It was time to move on, we jumped on the Shinkansen bullet train two hours south to our next destination, the historic city of Kyoto. Home to thousands of ancient temples, shrines and immaculate gardens, our home for a few days was a traditional Japanese ryokan, the amazing Shiki Juraku. Peaceful, authentic, and perfectly located, we were instantly made to feel at home as we set off to explore the temples of Daigo Ji, Fushimi Inari-Taisha and Higashiyama.
Exquisite cuisine takes centre stage when exploring Japan, and Kyoto was no exception. Located on the Philosopher’s Path near Ginkakuji, Monk is a modest establishment that boasts simple dishes, prepared in a primitive way and cooked on a wood fire. Each morning head chef, Yoshihiro Imai, visits farms tucked in the mountains of Ohara to gather fresh local produce. His cooking is an art, his passion showing through in the taste and presentation of each and every dish. One of our culinary highlights in Japan was Kyoto’s legendary Tempura Matsu. A family run restaurant, head chef Toshio Matsuno is a marvel of innovative Japanese Kaiseki, the two-hour experience features flawless presentation and dishes from tempura to oysters and sashimi, it truly is something everyone should experience at least once.
Our next stop was the picturesque district of Arashiyama, after a short boat ride along the Katsura River we found ourselves at Hoshinoya Kyoto. Set atop a hill on the rivers edge, the breath-taking property boasts traditional Japanese architecture in its finest form and stands harmoniously against the tranquil forest backdrop. When in Kyoto, be sure to explore the iconic Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, take a walk around the streets of Gion and immerse yourself in the sights, scents and tastes of Nishiki Market.