Undiscovered Kyoto

I love finding places off the beaten track.  B and I have been to Kyoto more times than we can count and visited many of it's most well-known shrines and temples, so imagine our delight when we discovered two places that neither of us had ever been to before!

After going to see the cherry blossoms at Heian Jingu it was about lunchtime, so we were on the look out for a place to eat as we walked to Nanzen-ji.   We had just ducked onto a little side street to see if there were any little hidden traditional restaurants when we stumbled upon a tiny little opening in the wall with a sign (in English) for Murin-an.

Murin-an is a charming little garden.  If you're walking from Heian Jingu to Nanzen-ji, or vice versa, it's worth a peek if you have a few minutes and a few hundred yen jingling in your pocket (there is an entrance fee, but I can't remember what it was).  It's surprisingly serene given its location just off the main road, but you definitely have to know where to look for it!  

We had lunch at a restaurant just down the street from the main entrance to Nanzen-ji.  It looked small from the outside, but as we made our way down the path we came to realize that it was actually a quite big place!  

It was a yudofu restaurant.  Yudofu is one of Kyoto's traditional dishes.  It's simmered tofu and vegetables served with a really yummy dipping sauce.  Lines for Kyoto's yudofu restaurants can be quite long.  It was too warm out for yudofu though, haha.

Lunch was very traditional, very Japanese and very Kyoto.  B had the shrimp tempura set and I had the vegetable tempura set.  The tempura was light and crispy, the miso was perfect (in my opinion) and the meal just really hit the spot!

After lunch, we kept walking down the street towards Nanzen-ji.  It wasn't very far at all, but before we made it B wanted to turn right to follow a sign he had seen leading to Konchi-in, a little zen temple.  This was another first for both of us, and a bit of a lucky find, really!  

There were some very friendly (probably more hungry than friendly) koi-carp in the pond!

Konchi-in was very reminiscent of Kennin-ji, but even more quiet and zen.  Definitely treat yourself to a visit while you're at Nanzen-ji! (There is also an entrance fee for Konchi-in, but again I can't remember how much!)

Finding two new-to-us places in Kyoto, and just spending the beautiful spring day wandering around one of my favorite cities in the world was the perfect way to end my time in Japan.  

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