!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Mimikou is a curry noodle & soba restaurant in Kawaramachi Sanjo.

I ordered "ama kitsune curry noodle" (730 yen). The combination of sweetened deep fried tofu and spicy curry was very nice!

Cherry blossoms along Lake Biwa Canal

Lake Biwa Canal is one of many travel attractions in Kyoto.

View from the bridge of Nijo-dori avenue

The National Museum of Modern Art has a cafe terrace by the canal.

Boat cruises are limited to this time of the year.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cherry blossoms in Nene no Michi (The Path of Nene)

Kyoto was hit by the unseasonable cold weather recently, but we are enjoying the normal spring weather now, and the cherry trees have opened about half of their blossoms so far.

And "fake" maiko girls can be seen here and there...

Thursday, April 08, 2010


It has been pretty cold in Kyoto recently, and at last we got snow!

It became snowstorm when I got to Kawaramachi from Yasaka Shrine.

Full moon, Mt. Hiyashiyama covered with snow, and Minami-za Theatre in the evening on the way back to home...

And a sudden blizzard again! Who'd ever thought that we were able to see "cherry blossoms" and "full moon" and "snow" at once!!!