Kyoto Day 1 and a cow named Harue
Traveling around Japan is probably one of the greatest things you could do when you’re here for a month. Being stuck in Tokyo does get boring after a while especially if you’ve been to some of the sites already. You’ve already read up on about my 3 days in Osaka, this time our EPIC adventure takes us to one of my favourite places, Kyoto. Hit the jump to check out the traveling between Osaka and Kyoto and my first day in Kyoto.
Checking out of the hotel, we took a taxi to Shin-Osaka station, as this is where the shinkansen stops. My friends reckons we should’ve taken the local JR lines, but I wanted to travel by shinkansen and get as much as possible from the JR pass, even though it’s only one stop. Arriving at JR Kyoto station, the first thing we did was head to the post office, which is located to the left of the central gate. I had to withdraw money and Roobar mailed off his Wonderfest and Osaka goods home. I didn’t mail anything off since my Wonderfest good since they were waiting in Tokyo.
Just some photos of the park where we sat around waiting.
Heading off to the ryokan we were staying at luckily I had been there before so I didn’t get lost and I remember EVERYTHING clearly. But we came across another problem upon arriving at the ryokan. The owner wasn’t home. The door was open but no one was there at all. So instead of walking right in, we headed off to a local park across the road and sat around relaxing and waiting. We waited probably a good 2-2.5 hours until the owner arrived but it wasn’t such a bad thing. My feet were still killing me and resting in a park was a great feeling. Sitting there in the shade listening to the cicadas chirping is something I can’t do in Australia as we we don’t have cicadas, and I would’ve been eaten alive by mosquitoes.
Eventually the owner arrived and we dumped our luggage inside and rested in the aircon. The best thing I like about this ryokan was that it was a proper Japanese mansion with the full wooden floors and garden inside. The worst thing was probably having our room on the 2nd floor, and lugging up suitcases up stairs is not exactly fun. Whilst resting, I worked out our itinerary for the day and with some suggestions from the owner, we headed off to a place called Gion Corner.
Along the way we came across a main street and a lot of shops. Walking along the main street towards one of the local temples, I came across a Nike store. Perfect. At this point I bought myself some new shoes since my current ones were killing my feet. My bran new shoes cost me ¥12,600 but it was well worth it. One of my friends also bought new shoes since his were being destroyed as he was walking. Stopped at a cafe to get an iced cocoa and to put on my new shoes. OMG, so much better, although my feet still hurt. Continue on walking, we seemed to not get any closer to Gion Corner. With only a meer 30 minutes till the show starts, we took a taxi and discovered that we were no where near our destination. Managing to make it on time, we got our tickets and sat and watched the show. Below are pictures of the show itself:
What Gion Corner is about is a showcase of 7 different types of Japanese arts which range from tea ceremony, flower arrangement. It was definitely a highlight of Japanese culture and seeing the uniqueness of each art was beautiful. This is a definite visit for those who are visiting Kyoto and want to know a bit more about Japanese culture. They had receivers with headphones that broadcast in English for those who do not know the moonspeak.
Walking along the street heading towards an unknown direction, we found ourselves to be pretty hungry. Although myself and another friend were taking photos of the surrounding area whilst the other pair walked ahead. However after taking a few snaps I found them to have stopped outside a shop….. a steak shop to be exact…… that had a price tag of ¥15,000.
My comrades pretty much said “we’re eating here”. Not wanting to head back to the ryokan on an empty stomach, as well as being warned by random stranger about the expensive food in the area we walked in and got a lot than what we had expected. This restaurant looked very high class and it seemed like we were the only customers so far. Having a look at the actual menu we found that for ¥15,000 I could get a set course meal, so I opted for that option. The following photos are what I got:
Now I have to say, I’m not really a food critic, but I can certainly tell when I am eating good food. And OMFG this was the BEST steak I have ever had. The taste is simply indescribable and just eating the steak pieces it was melting in my mouth. However there was something even better about my steak. I normally have my steaks well-done, whilst my friends like a bit of blood. Since everything was cooked on the same grill, my friend’s steaks were cooked and taken off the grill whilst my stayed there soaking up all the juices from their steaks. So a bit of advice, if you are having steak like this cooked in front of you and you are with a bunch of friends, get your cooked well done.
Though I bet most of you why this steak is so expensive. To put it simply, it’s similar to matsusaka beef, but is actually called ohmi beef. When we left the restaurant, the owners also gave each of us a certificate about the cow we just ate. It records everything from it’s name, date of birth, date of death, weight, family tree and even a nose print. Pretty much the cow that I ate was named Harue.
So something that was supposed to be a simply and easy day turned out to be one of the best days of the Japan trip so far. A lot of relaxing, a lot of cultural experiences, the best steak I have ever eaten and a pair of new shoes. It surprises me how my money tends to goto expensive things.