we tried to wake up early, but we couldn’t. so we ended up waking up around 8:30am, which is quite early for our standard. since we had to move to another smaller room, we had to pack up before leaving for today… and take a lot of pictures before leaving the room.
the plan for today is to go to fushimi inari shrine, a little out of Kyoto’s center city. the shrine is famous for thousands of orange torii forming orange tunnels around the mountain… but before we got there, we made a few mistakes along the way that sort of set us back in time.
first mistake: we should’ve brought more than candies from the convenient store last night… at least some onigiri or sandwich for breakfast. because by the time we left the minsyuku, aina was too hungry to even move or talk. she’s totally ran out of fuel. so, we had to stop by Pronto to have a quick brunch.
second mistake: we realized that our camera’s battery was about to die, and we left the spare battery at home. knowing how pretty the Inari Shrine, we decided that ari had to go back to the hotel (which is one station away by train) to get the spare battery, while i got aina some food.
we finally arrived at the Inari Station, which is located almost right in front of the entrance to Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is marked by a huuuuuge torii. we took the JR Nara line, and it’s only two stops away from Kyoto Station. knowing there will be tons and tons of steps, we left the stroller at the minsyuku.
aina had a great time, much better than we thought she would. she did the praying thing, where she threw the coins, ring the bell and clapped her hands.
she was super excited upon seeing the tunnel of torii. she couldn’t stop climbing the mountain, trying to get through as many torii tunnel as possible. and the climb was very steep, too! i was impressed by her endurance…
the shrine is the first Inari shrine in Japan, and currently is the head of all inari shrines across the country. it is known for the countless torii gates, which is donated by businesses around japan.
the shrine is “guarded” by many kitsune statues. it is believed that these foxes are the messenger of inari, the god of rice. i’ve never seen so many kitsune statues in one places!
even the ema (wishing plaques) is in kitsune shape. aina insisted to make a wish because she found the wishing plaque in a shape of a fox is too cute to pass. well, who doesn’t? so we wrote our wish.
as we go up the mountain, the torii are getting bigger and taller. and, oh, we might’ve taken a picture of a ghost. maybe.
and they’re spaced less tight. on the mountain side, we found many paper flag with writings on the ground. i wonder what they are…
along the way, there are countless of tiny shrines along the path. some say that there are about 30,000 little shrines on the way up to the mountain.
we also encountered a lake with lots of big fish and turtles. aina was rather excited about it.
after about halfway up, aina finally gave up (it’s about time! i was worried that she’d go all the way and kill her legs tomorrow!) and asked for a rest. we stopped by a small shop with a restaurant right in front of it. the restaurant above serves kitsune udon, which is fitting with the fox theme around the shrine.
we bought drinks and rested for a few minutes while taking pictures. after aina recovered, we decided to climb down the mountain through a different way. this time, the track was no longer covered by orange gates, but decorated with lots and lots of tombs. yep, i think we went through the cemetery part down the mountain.
once we got to the bottom of the mountain, we found many little shops selling kitsune and torii-themed trinkets. we bought a few little things for gifts. we stopped by a senbe store that also sells ice cream. aina couldn’t resist that strawberry/vanilla swirls…
and even more interesting, as soon as we sat down in the store, a woman greeted us in English. she was very excited that we speak English and started to talk to us for practice… it turns out that she’s a Jehovah Witness who lives in Kyoto (that explains her fluency).
All of the photos of our Kyoto adventure are in Kyoto 2010 photo album.