Aburi-mochi at Imamiya Shrine, Kyoto

    Before visiting a few of the thousands of temples and shrines in Kyoto our first few moments in the city  was spent trying to look for some good mochi (pounded rice cake). Our first stop was Imamiya Shrine where the entrance is lined by very traditional tea shops famous for their Aburi-mochi . Aburi-mochi is pounded rice cakes rolled in kinako powder and then charcoal grilled. Out of the few options, the shop we ended up in looked very old. I’ve come to learn later that the tea shops at the Imamiya Shrine entrance are around 600 to 1000 years old.
Toasting skewers of mochi 
    Once we were seated our hosts immediately began grabbing bunches of skewered mochi and started toasting them on charcoal, sometimes to a point where the mochi was touching the glowing charcoals. Our table was right in front of the shop facing the narrow road lined with tea shops and it was a nice setting to just relax and take in the ancient scenery. The grills were placed in front of the shops so we could see and smell our food as it was being prepared.
Road to  Imamiya Shrine entrance

    The freshly toasted and piping hot Aburi-mochi was delicious. I’ve seen toasted mochi on store shelves before but I don’t think those come close to these ones. Straight from the grill they get drenched in a not-too-sweet miso sauce. The combination of the toasted mochi, the slightly savory miso sauce and hot green tea was a perfect starter for the Kyoto part of our Japan trip. This tiny tea shop was a nice prelude of what we could expect from Japan’s ancient capital.

    Once we finished our tea and toasted mochi we went on our way to look for other mochi shops and maybe even some temples along the way.Kyoto is definitely not short of either one.

Freshly toasted mochi glazed in miso sauce

Hot green tea

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