Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Food, Glorious Food

Really, there's nothing like clean clothes and an excellent meal to turn your whole day around.

I arrived in Kyoto this afternoon determined to have a good meal, after too many days of eating onigiri from convenience stores. I combed through the LP restaurant suggestions for vegetarian restaurants, and settled on one called Biotei, an organic veg and vegan-friendly place. I arrived to find a small, wooden establishment, up a spiral staircase. It had room for maybe 15 people, including 5 counter spots facing the two cooks in the kitchen for people eating alone, like me. I settled on the vegetarian "dinner set," not even paying much attention to what was actually featured - I was that hungry! First the waitress brought me a hijiki salad with some grated carrot and daikon and then some squash in sesame oil, along with my Ebisu beer - yum! Next came my main dish, egg rolls filled with some potato mixture which the waitress directed me to dip in shoyu with some mustard mixed in. I was in heaven. And everything was brought out in beautiful pottery, and set out on a hand-woven placemat. But wait, there's more! Rice with gomashio, a peppery cabbage soup, another salad, some pickles, and tea! I couldn't even finish.

After dinner, happy, not too hot, I decided to check out the night-time illuminated temple I saw mentioned on the blackboard at my hostel. Evidently, this only happens for about 10 days each summer - perhaps like how the fountains at Versailles are only occasionally turned on, so it seemed worth the trip. LP said to take the 206 bus from Kyoto station - no problem! But they failed to mention that it's a loop route and I of course set off the wrong way. Oh well, call it a night time tour of Kyoto. I arrived at Kiyomizu-Dera on the eastern hills of the city at 9pm, with only a half an hour until closing, but I wasn't the last one rushing up. Unfortunately, my camera just can't capture night-time photos, so I can't show you exactly how magical this temple was. The red main temple buildings were lit up and glowing in the night. The leaves of the maples sparkled. In the distance, the lights of the city twinkled, with Kyoto Tower a beacon over everything else. Near the end of my exploring, I came upon the eponymous "clear water" on which the temple was founded. I joined the line of people catching the water in the (ultraviolet sterilized) dippers and running it over their hands and sipping from it, as one does at all temples.

Ah, so this is Kyoto!

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails