This is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start at the very beginning, click here.
We had spent the whole day in Nara, it already past 5pm and getting dark. Our plan was to walk back to the station, take the train back to Kyoto and have dinner in Kyoto Station. There are a few floors of great restaurants there that had been recommended by friends.
However, on the walk back to the station, we passed by this restaurant. Earlier in the day, when we were passing in the other direction, we noted the queue was doubly long. Now in the evening, there were considerably less people waiting, but still a queue. We took a look at the menu on display, they served unagi and chicken and rice in a hot pot.
It seems interesting, we were more curious as to why the restaurant was insanely popular. Since the queue was not as long as earlier, we joined in.
After less than 30 minutes, we were seated. Inside was a small dining area – maybe about 5 tables plus a few counter seats. No wonder the queue was long.
Turns out this place (called Shizuka) serves a cuisine called Kamameshi. It is basically chicken or unagi served with piping hot steamed rice. The rice is served in a small steep pot to retain the heat. The rice is steamed with soy sauce so its a bit like our claypot rice.
I ordered the unagi set, and the verdict? Wow, the meal was delicious. The unagi was soft and melts in your mouth. I didn’t think I’d taste a better unagi (until I went to Arashiyama 3 days later…) but the rice itself was also delicious. You’re supposed to cover the pot after you scoop the rice out, to keep the heat in.
After dinner we retraced our steps earlier in the morning back to train station. We saw a shop selling this speciality – sushi wrapped in leaves. This is one of the must-try items in Nara, but we didn’t get the opportunity. Maybe another time.
Right next to the train station is a shopping street, serves for your last minutes shopping in Nara. There’s a Daiso here where you can grab lots of great stuff for JPY 100.
So how did we find Nara? We thoroughly enjoyed it here. It was one of the highlights of our trip in Japan. Most people do a half day trip from Kyoto or Osaka, but I suggest taking your time for a full day trip.
Next – Kiyomizu dera!