Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Starting 2009 in Japan

For the first day of 2009 we decided to do our own walking tour of the Gion and Pontocho Street. Forest took the lead and off we went exploring our neighborhood. It's amazing how beautiful the area was! People, many in traditional dress, were still streaming in mass to the shrine so it was good to be walking in the opposite direction.

You know the saying "sometimes the best things in life are free"!

It's always fun to just wander and take it all in. We found a little noodle restaurant and decided to stop for lunch, it is traditional to have noodles on New Years Day to bring you prosperity for the months ahead.

We had to break out the language books (thanks Lauren!) to order as there was no English menu, but we did well and received big bowls of delicious noodles in an amazing broth and a huge tempura prawn on top! We sat crossed legged on the floor slurping noodles and listening to all the others diners slurp too.

Continuing our walk we headed across the Kamogawa River to Pontocho Street. This is an interesting area, originally the red light district and now crammed with restaurants, bars, tea houses, love hotels, etc. The first street is so narrow that you can barely pass people walking side by side, the second a bit wider. It's a very interesting area and I only wish we would have had time to go at night. We did spot a big kareoke parlour...

We had decided that evening to check out the Touzan Bar at the Hyatt Kyoto . Although Dayne makes a mean martini and we had had some delicious Japanese whiskeys we were all jonesing for a nice, well made cocktail and had heard really good things about Touzan. The bartenders were great and after a drink or two we were so happy with everything that we decided to just have some sushi and make ourselves at home for the night. We took a great video of just how much care goes into the making of cocktails! Thanks to the iPhone application of Cocktail DB and our bartenders who were very excited to make different things we had a great night, I highly recommend Touzan!

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