Japan Mar 2011 Day 4 – 知恩院 錦市場
The much-raved wooden gateway. And its more than just a gateway incidentally, there’s a “treasure chamber” on top which holds the “treasures” of this temple. The other interesting thing about this temple is its 7 “unexplained mysteries” 七个不可思议. we were too tired to go round hunting for them and only managed to locate a wooden umbrella stranded under the roof latch of one of the main temples. How did it get there, no one knows…
Chion-in Temple also houses the largest bronze bell in all Japan. And once has to climb a long flight of stairs to access it. 100+ steps in all. And after all that ordeal, we saw the humungous bell, which was… .well…. a bell.
walking northwards, we’d chanced upon the gigantic torii and we knew we’d finally reached our last destination for our walking tour, Hei’an Jingu 平安神宫, a major shinto shrine in Eastern Kyoto. The structure is huge!!!!! All that vermillon brillance against the blue skies, very uplifting sight indeed.
we had to stop to get watered and fed but there aint any eateries in the area. Had to settle for some takeaway bentos from a 7-eleven and I must say they tasted quite decent. this is J’s hamburger steak set which came with a potato croquette and some boiled vegetables.
And I had tori karaage set with pickled vegetables. Microwaved before eating so it was piping hot!
this place is huge… reminds of Meiji Jingu in Shibuya-Harajuku area in Tokyo. But it looks more “lively” since vermillon is the “in” tone here.
despite being really old, it looks really “new” as shinto shrines are generally revamped once in a while unlike buddhist monasteries which look rather dull and drab usually.
we headed northwards to Kyoto Handicraft Center which is just behind Hei’an Jingu. The place is quite dead, without many tourists. In fact, we counted less than 10, including us.
handcrafted Japanese dolls. Japanese people believe that spirits would be make these houses and cause the dolls to come to live, hair grow longer etc… er, let’s not go there.
patchwork wooden balls.
weathered hands hard at intricate work…
frankly speaking, Kyoto Handicraft Center was quite boring. they do serve a rather decent lunch buffet we’d read but we got there too late. having finished our itinerary for the day faster than scheduled time, we decided to “detour” to Nishiki Market. The staff at Kyoto Handicraft Center gave us really good directions and we got to Nishiki easy on bus.
Nishiki Tenmangu is a small shinto shrine located in the heart of Kawaramachi in downtown Kyoto. It is located at the junction of Teramachi dori and Nishikikoji dori and runs westwards.
bronze bull statue at the entrance of the shrine, being repeatedly “molested” by devotees and tourists causing its belly and forehead to shine!
pseudo-bamboo cups for the “cleansing” ritual before entering a shinto shrine. alas they are made of plastic nowadays…
we got back to the main shopping street of Teramachi dori and headed down to the market.
shop with a bohemian swing.
roasted Japanese chestnuts
very pricey though…350g for 1000 yen… and mind you, no discounts for “bulk purchases” i.e. 700g for 2000 Yen and 1050g for 3000 Yen… anal retentive if you ask me…
then there was seafood…
looked like it’s sleeping… lol
fresh scallops and oysters to be shuckled and grilled on the spot.
fresh octopus tentacles.. think tako pachi!
cooked ones… tako
alaskan king crab sold by weight/size.
moving on to another seafood speciality store, we find fresh sea cucumber
fish roe… think mentaiko!
fish milt. ewww…. that’s fish “sperm” for those who are not familiar!
cured fillets of a rather large species. not sure what it is though. quite cheap as well for only 600 yen. but we weren’t too adventurous to try.
another fruit and vegetable store
much more affordable fruits. and they had yuzu, and we didn’t buy it. DAMN!!!!
box of strawberries with a whooping price tag…individual ones at 1280 each… that’s 20 SGD for one freakin’ strawberry!!!!
japanese rice crackers in an assortment of flavours
Steamed Japanese sweet potato which we are all quite familiar with now. Just that the ones we get in Singapore comes from Vietnam and not the “real thing”.
井上 is an old name which has been associatedf with Nishiki Market for a long time. Its very well-known amongst housewives and working mothers for a very wide spread of dishes made in a very homely manner.
many of them are pickled or preserved vegetables while some are fresh but equally delicious eaten cold. A really large section of about 30 different dishes ranging from white radish to lotus root, bamboo shoot, baby yam,etc…
An assortment of soy beans edamame cooked in different ways. Being a housewife in Kyoto, one’s literally spoilt for choices.
more pickled vegetables from another store further into the market.
daikon pickled in so many ways!!! in miso paste, brine etc…
another shop selling an assortment of 薩摩揚げ satsuma age
large variety of surimi-based fish cakes, many of them familiar in oden.
pickled radish and cucumber
look at the carrots!!!
fruit and vegetable stall
parboiled bamboo shoots
assortment of pickled konbu 昆布, kelp
coloured pencils… quite a juxtaposition from the other food stalls in Nishika Market.
And so ends our tour of this place. Didn’t get any yuzu regrettably but we did walk away with some pickled sakura blossoms which I’d used in the sakura roll cake.