Sunday, January 29, 2017

Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, Kyoto

During our in-room breakfast at Seikoro Ryokan, C., A., hubby, and I'd discussed our Kyoto Day 1 to-see list. We all agreed to only focus on just two sites for the day and try for a third if time permits. Yes, we're a bunch of underachiever tourists, but there was much more to that.

C. and A. had already spent a whole week by themselves in Kyoto before meeting up with us at the ryokan on Friday. During that time, they'd learned Kyoto had quite a different pace than Tokyo. For example, hubby and I noticed as soon as we arrived into Kyoto that trains and buses there didn't run as frequently as those in Tokyo, which meant longer transit time. Places also close earlier in Kyoto, some as early as 4pm! We had to be realistic and strategic with our time, hitting sites that are closer together, skipping lunch and just snack along the way, things like that. It was for this very reason that we picked Seikoro Ryokan to begin with, for its convenient location.

Anyway, the first destination of the day was Fushimi Inari Taisha, the iconic, picturesque shrine with thousands of red torii gates. It would be a 4km (2.48 miles, ~2hrs. walk) one-way up and then down the mountain, so it was best to go in the morning after breakfast before it got bloody hot, which it did =.="

Breakfast was served promptly at 8:30am and we were out the door by 9:30. We weren't alone in our thinking of course. It was mid August after all and the Kyoto was flooded with tourists.

My travel essentials in Japan: loads of sunscreens, hat, sunglasses, and an umbrella. I picked a roomy t-shirt and long, flowy pants because mosquitoes just love me and they'd eat me alive if given the chance.

Hubby's travel essentials in Japan: loads of sunscreens (being married to me, there was no way he'd dodge sunscreen), sunglasses, a fan, and a bottle of tea or water. 

When we first saw C. and A. in Tokyo, I'd emphasized to them the important of wearing sunscreens, especially during that time of the year. C. reassured me then she's got several bottles and tubes of sunscreens she'd brought from home. By the time we met up again at Katsuragi no Sato, we learned she'd already given up on wearing any at all. She'd rather be tanned and burned than put up with the thick and greasy American slime that had melted right off in Japan's summer heat and humidity and burned the hell out of her eyes. As for A., he just waved his hand and shook his head. No way, he said, never. I told them I'd bring my and hubby's favorite Japanese sunscreens to Kyoto for them to try and they hesitantly agreed. 

That morning, along with hubby a reluctant C. and an even more begrudging A. slathered on Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel all over their their pouty faces ^.^ I was still trying to finish up the tube of Anessa Perfect Essence Sunscreen A+N, mixing it with my half-used bottle of Sunkiller Perfect Strong Moisture. For C., I encouraged her to add a generous dusting of Privacy UV Face Powder 50 to set the sunscreen underneath. For the rest of our exposed ears, necks, arms, legs, and feet, we heaped on Nivea Sun Protect Water Gel Super.

By the end of the day, C. was asking me, "D., where do we buy these amazing Japanese sunscreens? We don't feel them on us at all and A. really like them!" Of course I told them all these sunscreens are readily available--and super affordable--at any Japanese drugstore. And by the end of their honeymoon in Osaka, they had to buy an extra suitcase having loaded up on sunscreens, including 5 jars of the Privacy powder. Ha. I love converts xD

Here's a really neat thing about Fushimi Inari Taisha: there are many, many smaller shrines on the way up and down the mountain. We literally lost count of how many we saw! Also, many of the shrines host o-tsuka stone monuments dedicated to inari kami. These stone monuments look like tombstones but aren't. More details on Fushimi Inari Taisha here

You'd think we'd reached the mountain top by now, right? Nope. Had to keep going. Blehhh...

We also walked by several of what looked like homes, which made me wonder who lives there. There are definitely no car access, not that we saw at least. Just thinking about the logistic of living up a mountain with such limited access this way makes me exhausted.

Another rest stop with shops vending light food, snacks, desserts, and drinks. With a spectacular view of Kyoto to boot!

The ice cream cone just totally hit the spot, I could have eaten several more had hubby looked the other way :P After taking a rest, we continued with the hike. Nope, we weren't there yet.

Shrines, and more shrines.

And more cemeteries.

Woot, finally, the mountain top!!! We didn't stay long at all. After getting a drink of water, we began our descend.

Next up: the descend ^.^

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