One of our excursion during out time in Kyoto was to the district of Arashiyama 嵐山. It was a touristy, extremely picturesque destination with a lovely river running between two small mountains. A bridge connects the two sides.
A semi-hidden attraction is the natural bamboo forest. For L and I it took a little bit to find, but along the way you get to walk around the little town and try bits and pieces of food. Particularly I tried the black soy soft serve ice cream. It was indeed very fragrant of soy bean and was definitely one of the more interesting items I ate on this trip.
As for the bamboo forest, it was very serene and awe-inspiring. Although not very big, the tall shoots provided enough cover to fully immerse you into the ambiance. Too bad you weren’t allowed to actually walk through the forest though.
There were of course other things to see too. Through the beginning part of town (where all the gift shops and more expensive restaurants were) there happened to be a presentation of a festival dance. We actually didn’t really know what festival it was, but it was, well, loud and festive. They encouraged the audience to participate in the dance and some did.
As this is predominantly a tourist attraction, there were also “ninjas” (as L and I called them) that you can hire to pull you on a buggy. We saw them at different places actually afterwards…
When it came to lunch time, I was really adamant on finding a homemade tofu restaurant as that seems to be a local delicacy for Kyoto. There were definitely quite a few to choose from, some expensive, some much more reasonable. We found one not far from the bridge on the other side.
Our window seat had a nice view. This wasn’t the main river and bridge though.
I ordered a set that included homemade tofu served in a bamboo bowl. You got a choice between 2 “toppings”- Yuzu-miso or preserved plum. I chose the first one. It also came with some preserved radish and seasonal veggie rice served in a thick broth, topped with a “tofu-leaf”.
The tofu wasn’t as smooth and silky as I imagined it to be but nonetheless it was soft and really tasted fresh artisan…not sure how to explain it really. The yuzu-miso indeed has the aroma and slight tartness of yuzu but at the same time had the familiar taste of miso. An interesting combination indeed that probably won’t be encountered again. Bonito flakes added a necessary savory contrast.
The rice part had some interesting vegetable in it. I really had no idea what it was but I liked it. The thick broth was quite thick, almost gelatinous. I wished the tofu-leaf was bigger though. There really isn’t much else to say about this portion of the set though.
This set was 950Yen which was reasonable, considering it’s located at a tourist area. L and I thoroughly enjoyed the meal plus the scenery and if ever given the chance I will gladly come back.