Arashiyama’s Unagi

July 20, 2017

I wanted to eat the famous steak in Arashiyama, but they are closed on Thursdays and guess what day it was? Oh well, I therefore decided to move on and go to the other famous restaurant – the unagi place.

Timeline:

  • 10:40 I was in line. There are more than ten people already in line by the time I got here
  • 10:55 A lady goes out to ask us how many per table
  • 11:12 They allowed us in, and we were immediately seated. Orders are taken as soon as you are ready.
  • 11:25 Unagi was served

I bought the course set, so it was JPY3900. The donburi (unagi on top of rice), medium is JPY2,900. The menu is available online, so you can simply check it out (Unagi Hirokawa). I actually got lost looking for the restaurant, and when I asked people I simply said “unagi”. They already would know what you’re looking for – that’s how famous the place is.

IMG_3369.JPG
Here’s the inside of the place.
and here’s the “garden” that serves as your view when eating.
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Kyoto’s Suicide Forest?

~July 2017

Japanese culture has the good and the ugly, and one that I would consider on the less… positive side is the high suicide rate. It fascinates me – this culture that allows for ending one’s life, when I came from a culture where ending your own life is one of the ultimate sins that will bring you eternal suffering in hell.

Either way. So we were talking about Aokigahara, the infamous suicide forest at the foot of Mt. Fuji. My professor mentioned that Arashiyama’s bamboo forest was also a suicide place, but since it got so famous, the influx of tourists made in unsuitable for suicide. Kind of difficult to kill yourself when so many tourists are passing through, right?

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Tokyo to Kansai Region

For some unexpected reasons, I had to go to Kyoto in July, then Osaka the next week. The easiest solution? A two to three hour ride in the Shinkansen (bullet train). How much is a ride? ~JPY13,000 one way to Kyoto. That’s the end of my plans to ride the Shinkansen. Time to bring the cheap accountant out.

What are my options? Shinkansen, normal train, bus and plane.

  • Shinkansen is JPY13,000 one way, around 2-3 hours.
  • Normal train takes around eight hours, the cheapest I found was JPY9,000.
  • Bus ranges from JPY5,000 to 14,000 depending on the type of bus. The sleeper, high end bus is of course the most expensive. You can do the overnight one, to make the eight-nine hour travel less useless.
  • Plane can be as low as JPY4,000 (Jetstar, Peach, Vanilla) to JPY20,000 (ANA), and less than an hour.
    • However, one should include the travel time to/from the airport and the cost.
    • Based on this, plane rides can only go as low as JPY6,000 and takes around four hours
      • JPY4,000 plane
      • JPY1,000 ticket to Narita
      • JPY1,000 to Osaka from Kansai airport. It’s JPY3,500 from Kansai Airport to Kyoto, though there’s a JPY1,700 option with multiple transfers

It’s a no brainer – it has to be a bus if I’m going to Kyoto, but I have flexibility between flying and using the bus to Osaka.

Willer Bus

I used Willer Bus, and lucked out. They had a sale! I paid JPY5000 for this bus, at probably around 50% discount. The meet up point is about a block away from Kyobashi Station of Ginza line – they do provide a google map accessible link in their email.

I was a bit disappointed with this bus station. It’s clean and good, I was just spoiled with the overall transport system of Japan. 

We left at 21:12ish, then arrived 5:48 the next day.

The entire seat inclines (yes, the entire seat). It’s a decent imitation of a lazy boy. I’ll give it a 7/10 in imitating the lazy boy.

Going back, I took a different bus (because this one is not on sale anymore), and that was a painful trip. The seat reclines a lot, yes, but it’s pretty narrow and, well, basically the pains we had to go through with a normal long bus rides. I don’t wanna go through it again. T.T

So for my Osaka trip, I just booked flights. Maybe next time I’ll still book flights for Kyoto trips, or hopefully, have my company pay for my Shinkansen tickets.

 

Bad, bad tourist

July 20, 2017
I love nature trips. With the increasing people density though, the “nature” part is quickly being contaminated. People like this is aggravates the situation.

In the midst of the beauty of Arashiyama’s famous Togetsu River, he just threw a water bottle. Then he sat down and smoked. Littering and smoking – I don’t know which made me angrier. (If you don’t know much about Japan, note that smoking is only allowed in designated private spaces.)

I wonder where this guys is from. A crazy Japanese or one of those universally considered rude tourists?

Matcha Parfait

July 20, 2017

Arashiyama is all about matcha! Whoa. One of the shops right in front of the Tenryuuji Temple had such a delicious looking matcha parfait on display, and I’m not one to resist temptation…

So off I went, and lookie lookie:

Display picture vs actual dish – the actual dish is actually better! Oh, and I honestly think that the container is honest to goodness bamboo.

And this is the “innards” of that dish. Nomnomnom