Konnichiwa from Kyoto, Japan

Soooo I forgot about a delicious part of Taipei… hot pot! This was one of my favorite food experiences. Mainly because you pretty much get to play with your food, haha. You choose which pot you want (seafood, chicken, pork, vegetarian) and they bring out a bowl of raw cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, tofu, blood cake, fish ball, taro, kabocha squash! And a few other things, as well as your protein of choice and udon noodles. Then they start the broth in a, you guessed it, hot pot! You put in what you want to eat first and let it cook in the boiling broth. You get to make a sauce you can dip everything into, too. It was a lot of fun 🙂

hot pot

OK, so back to Japan. We have now left Kyoto and are in Tokyo, so here is our time spent in Kyoto! We got in in the afternoon and checked in first thing. Thankfully Todd got an upgraded room that included a bathroom or else I would have had to shower in the public bath, haha.

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For dinner, we headed to Gion, where we grabbed noodle soup and saw a few Geishas. We didn’t want to take any pictures of them because we thought it might be rude. The next day (Christmas) we started early and hit up Kiyomizu Temple. Then we went to Sanjusangendo Hall- a long wooden temple with 1000 statues inside. We had to take our shoes off and wear slippery slippers to walk through. No pictures allowed inside 🙁

Sanju temple

For lunch we tried our first REAL ramen and it was a million times better than the instant crap. I got a veggie one that had lots of cabbage, onion and mushrooms. Todd got pork and his broth was really good!

Ramen

Njio castle was next up on our list, followed by Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). This was one of both of our favorites. So shiny!

golden pavilion

For dinner we did another first- conveyor belt sushi! Two words- SO. FUN. They make it fresh right in the middle area and you get unlimited green tea to wash it down. We went twice, haha. The first night we racked up 17 plates. I know… that’s an odd number, but as Todd says, baby steps to getting over my OCD, haha. Plus, that equals 36 pieces- one of the plates had 4- so that’s an even number 🙂

conveyor sushi

Throughout the day we got a few treats to celebrate Christmas. Both of these were breads, almost cinnamon roll like, without the gooeyness and with chocolate swirled inside. Yummo.

xmas treats

My favorite treat was this pic my mom sent me of Riley girl. Man we miss her!

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Did I mention that we walked 20.26 miles that day?! Seriously. That’s what our pedometer said. Ridiculous, yet awesome, haha.

20miles

The next day we went to Nara, which I called Narnia because there were deer EVERYWHERE and came right up to you.

deer

We saw the Kofukuji Temple and the Todaiji Temple- the largest wooden building in the world.

nara

For lunch, we were in Osaka- yes, where Kara ran worlds a few years back 🙂 We waited in too long of a line for these egg pancake things called okonomiyaki. They made them on griddles right in front of you. We split one that was a cabbage and egg base with seafood and another that was noodle and cabbage with pork. Each was topped with a fried egg, and your choice of special sauce (almost BBQ like), mayo, mustard and seaweed flakes. You served yourself with a mini spatula- again, points for playing with my food, haha. They were good, but not worth the $25 for both, and not as filling as you’d think. I know it was more about the experience, but still.

pancakes

So far, we have found Japan to be MUCH more expensive and less tourist friendly than Taiwan. I mean, the same 50 cent buns we got in Taiwan cost $2 in Japan. Even coffee is more expensive, I mean, 7-11 (they are everywhere!) costs more than Starbucks at home. The hot pot from the beginning of the post cost $6- we looked at a place tonight and it was $20/person. Japan is definitely more clean though. A lot less scooters (I don’t think I mentioned they were EVERYWHERE in Taiwan), more bikes and expensive cars- think Lexus, Mercedes, Audis. The people seem to know English pretty well, but menus and subway/train stations have little to no translation. We shall see how Tokyo is. Wish us luck, haha!

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