Kyoto November 2014 Part 6 – Fushimi Inari Taisha

LAST DAY IN KYOTO! This was my last morning before I took the train back to Osaka, in time for my flight the next day. I originally planned on sleeping in after spending such a long day in Arashiyama, but I couldn’t help it. I mustered up all my remaining energy that morning to visit the last place on my list – Fushimi Inari.

I also took it as *the* most opportune moment to finally get to see Fushimi-ku where the Kyoto Fushimi High Bicycle Club from Yowamushi Pedal is supposedly from. I blame my sudden curiosity on all the episodes on Midousuji’s past. <3

I haven’t been to Fushimi Inari before, so I guess there was also an element of excitement that kicked in when I woke up really early in the morning to squeeze in one more famous Kyoto tourist spot. From Kyoto Station, I took the JR Nara Line and got off the second station – JR Inari Station.

IMG_5830

But first, COFFEE.

IMG_5834

Found myself at a small shop about 3 minutes away from JR Inari. It’s called Vermillion – espresso bar & info. They named the cafe after the color of the torii gates at Fushimi Inari.

IMG_5837

One of the best I’ve tried in Japan. A must visit if you’re visiting Fushimi Inari Taisha!

IMG_5842

The entrance to Fushimi Inari.

IMG_5844

Considering this was really early in the morning, I was surprised by the number of people! Well, I shouldn’t be – Fushimi Inari is currently the #1 Kyoto Attraction on TripAdvisor.

IMG_5853

All over Fushimi Inari are fox statues! Besides actual foxes guarding rice harvest from getting destroyed by rats and rabbits, they are also believed to be the messengers of the Shinto God Inari. Most of these statues are holding keys to the rice granaries in their mouths as Inari is the god of rice.

IMG_5857

IMG_5863

The insane amount of reds and oranges that I’ve seen throughout this whole trip is enough to last me a whole year. From vermilion leaves to vermilion shrines!

IMG_5864

There’s a lot to see here, and I recommend a minimum of 2 hours if you want to breeze through the basics and take quick pictures. I didn’t go all the way up the inner shrine, as I guessed the hike would take another hour or so. I didn’t expect it to be quite huge!

IMG_5866

Not a completely new sight if you’ve been following my older Japan posts! Folding a thousand paper cranes can supposedly grant you a wish. This belief originated way, way back, but the most popular thousand crane story came from a girl named Sadako (not of The Ring fame), who folded as many paper cranes as she could so she could combat the leukemia she got from the Hiroshima atomic bomb radiation.

IMG_5867

IMG_5871

Tell Me Your Wish.

IMG_5873

IMG_5874

IMG_5875

The temple grounds have different structures scattered all over, but most people really come here to see the famous rows of torii.

IMG_5886

Mini torii for those who can’t afford to donate the real thing.

IMG_5893

IMG_5895

Because the Japanese have the best school uniforms in the world. So cute!

IMG_5901

The view while going up the path to see the 5,000 torii. I love how everything is painted the same exact color, starting from the entrance.

IMG_5902

Just a few more.

IMG_5921

When foxes become shounen manga characters.

When the foxes’ eyes become eyebrows.

IMG_5912

FINALLY! The famous torii path from the Memoirs of a Geisha movie!

IMG_5914

All the torii are donated by a Japanese company. The donor’s name is inscribed on the back of a gate. This being said, the right way to take a photo is actually this way, when you can’t see the inscriptions at the back!

IMG_5929

I personally prefer the back view though.

IMG_5931

I took my time walking through this surreal vermilion path. You can’t see it well here, but there were A LOT of people passing through, making it very difficult to take unobstructed pictures.

I volunteered to take pictures of some tourist families that looked like they needed help, and most of them returned the favor by asking me if I wanted a photo of myself! Now I have proof that I actually went to Japan and didn’t just grab photos off the Internet, lol.

x_DSC4332

Or there’s always a selfie.

IMG_5944

IMG_5945

One family was even kind enough to snap TWO photos of me!

IMG_5934

IMG_5939

Once you go higher up the path, it becomes a lot less crowded. I still can’t believe how my sleepless self was able to brave through a pretty steep hike.

Anything for good photos.

IMG_5951

Outside the shrine are small stalls where you can buy omiyage and local delicacies. Wasn’t able to check this out anymore as I had to check out at my hotel and do some last-minute packing.

IMG_5956

IMG_5957

IMG_5971

One of the perks of traveling alone – being able to spontaneously change schedules without anyone getting tired or angry, lol. While I was waiting for the train in JR Inari Station, I checked the list of places that my friends recommended. Included in the list is the Kyoto International Manga Museum.

IMG_5973

Taken just outside Karasuma Oike Station.

IMG_5974

So… they’re closed on Wednesdays. I felt a little stupid for overlooking the fact that a lot of Japanese places are closed on certain days, but I couldn’t really do anything about it anymore. More reason to come back, yes?

The Kyoto International Manga Museum is both a museum and a library of all things manga! I heard there are hardly any manga in English so there’s not a lot to do if you don’t read/speak/understand Japanese. On weekends, however, there are artists who can draw your manga portraits for free!

IMG_5977

That’s it for Kyoto! I hope you guys enjoyed all my Kyoto and Arashiyama posts. I still managed to squeeze in some activities in Osaka before my flight back home. Enough to warrant about 2-3 more travel diaries. It seemed like I had an infinite amount of energy during the whole duration of this trip. I wish I could be the same when I’m here in Manila!