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Image 1: Kyoto is a city where many tourists visit for its Ryokan (旅館), a traditional Japanese guest house which is usually accompanied by an elaborated dinner.

Image 2: As with any traditional Japanese house, shoes must be removed.

Image 3: On entering, there is a poetic calligraphy translated to "As if returning home".

Image 4: We stayed 1 night at the Old Wing for USD$860 (one night room for two including a kaiseki dinner and an extravagant breakfast for two). This room is almost 200 years old, allowing guests to enjoy the traditional Japanese culture.

Image 5: Tea area

Image 7: A warm greeting by the owner followed by an afternoon tea snack.

Image 9: Traditional bath area

Image 10: We also stayed a night in the New Wing. This modern designed room was more spacious, still preserving the authentic characteristics.

Image 11: This was where we had the kaiseki.

Image 12: Very colourful plating with an aperitif (大吟醸-桃の滴) on the right.

Image 13: A generous portion of sliced abalone with miso egg yolk sauce and bonito flakes.

Image 14: Lightly grilled Aburame (Greenling) topped with Mozuku (a type of seaweed), kogomi (fern sprouts) and edible wild plants.

Image 15: A cute little cup with uni (sea urchin) resting on yuba (tofu skin) with a touch of wasabi and a lily bulb garnish. We could barely taste the uni!

Image 16: Simmered dish consisted of wakame (seaweed) and a fish ball topped with kinome, an aromatic herb that dominated this dish with a slight tongue-tickling sensation!

Image 17: Stuffed with bamboo shoot.

Image 18: Now, onto a beautiful sashimi box served with a vinaigrette and a soy sauce. In the centre was Bonito and a unique frosted looking plant (ficoide glaciale) covered with dots like frozen droplets.

Image 19: The soy sauce was for the sea bream on the left and halfbeak on the right. Disappointing that the sea bream was very chewy!

Image 20: The main dish composed of a beef roll with burdock root and fava beans, whole baby sweetfish (which was rather bitter) with miso, prawn and butterbur wrapped in yuba, and an egg custard with mugwort...

Image 21: ...and inside this cup was an extremely salty pickled baby squid with fish guts.

Image 22: A grilled plate of trout, bamboo shoot, and scallop with melted uni. The trout was dry; the scallop was overcooked; the uni again was tasteless! Well, I guess we became very picky after our meal at Kikunoi Honten!

Image 23: The steamed dish was a minced chicken and carrot ball soaked in a lotus root and pea soup with horsetail.

Image 24: It had a shitake mushroom inside.

Image 25: A deep-fried course before our rice dish. Resting on a crispy tofu was a few Japanese icefish served in a tempura sauce.

Image 26: The rice course came with a umami-rich red miso soup with shimeji mushroom.

Image 27: Rice covered with shredded eggs, prawns, and a tiny piece of Anago (conger eel).

Image 28: Pickled cucumber, eggplant, cherry leaves, and ginger.

Image 29: Orange jelly with strawberry as our final course.

Image 30: Petits-fours and tea.

Image 31: Next morning, we had our breakfast at their common dining area with a no-pillar design.

Image 32: Whoa, a very big breakfast!

Image 33: Some kind of custard

Image 34: Tiny fish

Image 35: Fish eggs

Image 36: Steamed egg

Image 37: Tofu

Image 38: Fish

Image 39: Pickles

Image 40: And a whole pot of rice!

Image 41: If you are looking for a top-notch Japanese cultural experience, this is the place. But if your main focus is food alone, you will definitely be disappointed as there are a lot of better choices in town at this price!

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