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Japan Trip—Day 7

Day 7, 48 hours left before we wrap up the Japan trip. We’ve had our shares of the view of Japan, and we’ve been spending 15 hours day out there just to grasp it all. Yet, there are still plenty to see, so we kicked off early and hit the road at 9AM. We’re Team Make-Everyday-Count. 091213_1
Lots of people from Asia have their umbrellas ready even when there’s no rain in sight. My mom’s one of them. The umbrella helps block out the sun.

Taking JR to our first destination. 091213_2

Kumon, we meet again. 091213_3
I used to be a tutor in Kumon back in high school. It’s one of the first forces that drove me into what I do now. Although, they produce good results for the students (I assume), I find the system to be rather rigid and boring as an employee there. Seeing the sign brought back some good and not so good memories; it was the last thing I expected to see in Japan.

The weather’s about 87 degree:
It wasn’t too terribly bad, but for a fella with fur coat, I can feel its pain. (Just typing fur coat makes me sweat.)

Today’s first stop—Fushimi Inari Taisha.
“The shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari which is 233 metres above sea level, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines. Since early Japan Inari was seen as the patron of business, and merchants and manufacturers have traditionally worshipped Inari. Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha is donated by a Japanese business. First and foremost, though, Inari is the god of rice.”

Many have donated to the Inari Shrine, making it one of the most popular features. Here’s just a quick showcase of a partial list of the donors. These folks donates approximately $100 US each. 091213_7

You know there’s no way we miss any quick snack opportunity. 091213_8 091213_9

These are walls of wishes. They exist in nearly all the shrines we visited. 091213_11

For the colorful braided strands you see below each plates are actually consisted of paper cranes!091213_12

Thousand and thousands of them. 091213_13

“Foxes (kitsune), regarded as the messengers, are often found in Inari shrines. One attribute is a key (for the rice granary) in their mouths.”

These are called Torii (鳥居/bird abode).
It symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred, and are usually located at the entrances of shrines. In Inari shrine, in particular, is known for its mass amount (over 5000 pieces) of torii gates across the temple. And each one represents a donation from an individual or a company. Balling.

The site of great renown is the 1300 Torii Gates, also known as the senbon torii 千本鳥居, which also made an appearance in the movie Memoir of a Geisha.

The dense and compact placement of these gates makes every picture look so epic.
A clean look from one way of the trail.

…and complex from the other. Names and date of the donors are written on the back of each torii.

At the end of the trail, there’s a small shrine, where people write prayers and wishes on these fox plates. Front side of these gives people a canvas to be creative. 091213_18

Some of pretty good at it: 091213_19

At the corner of the small shrine, there are a couple of rocks placed on top of the lanterns. And so says that one who can lift them would also have their wishes granted. Bro did it. 091213_20 091213_21

Keep moving. 091213_23
The Fushimi Inari Shrine sits on a mountain, there’s a trail up the hill and leads to many sub-shrines. Having to never been here, we thought we gave it a hike and try to reach the peak.

We had to.
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Turn out, it was a very long walk. Takes about 1.5 hours to hike to the top. 091213_25

After a 3o minute uphill climb, any liquid looks delicious. 091213_26 091213_27

40 minutes in to the hike. We try to find amusements along the way. We no longer find the thousands of torii to be nearly a spectacle as we did when we first arrived. 091213_28

50 minutes in. 091213_29

80 minutes in. 091213_30

BAM, we made it. Worth while? Sure. Will we do it again? Absolutely not. 091213_34

No view, no pad on the back, but there’s another small shrine:

Down we go. Approx time to head down: 60 minutes. 091213_36 091213_37

A view mid-way—the city of Kyoto. 091213_38

Stumble across this little guy on our way down. It was not startled no matter how close we got. This is the kind of cat that’ll find its fame and glory on the internet. 091213_39 091213_40

The shrine visit was meant to be short and quick, but it ended up taking more than 4 hours of our time. 091213_41

2nd stop—Kyoto Station, for lunch. 091213_42
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At the 10th floor of the Kyoto station mall, there’s a section dedicated to all the different types of ramen. 091213_44 091213_45 091213_46

About $11 US. Ramen all day. 091213_47

When we visited, the conjoining section between the two malls at Kyoto Station had a band and cheerleading performance. People loved it. 091213_48

Kyoto Tower. 091213_49

Fresh sushi at their grocery stores. 091213_51

$10 US, sounds fair. 091213_52

We went with the flow, but the lack of planning caused us some precious time. Lesson learned. And due to the hike we did in the middle of the day, everyone’s exhausted by 6PM. So, we decided to call it a day, rest well, and ready to head out early the next morning. 091213_53 091213_54

Day 8, the last day of my trip, coming soon.Click the following to check out rest of my trip:
Japan Day 1
Japan Day 2
Japan Day 3
Japan Day 4
Japan Day 5
Japan Day 6
Japan Day 7
Japan Day 8 (The Best of Japan)

’til then,

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