We decided to visit Nishiki Market in the morning instead of Arashiyama because most stalls in the market close at 3pm. It was the same route as yesterday – subway from Shinsaibashi to Umeda then walk to Hankyu Umeda platform.
But instead of the yellow line, we took the green Hankyu Kyoto Line to Karusama and walked to Nishiki Market.
This was the second market of our trip. The first was Kuromon Ichiba. We walked in with great anticipation, especially after a gastronomic experience at Kuromon. First store on the left was 寺子屋本舗 specialising in rice crackers. We tried the soy sauce and seaweed flavours. Very crispy but a tad too salty for me. Next was こんなもんじゃ selling the famous soy milk donut. None of us found it fantastic but for those interested, the store can be found at the end of the first segment of shops, on the left.
Nothing caught our attention along the second segment of shops. Then half-way through the third segment, we were given samples of fruit infused honey drink to try. Some tasted like cough syrup but the blueberry one was good. My friend loved it so much that she bought a bottle of concentrate back. The shop name was 杉養蜂園 or Sugi Bee Garden.
A few shops down was Mikikeiran. Almost every website I googled about Nishiki Market raved about its tamago or Japanese omelette. It may look plain and ordinary in the plastic box but the tamago was moist, flavourful and had just the right sweetness.
Opposite Mikikeiran was Kyoto-Tsukimachian or 京・月待庵. This stall sold beans rice cracker. It’s so addictive that once you start eating you cannot stop. Just look at the picture below. By the time I remembered to take a photo, it’s almost all gone. There were a few varieties. Our favourite was green pea.
And that concluded our visit to Nishiki Market. From start to end, we took only half an hour. Either the novelty of a market has worn off or the food selection didn’t appeal to us. With time to spare, we decided to visit the food hall at Takashimaya, just a few minutes walk away, near Kawaramachi Station where we’ll take the Hankyu train to Arashiyama.
This was now our 6th food hall. Most of the stuff were similar to what we’ve seen in Mitsukoshi, Daimaru, Hankyu and Isetan. Since we were still quite full from snacking at Nishiki, we decided to take away and have a picnic at Arashiyama. We chose food items that we have not tried – sushi wrapped with sponge cake?, chicken chop seasoned with miso and ginger and apple pie from Gramercy New York.
A short train ride and we arrived at Hankyu Arashiyama Station. Refer to the map below. It’s the yellow rectangle on the bottom right.
Instead of following the main path that led to Togetsu-kyo Bridge, we walked towards Arashiyama Park. The weather was beautiful. Perfect for a picnic by the river.
The park wasn’t very big, a few benches and some big boulders which we sat to have our lunch. It was peace and quiet on this side of the river. Opposite was a totally different story.
Train tickets for the Sagano Scenic Railway were sold out for the day when we arrived at Torokko. So it’s true that you need to get the tickets early during the peak season. First part of our plan failed. We moved on to the second, which was to stroll through the bamboo groves. Well, we couldn’t really take a leisurely stroll, not with the throngs of people all wanting to take pictures of the majestic bamboo trees. We simply moved along with the crowd and emerged out into the streets of Arashiyama.
Found a nice place to rest and have a soy bean soft-serve. The shop turned out to be a pretty famous restaurant called Saga Tofu Ine.
Would have loved to wander around the quaint streets of Arashiyama but my girls were tired and bored of the place. So we took the Hankyu train to Umeda, and subway back to Shinsaibashi to check out the Craftholic outlet near our apartment. Unfortunately, it closed on Mondays.
Then we saw the restaurant, Eggs ‘n Things. We remembered there was a line of people waiting to go in this morning. If people were willing to queue in the cold, the food must be good.
It turned out to be a Hawaiian theme restaurant apparently popular for their all day breakfast and pancakes. That explained the morning crowd. We tried their hamburg which was a nice change after days of eating Japanese food and were looking forward to having pancakes for desserts. Sadly, we didn’t. Their portions were surprisingly sizable, maybe because of its American concept, and we were too full after our mains.
It was back to the apartment for an early night because tomorrow’s going to be lots of walking again.
- Visit Arashiyama in the morning. Better chance to get tickets for Sagano Rail and more time to explore the place. But with kids, half a day, preferably morning half, will do.
- Shops and restaurants tend to have a rest day. Check which day it is to avoid wasted trips.