May 31, 2019

Kyoto 2019 day 1: Hello Kitty x Hello Kitty

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I'm off to spend a few days in Kyoto with my college roommate MorgChop and his family.  The original plan was to go visit them in Hawaii back a few months ago, but my new job kinda rendered a long trip out of the question.  So we figured we would meet up in Kyoto instead, as he's taking his son on a graduation trip before going off to college.  As I haven't been back in Kyoto for a dozen years, it would be a good opportunity for me to check out some restaurants I haven't been to...

We never expected to catch the right train out of Kansai International Airport, but as we cleared immigration and baggage claim pretty quickly, I realized that we could make a run for it.  So we did, dragging our suitcases as we rushed towards the JR station connected to the airport.  Moments later we had the tickets in hand and were standing on the platform.

Then the Hello Kitty Haruka (ハローキティ はるか) train pulled in to the station - this particular one had the Ori-Tsuru (折り鶴) motif featuring the folded crane.  We were very, very glad that we didn't have to wait another 2½ hours at the airport for the next express train featuring the Hello Kitty design...  Hello Kitty happily boarded the train, and 80 minutes later we arrived at the JR Kyoto Station.

Hello Kitty was hungry and wanted tempura (天ぷら) for our late lunch, so we headed to the branch of Tenichi (天一) inside the JR Kyoto Isetan - right on top of the station. After a quick look at the menu, we chose the seasonal set for May entitled Shirakawa (白川).

First came an amuse bouche in a bowl (小鉢), which was mozuku (モズク) in vinegar.

Then came the main tempura portion, which included two prawns, one fish course, four vegetable items, and a kakiage (かき揚げ) to finish.

Prawns (海老)

Zucchini (ズッキーニ)

Onion (玉ねぎ) - pretty sweet.

Baby corn (ベビーコーン)

Manganji peppers (万願寺唐辛子) - these were stuffed with shrimp paste.

Conger eel (穴子) - taken with curry powder and salt.

Kakiage (かき揚げ) - nice and big ball... very satisfying over rice.


This was, of course, far from the high-end tempura places I have been accustomed to... and it shows clearly in the batter.  But it did the job, and Hello Kitty was happy.

We dragged our luggage westward from the station and checked into our corner suite at the Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto.  We needed to catch up on some sleep before our big dinner tonight.

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