牛カツ京都勝牛 京都駅前店 Gyukatsu Kyoto Katsugyu Kyoto Ekimae @京都 Kyoto, Japan

First meal of the day in Kyoto was 牛ロースカツ膳 Chuck Tail Flap (¥1480) and 牛リブロースカツ膳 Rib Eye Roll (¥1380), with 10% tax, which came with free-flow rice, miso soup and cabbage. This place was definitely tourist-friendly, with its multi-language guide on how to eat 牛カツ Gyukatsu aka beef cutlet. We were quite impressed by the crispy exterior of the cutlets while the inside was medium rare and juicy.

  • Location: 211 Maoyacho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8211, Japan 〒600-8211 京都府京都市下京区真苧屋町211 (Google Maps)
  • Nearest Station: JR Kyoto Station JR 京都駅 (4 min walk)
  • Hrs: 11am – 9pm (Sun-Fri), 11am – 10pm (Sat)
Categories: Food, Japan, Kyoto, Lunch, Travel | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Japan 2015 Itinerary

This was the much anticipated trip of the year!2015-12-09 08.29.29

We started planning for this trip very long ago, with the purchase of SQ Super Sweet Deals tickets. Planning went on and on and it was a pity that hubby was down with sore throat right on the day we were departing. Packed a number of medicine to bring with us and the next 2 weeks turned out to be medicine-full days…

2015-11-28 14.01.41But we were very lucky to be able to see 富士山 Mt Fuji from the plane!

Hubby noticed it first (before the pilots, haha!) and quickly whip out his iPhone to take a picture. Ms V and I unfortunately went to the toilet and missed the first sighting. When we came back, the pilot was announcing that passengers seated on the left could see the magnificent mountain, and we spared no time to get back to our seats and shoot! 🙂

The rest of the journey went on well, and I think it’s partly due to the sighting of 富士山 Mt Fuji!

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雅庵 京都六角 Miyabi-an @Kawaramachi

2015-12-09 17.39.00 So this is our final night in 京都 Kyoto, and we just had to have a feast!

Hubby was looking through a magazine in our hotel and found an advertment that showed a しゃぶしゃぶ 食べ放題 Shabu Shabu Buffet with an affordable price, and so here we are!

This is an 180-years old establishment which has a very elegant Japanese garden at the entrance that instantly gave us a calming and welcoming atmosphere as we walked into the restaurant. We ordered the 上牛と特選豚すきしゃぶ食べ放題 Superior Beef and Special Pork Suki Shabu Buffet (¥3680+8% tax per pax with 10% discount from a coupon in the magazine 🙂 ) where we could enjoy both すきやき Sukiyaki (meat cooked in soy sauce broth) and しゃぶしゃぶ Shabu Shabu (meat cooked in clear broth) in the same pot!

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Pancake Cafe ELK KYOTO @Kawaramachi

We had chanced upon this pancake cafe because of the huge advertisement on its 3D latte art, and we decided that this would be a good resting point after our walk in the nearby Nishiki market.

We were really too full to try any pancakes, so we had カプチーノ Cappuccino, カフェオレCafé Au Lait, and チョコレートミルク Hot Chocolate Milk. Each of the drinks cost ¥680+ (including 3D latte art).

The drinks were just alright, but the latte art were so pretty that we were really careful in sipping our drinks, haha! The staff were also very friendly and helpful, and I managed to request for a less-sweet version of hot chocolate through our very broken Japanese.

We had the sofa seats on the first floor, and chilled for a good hour or so 🙂


  • Location: 595-5 Uraderacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu, Japan 京都府中京区裏寺町595-5
  • Nearest Station: Gion Shijo Station 祇園四条駅
  • Direction: A short 5 minutes walk from the station.
  • Hrs: 9am – 10pm
Categories: Coffee/Tea Break, Kyoto, Travel | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

一蘭ラーメン Ichiran Ramen @Kawaramachi

So I have been wanting to relive the what I call 一蘭 Ichiran experience over again ever since I tried it in 福岡 Fukuoka many years ago. This is a classic とんこつラーメン Tonkotsu ramen shop that started from the 60s and have been dishing out ramen all over Japan over the years 24 hours a day.

The 一蘭 Ichiran experience starts from ordering your noodle and extra ingredients using a  vending machine (or coupon machine). Then you wait in line for the server to assign you a cubicle. Yes you need to dine in a cubicle ALONE. Haha…

Once you are seated in a cubicle, you will face a wooden window where a server will appear from behind and collect your order. This is also the time when you can indicate your choice of thickness of noodle, hotness of sauce etc. Then you wait for the noodle to be served, again through the wooden window. This, my dear friends, is the 一蘭 Ichiran experience! 🙂

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錦市場 Nishiki Market @Kyoto

2015-12-09 12.10.17A first-time trip to 京都 Kyoto would probably be incomplete without paying a visit to 錦市場 Nishiki Market. Despite being a Wednesday, where some shops were closed, there were actually still plenty to see, and it was less crowded too.

We had fun strolling around, just looking at the merchandise, and also snacking along the way. The popular soy doughnut shop was opened, and we got ourselves some Soy Doughnut (¥300). A pity it was not piping hot, but still not bad. It certainly tasted different from the soy doughnut that we had at 嵐山 Arashiyama.

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Day trip to 伏見 Fushimi

2015-12-09 08.29.29 2015-12-09 08.12.35We went to check out the many Torii gates at 伏見稲荷大社 Fushimi Inari in the morning, and we discovered that there were now many more Torii gates compared to our previous visit in 2011, making it an even prettier sight. As we were entering the shrine close to 9am, we saw a few visitors leaving 😮 There were easily at least another 20 visitors making their way up at the same time as us, but most of them were quite quiet and orderly in their movements, so it was a rather pleasant walk. Despite the cold, we soon got warm as we slowly made our way up to the view point. Our journey to and fro the view point was about an hour. We were glad we came early; by the time we made our descent, it became really crowded!

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かつくら・三条本店 Katsukura @Kyoto

2015-12-08 19.21.07Mr J recommended this place to us, and warned us about the long queues at the Kyoto Station outlet, so we were pretty excited when we found the main shop near our hotel! There was a little entrance next to Lipton cafe, and opposite Jeugia, a guitar shop, and we had to walk through a small alley before reaching the restaurant.

We were comparing the English and Japanese menus, and discovered that for the English version, the main pork dishes all come in sets (additional ¥300 for unlimited servings of barley rice), but since we wanted to minimise our carbohydrates intake, we ordered via the Japanese menu instead:

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Day trip to 嵐山 Arashiyama

We travelled to 嵐山 Arashiyama in the morning, to experience the lovely stroll in the bamboo groves. It was an easy walk from the 嵯峨嵐山駅 JR Saga Arashiyama Station, as we basically just followed the crowd.  This meant that there was quite a fair number of people attempting to take photos at the more popular spots within the bamboo groves, including 2 Japanese dressed in kimonos, with an entourage of photographer and assistants, and they attracted plenty of attention from all the tourists! Aside from this, it was a rather serene stroll 🙂 As we walked along, there was also a lone vendor selling pretty postcards.
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我逢人 かっぱ Gahoujin Kappa @Gion

We were done with sight-seeing for the day and were searching for cheaper alternatives near 祇園 Gion area for dinner, before heading home. Ms V found a highly recommended 居酒屋 izakaya, and we decided to go try our luck!

When we peeped in, we saw that the bar counters were fully occupied, but still decided to try enquiring for seats. To our pleasant surprise, there were tables available in another room, away from the smokey bar counters.. Happiness!

It was a traditional tatami room, which meant that we had to take off our shoes, and kneel/sit on the floor. The trio of stiff-legged 外人 gaijins ended up sitting with legs in various positions to avoid leg cramps 😛 The food and atmosphere were good enough that we sat through leg cramps and enjoyed our dinner for 2 hours!

Most of the items were ¥390, excluding tax, and of a small portion, which was good, because we wanted to have a variety. For a total of ¥5610 (~S$65) for 3 persons, we left the place really bloated and happy.


  • Location: 77 Sueyoshi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu 605-0085, Japan 〒605-0085 京都府京都市東山区末吉町77
  • Nearest Station: Gion-Shijo Station 祇園四条駅
  • Direction: Take Exit 7 and walk along 四条通 Shijo Dori. Make a left turn at 大和大路通 Yamato Oji Dori. Turn right at the second junction.
  • Hrs: 6pm – 3am (Tue-Sat), 5pm – 12:30am (Sun)
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