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While Kyoto’s main fish market is off limits to the public most of the year, Totoya, a little seafood restaurant just yards from the market’s main entrance, gives you a taste of what’s available inside.

The restaurant is simple, unfussy and serves quality food at — thankfully — reasonable prices. A kaisendon (seafood rice bowl) served with soup is only ¥1,000. The space is shared with a fishmonger out front and as an added bonus, on Wednesday and Friday evenings Totoya turns into a tachinomiya (standing bar).

But back to the food. The lineup is split evenly between kaisendon sets — a staple of the Japanese lunch — as well as some sushi sets. Most lunch sets are priced around ¥1,000. The kaisendon came with raw tuna, prawns, flounder and carp roe. Individually, each egg was about the size of a full stop, but taken together they were a crunchy mouthful. One word of warning: the wasabi paste packs a massive punch — use sparingly and with caution. The accompanying bowl of akadashi (red miso soup) made for a wholesome and utterly satisfying lunch.

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