A Travellerspoint blog

10,000 Torii Gates

that's a lot of gates

sunny -25 °C

Yesterday we took our last ride on the Shinkansen (bullet train) with our trusty JR Pass and arrived in Kyoto. First on the packed itinerary Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, just outside central Kyoto.

We were greeted by a fox at the entrance of the shrine. The fox is thought to be a spirit servant of the gods, who conveys our wishes to Inari Okani (god of harvest). Statues of the fox are littered all around the site.

We're not 100% on what is in the fox's mouth but a Japanese school girl told us that it might be a cucumber.

The main shrines are painted in vermillion, a bright orangey/red colour that is said to counteract spells. The gold, black and white decoration on the buildings make them an eye catching and attractive set of structures:


The primary reason that we wanted to make a visit to this shrine was to walk the pathway under the 10,000 torii gates leading to the top of Mt Inari. Each gate has been donated by worshippers and prices reach into the thousands. Each gate is inscribed with the donator's name and country and date and with a prayer attached. The gate is a medium of transferring thanks for a wish that has come true/or a wish that they want to come true to the gods.

Entrance to the pathway:


The stairs and slopes up the mountain are also surrounded by woodland and wildlife making it a relaxing and pleasurable climb. The only disturbance to the peace there today was when Emma nearly trod on a massive snake slithering across the pathway. We both nearly lost our hair in the fright of it all.

We still managed to reach the Yotsutsuji viewing point, roughly half way up the mountain and stopped to look out over the city of Kyoto:

The Otsuka (good omen statues that have been donated) plus the restaurants and souvineer shops along the walk made for a regular jamboree of interesting sights along the higgldy piggldy pathways:

We wrapped up the shrine by mid day and headed back to Shijo, the area we are staying in, in Kyoto. We took a meander around the shopping arcades. We looked into the fabulous Nishiki Market first, a long street of stalls under an arcade, mostly selling food. We weaved our way amongst the other market goes looking at the curiosities and delights it had to offer and sampling some of the produce:

We didn't fancy this one much, it looks like dead lizard:

The food all looks pretty amazing. We're going to try and sample it all, so may return obese.

Nothing much else to report other than that we are sharing a room with an old bag lady. She breathes heavily at night and makes funny groaning noises. She also sleeps with at least 1000 carrier bags. Emma thinks this might be the making of a horror movie, so we're hoping she doesn't come at us with carrier bags in the night. She's pretty severe and doesn't talk to us and from what we can tell, spends her day sorting vegetables and scratching her back with a back scratcher.

Posted by Ashton and Emma 05:52 Archived in Japan Tagged market mt shrine inari fushimi taisa yotsutsjui nishiki

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