Monday, 2 November 2015

06.08.2015 ~ Kyoto (Fushimi Inari)

Woke at 08:15; I went to put some washing on and went to Family Mart to get breakfast to eat while we waited for it to finish. (We saw on TV that today was the anniversary of the Hiroshima A-Bomb)

Once we'd left the hotel we travelled from Shijo Subway to Kyoto station where we caught the local line to Nara for 2 stops to get off at Inari. The entrance for Fushimi-Inari Shrine is right outside the train station and there's a supermarket next to the station (very needed on the way back!)

There are excellent photo opportunities the whole way round the site with so many varieties of image to capture. It was the middle of the day in the middle of Summer and yet it wasn't that crowded, which was good as that enabled good photography; M was impressed with my photography skills as I managed to capture the torii gate walk without people in shot:

The lines of torii gates are behind the main shrine building at the base of the mountain and it took around 25 minutes to walk to point 1 where a sign told us it would take 55 minutes to reach the top. I was feeling a bit strange from unusual food last night so we decided to go to point 2 (10 minutes from point 1) and then walk down the back route (20 minutes on the way down). The back route was seemingly though private houses and shrines and we were blown away that people rode bikes and drove cars up the super steep, narrow, winding road. The way down was equally picturesque as the main route and with more visual variety.

Skeletor Dragonfly!

Back at the station we rode one stop to Tofukuji and changed to the subway to get to Gion-Shijo so we could try to see the Geiko/Maiko. We'd read reviews of Gion and it seemed as though the best chance of seeing them would be around 17:00-18:00. We arrived too early and had to wait around as the main street of Gion is very touristy and very pricey. We stopped for a drink in a French CafĂ© and then it was time to start the search. There many others doing the same as we were, all without luck. The buildings of old Gion are beautiful; wooden with shoji screens and latticework so the walk was visually beautiful. I'd heard that the Geiko/Maiko usually entertain business men, so when we saw a businessman on his phone as though he were getting directions, we followed him for 10 minutes or so in the hope of seeing them. However there were queues at each building so it seems the tearooms open at 18:00 so after an hour of walking and searching (and getting bitten twice by bloodsuckers!) we gave up and headed back to the hotel.

By the way the 'bus & subway map' is much better than the tourist map so I'd say go for that one instead.
After showers/rest at the hotel we went for dinner at 'Nishinotoin' directly opposite the hotel which was canteen style in that you pick up what you want to eat from the counter, ask for rice & miso soup and then find a space to sit. The food was good and fresh and good price.

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