Saturday, November 18, 2017

Osaka Adventure: Day 8- Kyoto/Nishiki Market and Dotonbori (aka Food Day!)

 OK folks, our trip is winding down, so we need to be selective on what we will do with our limited time here. I'm now the one who is sick, so I couldn't handle things that require a lot of exertion, so we decided on Nishiki Market in Kyoto for our day trip.

If you are a YouTuber, you should check out Simply Dumpling's channel. He featured Nishiki Market, which is why I wanted to go there.  It was crazy packed and the Hilo girl in me came out just a little bit.  I was done being polite when everyone kept pushing me in all directions.  Put my game face on so that I could enjoy the experience that is Nishiki Market.  And boy did we enjoy ourselves!  In preparation, I didn't eat my ususal  musubi breakfast. Instead, I ate my chocolate belgain waffle from the other night.  It was still yummy! 

By the time we got to the market, we were pretty hungry and ready to eat!  I saw a lot of things that I've never seen before. I can't even tell you what those things were!  Here's some that I found interesting...

 We actually bought these shrimp tempura musubis. I think they were in the warmer too long and the shrimp was not crunchy.  The flavor was good, but the soggyness turned me off. I'd pass on this one.

Next  up is the soy donuts!  I think these were good- but you need to eat them fresh. I don't think they'd be as good if it sat around for a bit.  They also sell tofu but we didn't try it.  We only had big bills and had to be selective until we could break a large bill.

 Although it was drizzling that morning, the market is actually covered, so you don't need to worry if its raining.

 Here's another treat Paul wanted to try after watching Simply Dumpling's video.  Its a baby octopus with a quail egg inside its head!  He said it was good and he would eat that again.

Ok this was my favorite food at the market.  These are all those kamaboko/tempura type goodies we saw in Miyajima.  We opted for the quail egg and the potato butter version.  I wish we tried more.  They will also heat it up for you.  Yay!

The quail egg one rocked!!!

I liked the potato one too.  Yum!!!  How come no one sells this back home?

 Then Paul saw this tea stand and wanted to get some omiyage.  They actually grind and roast the tea right there.

While he was buying his tea, I saw this!!  I guess you can't tell how big those shrimp were....  but they were HUGE!  We didn't try them... but maybe next time.

We didn't try this either, but this was featured on the video too. I think you can add booze into your grapefruit too.

Before leaving, I wanted to go to the Snoopy Cafe!  He had a whole store with the cafe upstairs.

They had everything Snoopy!

True story.... I asked Paul to take my picture by this Snoopy and he stands there and poses for me.  LOL!

Here's part of the Snoopy menu.  I'll be straight with you... some of their menu items were a little weird for my taste.

Guess who took home the hand wipes?!

I had the hot milk tea with Snoopy marshmallow.  Cute yah?

We shared the pancake with soy ice cream.  It was pretty good.

Paul had the yuzu lemonade and cookie. I thought the cookie was funny.  So small!

This Snoopy kimono fabric kept catching my eye. They had several types.  Wish I could've bought some!

By then, we were ready to leave.  Paul wanted to go  to find a taiko store in the area, so we decided to say goodbye to Nishiki Market. It was fun!

Just a few steps away, we saw a sign for a tempura bar.  What?! I've always wanted to try but never did find one.  Paul looked at me and asked me if I wanted to have 2nd lunch?  OK!

So this was ridiculously cheap!  Although you could order individual items, we just go the lunch specials.  Paul got the 7 piece for 780 yen and mine was the tendon for the same price.  Whaaaaaaat?  So cheap!  I think my bowl had about as many pieces as his.  Both of ours came with miso soup too. I was so full that I couldn't finish.  Luckily I was with the clean up crew, so he managed to finish what I couldn't.

The surprise best piece was the soft boiled egg!  Whaaaaaat?  Someone back home needs to do this?!

After feeling pretty sick after all that tempura, we decided to walk to the taiko shop.  On the way, I saw this sign.  Why is he so mad?

We found it!  Paul got some goodies to bring home.

Look how big this moon drum is!

After we finished at the Taiko shop, we headed back to Osaka.  The train took us almost all the way home, so we bypassed Kyoto and Osaka station altogether.  We ended up by Don K near our place, so Paul got to go and get some omiyage for his friends.  We then headed back to rest and so I could catch up on my posts.  (I had already had a nap on the train!)

Since were not that hungry after 2 lunches (or so we thought), I suggested we go get my melon pan ice cream for dessert.  So we headed back to Dotonbori for it.  The line was long already, so I waited in line while Paul looked at other stuff.  He decided to order yakisoba from one of the nearby stands while I waited in line.

This sign cracks me up.  Why are they bragging about being the 2nd delicious melon pan? Hmmmm.  Who is the #1?

So there were 5 options... melon pan, melon pan with vanilla ice cream, melon pan with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup, melon pan with green tea ice cream and the deluxe version.  As far as I could tell it looked like it had fruits too?  Not sure.  We just shared the plain vanilla one. 

 The melon pan was warm and the ice cream was cold.  Let me just give you some context.  It was pretty darn cold that night!  But I still managed to eat all the melon pan!  And, I do have to say that the melon pan in Asakusa is still my favorite!  Even without the ice cream!

And now for the highlight of the night.... drum roll please....

Yes, I decided to splurge and get the Kobe Beef Steak at the stand right across from the Melon Pan truck. It looks like this. 

They have less costly items, but I felt like I needed to try the Kobe Beef.  There was no grade indicated as far as I could tell.  Mine is the one in the back. I think the stuff in the front was beef tongue.

So the steak was 2500 yen and served on some grilled onions.  And it was worth every penny!

This is me before finding out how outrageously good that steak was!

Paul was so amazed that he wanted to write a poem about it! LOL!  Earlier we passed by a stand that was serving 5200 yen kobe beef bowls but I passed on it.  I just wasn't sure it would be worth 5200 yen?  But maybe it is?!  Paul was seriously contemplating a side trip to Kobe after eating this steak.

I was still hungry, so I got another tornado potato and what I thought was a karaage chicken skewer but I think it was beef kushikatsu.  It was good too.  It was a really good food day!

Saw this storm drain and finally got a photo of it without everyone stepping all over it.

Did I mention it was cold?!  Yes, it was pretty damn cold last night.  

By that time we were ready for bed.  One more full day and then we leave.

Osaka Adventure Day 7: Kyoto; Arashiyama

Konbanwa!  We're back from our day trip to Kyoto... time is running out so we're still trying to get the "must see and do" stuff in before we depart on Monday.  This trip is going by way too fast now that we are both up and about.  I'm still not 100% so we opted to pass on some sight seeing that seemed strenuous.  More on that for tomorrow's post.

Getting back to what we did yesterday... Paul was finally well enough to make the trek to Kyoto.  We weren't quite sure what we were going to do there since there seems to be a lot to do. We're both not feeling great yet, so we knew we couldn't do it all.  Somehow we managed to do quite a bit- I was exhausted when we came home!  Here's the play by play.

We left a little later to avoid rush hour traffic on the trains.  It was the last day to make use of our rail pass, so we took advantage of it.  We decided to try to do the riverboat cruise in Arashiyama so we headed in that direction from Kyoto Station.  Paul wanted to walk around first before going to the river cruise, so we headed to find the bamboo forest.  Please note,  right next to the station is the station for the "Romantic Train" or "Love Train" as I keep calling it.  Paul said when I call it that it sounds like the Love Hotels, so I better stop calling it that.  I can't help it.  Whenever I think of it that song Love Train plays in my head. LOL!

Anyway... you can also buy your tickets for the riverboat cruise there too.  We didn't get our tickets right away and by the time we got back to buy them, the Love Train was sold out for the day.  Booooo.  Luckily, we could still buy our tickets for the river cruise and get their by regular JR line.  Yay!

Back to what we did... so right outside the love train station they had a couple of kiosks.  Paul got the chestnuts and I got a croissant taiyaki.

Then we made our way to the main tourist area of Arashiyama.  We had read about the Kimono Forest and wanted to check it out.  Neat yah? 

And look who was nearby!?

I found a store that had all of those mobiles that I like so much.  They were kinda expensive though. I don't think I paid that much in Nakamise, but they had more variety here.

On our way to the bamboo forest, we passed the Rilakkuma Store. I wanted to go on the way back, but sadly, we took another route.

OK by now I was getting hungry, so I wanted to eat before we got on the riverboat.  Believe me,  I thought this thing was like those kamaboko sticks we got in Miyajima, but it was nothing like it.  It tasted like imitation crab.  I didn't eat the whole thing.  That was junk.  Paul got some gyoza and that was just OK.

Next up was the bamboo forest.  It was Sugoi!  Not sure why, but blogger doesn't seem to like a lot of my bamboo pictures.  Junk!

So after we explored the bamboo forest (sorry, no pandas were around), we headed back to the station to check if we could get on the love train.  As I explained earlier, that was a bust, but we did get our tickets for the river cruise.  The last boat leaves at 3:30 and it was already 2:00, so we had to hurry!  We caught the JR to where the boat cruise starts and waited for our turn.

The boat itself held about 25 of us plus the crew.  And man, they earned their money.  They basically row, row, rowed us gently down the stream!  It was about 1 hour and 40 minutes and honestly, I was ready to finish after about 1/2 hour.  But I must say it was interesting!  I wish I could understand more Japanese though since the crew was talking a lot about what to look at but we missed out on it.

Every once in awhile there would be some mini rapids.  I think they tried to make it more exciting for us cause Paul caught the guy on video jumping when we went down the rapid.

We got to see some nice foilage during the cruise.

And some waterfalls...

These were some kind of ducks...  We missed getting a photo of the snoopy rock!  Darnit!

The forest reminded us of Stranger Things...

What you can't see is that he's pushing us away from the rocks.

Even Pusheen was enjoying the ride!

At one point we had some company.  The boat that left after us caught up to us! I think they wanted to get off work early.

There's the love train... I guess that's all I'll see of it.  It was cute, we waived at them and they waived at us!  Its an open car train so I'm sure they must've been freezing their butts off.  We were starting to as the sun went down.

Towards the end of the ride, there is a guy on one of the rocks with his camera taking pictures of each boat!  I wish I knew how to order it.  I'm so junk.

And this was the most interesting part to me... at the end, they had this boat pull up next to us and they attached to us and started selling stuff!!!  They had oden, skewers, beer, sake, drinks, snacks... you name it!  People were buying it too! 

Our trip was over.. although I enjoyed it, I was happy to be back on land!

While we were waiting, they showed a video of how they used to tow the boat back up the river.  WHAAAATTTT?  OMG I would feel so bad if they did that!  We were watching to see if they did that along the way but they didn't, so I guess they must have an easier way of getting the boats back. 

I totally thought we were going to be in one of these types of boats with the roof.  I guess its good we didn't cause we wouldn't have been able to see anything.

We had no idea where they dropped us off.  After walking around a bit, we discovered it was the same street that we were on before by the Kimono forest.  Since it was getting dark, we decided to go back to the Kimono Forest since they light up the poles!  Look how pretty it is!

After we saw the lit up forest, we were about ready to leave and find some real food.  It looked like everyone was closing down for the night so we started heading towards the station.  Along the way, we found a katsu sandwhich place.. we broke down and bought a snack to share.  This was right next to the shop and Paul thought he could take a selfie of us.  Ummm... it was a fail!

Try again but no Paul this time.  It reminds me of the hamburger guy on McDonalds.  Or maybe the filet o fish?

Then we hopped on the train back to Kyoto Station.  By then we were hungry, so we found a bunch of restaurants at the station.  We settled on a bowl place, mainly cause there was no line.  The bowl was huge...

My food, not so much. I was still hungry after I finished.

I needed a snack and smelled the Manneken waffles again!  I bought two this time.  One caramel apple and one chocolate to take home.  They were both yummy!

When we got home I immediately crashed out!  I heard a lot of sirens and vaguely remember Paul saying he was heading out to check out the commotion.  When he returned I recalled him saying something about a fire.  The next morning he told me there was like 25 (mini) fire trucks working on the fire a few blocks down!  Scary!  Today we visited Nishiki Market and it was all that! Stay tuned!