Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Japan Mar 2011 Day 3 – Gion and Depachika Dinner


We took a bus from Arashiyama back to Central Kyoto and boy oh boy was it a long journey. The bus weaved through the numerous streets of Kyoto which we probably won’t have known or visited otherwise. We stopped around Gion-Shijo area and walked down to Hanamikoji 花見小路 for some geisha spotting!


Another one spotted along Hanamikoji 花見小路. Viewers on my flickr album commented that these two are not full-fledged geishas yet but apprentices, maikos, who can be distinguished from their long waist sash obi. While still learning to master the skills need for the trade, they are apparently very famous ones indeed. The maiko above is called Kyouka while the one in the first photo in limegreen kimono is called Fumino. Its a marvel how these folks could recognise theses artistes from just their apparel and headgear! The needlework on these kimonos are so exquisite and needless to say, they are freaking expensive!!!

We didn’t get a face view of them cos they were walking so damn fast! Its amazing how they could do that, especially for Fumino who was wearing very elevated Japanese sandals called zori!!


Handmade  crackers coated with lotsa nuts around Gion. scores very high in crunch and aromatics but not cheap though, at 3 small packets for 1000 Yen.


Statue of Izumo no Okuni 出雲の阿国, the originator of the traditional artform kabuki 歌舞伎, along by the banks of Kamogawa 鸭川 near the entrance of Gion area.


To me, this is also a traditional artform in its own right – pickling vegetables. So many different ways to do it but no two cultures do it the same way. This shop along Shijo-Gion selling pickled vegetables and nothing by pickled vegetables!


These are done by 糠渍 method, which uses a concoction of salt and powdered rice kernel husks!

Dinner from the Depachika of Takashimaya Kyoto.

We walked across Kamogawa to visit Kyoto Takashimaya’s depachika. Depachika is a fusion of two words “depaato” for departmental store and “chika” meaning basement. We love shopping at depachikas more so than the boutique sections as this place is literally a food shopper’s paradise with all sorts of delectable savory and sweet delights being offered! Depachika shopping has become somewhat ritualistic for us, be it at Isetan, Sogo, Tobu, Seibu or Takashimaya. And this was what we brought back!

Dinner from the Depachika of Takashimaya Kyoto.

Snow crab on sale! Half a crab (without carapace cover) went for 880 Yen but we had it at a 300 Yen discount and costs only 580 Yen! Near closing time, stall vendors would go around inspecting the price tags for the items on display and paste round stickers like those above about 1-2 hours before the “expiry date”. One can see lots of “professional” depachika foodies, mainly comprising of ladies who just knocked off or homemakers who specially make the trip for the discounts! They would crowd around the stalls like vultures pacing around their prey ready to make the kill. What speed and dexterity! An eye-opener indeed!!! If you can’t beat them, join them, and before we know it, J and I were much at home with this prancing stance which the depachika foodies were practising!

Dinner from the Depachika of Takashimaya Kyoto.

J’s favorites! Assortment of “agemono” 揚げ物 foodstuff. The usual but delicious croquettes and katsu! Also on discount as the vendors were all too eager to clear them before closing time.

Dinner from the Depachika of Takashimaya Kyoto.

Dinner from the Depachika of Takashimaya Kyoto.

Dinner from the Depachika of Takashimaya Kyoto.

Karaage overkill! Huge chunks of fried chicken marinated in a ginger and soy concoction, still crisp despite long bus ride from downtown kyoto to our hotel in Nijo

Dinner from the Depachika of Takashimaya Kyoto.

Some greens to counter all that carnage!

Dinner from the Depachika of Takashimaya Kyoto.



15 responses

  1. Okay let me get this out of the way. How many more Japan post do you have up your sleeves? I need to mentally prepare myself for future onslaught.

    I like the shots of the maikos from the back. I’m sure you know where is the sexiest bit of a geisha supposed to be… 😀

    May 30, 2011 at 9:50 am

  2. Alan (travellingfoodies)

    hahaha, hope i’m not boring you with these dreary posts! But yes, there are quite a few more coming, especially on the dessert places and patisseries we’d visited!

    And I’m looking forward to more posts on your stint in Hong Kong!

    May 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    • Well, since I’m not here for a holiday I hardly go out but there will be at least another post on Hong Kong. Looking forward to more of your Japanese onslaught. 😀

      May 30, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      • Alan (travellingfoodies)

        and i’ll be looking forward to your posts on Hong Kong! Especially your shopping and eating adventures!

        May 31, 2011 at 11:58 pm

  3. you make me jealous ! I wanna go to japan right now!

    May 31, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      I wanna visit Japan again soon too! But I read that quite a lot of public utilities that require electricity are affected, owing to the Fukushima nuclear plant incident. Escalators in subway stations are turned off, departmental stores and shopping malls practise air-conditioning temperature control, in attempt to bring down electrical energy consumption etc. I salute the Japanese people for their perseverance and strength but at the same time, I’m a creature of comfort, so I’m not sure if I can go through all these like them. :/

      June 1, 2011 at 12:03 am

  4. Hi Alan,
    I really enjoy looking at your pictures taken in Japan. They made me miss Kyoto (my favourite city in Japan) very much. How I wish I could go back there again during the koyo season.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:47 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      me too! the autumn colours are simply breath-taking but unfortunately, that often means the tourist peak period which makes the whole place very crowded with visitors.

      June 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm

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