Gastronomic Destinations: Kyoto!

Dinner at Yuki Gion Izakaya Restaurant in Kyoto City!

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Service: Smiling and attentive
Equipment & Facilities: Old but very clean overall. Excellent gender-separated washroom
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Kyoto-style izakaya cuisine. Okamura Honke Brewery sake! English menus.

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Yuki Gion does not advertise much but it is always crowded even on weekdays as it is an old-style izakaya where the atmosphere is really informal and where customers sit elbow to elbow enjoying some very reasonable cuisine and fine sake!
Japanese tourists, foreign tourists and locals mix in at ease and the staff is simply easy-going but very attentive at the same time.

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The restaurant is actually the property of Okamura Honke Brewery in neighboring Shiga Prefecture!

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The whole range of their sake is available from 90% to 40% millage!

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One of the sake we had, with rice milled down to 60%!

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A nama genshu, it was served to you directly the Japanese izakaya traditonal way, that is very generously!

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Everything is prepared in front of you!
Note that the top chef (there are at least four of hem!) is the only one wearing a neck tie and also the only in charge of the raw fish!

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As this is typically slow food style, you have plenty of time to enjoy the sight of chefs at work!

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We started with sashimi moriawase/raw seafood assortment!

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Urchin, tuna, salmon, black seabream!

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More of the same as we were two of us!

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Tomorokoshi kakiage/Japanese-style corn fritters!

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Local vegetable salad!

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Kyoto City specialty: Hamo/conger eel pike tempura!

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Grilled nodokuro/a variety of rosy seabass!

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Sake white lees pickles vegetables!

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To finish, mentaiko gohan/steamed rice with spicy cod roe for the Dragon!

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And grilled salmon chazuke for me!

A discovery!

YUKI GION, Izakaya Restaurant

605-0078, Kyoto City, Higashiyama Ku, Gion Tomi-naga Cho, 111-1
Tel.: 075-525-2666
Opening hours: 17:00~23:00 (weekdays), !7:00~24:00 (Saturdays and days before National Holidays)
Closed on Sunday and National Holidays
Credit cards OK
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Brunch at Coffee House Maki in Kyoto!

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Service: Smiling and very attentive
Equipment & Facilities: Overall very clean. excellent wahroom. Completely non-smoking on Sundays
Prices: reasonable
Strong points: Morning/brunch sets/ sandwiches/fine coffees/take-outs.

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Coffee House Maki in Kyoto is an extremely popular cafe in Kyoto for many reasons. First of all,in my own biased opinion, it has successfully preserved its “Showa Era” atmosphere over the years to the point you definitely experienced a time slip every time you enter the establishment! Having lived 40 years in Japan it certainly brings back many memories!
interestingly enough the smoking half area (oh well….) consists of long sofas against the wall while the non-smoking half consists of tables and chairs.
Fortunately Sundays are completely non-smoking!

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Another reason is that they add seasonal sets on top of a an already long menu (for a cafe) and it is no wonder that the place is mainly, on weekdays that is, patronized by locals and regulars who all seemed to be known by name by the smiling staff!

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Incidentally, this is still a place where slow food is the name of the game, so do take your time!
As we had had no time for breakfast, we decided to order two different sets as brunches!
Dragon opted for the hot sandwich set!

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Served with salad and coffee!
Special for the coffee by the way! Dripped coffee of course!

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For all its apparent simplicity the hot sandwich was succulent ( I stole a portion of course!) with fluffy eggs and three more fillings!

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As for me, I ordered the “Chiri Kon Kan Dogu”, that is the Japanese for Chili con Carne Hot Dog!

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Simple enough again, but they make a point of creating their very own chili sauce and use locally grown vegetables!

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Just the right size and taste for breakfast or a light brunch!
Satisfying but not overfilling!
No wonder the place is always crowded!

COFFEE HOUSE MAKI

〒602-0822 Kyoto City, Jyoukyou Ku, Kawahara Cho, Imadegawa Agaru, Seityuu Cho, 211
〒602-0822 京都市上京区河原町今出川上ル清龍町211
Tel.: 075-222-2460
Opening hours: 08:30~19:00
Completely smoking on Sundays
HOMEPAGE
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Dinner at Ikariya Shokudou in Kyoto!

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Service: Smiling and attentive
Equipment & Facilities: overall very clean. Small but excellent washroom
Prices: reasonable (for Kyoto)
Strong points: French and fusion bistro cuisine with a Japanese accent. Veranda in summer overlooking Kamo River

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Veranda seating.

We had been wishing to visit Ikariya Shokudou on our previous trips to Kyoto but every time it was full. At long last we somehow managed to get a table on the veranda by coming a bit later than usual on a week day

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They classify themselves as a bistro and I agree although I would prefer to say they are a typical Kyoto fusion bistro!

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Their bilingual menu is easy to read and in any case like in many establishments in that city the staff speaks enough English to make all customers comfortable!

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And they do have a reasonably-priced wine list!
naturally they cater for all kinds of drinks!

So, what did we have?

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Seasonal white-flesh fish carpacccio!

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Light and delicious five-mushroom terrine!

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Turbo shellfish gratin!

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Succulent duck confit and French lentils!

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Peperone scampi pasta!

A very reliable address in a too often overvalued city!

IKARIYA SHOKUDOU

〒600-8012 kyoto Fu, Kyoto City, Shimohara Ku, Mokuya Cho, Kuribashi Sagaru, Saito Cho, 138-2
〒600-8012 京都府京都市下京区 木屋町団栗橋下ル斎藤町138-2
Google map
tel.: 075-276-2067
Opening hours: 17:00~24:00, Limited lunch sets on Saturday, Sunday and National Holidays
Reservations highly recommended
Credit cards OK
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Kyoto Cake and Confectionery Shops

Of course there are many cake and confectionery shops in Kyoto!
They can be roughly divided into French and Western Cakes Shops, Japanese Traditional wagashi Cakes Shops and Biscuits, Sweets and Senbei/Rice Crackers Shops.

Below is an example of each for a future report!
Good hunting!

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Tea House Lipton!

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French Eclairs with a twist!

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Fukuedo Japanese Cake Shop!

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Dango!

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Funa Hashiya rice Crackers Shop!

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Cute “Arare”!

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Sembei and nuts!
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Chinese Restaurant in Kyoto: Sichifukuya!

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Service: Very friendly
Equipment & facilities: Clean overall. Basic Japanese style washroom
Prices: Reasonable to slightly expansive
Strong points: Shanghai Family style cuisine. Chinese old spirits

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There are many Chinese restaurants in Kyoto but few are authentic.
You do have to look deep into the back streets to find them!

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Shichifukuya (the h\House of the Seven Lucks) is one of them, and although it was our second visit we did have some trouble finding it in the dark of the night!

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It was apparently a Japanese restaurant years before the present owners moved in 8 years ago, and they did change little of it. It is old but clean. But after all the food is the most important!

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Apparently they have a lot of regulars with their own bottles!

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Apart of a good list of old Chinese spirits they provide all kinds of drinks, including Japanese sake!

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Home-made Chinese pickles!

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Xiaolongbao!

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Pitan eggs/Century egg and vegetable salad!

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For a better view of the Century eggs!

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Fried gyoza!

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Spicy shrimp omelet!

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For a better view!

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Stir-fried vegetables!

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Very original egg fried rice with beaten egg whites!

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No need for dessert!

SHICHIFUKUYA/七福家

Kyoto City, Sagyo Ku, Seigoin Sannou Cho, 25-11
京都市左京区聖護院山王町25-11
Tel.: 075-771-3833
Opening hours: 11:30~14:30, 17:30~22:00
Parties until 36 welcome
Closed on Wednesdays
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Kyoto Udon Restaurant: Okakita!

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Service: Very kind and attentive
Equipment & facilities: Spotless clean overall. Beautiful washroom. Entirely non-smoking!
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Top-class udon cuisine!

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People tend to think that all Japanese cuisine restaurants in Kyoto are expensive. Well, this is a big misconception spread by some unwelcome media to say the least!

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Okakita is actually famous all over Japan and is mentioned in so many magazines! But it is really reasonable considering the superb quality!

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The whole establishment is not only spotless clean but also entirely non-smoking!

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It even has a cute little Japanese garden!

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So traditonal!

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Dragon’s order: “Tentoji/天とじ”/large prawn tempura with udon in egg soup!

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Hot and so appetizing!

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Don’t be fooled, the prawns are big!

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My order: “Hamo Tenpura Oroshi Udon/はも天ぷらおろしうどn”/yempura pike eel with cold udon in oroshi style!

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So appetizing and a complete lunch in itself!

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Those vegetables make for such balance in color, design and taste!

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Extravagant pike eel tempura!

THE priority restaurant for our next visit!

OKAKITA/おかきた

Koto City, Sagyou ku, Okazaki, Minami Goshyo, 34
京都市左京区岡崎南ご紹介34
tel.: 075-771-4831
Opening hours: 10:00~20:30
Closed on Tuesdays
Parking available
Credit cards OK
Entirely non-smoking!
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
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Kyoto Yakitori Restaurant: Lunch at Torisei

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Service: Very friendly
Equipment & Amenities: Very clean overall. Excellent washroom. Entirely non-soking for lunch!
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Bento and yakitori. Sake!

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Many big sake breweries in Kyoto City, especially in the Fushimi area have been diversifying their business to add to traditional earnings with museums and gift shops and even restaurants such as Yamamoto Honkei Sake Brewery with heir restaurant called Torisei!

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Not only can you read their menu outside (not so usual in Japan although it is spreading all over the country these days) but they also clearly point out the place is entirely non-smoking until 4:00 pm!

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Past the entrance you will find a small souvenir shop!

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You will also discover a tiny but remarkable museum!

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Traditional Japanese atmosphere inside a big restaurant!

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Plenty of historical artifacts for foreign customers to check!

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We ordered the two different bento-style lunches!

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I spotted this sake bottle whose contents were offered on the menu!

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We ordered an extra dish of croquettes with our first drink!

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But I couldn’t get my eyes off the limited “very dry” junmai!

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Served in a traditional cup!

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My bento!

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Simple steamed rice with black sesame seeds and pickled vegetables!

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Yakitori!

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Dragon’s bento!

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Steamed rice with stir-fried chicken and dry seaweed!

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Deep-fried chicken!

TORISEI/鳥せい

Kyoto City, Fushimi Ku, Kamiyuukake cho, 186
京都し伏見区上油掛町186
Tel.: 075-622-5533
Opening hours: 11:30~23:00 (11:00~23:00 on week-ends), Parties until 22:00
Closed on Mondays
Parking: 30 cars
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE
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Kyoto Yakitori Izakaya: Tsuki Tokage Honten!

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Service: Very friendly and informative
Facilities and equipment: Beautifully traditional. Very clean overall. beautiful washroom
Prices: reasonable considering the quality
Strong points: Yakitori and charcoal grilled food. Excellent selection of sake!

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“Tokage” does mean “lizard” in Japanese but they are not serving it there, although it makes for such an interesting name!

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Although they have moved address since, it was our second visit and we found it by accident due to the reason explained! Very beautiful but unpretentious decor. Very warm and comfortable!

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They even have a view on a small garden you have to cross (that is for gentlemen as the washrooms are separated) when needs are pressing!

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Young, friendly but professional staff who are happy to answer your questions.
They even introduced me to an izakaya in Susono City, Eastern Shizuoka!

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They do have some superb sake from Kyoto, a fact which is not evident in spite of the great number of breweries!

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Served the traditional way!

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Yuba and octopus as cute snacks!

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Our vegetable order being grilled over charcoal!

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Simple and yummy!

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Seared chicken sasami! Only very fresh local chicken there!

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One more sake of course!

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Chicken with skin!

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Negima!

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Beautiful tsukune!

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Zaru dofu made by a famous Kyoto shop!

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Nankotsu! Only in japan!

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Broiled onigiri rice balls for dessert!

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A must fro our next visit!

TSUKITOKAGE HONTEN/ツキトカゲ本店

Kyoto city, Nakakyou Ku,Nijyo, Tsuutomikoji, Higashi Iri, Seimei Cho, 672-2
京都市中京区通富小路晴明町672-2
Tel.: 075-212-3550
Opening hours: 11:30~15:00, 17:00~23:00
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Sake Brewing Museum at Kizakura Brewery in Kyoto!

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Fushimi/伏見 District in the southern mountains of Kyoto City accounts for no less than 26 sake breweries in all Kyoto Fu/Kyoto Prefecture. Among them Kizakukura Brewery is especially attractive with their free entrance museums.
You ought to visit the sake brewing museum in particular.
It shows only the main process and in Japanese, but the models accompanying the explanations are a sight!

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Rice milling/精米歩合

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Washing/洗米

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Washing/洗米

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Steaming/蒸米

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Steaming/蒸米

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Cooling/放冷

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Cooling/放冷

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Kouji making/麹作り

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Kouji making/麹作り

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Fermenting Starter making/もとつくり

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Fermenting starter making/もとつくり

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The Mash/醪ずくり

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The Mash/醪ずくり

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Pressing/しぼり

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Pressing/しぼり

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Tempura Restaurant: Tenshuu (天周) in Kyoto City!

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Service: Attentive and smiling
Facilities and Equipment: Old fashioned but overall very clean. Excellent washroom
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Tempura!

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Kyoto has a lot to offer to rich tourists and affluent people but it also caters for all budgets.

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We found that Tenshuu seems to be very popular especially at lunch with customers of all ages, Japanese or expats!

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Quite a few famous people have left their signatures!

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Only two chefs in the kitchen but they work non-stop!

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Very popular with young ladies!

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Actors from nearby Kabuki Theater count among their customers!

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At lunch the restaurant serves serves a unique menu of four differentdonburi/bowls filled wih rice and topped with tempura!

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Each customer is served his/her personal tray!

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You can add your own seasoning with matcha powder, Japanese pepper of shichimi/seasoning mix!

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My order: mixed tempura with conger eel and large prawn!

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Served with miso soup and uji tea, plenty of volume!

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Dragon’s order!

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All conger eel!

TENSHUU/天周

Kyoto City, Higashiyama Ku, Shijyo, Nawate, Higashi iri, Kitagawa
Tel.: 075-541-5277
Opening hours: 11:00~4:00 (Donburi/bowl menu only), 17:30~21:00 (courses only)
Closed on Wednesdays
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Kyoto Sake Tasting: Yamamoto Honkei Brewery-Jinsei Junmai Ginjyo

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I’m just spending a few days holiday in Kyoto and I have finally found a 300ml bottle produced by a Kyoto Brewery!

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It is brewed by Yamamoto Honkei Brewery loaced in Fushimi, Kyoto City!
Its name, “Jinsei/神聖” means “God sanctity” Lucky I’m agnostic!

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Rice milled down to 60%
Alcohol: 15 degrees

Clarity: very clear
Color: Golden hue
Aroma: Dry and fruity. Grapes, brandy sherry wine
Body: fluid
Taste: Fairly dry and fruity attack backed up by only some junmai petillant.
Grapes, sherry.
Disappears fairly quickly on a drier note with accentuated hints of a dry sherry.
Gets even drier with food, whatever its kind, but changes little in taste.

Overall: Simple, solid, reliable sake conceived to accompany food.
Would be best appreciated with heavy izakaya food, although its taste very reminiscent of a dry sherry could make it a good aperitif, especially if chilled

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