Kyou Sagano Chikujian (京 嵯峨野 竹路庵 本店), Kyoto

After a night’s rest we were fully recharged and ready to spend a long day exploring Kyoto starting with Arashiyama area. In order to beat the crowd, we arrived at the area before 9am. We also had another agenda up our sleeves – we needed to complete round 1 of the sightseeing by 11am so that we could join the queue for a popular lunch place in the area!

As one of us joined the queue for the restaurant, another went to buy some handy snacks to fill our stomach as we anticipated at least 2 hours wait before we get to eat lunch.

While on my way to a confectionery shop in the area – 竹路庵, I was attracted to the pretty Ichigo Daifuku from a mobile cart. There were a few types of fillings available and I chose the chocolate daifuku. The whole strawberry was wedged into the mochi and the mochi had really good chewy texture. It was only on hindsight that I realised the cart was operated by the same confectionery shop that I was looking for! The cart is situated a short distance away from their shop.  The cart mainly sells handy snacks for tourists to munch while on-the-go. You would have to go to the shop unit to purchase boxed confectionery items.

My key purpose of visiting the shop was to purchase 2 items on my To-Eat list. First was the Sakura mochi.  This snack is a type of Japanese wagashi (Japanese confectionery) which is often eaten during Spring.

Little did I know that there are in fact 2 types of Sakura mochi – Chōmeiji 長命寺and Dōmyōji 道明寺 until I saw the one sold at 竹路庵. My knowledge of Sakura mochi is limited to the Dōmyōji type, comprised of a sweet pink-colored glutinous rice dough with red bean paste (anko) center rolled into a ball shape and wrapped in a pickled cherry leaf. This type of Sakura mochi originated in the Kansai region. *I managed to try the Dōmyōji type from another store later in my trip and would have a post on it. 

As you could see from the photo above, the one I purchased looked flat and had a dough made from baked flour and water. This is the Chōmeiji type which originated in the Kantō region. I absolutely loved the texture of the dough which resembled soft mochi and I ate the whole wagashi including the leaf. The slightly salty leaf created nice balance in contrast to the sweet red bean fillings sandwiched inside the flour dough. This wagashi is so pretty to look at and great tasting! If you like to eat mochi, I am sure you would fall in love with this sweet snack!

Another key item to try is their Warabi mochi – their signature item. Although it has the word mochi in it, the texture of Warabi mochi is different from the usual sweet Taiwanese type that we eat in Singapore. This confectionery is made from warabi (bracken) starch, warabi being a type of edible fern plant.

There were 3 flavours available – kinako (roasted soybean flour),  kuromitsu (a Japanese sugar syrup, literally “black honey”) and matcha. I bought a box of matcha coated warabi mochi and was informed that this has to be consumed within the same day. Upon first bite, we fell in love with this delightful snack! The warabi mochi has an incredibly chewy, jelly-like texture which is very smooth and melts in your mouth. The matcha powder used was also of very good quality. My first experience with warabi mochi had left such wonderful memory that it had me searching for shops that sells warabi mochi when I return to Singapore.

Photos taken earlier:

Before entering the bamboo grove, we stopped by Kotoimo Honpo 古都芋, strategically located at the entrance to buy a Taiyaki (Japanese fish-shaped pastry) and soft serve. Ordered the 4-layered soft serve with mugi-cha (inside the cone), matcha, houjicha and sencha and after a short walk it started tilting~ Just in time to snap a shot in front of the bamboo grove…

Tip for visitors to the bamboo grove – don’t be too anxious to take photos once you enter the place, move deeper into the forest and you will find even more beautiful scenery such as the above! Loving the greenery and abundance of endorphin in the air here!

Admittedly there was only a few seconds gap where nobody was walking in this frame…we arrived around 9am on a weekday during Sakura season.

Walking along the pathway lined with bamboos, you would pass by the North-gate entrance to Tenryū-ji Temple (an UNESCO world heritage site). The temple is surrounded by a huge garden filled with many different species of plants and flowers. As we visited during Spring and Sakura blooming period, we had a wonderful time admiring the flowers.

Most of the plants are clearly labelled with their names to guide clueless visitors like myself.

We probably spent a good hour exploring the expansive garden. It got pretty crowded by 11am when we were leaving the temple compound as we spotted large groups of tourists flooding in.

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