After checking into the Ace Hotel, I tried to relax for a bit before starting on dinner plans. Yeah, that was a joke. I rested a few minutes before getting started on their recommended list of nearby sushi restaurants. None of them really spoke to me. One I called – but they were fully booked. Another I looked at was closed for the evening.
After a few more minutes of calling and researching, I found a reservation available close to the hotel, at Shigetomi. With a quick call, a reservation was confirmed.
Getting to the restaurant was easy. The taxi ride to the Kyoto Imperial Palace area was quick. Within moments, we were whisked into the restaurant. Shoes were off and we sat at the place arranged for us, at the sushi bar.
This was a true, authentic AF, “I’m literally having sushi in Japan” experience.
I ordered a glass of the Daiginjo style Kirakucho brand of 2021 Junmaiginjo Wakanae sake. When the bottle came out, it was impressive and huge. My sake cup overflowed with wishes of good luck and prosperity.
Soon, the ordering began. We pointed from the English menu and our extremely kind server gave our directions to the chef. After an appetizer of soybeans and a small pour of soy sauce, we were ready.
Sushi was presented in front of us, straight on the counter.
Toro (fatty tuna)
Tai (red snapper)
Aji (horse mackerel)
Maguro again (Tuna)
Plum and Shisho leaf roll
It was absolutely a transcended experience. Even the salmon looked at tasted different than it does in the United States. Each piece had a distinct flavor. The fish was just brilliantly fresh. It is indescribable – the sensory feeling of sitting at a sushi bar in Kyoto, eating sushi with your hands. Being completely present in the experience of being a foreigner and a tourist while having an authentic experience.
To finish the meal, we were served a nice hot cup of green tea.
It was truly an incredible, culturally rich, brilliant experience. As we sat on cushions at the sushi counter, I used Google Translate to communicate with the chef, our hostess and another patron about the United States, our upcoming visit to Osaka and how much we enjoyed our dinner. It reminded me of how lovely well used technology can be. I learned that another patron has a daughter that works in Silicon Valley; the sushi chef loves the street food in Osaka; and our waitress delighted in the fact that I cared enough to use the translator.
When we were finished with our meal, they ordered a taxi for us and came out to see us on our way.
Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Japan 604-0875