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Kyoto: A Taste of Autumn

When you start feeling chilly in the morning and seeing the leaves change its color, it is time to start preparing for the coming of autumn season. This is also the time when you find notable places in Japan filled with delicious food, attractive sceneries, and blossoming of the arts. As the season changes, our palate starts to change as well. Autumn is also eating season in Japan. During this time, you will discover places and delectable foods offered for visitors and locals to enjoy during the season.

The peak where you will see beautiful and amazing colors of autumn leaves comes in mid-November. However, in Kyoto, it starts in October until December. So many visitors go to Kyoto during autumn to go to Nishiki market.

Nishiki market, also known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” is a narrow, long shopping street with more than a hundred stalls, shops and restaurants lined for customers and visitors. The retail market that specializes in a particular type of food, and almost everything sold at the market is locally produced and procured. Nishiki Market is dubbed as the best traditional food market in the city. Foods offered at Nishiki market are as follows:

Tako Tamago by tjeerd (flickr)

1. Tako Tamago – These are baby octopus seasoned with a sweet soy-based sauce that have quail eggs inside their heads. While eating tiny octopus on sticks may not be common for many people, but these are tasty treats that shouldn’t be missed!
Open: 10:00 – 18:00
Holiday: varies

Photo by dscf2124 (flckr)

2. Karikari Hakase Nishiki Ichib – This is the only takoyaki stall in the Nishiki Ichiba, that sells very cheap takoyakis; their jumbo takoyaki come in a pack of six, for only 190 yen.
Open: Mon to Fri,11:00 – 20:00
Saturday, Sunday, National holiday: 10:30 – 20:00
Holiday: varies3. Hyakusyokuya – This place has a very strict rule and hours of operation. It offers only fresh items. It is very limited to 100 meals a day for 100 people. A numbered ticket system is followed. Reason for doing this is because they do not have a freezer to store the items as they wanted to provide only fresh foods and no chemical seasoning nor additives served to their customers.
Customers can book up to four seats for 1 person and the number system starts as early as 9:30 a.m.
Open: 11:00 – 15:00
Holiday: Tuesday

Photo by hiro-kokoro (flckr)

4. Inoue – Inoue Tsukudaniten is a shop specializing in tsukudani, small pieces of seafood, meat or seaweed cooked in sweetened soy sauce and sweet rice wine. The popular item among tourists is their chocolate croquette that costs 100 yen. You can enjoy the melting chocolate when it is hot.
Open: 9:00 – 18:00
Holiday: Wednesday, first and third Sunday

Photo by clf (flickr)

5. Konnamonja – A stall that offers a wide range of freshly made tofu-based products. A popular item, healthy doughnuts made with soymilk fried right in front of customers. Sometimes, more than 10,000 doughnuts are sold in a single day. Their reasonable prices (250 yen for 10 pieces) also attract people from far and wide.
Open: 10:00 – 19:00

Photos by Chitakachou (flickr)

6. Sengyo Kimura – This stall sells various kinds of fish and seafoods. A small eat-in corner is present in the stall so you can eat your favorite seafoods immediately after you buy them. These sashimi sticks cost only 200 yen per stick.
Open: 8:30 – 18:00
Holiday: Sunday and national holiday

Photo by Chiyuan (flickr)

7. Miki Keiran – A store that offers Dashimaki Japanese-style egg roll, their signature food is loved by a number of customers in Kyoto. This special dish contains quantities of fine broth extracted from sea kelp from Rishiri (Hokkaido) and dried bonito flakes, it is super fluffy and savory.

Open: 9:00 – 18:00

Photo by ishi_st (flickr)

8. Uchida Tsukemono – Famous for its pickled vegetables. Established in 1940, they have been growing their own vegetables by a contracted farmer to produce good quality vegetables.
Senmaizuke (pickled sliced radish) is a quintessential Kyoto pickle eaten in winter that has a sweet and sour taste (630 yen for 120g). These delicious pickles are made from a mixed range of vegetables including cucumbers, radishes, eggplants and mirlitons which are all grown in a rich-fertile field in Suzuka City in Mie Prefecture.
Open: 9:00 – 18:00
Holiday: New Year’s day

9. Kyotamba – An agricultural town, located in the center of Kyoto Prefecture. At the Nishiki market, Yakipon or jumbo chesnuts are popular among the crowds. They enjoy the sweet taste of original chesnuts that is known to be a homegrown product.
Open: 10:00 – 18:00

Autumn is undeniably a wonderful season to visit Japan, whether it’s for the natural scenery, or the traditional culture. We hope you’ll have a chance to experience for yourself the food, arts, and scenery you can only enjoy during this time of the year!

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