Southeast Kyoto Tour of Tofukuji, Uji & Fushimi Inari on 17 & 18May2013

Fushimi Inari -1000 torii gates 鸟居

Fushimi Inari -1000 torii gates 鸟居

arrived Kansai Airport 6am on 17.5.2013.

there was no queue at immigration and no queue at JR (Japan Rail) office, and we managed to get the 4000yen “Haruka & Icoca RETURN” which comprised RETURN tickets by Haruka Express between Kansai Airport & Kyoto & an Icoca card with 1500yen store-value and 500yen refundable deposit. 🙂

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we bought some burger & salad & got on the 7.27am Haruka Express No 4 for a 90mins journey and arrived Kyoto station at 9am. 🙂

Umeda Sky building at Osaka 173m 40 floors built in 1993

Umeda Sky building at Osaka 173m 40 floors built in 1993

passing Osaka on Haruka Express we saw Umeda Sky building, 1 of Osaka’s 2 famous tall buildings. 🙂

370yen kitsune soba

370yen kitsune soba

there was a soba shop at the station so we shared a 290yen soba + 90yen kitsune (a Japanese fried tofu). 🙂 then we took the Karasuma subway line 1-stop to Gojo.

our hotel Citadines Gojo was located a few steps (like 20m) from Gojo station – so access wise for arrival & departure, it was really convenient. 🙂 for comparison, Karasuma Shijo hotel would be more convenient as it was similarly located at the doorstep of Shijo station on Karasuma subway line, and you can also walk to Daimaru, Takashimaya, Nishiki market, Teramachi, Kawaramachi, Kamogawa etc. however if your plan is to get the subway 600yen Subway Card (for unlimited travel on Karasuma line & Tozai line) anyway as we did for 2 days, then it makes little difference. 🙂

seemed that Citadines Japan credit card machine did not allow for card guarantee. I made the front desk call my Singapore credit card hotline, and was told that the transaction showed up as a wrong security number entry. I then asked the front desk to charge my card instead of just doing a card guarantee, and this time the card transaction went through. this was really strange experience but well we were not in a hurry & it was happily settled. 🙂

it was too early to check in Citadines so we left our luggage & set off for the Everytrail Southeast Kyoto tour of Tokufuji (东福寺), Fushimi Inari (伏見稲荷) & Uji (宇治). 🙂


torii gate at road junction on way to Byodo-in 平等院 temple in Uji (宇治)

we made our way first to Tokufuji (东福寺) 140yen by JR Nara line from Kyoto stations. next we went to Uji (宇治) 230yen by JR Nara line. 🙂

there was a bit more to see at Uji than Tofukuji. still I did not take good photos at both places. also the Pheonix Hall at Byodo-in was under renovation. we did walk through Byodo-in’s garden & museum, and also saw the Ujigami shrine & Uji shrine. the weather was hot & we were a bit tired & decided to skip Fushimi Inari & return to Kyoto.

On way back to JR Uji station, we found & shared a nice 1580yen set at a 中华料理. & later in the evening after checking in to our hotel room, we walked to Shijo & Kawaramachi & found a nice little family styled izakaya 居酒屋 called 百练near the junction of Shijo & Kawaramachi where we had nice beef teishoku & pork shabu shabu. all this were recorded in the post Great Affordable Eats @ Kyoto.

On Day 2, we slept late but were all ready for our most wonderful teppanyaki course lunch at Gozanbo (五山望) at 15flr of Hotel Granvia at Kyoto Station. I had arranged this with the head chef Yoshio Doi-san & he had kindly made arrangements even though he was on home leave then.

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we had some time before lunch so I brought my sis to the 8th floor Ramen Village at Daimaru building at Kyoto Station west side. On the 9th floor, you can look down at Kyoto Station (above left photo).


skybridge linking the west & east buildings at Kyoto Station

There was also a skybridge linking the west & east buildings at Kyoto Station (some might have missed this) that could be accessed from the 8th floor Ramen Village & you could get a great view of Kyoto Tower (above centre photo). On our way to Gozanbo, we took a photo from the 3M level connecting passage just above Kyoto Station central exit (above right photo).


Fushimi Inari (伏見稲荷)

we set off to Fushimi Inari (伏見稲荷) 140yen by JR Nara line to Inari 稲荷 station. The first torii gate entrance was right by the station. we each grabbed a tea from a grocery, ready for the 2 hr walk. 🙂

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each torii gate was donated by a corporation or individual

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each of the 1000s torii gate was donated by a corporation or individual & their names were written on the side viewed downhill direction – that kind of acted as our direction guide…haha. 🙂


Fushimi Inari picture map

Mount Inari is 233m high & the whole walk took 2hrs.


at the top of Fushimi Inari @ 一峰

somewhat long way up but anyhow we made it to the top @ 一峰.


kannon (观音) at the bottom near exit of Fushimi Inari

on the way down at the bottom near the exit, we found this kannon (观音) and took some photos.


bbq quail @ Inari

my sis wanted to eat bbq quail – she was fearless (of bird flu) when it came to food adventures..haha. 🙂

we took a short walk to see the streets in Inari, crossing the JR Nara railway line & arriving at Keihan Inari station.

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here we took Keihan line to  Keihan sanjo (三条) station and walked over the bridge for a view of Kamogawa (鸭川).

then we walked down Kawaramachi and had a great kuroge wagyu shabu shabu & sukiyaki dinner at kashin 花心. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Great Affordable Eats @ Kyoto 17-21May2013

super-value Japanese beef (国产牛) teishoku (set) at 900yen

super-value beef teishoku (set) at 900yen

not every meal has to be kuroge wagyu, teppanyaki course or expensive sashimi. there are lots of great value meals to be had in Kyoto, Tokyo or anywhere in Japan. 🙂

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on the first night of our arrival on 17.5.2013 we chanced upon a very interesting eat at Teramachi/Kawaramachi corner just opposite Takashimaya called 百练 (it is at level 2 of a small building). It  was kind of a family-style izakaya 居酒屋- we were the only non-Japanese around. we visited again at dinner on 21.5.2013, and we were still the only non-Japanese around..haha. 🙂

I ordered this super-value beef teishoku (set). I asked for medium rare & it was nicely done & tasty. It came with the gohan aka rice set including pickles & miso soup.  the beef was served with some pasta (which were ok but irrelevant) – all these for just 900yen. 🙂


pork shabu shabu for 1500yen

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my sis ordered a pork shabu shabu for 1500yen. It was NOT kurobuta but it was really good, very sweet & tasty. 🙂

thick-cut bacon with asparagus for 500yen

thick-cut bacon with asparagus for 500yen

I saw that our neighbour, a Japanese couple, ordered what looked like ham & asparagus dish, so when we went back 2 nights later, I managed(despite the lack of communications) to get the chef to do up this dish – which was a thick-cut bacon & asparagus for 500yen – it was very good! 🙂

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on arriving on 17.5.2013, we visited Tofukuji then Uji. 🙂 on the way back to Uji JR station about 3+pm, we decided to share a set as a late & light lunch, & was lucky to pick out this rather nice 1580yen set at a 中华料理. the tempura was good, and so was the sashimi & the 2 side dishes – one was just egg, the other was rather more elaborate, and nice too! 🙂


690yen set @ Yayoiken-kakuni (belly pork), saba, potato croquette, tofu, egg & vege etc


690yen set @ Yayoiken-kakuni (belly pork), saba, potato croquette, tofu, egg & vege etc


on 20.5.2013, before setting off for our hike from Kurama (鞍马) to Kibune (贵船), we were looking for a place for early lunch and found this joint Yayoiken @ Kawaramachi. 🙂

the meal was just 690yen, and was quite good too, with kakuni (belly pork), saba, potato korokke (croquette), tofu, egg & vege etc 🙂 maybe Singapore should consider this meal ticket machine system common in Japan. it’s very labour efficient & staff have no need to manage cash too. 🙂


mini chirasi don set with 5 delightful side dishes for 1190yen

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returning from the hike, we took the train to Keihan Shijo & walked across Kamogawa (鸭川) to Kawaramachi (河源町) side. we found this restaurant on the 7flr of OIOI building along Kawaramachi across the road from Takashimaya.

this fabulous mini chirasi don set with 5 delightful side dishes was just 1190yen & they provide a very tasty soup which you later add to the rice like ochazuke. the mini chirasi don came with amaebi, crabmeat, ikura, 2 pieces hotate, maguro, tamago. the 5 delightful side dishes were ikan bilis, braised beef, tamago & tofu PLUS a  red bean/jelly dessert. 🙂

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we had another set which was somewhat less good (by comparison) also for 1190yen. it was a salmon tekkadon(鉄火丼) – this was quite good – with 4 side dishes.

so good food were aplenty in Kyoto & at very affordable prices too 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Kuroge Wagyu Shabu Shabu & Sukiyaki @ 花心 河原町店 Kashin Kawaramachi Kyoto on 18May2013

kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛放题 (all you can eat) shabu shabu & sukiyaki

kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛放题 (all you can eat) shabu shabu & sukiyaki

after a very pleasant afternoon & surprisingly shaded walk at Fushimi Inari, we took the Keihan line from Fushimi Inari station to Sanjo station, and walked back along Kawaramachi towards Shijo.

we wanted to have some good shabu shabu & saw that 花心 Kashin was offering 2980 yen Japanese beef + pork & 3980 yen kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛放题 (all you can eat).

we had some problems (the usual lost in translation) at the 9flr restaurant when we showed the waitress the brochure we picked up at ground floor which said it was kuroge wagyu (all you can eat) whereas the restaurant menu showed kuroge wagyu + pork (all you can eat). we were just there for the kuroge & did not want to have pork to fill up our stomach..haha. 🙂 anyway we settled in for what they had on the menu rather than spend time miscommunicating. 🙂

1/2 shabu shabu (chicken broth) & 1/2 sukiyaki

1/2 shabu shabu (chicken broth) & 1/2 sukiyaki

there was another hiccup. we were asked to choose 2 from 4 different soup base, and we chose chicken broth & sukiyaki. this was a departure from the usual shabu shabu which was just kunbu water no soup base to talk about..anyway we did not get the usual shabu shabu sauce (sesame & shoyu) and the waiter informed us that the soup base we selected did not include any sauce. he brought the 2 sauces with a sign showing 100yen. We said we were not told otherwise we would have picked the kunbu with the sauce..anyway this time their turn to give in & they let us have the sauce free (or in Japan they say “service”) it turned out the restaurant was right & we did not really need the sauces. 🙂

tofu appetizer

tofu appetizer

dinner started (again) with a tofu starter with wasabi & sauce. it was nice so no complaints. 🙂

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there was a tube of minced pork with the vegetable basket. it was good! we did not put any additional orders for this or the vegetables as we just wanted to eat kuroge wagyu!

kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛放题 (all you can eat) shabu shabu & sukiyaki

kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛放题 (all you can eat) shabu shabu & sukiyaki

& the long awaited kuroge (top photo & above) – they were good! not as good as the thick-cut kagoshima wagyu konabe at Mikuni, but it was a sweet, flavourful beef. 🙂

it was a double-decker box & we soon asked for a second. this was however replaced by pork. the pork was not too bad too, but it really spoiled my appetite. fortunately our third & fourth orders of the double-decker box were all kuroge wagyu. satisfaction! 🙂 I thought I might get tired of the beef but in fact I enjoyed the last box the most, perhaps it was better cut than the first box & in any case I had gotten over the disappointment of the “interfering” pork. 🙂

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the photos above were the shabu-ed (it means 涮 which I think by definition means 7 or 8 swipes in boiling water) beef – sukiyaki with raw egg & shabu shabu. the sukiyaki beef was best taken together with a small spoonful of sukiyaki sauce. the shabu-ed beef was good on its own & by-the-way the chicken broth was very tasty.

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the set actually included selection of dessert. we picked a mochi ice cream (vanilla inside mochi skin – quite good), and an almond tofu (杏仁豆腐). I absolutely enjoyed the dinner- though I should avoid having buffets.

view of Kawaramachi Kyoto from 花心 Kaisin on 9Flr

view of Kawaramachi Kyoto from 花心 Kaisin on 9Flr

& the view of Kawaramachi from 花心 Kaisin was good too!

c.h.e.f andy