Beer Komachi, Kyoto, Japan

I visited Beer Komachi on my first visit to Kyoto a couple of years ago. I checked the reviews to see if 1) it was still in business, and 2) if the craft beer bar still had good reviews, which it did, so decided to make a second visit.

Beer Komachi is in a small laneway about 20 metres from the western exit of Higashiyama subway station. If you hit a set of street lights you’ve gone too far.

It’s a very small bar, maybe 4m wide and 10m long with a small number of seats along the bar and opposite wall and a couple of small tables towards the back.

Both times I’ve visited there’s been a decent number of people here for the size, but was able to get a seat.

There’s an extensive beer list which changes often – even while you’re sitting there! As one keg of beer runs out they tap a different beer.

I chose a number of local brews which quenched my thirst in the warm summer evening.

The food menu is small but very tasty. Offering dishes such as pork with ginger, which was superb. They aren’t meal sized, more snacks size, so you’ll be getting several different dishes while you work through the beer menu.

Staff are very friendly – happy to chat and talk about the beers.

A great place to visit if you are in Kyoto.

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Yakitori Akiyoshi, Kyoto, Japan

I’d been waiting for my first yakitori, aka barbecue meat on a stick, meal since I’d landed in Japan.

A quick perusal of the usual review websites lead me back towards the area I’d eaten a couple of nights before.

My target was Yakitori Akiyoshi.

The restaurant was already quite busy when I arrived around a quarter past 5 but there were a couple of spare seats at the counter towards which I was pointed.

An English menu was proffered which was good which allowed me to order a vast number of yummy (i.e. no offal!) food.

I was seated in front of the charcoal grill so could see all the action as the chef wove his magic.

Looking back at the bill I managed to demolish the following over about an hour and a half.

  • 5 sticks of beef with leak and onion
  • 5 sticks of pork loin with leak and onion
  • 10 sticks of chicken
  • 5 sticks of pork belly
  • 5 sticks of deep fried green peppers
  • 2 friend chicken drumsticks
  • 4 pints Japanese beer

It wasn’t a cheap night, around ¥4800, but I do think for the quantity and quality of the food it was excellent value.

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Musoshin Gion, Kyoto, Japan

After a morning exploring the temple area to the east of Kyoto, I started walking through the Gion area looking for lunch.

Using Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google I noticed a quite well reviewed ramen restaurant not too far from where I was so decided to give it a try.

It looks like a typical Japanese ramen shop when you enter where a majority of the small number of seats are at the counter behind which is the kitchen. There were probably only a dozen seats or so in total.

There were several seats available when I arrived, so I ordered the eponymous ramen from the ticket vending machine and took a seat.

It took about 5 or so minutes for my ramen to be cooked, and I would have to say that this meal turned out to be one of the best meals I would have in Japan. The soup was just sublime, with a taste that’s making my mouth water just thinking back.

If you are in Kyoto, get to Gion and have a ramen at Musoshin Gion – you will not be disappointed!

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Spicy Masala, Kyoto, Japan

In the morning I’d jumped on a Shinkansen and then a local train to get to Hikone to explore the castle and surrounding area.

It was a hard slog given the temperature and number of steps it took to get upto the castle, but it was worth it.

As I wandered back towards the station to return to Kyoto I was looking out for somewhere to eat but nothing stuck out so I decided to wait until I returned to Kyoto to have lunch.

I chose to take the slower local train back to Kyoto as I was just looking for air conditioning by this stage!

The major train stations in Japan are little cities – full of shopping and places to eat. So I knew I’d get something good.

As I was walking though the station I spied a sign for Spicy Masala, a Japanese Curry Shop. I adored the Japanese curries I had eaten on my previous trips, so decided to head on in.

You don’t order with a human here. When you walk in there’s a ticket vending machine were you choose your dish, pop your money in and you get a ticket and any change back. You then take a seat at the counter, give the ticket to the server and wait.

I ordered a chicken curry which took about 5 minutes to prepare. While I was waiting I saw that the curry sauce came in an industrial sized vacuum sealed bag. Not freshly made in the shop, but it still tasted decent.

Despite the fast food, mass production feel of the meal, it actually tasted pretty good and it was a large serving that definitely filled me up.

But at the price of ¥980 it was probably overpriced based on the price of my ramen meal the previous evening.

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Kairikiya Kawaramachi Sanjo, Kyoto, Japan

It was the end of my first full day in Japan and after the Shinkansen trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, and having checked into my hotel, I was looking for my first real Japanese meal.

I jumped on the subway and headed one station east to Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station near the Kamo River.

The area is full of shops and restaurants so I went exploring the laneways to see what food options I could find.

I eventually settled on a ramen shop on the main drag of Kawaramachi Dori.

As would become the norm for my meals over the next 3 weeks, as soon as I sat down I pointed the photo of the long neck of Japanese beer while I pondered what food to order.

Even though it was hot, damn hot, outside, I ordered a robust Ramen that had excellent strong flavors along with a side dish of fried chicken. The ramen itself was on the large side, so this was a very filling meal!

There was a constant flow of people, mostly Japanese but also the occasional foreigner, due to the quality of the ramen on offer.

For the price you cannot fault the meal. The ramen itself was ¥750, the side dish of fried chicken was ¥270 and the long neck of beer ¥500.

Highly recommended!

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