Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Japan 2007: Kyoto and Nishiki Food Market

Yasaka shrine in Gion, Kyoto.

Kyoto, for us, was not a massively foodie destination. Rather, it is where my inner tourist was happily unleashed, and we spent hours wandering around various temples, palaces and other buildings. You see, culinary and language matters aside, my main reason for visiting Japan was to see some Japanese architecture up close. In my final semester at uni, last year, I took a subject on Japanese Art and Architecture, which I initially chose just so that I could finish off my degree. However, thanks to an amazing lecturer, it became my favourite subject of the whole course, and I ended up planning my holiday around the different architectural sites that I wanted to see.

I have to say a massive thank-you to Sandra for being the best travel partner possible, and for being so patient with me during our travels. I dragged her far away, on pain-in-the-ass train rides, to tiny little towns, only for me to get super-excited when we finally saw the building in question, and exclaim, 'Oh my god, I can't believe it's Katsura/Ise-jingu/Horyuuji! Check out the cantilever bracket sets! The hip-gable roof! The splice joins! The zenshuyo decorative touches! Can you see it? Can you?!...'

Who would have thought I'd be such an intellectual, eh?

In Kyoto, we mainly lived on convenience-store food, bentohs, bakeries, cheap-and-cheerful Chinese restaurants, and one serious kushi-katsu session.

However, we did enjoy a couple of food-related destinations, the main one being the Nishiki Food Market. Famous in Kyoto for selling a plethora of eye-popping local delicacies, it is similar in structure to the Doguya-Suji Arcade, but selling food rather than cookware.

The street.
Seaweed and fish heads!
Fish, fish, fish, fish.
Radishes!

Gazillions of pickled vegetables. They seem to be covered in a sticky, grainy, light brown substance - possibly white miso? - but I never found out.

Teensy weensy fish, including live ones in the polystyrene boxes at the front. Tiny fish like these seem to end up on kaiseki menus, not unlike the one at Nikko.

Inside the market.

More Kyoto to come!

4 comments:

terry said...

Wow Sarah,
everything looks amazing. Jess, my daughter is doing her placement exams at the mo to see where she will be doing her junior year in Japan, either Tokyo or Kyoto. I will defintely send her a link to your blog so she can get at least some idea of what o expect. Thanks
Tx

Laura said...

Your photos are gorgeous, they make me want to drop everything and head to Japan (perhaps via Germany!)

thanh7580 said...

Those cantilever brackets are very sexy indeed hahaha. The girls in their kimono aren't bad either.

Japan looks so great. I must visit one day. Keep up the great posts so I can live vicariously for now through your blog.

jfox said...

thanks for posting your pics, i'm enjoying your travel-food stories!!