Kyoto is the prefecture that most people think of when they envision traditional Japan, filled with ancient temples, shrines, and backstreets. With a population of over one million, Kyoto is one of the best examples of a modern metropolis retaining its former traditions and beauty. However, while Kyoto City certainly is stunning, the part of Kyoto that’s along the coastline also has some amazing attractions without the crowds.
In this video, we join Shizuka Anderson and special guest Leina Bambino as they explore this different side of Kyoto Prefecture, the Kyoto by the sea, and try out some of the delicious food there. Kyoto by the sea is the second stop on their Western Japan road trip. Their first stop was Fukui Prefecture, and they will be driving to Hyogo next.
Shizuka and Leina’s first stop is Kakigoya Oyster House in Maizuru, Kyoto, home to some of the plumpest oysters in Japan. Unlike the cultivated oysters people normally eat, this place serves wild oysters, which are more tender than usual. The restaurant steams the oysters right in front of the duo. The result is some extremely soft, juicy oysters that instantly melt in one’s mouth. Even without any condiments, the oysters already are packed with a salty flavor; sprinkle on some pepper and the oysters gain some extra crunch and a hint of spiciness that integrates wonderfully with the natural flavor of the oysters.
Their next stop is Cafe & BB guri in Ine, Kyoto. There, Shizuka opts for a scone sandwich with some rum cream cheese inside, and Leina chooses a piece of strawberry cheesecake. The scone is creamy, buttery, and cheesy, with some rum raisins that give it an extra touch of flavor, forming a rather unique combination of ingredients. On the other hand, Leina’s cheesecake is more simple, but delicious nonetheless. Its smooth flavor is contrasted with the extra kick provided by the strawberries at the bottom. Overall, the cafe offers a warm, cozy atmosphere; the perfect place to sit down and forget about the cold weather in Kyoto.
Ine, Kyoto is also known for Ine fishing village, which is famous for funaya: wooden boathouses along the waterfront. Before going to their final destination of the trip, Shizuka and Leia visit one of those boathouses to take in the beautiful scenery of the ocean.
Shizuka and Leina arrive at Funaya Boathouse Inn (Ine no Funaya) Kagiya, where they will be spending the night. The inn is renovated from a traditional Ine boathouse, adding modernity while maintaining its heritage. Since the inn only accommodates one group of guests at a time, the place is perfect even during a pandemic because people can have the entire house for themselves and practice social distancing.
To kick off their special meal, they first try some local sake, garnished with a lemon peel shaped like a cherry blossom leaf. Then, they tuck into their meal, starting with the buri (yellowtail) sashimi. Having never tried buri sashimi before, the duo is surprised at its creaminess and slightly firm texture.
Next, Shizuka and Leina pull up their sleeves to get ready to make some temakizushi (hand-rolled sushi). They begin by placing sushi rice on the nori (seaweed paper) and then putting on the fish and toppings, which they roll together to make the sushi. The sushi rice has an extra sweetness, perhaps due to the use of Japanese red vinegar.
Finally, the duo gets to try some shabu-shabu buri. Following only two sweeps in the pot, the fish is already cooked, which they then put into a bowl of homemade ponzu sauce. The tender fish meat instantly melts in their mouths and fits beautifully into the other ingredients in the pot. The freshness of the seafood and the detailed preparation are testaments to Ine’s hospitality and the passion its people have for their local food.
Kyoto by the sea might not be the Kyoto that most people envision, but its heartwarming environment and friendly locals have made it a wonderful place to visit. From wild oysters to boathouses, Maizuru and Ine offer experiences that can’t be found in Kyoto City or anywhere else in Japan.