If you have found yourself here you probably like to eat, cook or travel? And if possible combine the three? If you answered yes to either question you may be interested in doing something a little off the regular tourist route when you are in Kyoto town.
The charming Emi Hirayama holds seasonal savoury and wagashi (traditional confectionary) classes in her home and I was lucky to score a spot one of her Spring cuisine classes in April this year.
Including Emi-san there were just four of us in her kitchen, an older American couple and myself and we shared a lovely couple of hours cooking together, learning about seasonal cuisine and the wonders of Kyoto before enjoying a meal around the kitchen table sampling our wares.
Our simple menu consisted of :
Rice with peas and salted sakura (cherry blossom flowers)
Nanohana ( canola greens) with scallops, mustard dressing and sansho
Sauteed Rolled beef and mushrooms with freshly grated wasabi
Marinated grilled fish
Prawn and vegetable kakiage
Seared Nama fu ( wheat gluten) with sweet saikyo miso and fresh kinome (sansho leaves)
It was a lovely experience - not just for the learning and the food but for the chance to step inside someone's Kyoto home. Opportunities are rare for foreign visitors to spend time in a Japanese house - which is a shame as it can really make one feel more connected to the country's culture. I highly recommend Emi san's classes for general foodies and people interested in getting a little deeper with their travel experience.
Here's the link to the cooking school
You can even see a little of my own efforts on her blog!
If you make it to Emi's place please give her my regards and who knows... I might even bump into you there one day!