Yakitori Daikichi, Kyoto, Japan

It was my last evening in Kyoto and I wanted to finish off 4 great days with a good meal. As I had had curry for lunch I decided to try to find a Yakatori restaurant that wasn’t too far from my hotel.

The usual review sites were consulted and it turned out there was a reasonable restaurant about 150m away, just across the road.

I crossed the road around 5:15pm, found the shop and proceeded in.

Yakitori Daikichi is quite small, less than a dozen seats all overlooking the grill. I took a seat at one end of the counter.

I was the first person in, and the staff were still prepping but I soon had an English menu and had ordered a Japanese Lager.

Over the next hour or so I ordered a good selection of pork, chicken and vegetable yakitori and a couple more beers. I enjoyed being able to watch my dinner being cooked in front of me, and served seconds after being taken off the flames.

As time progressed the number of people coming in increased. By the time I finished and left around 6:30 all the seats were taken and people were queuing up. This is obviously a good place!

The prices were quite reasonable, the food tasty, and ordering easy for someone who doesn’t speak Japanese. But get there early or face a wait!

Kotokikichaya (Kotaki Tea Shop), Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan

Arashiyama is about 15 minutes by train west of Kyoto.

The area is designated as a Historic Site as well as a Place of Scenic Beauty. You’ve probably seen photos from Arashiyama before showing the world famous Sagano Bamboo Forest.

The day started hot and humid which made the kilometres of walking along with undulating hills an onerous affair. The views made up for the effort.

After completing the circuit through the bamboo forest and walking along the river the clouds closed in down the valley and the heavens opened up. Luckily it was approaching noon so I went looking for somewhere to eat.

As I approached the bridge that goes across the Hozu / Katsura River (yep, the river has a different name on the north side of the river than on the south side!) I spotted a small cafe that was serving lunch. A quick look at the photos on the menu showed Japanese Curry was on the menu, so I headed in.

I was lucky enough to get a seat on the counter that looked out over the bridge. From here I was able to watch the world go past, and people get very, very wet as the rain swept through. I could also pace my meal to ensure that I finished when the rain had finished.

I ordered a tonkatsu curry lunch special (crumbed and fried pork cutlet with rice covered with Japanese curry sauce, some pickles and a cup of miso soup) and a bottle of beer.

My meal was delivered in about 10 minutes and tasted superb – there’s something about Japanese curry sauce that is just so moreish.

I relaxed for around half an hour until the rain had passed and headed out into the main road well fed.

Apparently in Cherry Blossom season this is one of the places to go to.

Great feed, great views.

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.

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.

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!