Despite what the children think, we have had opportunity to drink sake, but little time to explore it any further. Today we headed out early-ish to check out the Gekkeikan Sake Brewery Museum. Fushimi, in Kyoto is an area where sake has been brewed for hundreds of years, as the quality of the water is very good. The sake museum cost ¥300 for adults (about AU$3.50) and you receive a 180ml bottle of sake with entry, which is super cute and comes with a little cup on the top, for convenient sake drinking….. The museum is full of old tools and barrels and photos and bottles. The building is a beautiful, old cedar brewery, burnt black, with a lovely garden and a continuous soundtrack of men singing sake making work songs. Super Sake Boy and I really enjoyed it…. they had wifi, so the kids managed…..
After leaving the brewery, after a cheeky tasting and a small purchase, we headed back to the station and then to Fushimi Inari. Fushimi Inari Taisha is the mountain temple with all the vermillion tori gates, that is a common subject on travel shows and Instagram. We had all been here before, but felt is was something that was well worth Harper seeing, and is such a lovely area, we were all happy to return. It was drizzling by this stage, the first rain we had really seen since we got here, and so an umbrella purchase was necessary to eat our street temple food in the rain. Harps had an enormous okonimayaki with noodles, the girls had dumplings and yakisoba, SSB and I had corn on the cob, char-grilled with soy sauce (my favourite temple food) and then Ewan and SSB had a pork yakitori and I had some very interesting chicken skin dumplings…. I love gyoza, but can’t eat them because of the wheat, so this was a bit of a treat.
We walked the first two sections of Fushimi Inari. It was busy, despite the rain. It is a beautiful place, even crowded, it has a serenity and a gentleness, the twisted tree roots and the smell of the damp earth. It must be spectacular when no-one is there. Although, I suspect you would have to be there at sunrise to beat the crowds.
Back on the train and into Kyoto Station, to book tickets to Hiroshima for the following day. Then onto another train to Shijo. A brief look around Tokyu Hands…. a cool department store…. but a small one compared to the one in Shinjuku, and then through Nishiki Market. Nishiki was bonkers on a Friday afternoon…. so busy, it was bustling and people were moving at a very slow (and slightly irritating) pace…but we had seen something the last time we were there, that I seriously needed to acquire for a certain somebody’s 50th birthday, that is fast approaching…I made the purchase and we were spilled out into Teramachi like water out of a bursting dam.
Next stop, the Mameshiba Cafe, to purchase the ubiquitous and ever-lusted-after by teenage girls, plushies! When the girls had visited the cafe, there was only one black shiba inu on the shelves and they were bickering like twin toddlers over it. This time there were two, and all was well with the world. Purchase made, and off to find some dinner. Which presented another first for me. At home, SSB often makes hamburg steaki… a kind of Japanese/Western fusion of rice with a hamburger, which is pan-fried and then simmered in a rich red wine and tonkatsu sauce. It is delicious. I had never tried it in Japan, so we gave it a go. The sauce was more a demi-glace and the accompaniment, along with rice, was potato salad (Japanese style- yummy) and corn. Good, but Super Sake Boy’s is definitely superior.
We headed home, another 20,000 steps, or just under, under our belts. A little quiet time and then Lancy had organised for us to have a go at caligraphy. I had tried this last time we were here, but Super Sake Boy had never had the pleasure (pain?) and was keen to try. Both the boys ended up having a try and some other guests from Munich joined in. Caligraphy is very, very difficult. I have written a blog in the past about it, which you can read here.