© 2010 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated Kyoto 3

Japan – Kyoto 1st November

Along the train line towards Nara are some recommended walks and world heritage temples to explore. They’re a little further away from the tourist crowds accumulating in Kyoto every day but close enough to stop at a few places in one morning or afternoon. So with another filling breakfast setting us up nicely for the day our first port of call was Inari.

This is only two train stops away from Kyoto and using the JR pass we eagerly set off in-search of more temple goodness. We have had a knack of walking past the places that we want to visit / restaurants that we want to eat at, which as you can imagine becomes something of a running joke between us. This time it almost happened again. A massive bright orange gate opposite the train station exit was almost missed, however we spotted it just in time before heading off down the road in the opposite direction.

Fushimi-Inari is a huge complex of shrines and temples that are a big draw to many worshipers. As Fushimi-Inari Shrine is so big it did not feel too crowded, which is what we like. There is a tunnel of 10,000 orange shrine gates (torii) which form the path up to Mt Inari, 233 meters in height. The 4km path involves steps most of the way up so it also felt like a good workout. Groups of business men in suits were climbing the hill, stopping for beer in the many cafes on the assent to the top, they must have been roasting hot in there clothing attire. Half way up we found a great view of Kyoto city just behind some small shrines, however at the very top there is no view due to trees dominating the summit, Dave was not happy about this! We had a celebratory orange at the top and then headed down. A very worthwhile visit indeed and with free entrance it’s just marvelous. We were pretty intrigued by the small dog statues wearing bibs – this is something to do with having protection from the cold winter ahead. Helen thought they were particularly cute, you may see a few more of these!

One stop back towards Kyoto station we stopped at Kyoto’s largest Buddhist Zen Monastery, Tofuku-ji. This was lovely, really well looked after and some great photo opportunities, just a shame the sky was thick with grey cloud. A look around the gardens and temples and then our stomach’s started to rumble. We headed back to the station where just down the road is a great little organic cafe that sold a mix of Japanese and Korean food.

We made a classic Western error here. Doors can “swing” open as we are used to, but most tend to “slide” open. We tried about three times at pulling and pushing the door, wandering around looking for another entrance and getting mildly frustrated that the door appeared locked, but we could see people inside enjoying their food. Finally we tried the slide method and Hallelluja we were in. We got a few strange looks but we dealt with the shame! We had good portions of sashimi salad and rice for Helen and teriyaki chicken salad and rice for Dave, which we both enjoyed.

After returning to K’s Guest House we had some relax time with a few blog post updates, a cheeky rum and ginger ale (ginger beer is so much better but its hard to find over here) and some snacks from the bar. Helen made a skype call home to the Roscoe’s to brighten up her stay, they were all out in force with the Roscoe-Elwood addition and lovely Sukie smiling and waving away. Much love to them all, Karl was messing around and we giggled lots – missing you all! xx

After the excitement of skype we read about some temple gardens in Kyoto are only open during the evening and decided that a night garden experience was something that we wanted to do. Luckily there was no rain in sight and we easily found our destination; Kodaiji. Using artificial illumination in this garden works brilliantly, red and orange leaves reflecting off the pool waters bring very much of a mystical feel. The bamboo forest was also great with vertical lines shooting up to the canopy above. We both loved it.

For a late night bite to eat we stopped at a cafe and ordered a kind of omelette, rice and sauce. Dave opted for the curry and cheese version which was surprisingly nice and Helen went for a yellow pepper / white bean sauce which didn’t go down all that well, quite bland. The photos might not tell a great story of these, but they were OK and the price was reasonable.

K’s guest house was having a 7th Birthday party so we headed back to our lodgings and joined in the celebrations with a few drinks. Up early tomorrow to leave Kyoto and head to more peaceful and serene surroundings.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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One Comment

  1. Posted 18 Nov ’10 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Great images! Keep ‘em coming.

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