I really love the Kyoto neighbourhood where I lived in for 3 weeks. It's the area of Demachi. It's a super normal hood, to be honest. No temples, no traditional machiya houses, no major iconic attractions. But I'm realising that this trip was a a strange one for me, by normal tourist standards. I deeply enjoyed living here (as a local would), not traveling here (as a tourist would). So, for future reminiscence's sake, I'm logging down all the places I enjoyed here.
Light Up Coffee Kyoto - the best 3rd wave coffee one can find in Kyoto. OK one of the best (there's Blue Bottle somewhere else in Kyoto), and believe me, I did go around quite a number of different ones. It's become something of a daily ritual to head there for my daily cuppa, before I venture out to see Kyoto. They serve single origin cups here, and it's been great fun tasting each one.
Grand Burger - it doesn't look like much from the outside, and it's located on a quiet street from the main road. But man, they serve a good burger. Brioche buns on juicy beef patty, with bacon, egg and avocado. When I'm feeling like indulging, I come here.
Demachi Futaba - OK this IS iconic. Probably the most famous local shop for mochi. The queues here snake on for a 30-45min wait, but it's so worth it. And I queued more than a few times. You know it's legit when even the locals queue willingly just to buy a few pieces. The sweet red bean filling is smooth and just sweet enough that you don't feel disgust after finishing one. The sticky rice layer is soft and goo-ey. Heaven!
Corner cinema - It's a boutique cinema at the market street of Demachiyanagi Shopping Street. Lovely, compact and artsy. They show international as well as local films, some arthouse, some mainstream. It's just such a special institution in such a unique environment here (an indie cinema in a produce market street?), I feel I have to jot it down. I walked past this so many times, and each time I felt compelled to buy a ticket to watch something. But I didn't. Next time!
Hopping across the Kamo river at 鴨川デルタ - There's big stones here that the city had placed in the river, for people to cross when the water level is low. Every time I turn the corner and see the river, my heart gladdens. I hop across the river, just as the others do. We could just use the bridge, but why walk the boring bridge when we can hop across the river?
Grocery run at Life supermarket - I love the supermarket here. It's a life hub of the hood. It's where everyone stops by, before heading on home. I'd seen politicians setting up camp here with their vans and loudspeakers, catching the neighbourhood as they pass through. Just watching people do what they do fills me with great joy. I'm stocking up on life here just as they stock up on life's essentials.
Cycling through the hood - My host lent me her bicycle and I sometimes cycle around the hood, to get to the supermarket, or some nearby ramen shop for dinner. It's a beautiful way to get around. Kyoto is built for cyclists for sure, but beyond there, the hood is a lovely place to drift leisurely. Quiet, quaint, quintessentially local.
Junction of Imadegawa-dori and Higashioji-dori - everything one needs - local eateries, 7-11, 100yen shops, more local eateries. I found a local eatery here called Matsuya, which ended up being one of my favourite joints. Very few tourists, all locals eat there. And it's great fun just being part of it. After dinner, strolling through the 100yen shop to get any necessities I need. Bliss.