Day 3 - on the fox trail

Trip Start Jul 12, 2008
Trip End Jul 18, 2008

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Today started a lot like yesterday, waking up about 5:30am. The sun comes up around 5 I guess. Not sure why it comes up so early on their time zone but I know they don't change their time an hour in the fall and spring like we do.

We took the bus back to the Kyoto station and on the way I got a picture of a women wearing a kimono and talking with some other women. We needed to take the number 5 bus to get to the shrine I wanted to see today. I say number 5, there seems to be 2 number 5s. One has a kaji symbol in front of it which is the one we needed to take. While waiting in line for the bus we ended up taking with two people from Thai Land that had gone to the US for school. One was still in college in TX and the other teaching now. They spoke fairly good English and we chatted with them all the way to our stop. The Fushimi Inari bus stop, which is near the Fushimi Inari shrine. We had to walk down a few streets to find our way to the shrine. Looking for where everyone else was going and coming. We found a lot of little food shops and souvenir stores. The smell of yakitori, or skewed chicken, grilled over a open grill blow down the street. We say a large torii gate over the street and knew we where getting close, but when we got to the main temple I was surprised at how large it was. Main temple buildings. There was a wash basin in front of the main temple. You use a type of wooden ladle and wash one hand and then the other before taking a bit in your hand and drinking it. I had seen some small ones at the Ryoan-ji, the other day, but they had signs that said not to drink the water. This one seemed knew, had no such sign and other where doing so. So I did so too. It is a type of cleansing. I noticed that on ether side of stairs to the main temple had a fox statue on ether side. The fox is the message for the Shinto god of the temple, Inari, who is the god of rice. The shrines work their way up a mountain and we got to the point that started path of torii gates. It is like a hallway outside in the wooded areas going up the mountains. The is said to be a thousand torii gates, which I now can easily believe. The gates are wooden and donated by different people and businesses. The wood rots over time and have to be replaced. I noticed that some where replaced with what looked like painted metal. I guess as wood become more expensive some use metal. I believe the writing on each gate might be something about who donated the gate. When we got to the next shrine area I say a map showing how large the area was. It was huge and someone said it took 3 hours to walk the whole thing. There was moss growing on the stones and tress and around the paths and the shrines was forest. The place did have a real mystical and ancient fill to it. I followed that path for quite a way and saw the path go up a steep hill, that seemed to be covered with little shrines. Lots of fox statues. When I go to the top I realized that this steep hill was acting as a damn and there was a lake at the top.  I found a few cats at the top, guess the foxes didn't scare them. I took so many photos that the camera gave low batteries light so I headed back. We found a udon shop back along the streets we had gone down to get to the shrine. It was a very tradition style. I had the tempura-odon (I think) It was bits of tempura, battered and fried food over a bowel of rice.  This tempura had some shrimp, veggies and sea weed. We had coke with this which was in tradition all bottles. Not the 44 oz big gulps we are used to here. The cost for both was about 20 bucks. On the way back to the bus stop it started to rain, but by the time we got to the stop itself the rain had stopped. We headed back to the hotel to rest and so I could charge my camera. A few hours later we headed for Teramachi street to look at the shops. We took a taxi, about 1020 yen, or 10 bucks. Teramachi street is off of Shijo-dori, which is the main road in Kyoto. There is lots of cars, buses and taxis and the side walks are full of people. Being the big week of the Gion Matsuri festival There was lots of people wearing kimonos. Teramachi is a covered market street. The shops might seem small but some are mulit floors. I noticed that some had a floor half way down from street level and another floor half above the street, stairs going up and down in the front. First little place we saw was "Mr. Young Man", a okonomiyaki place that I wanted to try the food at. We started shopping first and right away I found a figuren shop for all the anime shows I like to see. Tons of little figurens. I took a few pics there. We found lots of kimono stores along the street and a few arcades. The games where all crane games, some with videos playing inside of the bin.
I checked out 2 other anime related stores. One was mostly manga/comic book and the other was vidoes and manga. I can't play any of the dvd's from Japan do to the region codes that all the dvd makes put in and I can't read japanese yet so I didn't get anything. I did want to get some pictures but after asking the works there I was politely asked not too. Not sure why they would care but I didn't.
There where a few side streets to the market, mostly not covered, and since it started raining we didn't go down any. At the end of the street market I saw a sign that had a giant moving crab. And also a restaurant of some kind that looked very old. On the way back to the okonomiyaki shop I say I 100 yen store. I guess that is like our dollar store. Everything should be only 100yen.
At Mr. Young Man we had a basic Pork okonomiyaki and yakisoba comb with a side salad and drink. Only 950 yen each. The food is good even if it is hard to describe. The salad had some veggies I had never ever seen before but the dressing was very light and taste. When we left the market to head back to the hotel we noticed that they where blocking off the main street. I guess to get ready for the parade later. Because of the blocked streets the taxi we tried to get couldn't take us to the hotel, I guess because there was no longer a good way to get there. He suggested we go down to the end of where Shijo-dori was blocked off and try there. We ended up walking half way back to the hotel before it started to rain again, hard, and we finally got a taxi to take us the rest of the way home.
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