After spending two relaxing days in Nagoya going barhopping and indulging in some amazing Japanese food, I decided to take the shinkansen to Kyoto for yet another fun two day adventure. Though I’ve been to many temples in Kyoto, such as the Gold Pavilion and the Heart-shaped Temple, I had yet to see Ginkakuji (The Silver Pavilion) in Higashiyama, which is located fairly central in the city. It’s a place that has always been on my bucket list but has had lower priority compared to other places in Kyoto. However, after visiting the temple and strolling through its gardens, I realized it is probably one of my favorite temples in Kyoto. There are actually a lot of places I hold dear to my heart here, which is why I recommend visiting Kyoto multiple times throughtout the seasons.
Here is my latest article on Ginkakuji and my top gourmet recommendations for winter 2023:
Ginkakuji (The Silver Pavilion)
Ginkakuji (The Silver Pavilion), which has the official name “Higashiyama Jishoji”, is more commonly referred to as its proceeding name to serve as comparison to Kinkakuji (The Gold Pavilion). This temple is a popular tourist destination due to its circular gardens (which consist of both sand and moss) and hike up a hill that leads to a beautiful view of Higashiyama. You can also see a figure of a bird on top of the main building if you look close enough. Though the Pavilion itself does not consist of any silver material itself, it is said when the moonlight hits its dark exterior, it gives off a silver glow. If you visit, be sure to stop at the gift shop and try the Ginkakuji chocolates!
Address: 2 Ginkakujicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8402
Entrance Fee: 500 yen
Kiyomizudera Street Food
Two new street food stands I discovered on the path that leads to Kiyomizudera include a fish cake stand and an official Sumikkogurashi sweets and souvenir shop. Fried kamaboko (fish cakes) are pretty standard foods that you’ll find at festival stalls and around temples, but the momiji leaf one is unique to Kyoto. I thought the leaf would give the cakes more of a maple flavor, but it actually tasted pretty normal as far as fish cakes go. If you like baked fish then you definitely need to give kamaboko a try! Just up the hill was a Sumikkogurashi sweets stand so I decided to try the vanilla and strawberry ice cream with an edible cutout of the characters. It was definitely better than average and had a cute flair to it. Kyoto street food never fails to impress.
Suba is a tiny standing soba shop that is steadily gaining popularity with both tourists and locals alike. All of the bowls here contain eye-catching ingredients such as jumbo nameko mushrooms, mussels, and oversized tempura. You have the option to add other toppings such as egg, tempura bits, and chili sauce too. The soba here was so mouthwatering that I actually came here twice during my trip! I am excited to see what other types of seasonal soba they add to their menu in the future. Please note that the entrance to this shop is somewhat hard to find, so look for a sliding door with the tiny word “suba” printed on it to enter!
Address: 182-10 Minoyacho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8015
While looking for Valentine’s Day exclusive menu items, I decided to revisit two cafés that I had previously visited and written about before. The picture on the left is the limited edition year of the rabbit parfait and tea set from Café Cherish, and the picture on the right is a cake from the Valentine’s Day menu from Cocochi Café. The year of the rabbit parfait contained both chocolate, cream, and what tasted like ramune ice cream, so it was not only unique but also delicious! There were many flavors of tea that you could choose from as part of the set. The adorable poodle pastry was made out of whipped cream and had chocolate cream in the middle of it. I thought it was adorable that it was holding a mini piece of chocolate. Both of these cafés change their menu items every month, so be sure to check frequently for new items.
Conveniently, both of these places are walking distance from each other, so you can hit them both in one trip:
Address (Cherish): 4-6 Tojijicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-0956
Address (Cocochi): 4-8 Dojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-0001
The Roots of all evil
While looking for bars near Kyoto Station, I stumbled across one with a hilarious name: The Roots of all evil, most famous for its gin cocktails. This bar is actually located in the bottom of Kyoto Tower and is surrounded by other small indoor shops with food and drinks. Though the menu had quite the list of craft cocktails, I decided to order the most aesthetic and tropical ones since that’s what I was in the mood for! The cocktail on the left is a fruity tropical gin cocktail with coconut bits and edible flowers served in a circular glass. I ordered it mostly for the photo op, but enjoyed how flavorful it was too. The cocktails on the left are apple and citrus flavored, and the yellow one has black pepper on the side of the glass. Sometimes I don’t always like having salt with my drinks, but this time it really complimented the flavor! I highly recommend this place to people who like bars with intimate atmospheres because while no reservations are required, the space is very intimate.
Address: 〒600-8216 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Higashishiokojicho, 721-1 京都タワービル B1F
Nikenchaya is a small teahouse located inside of Kyoto’s Maruyama Park. I actually went to this same park for cherry blossom season last year, but never noticed this teahouse until they added this limited edition strawberry mochi dessert set to their menu. I ordered a drink set with strawberry milk so I could experience the maximum strawberry flavor. The dessert comes with fresh strawberry syrup that you can drizzle on your strawberry mochi and fresh cream. This was the first time I had tried a strawberry dessert so unique so I really enjoyed it! I am curious to see what other seasonal desserts this teahouse adds to its menu.
Address: 〒605-0074 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 605-0073 京都市東山区祇園八坂神社 鳥居内
Kitten Company Café
Kitten Company Café is one of my favorite vegan restaurants in Kyoto due it its adorable cat-themed décor and delicious vegan curry. Last time I was here I ordered curry that had its rice in the shape of a cloud, but I was delighted to see they had a cat design available now too! I like their curry because it’s very light on the stomach compared to other curries I’ve tried. I also bought so Koneko Biscuits to support the business. Walking around the café is fun because in addition to seeing cats, you can also see various symbols and art from around Southeast Asia. Due to the unique variety, I always enjoy the atmosphere of vegan restaurants in Kyoto.
Address: 〒600-8170 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, 五条烏丸西入る上諏訪町294-1
Thank you for reading my article on my latest recommendations in Kyoto! My next article will detail my latest recommendations in Osaka.