In Kyoto we found one of the best eateries of our trip, plus one of the best attractions, so it seems only right to cover them both together! Starting with the attraction: on a bit of a whim we found ourselves venturing to the outskirts of the city (or so it felt – my geography is not very good to this might be an exaggeration) looking for otagi nenbutsu-ji, a temple with over one thousand little stone statues with varying expressions and poses.
There were so many fun details to spot – we could have spent hours there poring over each one. It’s easy to get templed-out in Kyoto, but this one was unlike anything else we’d seen – it felt as much like art as it did a temple, and it was very entertaining.
There weren’t too many tourists there either as it’s a bit out of the way, so it is well worth a visit. It was our top temple of the trip, and we did see quite a few!
We also ate quite a few bowls of ramen, and probably got the best of the bunch at Engine Ramen in Kyoto! This was a relatively rare instance where we found an omni place with vegan options – veggie gyoza and two different kinds of ramen, all labelled vegan on the menu. It was one of those places that’s fairly common in Japan where you place your order at a vending machine – I was not a fan. They had to have a member of staff standing by at all times to show people how it worked, so I didn’t feel like it even saved time (or saved people the discomfort of human interaction). Still, it’s always nice to pay before you eat so you don’t have to worry about that at the end.
We both ordered the gyozas, and they were very good indeed. Essentially, they were little samosas – they had an excellent pastry exterior, and the filling was really flavoursome.
And we each ordered a different kind of ramen. Mine was the beany ramen, which had an excitingly creamy broth (presumably from blitzed beans). It was the first time we had a properly thick broth, and we were both wild about it! There were some black fungus bits in it as well, which had a great texture and looked suitably dramatic too. This was sensational!
Meanwhile, Dr HH ordered the zingy ramen. He said that it really was zingy, with a good citrus twist. His broth was also quite thick, and really rich with a good spicy kick to it. We agreed that this was even better than the ramen at T’s, which had so far set the standard for great broth.
Amusingly, the ramen came with a disposable paper apron to wear to avoid splashing. We thought we were too classy for this…so we wore our broth splashes with pride!
Is ramen with a thick broth common in your neck of the woods? And have you ever seen such a fun temple as this one?