Welcome Kyoto

When you are in Kyoto, check out the train station on the night, no seriously, no sarcasm. The place is bloody excellent, it is like a mini city all in itself. There is a shopping area in the lower two floors, lightshow on the stairs, a view of the city, skywalk area, glowing dancing water to music, restaurants. Oh and trains, but who cares about them?

Done a bit of beer hunting, found a brewpub on the outskirts that worked with several universities to try and recreate old styles which was cool, but the main story of recent days has been nihonshuu (sake) hunting.

There’s a sake bar build into the Jam hostel which has an impressive and very reasonably priced range of nihonshuu. The staff are knowledgeable and picked sampling flights for us based on our preferences, and very helpfully, had very good English language skills.

Now some of you who have tried your average supermarket available sake are probably wondering what the deal is. Sake, it’s that clear liquid you heat up and has a vague alcoholic taste, right?


Not here my friends, the vast majority of the liquid was served slightly chilled and the flavours varied from dry and crisp, full textured on the unfiltered, fruity and big bodied, or madeira and fruitcake on an aged version.

I went for the fruity flight and had one which was citrus filled into a grapefruit finish, one that was tangerine and plums, and one that was a mix of pear drops and marzipan. The unfiltered had aniseed and liquorice flavours, and the dry came with light banana notes. This is the good stuff. A flight of three cost between 1000, to 1,200 yen, and even the ten year aged glass came in at a reasonable 700 yen (so, roughly 8 quid for a flight, five quid for the aged). Most sake in restaurants and bars seem nowhere near this good, even in Japan, so if you are in japan, seek out a specialist Sake joint, and get the advantage of local knowledge to find something you will enjoy.

Finally, we rounded out the day in a capsule hotel, very sci fi looking, like a mix between cyber punk dystopia and the game Portal. An odd experience, tucked away in one capsule against many. Heading out to the next destination today. Will update everyone when I next get wi fi.

Capsule Hotel