When visiting Japan, it is highly recommended to visit regions outside of Tokyo. Kyoto was high on my list, so my friends and I took a 2-hour train and stayed several days in the area. Kyoto, unlike Tokyo, is more historic with older homes and even older residents. In my opinion, the food in Kyoto was slightly better in quality than the dishes I've had in Tokyo. Even the snacks at 711 in Kyoto tasted better than the same ones served in Tokyo's 711s. One of the must-see places includes Kiyomizudera.
The path leading up to the temple is full of restaurants and shops. The entire feel of the walkway is old school Japan.
Find an udon restaurant at the start of the walkway. Fresh noodles are served with a dipping sauce and various toppings such as sesame seeds, steamed sweet potato, green onions, and mushrooms. I had my udon with perfectly fried tempura.
If you're feeling extra hungry, opt for the sushi set or vegetarian sets. You will quickly notice that Kyoto prepares their sushi differently than Tokyo. Since the fish isn't as fresh as the ones found in Tsukiji market, it is first salted to preserve the quality. Although I didn't try the sushi this time, it's on my list for my next visit.
On to the temple!
It costs only 300 yen to enter the Kiyomizudera, which in my opinion, is well worth the fee to see the most architecturally sound temple in Japan. Not only do you get to see it, but you get to also enter the temple, always a plus in my book.
Walk across the bridge and see Kiyomizudera in a different view.
If you have time, make sure to also check out Inari Shrine.
It's quite a hike if you want to get to the top so if you're looking for just a quick picture, walk up to the first post, snap your camera and head back down to the vendors. The best snack at Inari Shrine? The fried chicken. One portion is 500 yen and worth every penny.
On the way back to the subway, check out the udon restaurant with a cat picture outside. Unlike other restaurants, this eatery makes their udon with 2 different flours and pressure cooks them until soft. I ordered the udon and egg bowl (tamagodon) combo, both equally delicious. New goal: learn how to make udon broth.
Check out the rest of "A Taste of Japan" series:
Part 1: Tsukiji Market
Part 2: Sushi Dai
Part 3: Tokyo
Part 4: Kikunoi Akasaka
Part 6: Kyoto Pt 2
Part 7: Osaka Eats
Part 8: Exploring Osaka
Part 9: Kikunoi Ryotei