I still have lots of photos and blog ideas left from my summer 2016 Japan trip so I try to keep blogging about some places I visited slowly but surely. Soon it will be 2017 so I better get more quickly at finishing my posts, haha… In this post I am going to share some pictures from Kyoto`s famous Nishiki Market and talk a little about my Bento box hunting!
Nishiki Market in Kyoto is probably one of the “must see” places I Kyoto and although I visited there already in summer 2015 me and my boyfriend wanted to revisit there on our second trip. Nishiki Market is full of small shops where you can find all kinds of food related things such as seafood, knifes, sweets and different kinds of “Kyoto specialities” like tsukemono (“pickled things”) besides some souvenirs and accessories.
This year my main mission for the Nishiki Market was to taste some uni (sea urchin). After watching Japanese tv-series called “Amachan”, in which both diving and eating sea urchins plays an important part, I had gotten really curious about how uni actually tastes like.
My wish came true and we easily found some raw uni and ended up buying a tiny box of it. I personally liked the flavor (I think) but my boyfriend thought the taste was slightly “sea-water-like” to him and later during our trip we ended up trying a few actual uni dishes and even I had a little mixed feelings about them, haha… It takes a while to get totally used to the taste I guess! I still hope to try unidon (the food they constantly eat in Amachan) one day!
Nishiki Market is a great place to find some traditional kinds of snacks and sweets and getting some food related souvenirs (among other things). I absolutely love Japanese package design and even more affordable products are often very beautiful packed, also in Nishiki Market! I admit buying several products only because I liked the packaging but trying out new things won`t probably do harm, hehe. I have found most of the snacks and sweets really yummy so far!
Nishiki Market has nice atmopshere, interesting possibilities to try out different foods and I like how the place looks like but unfortunately it is often really crowded… Personally I get really tired if I have to spend too much time in crowded places so I try to avoid the busiest times if just possible. I would guess that the best time to visit places like Nishiki Market are normal weekdays and possibly kind of early in the morning.
Last summer one of my shopping goals for the trip was to find myself a cute bento box! In Finland lunch boxes tend to be kind of basic and even a little ugly so compared to that Japan`s lunch box selection seems almost endless.
Seeing cute food and bento by Shirley Wong on instagram always makes me smile and I hope to try out some of her recipes one day. During my trip I also bought a few bento specialized cookbooks from Book Off (a second hand book store chain) so I naturally still needed to find a bento box, haha… During my lunch box hunt I decided to snap some photos of my favourite bento boxes: I photographed mostly cute and colourful boxes but especially Tokyu Hands had also more traditional and simple designs available!
I admit that my criterion for the lunch box was mostly cuteness and not so much the practicality. There were also lots of different designs available from simple, traditional and mature to cute and artsy which made my decision quite difficult!
I noticed that the many of the boxes that appealed to me the most were kind of small: some of them might have been meant for children or then I may be more used to bigger portion sizes, eheh… While looking for my Bento box in Kyoto I visited Han, Bento&co and Tokyu Hands before I found my favourite lunch box.
I think that Tokyu Hands` selection seemed especially diverse and interesting which is handy, because they have stores all around Japan (so you can find them outside of Kyoto too!)!. In the end I fell in love with an oval shaped lunch box they had by AIUEO. I couldn`t resist their charming illustrations and cute pastel shades! I bought two sets of bento boxes featuring the bird character (each set includes three small boxes) and a matching furoshiki.
*pictures shown in this post were taken in June 2016.