Kyoto · Restaurants

Kyoto Blueprint

I’m started to do a little planning for my trip to Japan. My husband and I are travelling with a bunch of students on a very limited budget, which means hostel-like accommodations. Around 22-25 of us in total. In Kyoto, we booked our accommodations at Dormy Inn Premium Kyoto Ekimae . In Tokyo, we are staying at Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro.

Below are some pictures I stole from TripAdvisor of Dormy Inn. I’m not worried I’m going to get sued for using these photos. I can’t even get my own parents to read my blog.

The rooms are small, which is apparently the norm. However, from what I’ve read, these rooms are considered spacious by Japanese standard. Dormy Inn is considered a business hotel, best for those don’t spend a whole lot of time inside their rooms.

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The location is minutes away from Kyota Station. There’s also a Lawson convenience store inside the hotel. Lawson’s is one of several popular chain convenience stores in Japan. Convenience stores in Japan far superior to what we get here in Canada.

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In past visits, my husband enjoyed the delicious ready made sandwiches and onigiri. I remember watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain where he went crazy over the egg sandwiches and his guest loved the ready made fried “Red Chicken“.

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Dormy Inn offers public baths and steam rooms for guests. The bath and steam room are not unisex. You have to wash yourself thoroughly before entering the baths and steam room.

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If you have a tattoo, you have to cover it up. I hope I will be permitted to wear a towel or bathing suit. I don’t want the group of people I’m with to see me naked. Yes, Hitting the Sauce is a prude.

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Dormy Inn has free ramen from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. L thinks it is hilarious that I keep talking about the complimentary ramen. You can buy the ramen from here if you want. I’m trying to find out what’s the best brands of ramen to buy and bring back. Along with a lot of kit kat and other treats.

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I don’t plan on going out of my way to check out any restaurant. I heard it’s difficult to find restaurants because places are hidden, around the train, on the 14th floor, in the basement, etc.  I took a look at the nearby restaurants on Tripadvisor to find some potential places to use as a guide. I have a feeling I won’t be going to all the places I found because I actually prefer just to walk around and find a place based on the vibe, queue (long but not too long) and if locals are eating there.

For okonomyaki, I found Donguri Shijokarasuma. You have to pre-order at the vending machine which is outside the restaurant.

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Okonomyaki is like a savoury pancake. The batter consists of seafood or meats and vegetables like cabbage, green onions, onions. The top is drizzled with high fat sauces like Japanese mayonnaise and a salty brown sauce. You can get fried yakisoba noodles too, which are put underneath the pancake.

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Other nearby okonomyaki restaurants include: Okonomiyaki Katsu, Okonomiyaki Machiya and Donguri Shijokarasuma. Okonomiyaki Katsu (see image above) is the top rated restaurant in Kyoto on Tripadvisor.

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I’m keen to try conveyor belt sushi. One restaurant by our hotel is Sushi no Musashi, by the JR Kyoto Station 8 entrance. For this trip, because the whole language and finding my way around will be challenging, I’m going to try and remember what each place looks like so I’ll recognize it when I see it.

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Sushi no Musashi was a place recommended on Tripadvisor for the price and close proximity to our hotel. The wait isn’t horrendously long either. The picture below is the best of the bunch that was posted. The rest of the pictures of rolls and nigiri look sloppy.

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The second sushi train restaurant that’s close to our hotel is Musashi Sushi.  This restaurant gets higher reviews and the fish is suppose to be good quality for the price. I’ll remember the white sign with lanterns and the piece of green material.
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Based on the pictures, Musashi Sushi looks superior to Sushi no Musashi.  If I had the choice, I’d pick Musashi. The interior looks more orderly as well. The sushi looks neater and more elegant. I like the little garnishes and ingredients too.
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In central Kyoto, I want to try Chao Chao Sanjo Kiyamachi for gyoza and draft beer. There’s always a wait for this 20-seat room. However, this place is considered touristy.

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The gyoza is made right in front of you. The shrimp and chicken wasabi pan-fried dumplings appear to be popular choices. L told me that there are lots of stands that grill food for you, by the trains and other nooks in the city.

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Located in Nishiki Market, in alley is Ramen Sen No Kaze. Word is to come before 7PM, as this family-run establishment runs out of ramen. The best time to visit for dinner is around 5:00pm. Otherwise, expect to wait between one to two hours.

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For about $20 Canadian, you can opt for a ramen, coleslaw, five gyozas and a beer. Best to look for black ramen signage that states No.1 ramen in Kyoto and the word. I thought the Japanese were suppose to be modest or humble? Well, if you got it, flaunt it I guess.screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-6-45-07-pm

Another ramen joint I want to check out is Ippudo Nishikikoji in the Shkinyogoku Shopping District. This chain restaurant has a long line-up but apparently it moves fast.

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For a regular ramen and a beer, expect to pay about $20.00 Canadian. The gyoza here is suppose to be tasty. There are options for vegetarians too. Cash only.

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Open 21 hours of the day – Kyoto Takabashi Honke Daiichiashi. This place is really close to our hotel. Pork based broth with some travellers complaining the ramen is more Chinese style than Japanese.

If you know of any good places to eat in Kyoto, let me know. I’m counting down the days until I’m noshing on ramen, egg sandwiches, and red nuggets.

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