1. Omen
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    Right next to the parking lot to the entrance of the Silver Pavilion is a must go udon shop. The specialty comes with a pyramid of fresh and pickled vegetables in season. You get a bowl of dashi on the side, hot or cold. Mix in the sesame seeds and a little bit of the veggies at a time and dunk and eat the udon as you go. And if it's cherry blossom season, take a stroll down the Philosopher's Path.
  2. Misoka-an
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    A 300 year old noodle shop. Doesn't get much more old school than this. I used to go grab soba here with my boss/friend whenever we were in Kyoto. It was his favorite soba establishment.
  3. Giro Giro Hitoshina
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    The seasonal menu with organic products really had its start in Kyoto centuries before it took off here in California. A lot of the ‘kaiseki’ restaurants tend to be very exclusive & very expensive & rather formal. Here’s an alternative that’s casual and somewhere you could take your children too. And did I mention at a reasonable price? It's a bear to find but worth the treasure hunt adventure to seek it out. They've opened a Honolulu branch for you surfers. Oh the foi gras balls.
  4. Efish
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    A pleasant oasis of a cafe that sits in between a canal and a river. It’s nice for a western lunch when you get the urge for clam chowder or a tuna avocado sandwich. The owner and interior designer is a friend of mine from Apple Inc., Shin Nishibori, a luminous light in the ID group. A stroll down the river bank here will reveal lots of neat little restaurants and shops.
  5. Ichiwa Aburi-Mochi. At Imamiya Shrine.
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    Addicting sweet mochi on skewers located in front of the Imamiya Shrine. They are fresh rice flour dough rolled in 'kinako', charcoal grilled, and dipped in a sweet miso sauce, made to order. There are two tea houses facing each other. I prefer the ‘Ichiwa’ store which has been open since the year 1002! Afterwards, you can also stroll through the Daitokuji grounds which are nearby and is one of the biggest temple complexes in Kyoto.