Day 2: A Food & Sake Tour Through Fushimi Market

Day 2: A Food & Sake Tour Through Fushimi Market

Kyōto, Fushimi market guided tour.

Adam

By Adam May 10, 2014

Scheduling a tour on our first day made us get up early and go out exploring sooner than we would have otherwise. We took a food and sake tour of Kyoto with Jason, a local of Fushimi, a town just south of Kyoto. Jason moved to the area after growing up in the Midwest and coming over for college in Tokyo. If you’re looking for an amazing, personal, fun experience in Kyoto, I’d recommend contacting JD Kai Tour and seeing about scheduling one. At $50 a person per tour, this was one of the best values of our trip.

Fushimi Food Tour

This tour took us outside of downtown Kyoto to areas tourists wouldn’t normally go. We tried foods I’d never seen available before in the US, but will seek out in the future. The softer tempura with a cod batter was delicious, as were the fresh sweet potato stuffed pancakes, squash croquettes, fresh sushi, and eel stuffed omelets.

tempura

A 100-year old tempura stand.

croquette

A fried and crispy sweet potato croquette.

Shaving Bonito

Shaving Bonito

A man in Fushimi, Japan shaving a dried bonito into flakes.

Bonito

Bonito

These fried fish are shaved down to make bonito flakes.

pancackes_and_takoyaki

A woman preparing pancakes and takoyaki.

30_watermelon

At 3,000 yen, this watermelon costs about $30.

sampler_plate

A sampling of 5 dishes at a local fish vendor.

sweet_potato_pancake

egg_stuffed_with_eel

sushi_plate

Fresh sashimi at a vendor.

fish_vendor

A fish vendor verifying orders.

pickels

A small variety of the pickles Kyoto is famous for.

tea_sweet_rice

Tea and rice dangos

characters

Fushimi Market characters.

tempura_stand

A tempura stand in Fushimi, Japan.

teahouse_hallway

A hallway of tea shops.

Tea boxes

Tea boxes

These boxes looked a hundred years old.

Kyoto Sake Tour

Following the food tour, we jumped immediately into the sake tour. The Fushimi area has long been a renown center for sake in Japan. It was close to the capital, and served by the springs in the area containing an optimal mineral balance for sake. On our walk over to this tour, we spotted our first cherry blossoms of the season.

Our first stop on the tour was a liquor store where we learned the basics behind the different types of sake. My knowledge of sake was limited to dry vs sweet and filtered vs unfiltered, but Jason went more into depth about the rice milling rate, pasteurized vs unpasteurized and more.

We went to the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, home to a sake distillery founded in 1667. I wouldn’t recommend going to this museum without a guide, as the more interesting bits were in Japanese and would have been lost on us without a guide. Although, you’d still get sake, so it’s not all bad.

Sakura Tree

Sakura Tree

The first cherry blossoms spotted in the wild.

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms

Under Cherry Blossoms

Under Cherry Blossoms

Marilyn and Adam under the cherry blossoms.

Old Cherry Blossom Tree

Old Cherry Blossom Tree

A very old cherry blossom tree at a shrine.

Screenshot from Cherry Blossoms Video

Screenshot from Cherry Blossoms Video

A screenshot.

Sake ball

Sake ball

A ball made from a Japanese Cyprus tree. This indicates that the store sells sake.

Favorite sake

Favorite sake

Our favorite sake was an unfiltered, unpasteurized sake. Its also one of only a few brewed by a woman.

Sake barrels

Sake barrels

Instead of getting a keg for a party, try getting a sake barrel!

Sake sampler

Sake sampler

The last stop on the tour had us sampling 6 more sakes.

Tatami mats

Tatami mats

Tatami mats outside of a small tatami mat crafter.

Liquor store

Liquor store

A look at the liquor store that was our first stop. We tried a few different types of sake and got our first lesson here.

Sake Poster

Sake Poster

Sake poster from the 1910s.

Sake Poster

Sake Poster

Sake poster from the 1910s.

Sampler with tofu

Sampler with tofu

A final sake sampler with a small bite of tofu.

Brewing barrels

Brewing barrels

Old wooden barrels for brewing sake. Imagine trying to get the rice out of those cracks in the boards.

Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

The courtyard of the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

The courtyard of the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

Sakura Sign

Sakura Sign

I wonder what this says.

Museum Host

Museum Host

At the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, we sampled three different types of sake with a very courteous host.

After we finished our sake tour (and picked a sake or two to bring back to our hotel room) we asked JD for some recommendations on what to with the last few hours of daylight. He mentioned that the famous Fushimi Inari temple was on our way back to Kyoto and was worth checking out. We hopped on the subway and made our way over there next.

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