Japan 2015 | A Day in Kyoto

Monday, 21 September 2015

I know it's taking me a stupidly long time to write about my time in Japan but I think it is just bittersweet knowing I went almost 3 months ago, I would do absolutely anything to be back there right now. While we were staying in Osaka we took the train to Kyoto and spent a day there, it was beautiful. 

The first thing we did was head to the Fushimi Inari shrine; it is the head shrine of Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan. As you can probably guess there were quite a few tourists there, so luckily we were able to ask for a map and be given the best route to take around the shrine in English. I seem to have misplaced the map; otherwise I would have taken a picture of it. The shrine became the object of imperial patronage during the early Heian period; also foxes are seen to be positioned all around the shrine because they are regarded as the messengers. If you are ever in, or near, Kyoto the shrine is just outside the JR Nara Line Inari Station, which is only a 5 minute journey from Kyoto Station. When they say outside the station, they definitely mean outside, as soon as you walk out you can see a gate leading up to the shrine.

If you do visit the shrine I highly suggest wearing long trousers because there are mosquitoes everywhere and you will be bitten to death, thankfully I wore long trousers but it was quite humid out. The complex consists of give shrines which are spread out across the wooded area of Inari, there is a pathway that wanders 4km up the mountain and it is also lined with tons of sub-shrines. It was quite overcast on the day we visited the shrine but I think it just made everything appear a lot more beautiful, I had defintely never visited a place as incredible as the Fushimi Inari, it was such an amazing feeling to be able to experience some authentic Japanese culture.

As we were walking back down to the train station we noticed that they had some market stalls selling food and drink, I love fruit and healthy fruit juice so as soon as I saw the stall selling orange and mango I knew I had to have one. The man would grind down the inside of the orange so it was just pure juice and it was probably one of the nicest drinks I have ever tried. My brother and uncle had the thickest piece of bacon I have seen on a stick, you could also buy crab sticks but as vegetarian I opted out on both of these. There were plenty of shops selling a ton of tourist style gifts as well.

 We decided to then walk and find a temple to visit, as we were walking through the town centre I saw a Baskin Robbins, we don't have these in England and I know it is typically an American brand but I really wanted to try it. The staff spoke very little English but they were extremely lovely and helped us out as much as they could, we managed to order and I decided to get this super cute panda ice-cream. I chose cookies and cream ice-cream and it tasted incredible, plus it looked so adorable.

After our ice-cream pit stop we walked through Kyoto, which I'm glad we did because it is so amazing to see how different housing in Japan is to England, I also love how they have drink vending machines everywhere. We visited the East temple and while we were there was a Christening taking place, it was an incredible experience to be able to witness this as it is probably a once in a life time opportunity for me. It was also nice to be able to take off my shoes after walking around all day and just have bare feet for a little bit, as you can to take off your shoes when entering a temple in Japan. The temple was having work done on it when we were there it was difficult to take decents photos of it that showed off how beautiful it was.

Being able to visit Kyoto for the day was amazing and it is definitely somewhere that I would like to spend more time in in the future, as it is the ancient capital of Japan and has such amazing history, as it has retained more of its heritage than other places in Japan. I'm going to do my best to get my other posts up from my trip to Japan, I have a post based on Disney in Japan which I'm excited to get up.

Victoria x
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