Back in the Floating World, I went to Gion for dinner, and to look at the charming streets of that old entertainment quarter - as well of course as to sample the cherry blossom at night, thus reviving one of last year's pleasant memories:
Setting out, I'd been keen to find some unagi - but I was distracted by a sign outside an Italian restaurant, which promised to bring the freshness of Kyoto's vegetables to Italian cuisine. I was intrigued, and hungry. Inside the tiny little restaurant in the tine little street was a tiny little bar, that would hold about eight people at most. But they did serve very nice food, along with Japanese wine produced just outside Kyoto. First came a selection of hors-d'oeuvres, including a rather good pate. Then spaghetti with vegetables - which really were delicious, though I had finished my first glass by this time and the waiter disappeared for about ten minutes, leaving me a bit dry-mouthed... After that came Kyoto beef with a drizzle of port wine, and finally a sprig of sakura lying on a pillow of tofu, with a sprinkle of matcha tea powder. What could be more quintessentially Italian? It was excellent, though - as you might expect when two of the world's best cuisines meet:
Finally, I went for a late-night stroll (Japan is such a safe place!) where amongst many more modern sights, I had this rather lovely vision of an older Kyoto, down a street of traditional (in all but price) Japanese restaurants....
And that seems a good note on which to leave Kyoto. Osaka next!