I made it out to the must-see Fushimi Inari Shrine today, ranked Japan’s no. 1 attraction for the 3rd year in a row! Note my classic shot in the photo header; I had to do it. This is the snazz-show with thousands of torii climbing up and up the mountain, with literally hundreds of smaller and branch-shrines interspersed throughout. It’s absolutely stunning, jam-packed with people at the start (but thins out halfway up or even earlier), and even has rad shopping before the shrine. I’ll start there.
Bunch of shops. Oodles and oodles of shopping plus foodles (sorrynotsory). We got held up in one store because I’m an indecisive blub who was torn between a handful of beautiful foxy/wolf tenugui made by kenema, so you know I’m standing there for a bit pondering it slowly. Well I guess okaa-san had had enough of that, because she decided that because we were in a cool place so of course, I need a present (wth?). So she grabbed one of them from me and ran to the register with me chasing her shouting “nooooo!” in Japanese. She only turned to smile at me sweetly as she placed the money on the counter and the guy was wrapping up the tenugui. -I cannot handle the sweetness good lawd.- Then as we walked back to the shelf for me to return the other 2 I was contemplating she said that that gift was too cheap, so she grabbed the 2 in my hand, press repeat and play please. God she’s too wonderful.
That wasn’t the best of it though. No, after the madness at that store I decided that I wanted a purse I saw earlier, so okaa-san kindly walked back with me to that place. I picked it up, went to the register, asked if card was ok – all good. Then they say the price in Japanese and hot diggity if something doesn’t sound right. I look at the price again, really look, and hell I missed a whole number. Which means that the purse wasn’t the $15 I thought it was – no, this baby was a notch (or several) up from that at $150. It was written out as￥15120, and in USD just move the decimal left twice to get your price. So by disregarding/being too blind for that stupid 0, you can see my issue. Hell was I embarrassed! They offered me student discount, tax free, all kinds of stuff but jesus that’s a big discrepancy. No wonder okaa-san looked shocked when I tried to reassure her earlier that ‘yeah, a purse this size is the same price in the US, pfft, no worries’. Lies, lies and shame as I left. They were super sweet about it but oh god why do I do this to myself?
Following my astonishing idiocy we finally made it past all the shops and into the shrine itself, where I got my goshuincho stamped and done, what what. Then we started the trek in alongside the hoards, which thankfully dwindled down the more climbing was necessary. We got the beloved empty torii shot more than a few times, so right on man. There were so stankin’ many mini-shrines, sacred trees and rocks, and beyond, it was absolutely incredible. The maintenance that has to go into this shrine is beyond belief. And at the top? The fancy looking shrine? Surrounded by at least 80 mini shrines all clumped next to each other, forming a little barrier between the woods and the main shrine. And that’s just the shrine tag numbering that I noticed. Definitely wayyy more than that.
After I hit up the shrine at the top okaa-san and I split off for the Kyoto-shi Trail, which was the main purpose of this day. It was a really cool weave through super nature to very traditional looking mura (villages) to us straight up on the entrance to the highway. A spiffy mix of scenery if I do say so myself. A couple times okaa-san muttered worriedly about getting lost, but today was all good – thank god – so we were just merrily, if not tiredly, on our way for a few hours. We wandered by the imperial graveyard that I can’t find on google, but some, if not all, of the imperial family is buried there so it’s pretty swank. You can’t enter it, but you can see and get a pic with it!
Then we entered Sennyu-ji Temple, where we saw all the classy places the imperial family has stayed and put their butts all over, as well as the gardens and the toilets. More stampage and a pretty, rather quiet pit stop. Then we hit up another temple when we went the wrong way, although I don’t know its name and will hopefully find out tomorrow. The guy who saw it at the next temple was very impressed, so I’ll take it.Some more bonding, a lot of pretty sights and quite an entrance to another famous sightseeing spot, Kiyomizu-dera.
Kiyomizu-dera is this hella old, super impressive temple that we got into for free. Yeah, what an awesome bit of luck! Since we entered from the trail we landed plop in the middle of the space, so we just rolled with it and wandered around. Got some nice shots, another one down for the goshuincho, pretty views and some nearby entertainment. Such as a connected lurve shrine; Jishu Jinja, aka the Cupid of Japan (according to the travel website, at least). Featuring a bunch of omamori, love rocks and a whole lotta couples, this place was hoppin’ and had its own fun set of smaller jinja inside. There was one shrine that was pretty pro-lady, in terms of protecting and wishing gals luck, so I prayed there for all of the hot-to-trot amigas in my life. Kick ass guys. Then we headed down to another jinja that was attached, where the entry water-purification trough set-up was huge and pretty public (see the pic if you wanna feel me).
After wearing out our secret free stay at Kiyomizu-dera, we did yet more shopping at some connected streets right out of the temple. We had a nice tour of a lot of beautiful and ridiculously expensive fans, a place with a bunch of free bean samples flavored with yuzu, sakura, shiso, matcha and more. We also hit up this absolutely perfect place with so many free samples of yatsuhashi, plus a free cup of tea. We ended up buying some goodies 🙂 We also bought a matcha roll cake that was to die for, these people know how to make sweets, jesus. After that and a bunch more brush-ins with pretty pottery, and even a showcase of a sweet lady who made a modern collection of traditional Japanese tea sets, we found . . . the (an?) official Ghibli store! They had so many beautiful things and I need to go back, ahhhh! This about ended the day before a delicious fried pork-stuffed eggplant dinner, but it was another one of the best. I love okaa-san and this city so much.