After much dilly-dallying in the hotel, we got up at almost 1 pm. It’s barely only four days and we are already feeling the exhaustion.
This is probably because we walk about 7 to 8 kilometres on average every day, something that we would never do in Singapore.
We decided that we would “take it easy” today.
We boarded the Shinkansen to Kyoto which took about 10 minutes. By the time we reached Kyoto, we were already dead hungry.
We decided to get some okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese savoury pancake containing many ingredients such as noodles, meat and eggs in a wheat-flour based batter.
We did not want to go anywhere far, so we decided to get our fix near the Kyoto Station.
Yamamoto Mambo Okonomiyaki, Kyoto
This is a Family-run okonomiyaki restaurant which is located a mere five minutes away from Kyoto Station.
The shop is relatively small, with only three tables. And you had to share the table with other guests as well. Each table comes with a table-top hot-plate as well.
When we arrived, there was already a short queue. The waiting time was about 15 minutes to get into the restaurant.
You can request for an English menu if you want.
The variety was quite small, but with quite a few side-dish options. We ordered the Japanese Noodles (Udon) okonomiyaki as well as Teriyaki grilled squid.
Although the portion was quite small, it costs about 400 Yen, which is ~$5.27 SGD. The squid was not bad though, it is easy to bite, with a good amount of chewiness
The main dish took nearly 20 minutes to prepare, which I think was because there was only one chef preparing the food.
At last, our okonomiyaki arrived!
The restaurant provided mini spatula so that we can cut it down to edible pieces.
Overall, the dish was pretty good and we finished it in no time. The only downside is the portion. If only they served a bigger portion, it would be perfect. The cost of this dish is about 1020 Yen ($13.43 SGD) if I can remember correctly, but it should be around that range.
After our late lunch, we headed to Gion. We took a bus from Kyoto station, which costs 300 yen ($3.95 SGD) one way. Public transportation, especially buses are pretty expensive in Japan. It doesn’t matter where you alight, the fare will always be the same.
The bus took us to Naramonocho, where we had to cross a bridge to get to Gion.
Gion is known as Kyoto’s Geisha district. There are many Geisha parlours where they perform in from of groups of visitors. Gion Corner is a stage where Geishas perform the Kyomai dance.
We actually thought that Geishas roam around freely, and have free public performances. But that was not the case. While we were there, the Gion Corner was closed.
Many locals and some tourists spot the Kimono, a traditional Japanese costume or clothing.
Gion Tatsumi Bridge
This is another popular tourist attraction, great for taking pictures.
I believe if it wasn’t for Covid, this place should pretty crowded. It could be because we came during the slightly off-peak period, where the Sakuras were just about to blossom.
We were craving for desserts for our tea break. A Google search showed us that we were just a few steps away from a popular dessert cafe, which is the Gion Komori.
The cafe adopts a traditional Japanese style, with the seats all being bamboo tatami. Before entering though, you’d have to swap your shoes with the provided slippers.
We were taken to the second floor where we were served.
We orders a Matcha parfait and a plate of Wara Mochi.
The Parfait comes with many layers of different textured and flavoured items, good for someone with a sweet tooth. It also comes with a serving of brown sugar syrup for added sweetness.
If you ever order this, don’t do what we just did. It just slips off. You’re supposed to pour the sauce halfway in, not on top of the ice cream.
Yasaka Shrine, Gion
This will be the last attraction before we call it a day. This shrine is known to many as the Gion Shrine. This temple is usually pretty packed in the Cherry Blossom season, which usually falls in early April.
I’ve taken plenty of pictures, putting my Huawei P20 Pro to the test. It was also marketed for its ability to capture Low Light images.
There were quite a fair bit of people at the temple, even though it was about 6 pm in Japan.
There wasn’t much to do at the temple, it also wasn’t that big compared to that of Nara’s. It was a mere 20-minute stroll around the compound before we left.
I must say that the Huawei fairs decently in low light, considering that my previous iPhones and Samsungs produced grainy and bad images in the dark. Maybe it could be better now. But yeah, it is nowhere close to that of a DSLR or a Mirrorless camera.
Butaya Ton’ichi Kyoto Teramachi
It was already close to 8pm, we were tired and hungry. We took to Google Maps to look for the nearest Tonkatsu restaurant in Kyoto, where it suggested that we try the Butaya Ton’ichi Tonkatsu restaurant.
The restaurant is situated in a mall called the Shinkyogoku Shopping Street Union, with many other retail and F&B outlets.
Upon entering, we chose to sit at the Tonkatsu Bar, where the chefs prepare the Tonkatsu in front of your very eyes. The entire preparation from tenderising the meat, to battering and then frying is visible.
Before serving, they gave us a bamboo mortar to grind the sesame, which is used to make the sesame soy sauce.
I ordered the Pork Cutlet set (I can’t remember which one was it), that came with two big slices. On top of that, there was rice and a decent serving of cabbage salad.
The Pork was crispy on the outside while juicy and tender on the inside. The taste was wonderful. It was undeniably one of the best or if not, the best Tonkatsu I’ve eaten. The rice was chewy and fragrant. Sauces provided complements very well with the meat.
The rice and cabbage was free flow, so big eaters like me don’t have to worry about not being full. Ps. I actually was so full that I did not even need a refill.
The price was relatively decent too. I believe I paid 1,300 Yen (~$17.21 SGD), which is already pretty affordable given the portion and of course, the taste.
If you happen to be in Gion or Kyoto, you will not regret visiting Butaya Ton’ichi.
Verdict: 5/5 – Hands down.