Hi guys! At the start of August, I spent two weeks in Japan. Whilst I was in Kyoto, I was kindly gifted the Kyoto Food and Drink tour from Japan Wonder Travel.
The Beginning Of The Tour
My tour started at the Daimaru in Kyoto which was super easy to find. I met my tour guide Tatsuya who was so nice and spoke great English. We headed into the basement of the Daimaru and saw some very expensive fruits. Afterwards, we took the short 5-minute walk to Nishiki Market – this is where the real action happens!
Nishiki Market is located in downtown Kyoto and boasts over 100 retailers. The market has been around for over 400 years and I can see why! Whilst it started as a wholesale fish market, it’s shopping opportunities have majorly diversified. Nowadays, You can still find fish (for wholesale and as street food) but the market has grown too. Now it also hosts chopstick shops, non-seafood street food, sweet shops, places to buy Japanese teas. My favourite shop of all though, is the snoopy emporium. Whether you want lunch, souvenirs, cookware, gifts or knives, there is something for everyone! It was time for my Kyoto Food and Drink tour to begin…
On the tour, we sampled some amazing foods! First up on the menu was tofu skin (and a small tofu doughnut gifted to me by the owner). Everything at this stall was tofu and it didn’t disappoint! The texture is interesting but it was cool to try something I’d never tried before, or even heard of!
The second thing we ate was a rice ball, or ‘Omusubi’. I picked the sea kelp filled one however there are various flavours that you can choose from (a really popular one is tuna mayonnaise, especially from a 7/11!). We sat in the back of the restaurant and were brought green tea to drink whilst tasting. I loved the rice ball and ended up eating one from the supermarket almost every day!
We then moved onto something a little closer to home, a fishcake! I actually chose a curry potato and onion flavoured one, so perhaps calling it a fishcake is a bit deceiving. Once again, you can select the ingredients you prefer (assisted by Tatsuya’s personal recommendations!). I think this was my favourite thing on the menu. It tasted so good and was something that had a texture I was more used to!
I was starting to get a little full now, but we still had 3 items on the menu to go. Make sure you have a small breakfast in preparation for the tour! Next up was a Kyoto version of battered fish. I found this part of the tour super interesting. Tatsuya talked me through the history of the Japanese daggertooth pike conger eel fish I was about to eat. The fish was tempura-ed and put on a stick and it tasted pretty good. Quite salty but again, a taste not so far removed from home!
At this point, I was stuffed to the brim full of Kyoto’s best street food yet we still had one more savoury option to go. The final thing we ate at the Nishiki market was a Japanese Omelette. This was the hardest to eat by far as it was pretty soft and so kept breaking up. A Japanese omelette is much fishier and saltier than the ones I’m used to, but the bit I managed to eat was pretty tasty. We also had a chat with the lady who was working at the stall which was interesting.
Our final stop was a dessert place where we had a Matcha-flavoured shaved ice with rice balls and red bean paste. It was about 35°C so it was a nice way to cool down!
Alongside our food route, we made some other stops too. We headed to a kitchen and homeware shop where I purchased a piece of cloth used for Furoshiki (the art of folding a cloth into several useful things, generally used to wrap gifts in). The staff here were so lovely too, and they had a sale on – win: win!
Another little stop we made was to the Nishiki market (Shinto) shrine. This Shrine turned out to be one of my favourites! A place of calm among the hustle and bustle of the market, where students come to pray for good exam results. There is also a statue of a cow (which is said to be the messenger of the god of scholarship). It’s particulararly shiny from the hoards of people patting the statue for good luck! We prayed, patted the cow & I got a go-shuin for my book before we headed back to the busy marketplace.
My overall experience on this tour was 10/10! I couldn’t recommend this tour more. I had a great time and learnt heaps from Tatsuya about Japanese food, culture and history. It’s a great introduction to Kyoto, or Japan and allows you to experience so many authentic Japanese things in just a few hours.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my Kyoto tour! Make sure to check our Japan wonder travel’s website by clicking here, or their instagram here. I had the best time and wholeheartedly recommend Tatsuya and the team as tour guides! If you have any questions about my tour then let me know in the comments! Bye for now.
Want to check out my other Travel content? You can find it here.
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