Boulangerie Friandise: A Bread Lover's Paradise
What rice is to the Japanese, proper hard bread is to most Europeans. Many foreigners have found that although they can live quite happily without most things from their home country, doing without their favourite foods is a more difficult task than expected. If they are lucky, they might stumble across a little bakery called Friandise (that's French for "sweets") on Imadegawa Dori. This bread shop, a branch of the main store in Kitaoji, is run by the exceedingly charming Ms. Noriko Hori and staff, who offer friendly service and a variety of bread that would make any true connoisseur's heart beat faster. Despite a superior's comment that baking, being a task which required physical strength, was a job unsuitable for "weak females", she ambitiously went on to become the first woman to head a Friandise store. With this position comes the liberty to be creative, and Ms. Hori has made good use of that freedom. There's old fashioned European farmer's bread on the shelves, made from rye and yeast and salt with no traces of sugar, eggs or milk. This is a unique shop where the rich, sweet taste of standard Japanese baked goods gives way to the traditional lean and simple flavour of European bread.
A special tray at the shop displays the "cooking bakery". Ms. Hori's original plan was to compress the flavor of an entire Italian or French dish into one affordable pastry. These western-style quiches and mini-panini owe little to cookbooks and a lot to Ms. Hori's personal concept of "What western bread should taste like". Her imagination has hit the mark. She has included all the essential ingredients of true Mediterranean cuisine in her various creations, ranging from olives, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese to onions, leeks, Parma bacon and anchovies. The diversity is truly mouth-watering. A few examples of her latest creations include original soft German pretzels, zucchini-mozzarella bread and apricot danishes.
If you're looking for a taste of home, stop by this little shop on Imadegawa Dori, west of Kyoto University on the right-hand side of the street. It's definitely worth the visit.
Pan Au Levain (Farmer's Bread) ¥368/loaf
German Soft Pretzels ¥105 each
Provence-Style tomato bread ¥147 each
A wide selection of cakes, pastries, and breads are available from around ¥150-¥300.
The Friandise Imadegawa shop is open from 7:00 to 19:00 daily, and is located at Kawabata Imadegawa Higashi-Iru, Sakyo-Ku, Kyoto-city. Accessible from Keihan/Eizan Line Demachiyanagi Station.
The Friandise main shop is located at Kitaoji Horikawa Nishi-iru Kita-ku, Kyoto-city, and there is another branch shop at Ebisugawa Karasuma Higashi-iru Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-city.
Yukata: Kyoto's Summer Fashion
A yukata is a lightweight cotton kimono which is worn by either men or women in the summer time. There are two types of yukata: plain robes that are worn as casual wear or pajamas at Japanese style inns (ryokan) and hot springs (onsen), and fancier yukata that are worn during summer festivals and fireworks displays. You will see many people wearing fancy yukata in July because of the Gion Matsuri, the biggest festival in Kyoto. Many events take place in the weeks before and after the Yamahoko Junko parade on the 17th. Wearing a yukata is a comfortable way to beat the summer heat, and enjoy the traditional Japanese festival atmosphere in Kyoto in July. Yukata are made from a single layer of cotton fabric, and are very cool and comfortable to wear in hot weather. The yukata is fastened using a sash for casual indoor wear, or an decorative obi for public wear. Yukata are typically worn with Japanese sandals (geta or zori), and many women will carry a matching fan or purse (kinchaku).
How to Wear a Yukata
- Place your arms in the yukata sleeves, and adjust the neck band.
- Hold the bottom of the lapels, and wrap the yukata with the right flap against your body and the left flap on top , adjusting the hem so it falls around your ankles.
- For women's yukata only: Tie the yukata in place at your waist using a koshi himo string (available at kimono shops). Pull out any extra fabric so that it hangs smoothly over the string.
- Tie another koshi himo string at the waist.
- Put on the obi or sash.
Types of Obi
The simplest type of obi is a piece of tie-dyed fabric called a heko obi which can be worn by men or women. It is wrapped around the waist and tied in a bow called a "Butterfly knot" at the back. For a more formal look, men should wear a thicker type of obi called a kaku obi and women should wear a han-haba obi, which is narrower than a kimono obi. Men will typically tie their obi in the kai no kuchi or otoko musubi knot, whereas the bunko musubi knot is the most popular with women. Please refer to the diagram on the previous page to see how to tie these knots.
Places to Buy Yukata in Kyoto
Most kimono shops will sell yukata and obi in the summer time. Keep your eyes open for shops selling inexpensive used yukata. There are many shops selling yukata in the downtown area in the days leading to the Gion Matsuri, so you can browse while viewing the floats on display. One of the most affordable options are the yukata sets available at the chain clothing store Uniqlo (there is a shop on Shinkyogoku shopping street near Shijo). The women's set includes a free-size yukata, matching obi and kinchaku for ¥3,990 (wooden geta sandals are available for ¥1,000). Men's and children's sets are also available.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can can search for a second-hand yukata at one of Kyoto's monthly temple flea markets, such as "Kobo San" at Toji Temple (corner of Omiya and Kujo streets, 21st of each month) and "Tenjin San" at Kitano Tenmangu Temple (Nishijin district, 25th of each month)
Note:This list is by no means exhaustive. Information is subject to change without warning.