On your second day, as an alternative to Japanese breakfast, try their Western breakfast or a refreshing cold soup like gazpacho or hot mildly spicy Okra and Prawn Thai Soup with Nampler (ask for the seasonal soup of the day).
A great way to start the day and to learn more about Japanese ancient cultures is to immerse yourself with unique experiences offered by KAFU – Wa Experience. One of them, coming highly recommended is KADO or Ikebana, ‘the way of flowers’ with expert Kimiko Yamamoto who was taught in the tradition of Moribana style under her Japanese Master. A tradition dating back to 600 years, she explained the intricated relations between human and nature, the philosophy behind every ‘empty spaces’ and the careful selection of each flower stem. She transports you back in time with her passion of Kado, from Tatebana style (standing flower) to Rikka style (16th century Kyoto), Seika style of the Edo period (18th century) then the Nageire style (Toss-in or Throw-in) to actual 20th century Moribana style which has thirty-eight recognized schools registered at the Kyoto Ikebana Association.
Through her words, you will feel touched and be able to understand the ‘temporary beauty of nature’ while grasping the fundamental rules of Ikebana display.
Another meditative experience, SADO or Tea Ceremony, soothes the mind and stimulate the brains by using pure green tea leaves. For the past 500 years, Buddhist monks have practiced the Wa-Kei-Sei-Jak (Harmony-Respect-Purity-Tranquility), a kind of meditation in movement. With many traditional protocols and manners, Kimiko san who wore a colorful Japanese kimono, prepared a bowl of exquisite green tea in a Zen tatami room, while showing ‘the way to serve it’ in the line of the traditions she had learned since many years. http://kafu.co
To continue the full Japanese delicacies experience, head to Nishinotoin Tea House Motoan located downtown Kyoto near Nijo Castle. A must-try is the delicious Matcha Roll cake or Matcha Baum Kuchen set (¥ 1,200) served with a choice of Matcha, Sensa, Hojicha, Genmaicha tea or Matcha Latte.
This traditional and peaceful tea shop clientele is composed mostly of high-society Japanese ladies who appreciate the tea brews on offer – Marukyu-Koyamaen, a highly reputed local tea brand manufacturer.
For dinner, highly praised by locals is Kushikura, an upscale yakitori restaurant (grilled meat on a stick) housed in a converted machiya house in central Kyoto. Kushikura’s dining space is spread across several rooms on the house ground floor with more private rooms upstairs. The best seats are in the tatami-floored room in the back of the house past a communal counter, offering views of the traditional garden. You can order yakitori sticks a la carte (average about ¥ 150 per stick), but the best way to sample all the rich flavors is to order the Miyako Course (¥ 3,100). The meal includes a seasonal appetizer, chawan-mushi (warm egg custard) with chicken, corn, and daikon (radish) foam, miso soup with rice, Kyoto’s delectable pickled vegetables, and six different types of yakitori. It is highly recommended to reserve as this restaurant is very popular and often fully booked.
Lunch (11:30-2:30pm); Dinner (5pm-10:30pm). Tel. +81(0)75-213-2211 www.fukunaga-tf.com/kushikura