Kiyomizudera (清水寺), Kyoto (京都) – Beautiful all year round

Recently, I just moved from Yokohama/Tokyo to Osaka for less than a week. I’m still not at all familiar with life in Kansai yet. However, the good thing about being in Osaka is that it is close to many great places in Japan – Kobe, Nara, Kyoto, etc. So many places to explore. All my weekend schedules are now filled. 🙂

This is probably the 7th time I visited Kyoto ever since I came to Japan and this temple is one of places I never miss every time I go – Kiyomizudera (清水寺), one of the most celebrated temples in Kyoto. Kyoto is definitely one of my favorite cities in Japan. It is an old city with so many beautiful temples and  historic places. Everything is just so charming here.

I came to this temple many times in different seasons. First time in winter..then fall, summer and now spring. Summer is not recommended since the sun will burn you like you are on the beach. Spring and fall are probably the best seasons to visit especially fall when the leaves turn yellow and orange. This temple is just magical in so many ways I can never explain. It is huge and the view from the temple is just amazing.

How to get there: Kyoto station -> Bus number 100 or 206 to Gojo-zaka (五条坂) or Kiyomizu-michi (清水道) stop. Each ride is 220 yen so it is recommended to buy 500 yen 1 day bus ticket.

From the bus stop, you can walk up to the temple. Along the way, there are many shops you can buy Japanese souvenirs, snacks, ice cream and others. One thing I always have to buy here is the Kyoto famous snacks- Yatsuhashi (八ツ橋). It is a thin slice of flour..mochi-like snack with stuffed flavor inside. If you don’t want to buy, don’t worry! Go try some they give out for free with a cup of tea. 😉

20130409-090957.jpg

20130409-091005.jpg

I have some of the pictures from my earlier trip to Kiyomizudera in winter and the recent one in spring. Can’t remember where I put other photos from other trips. You can see that this temple is beautiful all year round.

Winter 2010

20130405-224739.jpg

20130405-224745.jpg20130405-224749.jpg

Spring 2013

20130405-224819.jpg

Now in spring, sakura is visible and it goes perfectly with the temple. Just beautiful!

20130405-224826.jpg

(I wanted to sit on this guy’s spot and take a picture! oh well…)

20130405-224838.jpg20130405-224849.jpg

20130405-224905.jpg

20130405-224928.jpg20130405-224940.jpg

20130405-224918.jpg

Eggs ‘n Things – Worth the wait?!

Alright, so…does anybody like American breakfast? Enjoy going out to a breakfast place in the morning for yummy bacon, eggs, pancakes, and crepes?? Well, I am one. I love a American breakfast! When I stayed in the US, my aunt would take me to delicious breakfast places knowing that I love those huge size fresh breakfast with some warm coffee!

My favorites are probably banana pancakes, blueberry crepes, scrambled eggs on toast and so on. In Japan, there aren’t many diners and breakfast places. The one I know and absolutely love is “Bubby’s“. I first discovered it in Yokohama in 2011 on my 21st birthday. I had muffins, pies, pancakes, eggs Benedict, etc (big celebratory meal). Bubby’s is now very famous, especially among expats in Tokyo-Yokohama area. It also has lunch and dinner menu including happy hour as well. Now, there are some other breakfast restaurants that have been trending for a while; one of that is Eggs ‘n Things–  a Hawaiian breakfast all day restaurant. They have opened 3 branches so far. The ones I’ve passed before are the one in Harajuku and Yamashita park, Yokohama. This restaurant is supposedly good judging from some word of mouth and the long lines of people waiting in front.

Today, I went there myself to see if this place can be included in my list of favorite restaurants or not. The weather was very cold and windy today. I went to the branch in Yokohama since it is the closest to my place. It’s located just in front of Yamashita park by the harbor. I took a train and got off at Motomachi-chugakai where the China town is. I saw Marine tower right away after I got off from the subway. For access to the restaurant – click here.

20130104-223633.jpg

20130104-223639.jpg20130104-223645.jpg

I tried to be there early expecting there would be a long line. I went there around 9.30 (the restaurant opens at 9am) and as I thought, I was way too late. There were SO MANY people waiting from the restaurant’s balcony to the streets. Everybody were shaking in the cold. I pulled up my hoodie from my thick black coat and put my gloves on but the wait was still a bit of a torture. The lines moved very slowly and there were only a few people coming out of the restaurants.

20130104-223652.jpg20130104-223627.jpg

I almost gave up but decided to wait since I don’t think I would come here often if the lines are this long. I waited till I got to the balcony which means I would probably be able to get in soon after an hour (10.35 at that time). But then, I looked inside the restaurant and saw so many clean empty tables! Pictures as proof below! I don’t understand why they were not letting people in quicker with many tables and no reservation allowed policy. Imagine people waiting for more than an hour in the cold while there are plenty of seats in there.

20130104-223728.jpg  20130104-223732.jpg

Then, at 10.50 finally I got inside. My hands were frozen so I ordered some cafe latte and eggs Benedict. They have Meat & Eggs, Special ‘n things, omelets, pancakes, waffles, and crepe menus. This restaurant is famous for its pancakes and eggs menu but I found that meat and eggs and omelets menus are probably the ones I can make myself at home. The meats are simple sausages, ham, bacon, or spam and egg menus are not that special either. So, I went for the special menu and picked Eggs Benedict because I didn’t feel much like pancake and sweet things today (usually I do). The pancakes should be very good according to many people especially the famous strawberry whip cream with nuts.

RESTAURANT MENUS

20130104-224027.jpg  20130104-223619.jpg

Eggs Benedict was 1,100 yen and the cafe latte was 550 yen. I would say it was pretty good. I liked spinach, ham, and eggs together with bread and cheese. The potatoes were crispy and good, too. However, to me…it was not worth an hour wait in the cold. Like I said, many of the menus are simple menus you can make at home and the restaurant was inefficient in taking care of customers who are waiting in lines while there are many empty tables. I do love this kind of breakfast, but probably not enough to wait so long with a “just-ok/good” food. I’m not sure about the famous pancakes but as for this time, I think my favorite place is still championed by BUBBY’s with variety of food, amazing taste, great atmosphere, reasonable price, and everything. I also feel like the prices are still a bit expensive for omelet and meat & eggs menu. I think the whole point is that if I have to wait that long for one dish of breakfast and a cup of coffee, I’d rather go for somewhere with all the right combinations of things I look for which are variety, taste, atmosphere, price, time, and service. 🙂

To sum up, I think Egg ‘n things is probably just a craze. I understand that there are not many breakfast places in Japan so it got very popular but  for an hour wait (or more), I don’t think it is worth it. I may go try their pancakes once just to try their supposedly “best menus” but if I ever go back there, it’d probably be spring or summer..not winter again. But for now, I have some other breakfast places to try. Next one is probably another popular pancake place called “Bill’s“- I went to their branch in Harajuku once at 10 AM and they told me I can get in at 2 PM! So I gave up that time but this time, I’ll probably reserve a table at Yokohama branch since they allow that. Also, another place I want to try is J.S. pancake in Lazona mall, Kawasaki.

Enjoy your breakfast, everyone!