One of our last nights in Kyoto, we were sent on an adventure to find this very special restaurant in a tiny little alley of Kyoto.
Taka is a modern standing bar.
Chef TAKA: Born in Uji, Kyoto. After being trained at Kyoto style Kaiseki, moved to Milano, Italy. While working at NOBU/Armani in Milano for over 10 years and after living in Italy, Australia and Denmark, he returned to Kyoto in 2016. He decided to stay and open a small gastropub to provide fusion dishes and drinks of Italian and Kyoto style Japanese.
This is a must if you are staying in Kyoto. The space is tight, but you feel welcomed immediately. We sat downstairs at the bar, but there is an upstairs and people who were leaving from there were happy and excited to share their good byes and praise to Chef Taka.
Chef Taka is on the left.
This is how they serve Chicken Wings, very cool!
Where to stay in Kyoto:
On the Western side of Kyoto, set along the Hozu River, an authentic Japanese-style experience available at Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto. Beautiful walks surround the hotel. We walk about 7 hours our first day, from the Bamboo Forest then winding up the hills to Shrines, it was drizzly, so we did’t go further, but you can hike up the mountain to see the monkeys or in better weather ride up and down the river, so beautiful, I only wish we had seen it during Cherry Blossom time, we were about two weeks too early. Our plan was to spend two days here relaxing, then heading back to Kyoto town.
Seeing Kyoto: Fushimi Inari Shrine is the first place Natsuko took us. It was on our list of shrines to see, so this was perfect.
Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha) is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari.
The Entrance to the Shrine
Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital’s move to Kyoto in 794.
Walking through thousands of gates.
At the very back of the shrine’s main grounds is the entrance to the torii gate covered hiking trail, which starts with two dense, parallel rows of gates called Senbon Torii (“thousands of torii gates”). The torii gates along the entire trail are donations by individuals and companies, and you will find the donator’s name and the date of the donation inscribed on the back of each gate. The cost starts around 400,000 yen for a small sized gate and increases to over one million yen for a large gate.
Map of the trails
For more information on Japan and all that it has to offer, a great website is japan-guide.com
Getting around Kyoto:
When we got off of the train from Tokyo, with two heavy bags, the person in the taxi line was this adorable little woman. She argued with Steven about who was going to get the heavy bags in the trunk of her car…. she won. On the ride to the hotel, we discovered that her English was great. Wonderful, we asked if we could hire her as our driver and guide… She became a very important part of our travels through Kyoto. Her name is Natsuko. If you need a knowledgeable driver/guide in Kyoto, send me an email.
She is also a bit of a celebrity around town, because she is young, a woman, and speaks English, she has been in a few TV shows, and gets interviewed in the paper for her support of woman in the driver/guide workplace.
You will see her in other posts as we move along.
Eating In Kyoto:
YATA – Restaurant & Upstairs Bar in Gion
We ate here twice we loved it so much, and the staff is wonderful. After dinner go upstairs for an after dinner drink and find the Bartender Okada Yoshitoyo.
Choose your Sake cup
Hokkaido Oysters, from Northern Japan
Turnup with pink peppercorns crispy beacon tangy Japanese dressing… my favorite.
Hamachi Kama “Cheek”
This is one of many Signature Drinks at The Ritz Carlton Kyoto, called “Rosearoma”. So beautiful, it was amazing to watch the process.
Arriving The Ritz Carlton Kyoto