We knew we had to meet Taro at 3pm so we didnt want to do anything too strenous or time consuming. We had heard Maruyama park was great at night with Sakura lit up and lots of stalls with people enjoying Hanami.
I thought, "Why not see it during the day too?". We got up early and got to the park about 10. It was busy but not hectic. While I skittered around taking photos of the park and Sakura Rach got a banana crepe from a cart in the park. the stalls were not all open yet but a few were ready to go.
After the park we had a small lunch then made our way to Taro's place north of where we were staying. We power walked up the river from the subway station to a bus stop where Taro had told us to wait. We met our fellow students at the bus stop. 3 Australians named Sam, Cory and Samantha, and Mike from Manchester. Taro popped up out of no where and led us down a small street to his house. It was an old Japanese house with western influences (according to Taro) and only a little smaller than our house at home.
Taro was very friendly and funny. He was very happy to talk about his home,himself and Japan. We had witnessed some helicopters (10) on the way to the bus stop. It turned out a bad car crash happened in Gion so he translated the news for us.
The cooking class was fun. We sat surrounding his kitchen and he showed us a few Japanese dishes he liked and had us help him cook. The egg dish was most fascinating the way it is flipped and rolled multiple times to make an oblong omelette.
He showed us how to make dashi and the different types of miso soup. The chicken breast was cool. It was slow cooked in a pot of boiling water wrapped in glad wrap. it looked great. Our tofu was so tasty! I coated it in a little bit of potato starch (corn flour is okish too) then pan fried it shortly. This made the tofu crispy, then Rach and Taro made sauce with sugar, soy and ginger... when the tofu was fried in it the dish was super tasty!!!
Once we had cooked everything the 6 of us students got to sit down and enjoy the meal. We arrived at 3 and ended up leaving about 6ish. Taro had checked before we began and a couple of the others needed to get away by 7. As a parting gift Taro gave us each an oil bottle with a brush attached to make perfect egg dish, Dashimaki Tamago.
We made our way back to Maruyama park to view the Sakura at night. The park was busy and vibrant.
The trees were lit up and the bright stalls were all up and running with people peddling their wares "Irrashaimase"
We met an aussie on the way around after Rach bought a Sakura ice cream. He greeted us in japanese and we stumbled our way through conversation until we reverted to English and had a chat about our time in Japan.
For more about the Haru Cooking Class with Taro please goto his site: http://www.vegetarian-food-kyoto.com/ and for more reviews check out Trip advisor.