Saturday, November 15, 2014

Kyoto, Japan 05'10'2014

The first tour of the day... Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto in mount Inari. This place is famous for having a lot of beautiful Torii (gate) and it was featured in the anime "Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha" a must watch before you visit Fushimi Inari!

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From the hotel we went to Osaka Station and then from there we went to Kyoto. Good thing the trip was a long so we got to take a nap.

When we got to Kyoto Station we still needed to transfer and take the next stop to get directly to the front gate of Fushimi Inari Taisha...

Main gate of Fushimi Inari. So many people!
Towards the main Building of Fushimi Inari.
There were a lot of people in the train from Kyoto Station to Fushimi Inari and there were even more people in the temple itself. A mix of tourists and students really made the place too crowded for my taste. Plus it was so hot! My photos came out overexposed and I had to save them!

The place was indeed very beautiful though. the red/orange Torii were a great contrast to the sky and the surrounding trees...

Facade of the main building.
Paper lantern decoration.
An old guy praying to the gods.
Everything was very bright. It was high noon when we arrived and I didn't bring my sunglasses so I had to squint a lot. Still, in the pursuit of a great tour we pressed on to climb the winding stairs of the temple.

Kitsune again.
Initially on your first flight of stairs you will be greeted by two statues of Kitsune (fox) on each side because apparently the god of the temple (Inari Okami) is a god of foxes.

Map of Fushimi Inari Taisha.
A few more steps and we saw a map of the area posted beside the main path. At first I thought oh the entire place seemed small and easy to go through. Oh how wrong I was...

Multiple Torii leading the path.
A small shrine by the side of the Torii
Multiple shrines with it's caretaker.
Heading up deeper in to Fushimi Inari you will see the things it is most famous for, the multiple Torii that line its pathways.

Each Torii had some names written on them and those are apparently names of people/companies. The people/companies have to pay a sum to Fushimi Inari to have their personal Torii put in the temple. This is for good luck and once the place is filled with Torii you have to wait until one gets destroyed, apparently.

Worn down Torii leading to a rest area.
More climbing!
To wash yourself.
Climbing up up and up. I don't think I have ever climbed up so many flights of stairs! It was seemed to us an endless flight of stairs, endless Torii, that I think somewhere along the way we got so tired that we weren't really "in the moment" anymore. We took a rest so many times and we were really looking forward to reaching the top when suddenly...

From up to down.
The stairs suddenly went from up to down. I was like: "WTH!! Where is the top? the summit? the great view?

I looked at the map and asked myself how could we have completely missed the top of the mountain?

I looked again and again until I realised that we must've been at the top "a few shrines ago" and we didn't realise because there was no sign. But then, I looked even more at the map on the signboard on the entrance I saw that the pathway wraps around mount Inari so I guess there really wasn't a summit? Disappointed?

A shrine.
I'm guessing this is a shrine or a grave?
heading down we saw a completely huge detour. It was a complex of multiple shrines/graves - we weren't really sure which so we were very reluctant to explore it as it might've been a graveyard.

Regardless I went in and explored anyway and took some pictures (shown above).

Going a bit further down I saw a path with only a single Torii. I got curious and decided for us to go down there instead of the one we previously took. Because I like going to "roads less travelled" or "off the beaten path".

A single Torii leading the way to another path.
Entering the path after the one Torii, there were only trees, lots and lots of trees and there weren't any people so I was getting pretty nervous that we might be lost but then I remembered I had google maps so we can not possibly get lost as long as I had GPS!

After walking so much we finally reached the end and we were very surprised. We realised why there weren't so many people...

Residential area.
The exit was a residential area. A residential area! There were no people along the streets because I guess there were at work/school. The path we took was for locals and not for tourists!

When the streets finally registered on my phone I saw that we walked a whole train station away from the one we previously went in! That was a lot of walking.

We headed back to the station and there were still so much time! so we decided to head on to the nearest tourist attraction... Nara Park in Nara...