This week's theme is Kyoto. Kyoto is one of Japanese treasures with a rich history and sophisticated cultural finess. It was Japan's ancient capital, where emperors and nobles of the past left an irreplacable sense of history.
Kyoto was our sighseeing destination from this trip for two reasons. The last time we were in Japan on a sightseeing trip with five of our friends, the Mogs missed partically all of the Kyoto experience, since he was stuck in the US embassy in nearby Osaka with me renewing my student visa. Since Kyoto is a must-see destination with much historical importance, we decided that we needed to do Kyoto for sure this time around. The other reason was the food.
Kyoto cuisine has been appreciated all over the world and respected for its unique vegetables, delicate seasoning, and tender treatment of ingredients. Kyo-kaiseki is revered as one of the most sophisticated dining experiences in Japan. Kaiseki, a style evolved from tea ceremony, is a carefully orchestrated course meal which emphasizes attentive warmth from the host for the guests. This attentiveness is based on the spirit of ichigo ichie (一期一会), in which each meal is prepared with perfection, as if it were the last chance the host is given to please the guest.
I enjoyed two full kaiseki meals in Kyoto, and I am dedicating this coming week to my experiences with Kyoto cuisine. I also brought back some amazing ingredients from Kyoto, and this week will culminate with a feast I make for my friends, recreating some of the spirit of Kyoto cuisine in my own kitchen.
NOTE: The picture of the very famous Zen garden at Ryoanji temple that you see here is compliments of the Mogs. You can find other pictures by him on his flickr page. He has a ton more nice looking pictures from Japan, so maybe if we all harass him via flickr, he will put them up there for us!