My latest article for Inside Kyoto is an exploration of the backstreets and waterways of Fushimi – Kyoto’s famed sake making district. Included in the article are places to taste sake, a boating cruise, a visit to the Teradaya Inn (where Sakamoto Ryoma narrowly escaped assassination), and a Buddhist temple dedicated to a Hindu river deity that happens to have a Hidden Christian lantern!
Here’s a taste,
Fushimi. Say it aloud and the very sound of those soft syllables seems refreshing. This is not inappropriate. The name originally meant “underground water”, and Fushimi is famous for its springs. The water from these underground sources is soft, mellow and is held to be particularly delicious – perfect for sake production. Many sake breweries thrive in this area and Fushimi sake is renowned as the perfect complement for Kyoto cuisine. Historically the waters of Fushimi also made this area an important hub of transport and trade. Here the confluence of three rivers, the Uji, Katsura and Kamo, and an intricate network of canals were put to good use, sending rice, sake and other goods between the cities of Kyoto and Osaka…
Read more here: Exploring Fushimi – Kyoto’s Sake District
Kabuki At Kyoto’s Minamiza Theater
Walking In Gion
UPDATE June 2nd 2014 – Sake Bar Asakura is now BLACKLISTED! I would like to apologize to readers for recommending this bar based on one visit. Though the owner was very pleasant when I went with Michael B. of Kyoto Foodie, on subsequent visits he seemed only too keen to turn me away at the door. From the reports of others (please see the comments below)
it has become clear that Asakura-san really doesn’t want (some?) foreigners to visit his bar. it has become clear that the owner cannot be relied on to serve his customers in a polite fashion. Previously I conjectured that this was because he doesn’t want foreigners to visit his bar, but I have been told this is not the case. Regardless of the reason, I would now recommend NOT visiting this bar unless you wish to be treated very rudely. For a far pleasanter experience Sake Bar Yoramu is still recommended.
Last night, on my way home from A VERY IMPORTANT MEETING (about which I shall reveal more later), I bumped into Kyotofoodie‘s Michael B. (aka Peko) and not having seen each other for a very long time we promptly went for a drink together. Michael introduced me to Sake Bar Asakura and a very pleasant evening of sake tasting ensued. Here is the owner, Asakura-san, a friendly and fluent English speaker, who introduced us to a variety of sakes and told us a little about each one as we tried them out.
Asakura-san and a range of fine tasting nihonshus…
By the end of the evening I think we both agreed that we liked “Yadorigi”, the best. Here we are, the two Michaels; myself cradling the Yadorigi and Michael B. with a bottle of “Kaze no Mori” or the windy woods (that one wasn’t bad either). Just look at how happy and satisfied we are!
Two very happy Michaels.
To read more about Sake Bar Asakura (perhaps more properly named Nihonshu Bar Asakura) and about the varieties of sake (more properly called nihonshu), take a look at Michael’s excellent article on Asakura-san’s bar on his site Open Kyoto.
Related: Sake Bar Yoramu