Monday, December 23, 2013

Autumn in Kyoto - Day 4 (25 Nov 2013)

Photo and story of the day - these pine nut mochis
Our super-duper navigator was really looking forward to today, because it's shopping day for her! On the 25th of each month, a market takes place outside Kitano Tenmangu temple. This is where all sorts of traders bring their items out for sale. Some could be second hand, some are their own handiwork. Unfortunately, this was the only rainy day of our trip but it sure didn't dampen our shopping spirits.

When we arrived Kitano Tenmangu temple, it was almost 9am. Only 2 stalls were open, and I wondered if the rain deterred the vendors from opening. So we browsed around the temple first. This temple is specifically to help with exams. Children, students, parents and all sorts of persons come here to pray for good results in their exams. They seem to be really stressed out with their exams, such that they would come here to pray just before heading off for their exam.

Praying for good results in today's exams

Rows and rows of prayers

Size does not matter

Behind the yellow tree, is supposedly a very nice park for autumn. They did charge entrance fees to the park, but it wasn't open yet and we didn't want to wait. I later found out that it was really beautiful for autumn, but its peak is towards the first week of December.

We walked out of the temple, and found hundreds of stalls selling many many curious things! Fancy a yukata for 500¥? Or Japanese pottery? How about handcrafted wood? I bought quite a few bowls and cups here. So pretty. But our super-duper navigator forgot to take photos of what the market looks like, so this was snapped by my humble self at the edge of the market.

Kitano Tenmangu market only open on the 25th of each month
Some pottery that I brought back
We got a little carried away at the market, that we didn't realise about the time and the potential lunch queue. True enough, we went to our lunch spot just across the road from the market at 10:35am where a queue had formed even in this slight drizzle. Drats! The restaurant only opens at 11:00pm! Once the doors opened, the restaurant filled up, leaving behind 7 persons in front of us. Drats!! And we ended up queuing for 1 hour and 10 minutes! But the meal we got was really really worth the wait, even in the rain.
Tofu, tofu and more tofu. You can never believe how nice tofu can taste like. 1150¥ per set

The ball on the top right was oh-so-heavenly

Notice our 2 Ta-Pao packets from the market
Note: The 2 Ta-Pao packets on the table, pay attention to the one on the right. It is actually fried anchovies/ikan bilis but it is not salty at all. In fact, it contains a very natural sweetness that is very very pleasant when eaten with rice. That huge pack costs 500¥ from the market. Elsewhere in Kyoto, it's 1000¥ for half that size. Anyone going to this market, please help me bring 10 packets home!!

Now the story of the day is here. A few doors away from this tofu restaurant, is a place selling pine nut mochi. It supposedly has long queues to get in, and due to the rain, there wasn't any queue at all. We poked our heads in and thought of just ta-pao a few to try. The host asked us how many persons, and since it was raining, so we just said 4 persons, and they showed us to a table. Great, we got out of the rain. Nobody came to us to ask us what we wanted. About 5 minutes later, 4 plates and 4 cups of tea suddenly appeared on our table! I was thinking of saying "No, I only want 2", but I turned to the back and saw 4 persons looking at me. From Grandma, to Dad, to Daughters, all with their gloved hands suspending over open pots, ready to make more mochi. It was obvious that the mochi was freshly made for us, and I just couldn't say no. We were already full to begin with, but how to eat this big plate?? Nevermind loh.. it was really good though!

After eating so much, and since it was raining, we escaped to Takashimaya for more shopping and headed back to our hotel for a quick stop. We decided on trying Tonkatsu for dinner, which was located at the alley next to our hotel. Nothing compared to the one we had in Tokyo. Here's what it looks like

Tonkatsu - deep fried pork
Tonight, we have an exciting trip to yet another night viewing of a temple - Kiyomizudera. A highly photographed place, and our second time there, we were really looking forward to it. Since we have been there before, we knew there was a torturous uphill climb to the top to get in, and a long bus ride home again. Thankfully since we knew how, we walked a different route down, where the bus stop was one stop before the main stop, and we managed to get seats home.

Entrance to Kiyomizudera Temple

The renovation was so In-Your-Face that it would have spoilt the shot during the day. Good thing we went at night

What else to do after a cold and hard walk up and down the hill? Eat again! Do you wonder how many times a day we eat there? Hehehe

Hot Chocolate to end the day

Other posts in this series:
Autumn in Kyoto 2013 - Planned Itinerary
Autumn in Kyoto - Day 1 (22 Nov 2013)
Autumn in Kyoto - Day 2 (23 Nov 2013)
Autumn in Kyoto - Day 3 (24 Nov 2013)
Autumn in Kyoto - Day 4 (25 Nov 2013)
Autumn in Kyoto - Day 5 Final (26 Nov 2013) 


Grace said...

Hello! Your blog posts are really a good read :)

May I check with you, which was the bus stop mentioned where you boarded from Kiyomizudera that was less crowded?

Thank you.

Angie said...

Hi Grace,
Go to and look for Kiyomizu-dera. If you are coming by bus, the bus will stop you at the main road, and you have to walk in either via Matsubara-dori or Gojo-zaka. Since I was staying at Shijo, to get to the temple, I took the bus and stopped near Matsubara-dori. When leaving the temple, I turned left to Gojo-zaka and caught the bus from there. So it all depends on where you are going after that. Happy holiday!