The perfect pot of steaming hot…

…UDON! That’s what I ate during a trip out “hiking” last weekend. At this time of year, everyone goes autumn foliage crazy in Japan – everyone wants to see the momiji or kouyou. We decided to venture to Kibune and Kurama in the north of Kyoto.

It turned out that we were a little too early as most of the leaves were still green:

Kibune is still green

The reddest thing we saw was this fellow – who is actually a tengu, a dangerous mountain and forest spirit. I would definitely run if I bumped into one of these at night.

What a mighty fine nose he has...

We attempted some serious climbing up a very steep path and crazy roots.

Jungle roots
The path was steep....
The view from My Kurama

The views were worth it. But it was just as well we’d manage to find some udon before we went up there. All the restaurants in Kibune were expensive kaiseki places which charged over 3,000円 for a meal, which contained a variety of dishes that we didn’t want to eat.

Fortunately, we were lucky to spot an udon and soba place, where you could sit on little benches outside, spying on the street:

Kibune village
Steaming hot kitsune udon

I got a steaming hot bowl of kitsune udon – that is fried sliced tofu, floating with thick udon noodles in a dashi (fish stock) broth. It was only 500円 and I got myself a shiitake mushroom and processed fish sausage too! (I was more excited about the former than the latter to be honest!) Although I’ve never been too keen on “wet” noodles, it was the perfect dish to warm me up and give me just the right amount of energy for the climb. I discovered after my trip to Fushimi Inari that it’s not a good idea to eat too much if you plan on climbing anything!

Author: Phoebe Amoroso

Phoebe Amoroso is a Tokyo-based reporter, multimedia journalist and storyteller. Hailing from the UK, she moved to Japan in 2014 and has since been shouting about the country to all who will listen. She divides her time between covering breaking news and producing feature stories for TV; writing about everything from business and tech to food and travel; and guiding hungry visitors who want to sample the best of Japanese cuisine. When not working and/or eating, she can often be found running up a mountain or cycling by the sea.

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