Friday, May 1, 2015

Kyoto Day Three: Fushimi Inari

On our third day in Kyoto Julie and I woke to gray skies and rain. Our plan had been to go to Nara, an area near Kyoto famous for the semi-tame deer, and then possibly stop at Fushimi Inari Taisha before taking the shinkansen back to Tokyo. We bought some rain gear (and umbrella for me, a rain coat for Julie) at a convenience store and ate breakfast while we debated what to do. Finally we decided to see Fushimi Inari first, and decide from there if we wanted to continue on to Nara.

Fushimi Inari is an incredible shrine that I highly recommend. It's famous for the long path of torii gates that wind up through the mountains. Most people don't walk the whole way up, but if you have the time I think it would be amazing. The rain cut down on the crowds, but there were still plenty of people with umbrellas bumping into each other. We got started on our walk up through the gates, and it was almost like an obstacle course with all the umbrellas and people stopping off and on to take pictures backing up the line of people behind them. But to be honest, it's such a beautiful place that for once I didn't really mind the crowds.

At one point Julie and I found a little spot between the two rows of gates to stop and have a little photo shoot without getting in everyone else's way. Eventually we turned around and walked through the rest of the shrine's grounds. It was so peaceful and beautiful with rain drops dripping off the cherry blossoms.

When we left Fushimi Inari we decided not to venture on to Nara. It's a wonderful place, and I'm so sorry that Julie wasn't able to see it, but one of the things Julie was most excited about was feeding and interacting with the deer, and we decided that petting wet deer might be kind of gross. So we headed back to the station, bought our train tickets and some box lunches and headed back to Tokyo.

It wasn't a very long trip, but it was absolutely amazing. Kyoto is such a beautiful place and it was so refreshing to spend so much time outdoors in nature instead of surrounded by buildings. I love Tokyo, and I feel so grateful that I'm able to live here. I'm able to take advantage of so many amazing opportunities, and I have access to just about anything I can imagine, but the longer we stay here the more I realize what an impact growing up in the mountains of North Carolina had on me. Without time in uncrowded green places around I start to go a little crazy. Our time in Kyoto just soothed my soul.

Loving that rain jacket!
The torii gates at Fushimi Inari

Goofing around at Fushimi Inari

Rainy Cherry Blossoms

Cherry trees near the train station
Train station in the country side
The roof of Kyoto Station

Places we went:
Fushimi Inari Taisha

Read about the rest of our trip:
Arashiyama and Kawaramachi
Kiyomizudera, Nanzenji, and The Philosopher's Path

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