Beemer (dr_tectonic) wrote,

Kyoto: torii, trains, towers

The ryokan stay includes breakfast, and not needing to make decisions about food before you've had food in the morning is a big plus in my book. It included a little salad, some fruit, a couple bites of sliced deli meat, a couple bites of a frittata-type thing with corn and pistachios, two slices of toast, a roll, and a roll pretending to be a bagel. Unusual for the western palate, but I think it works.

After we were suitably fortified, we took the train three stops to Inari and spent the morning at Fushimi-Inari, which is... well, I was going to say temple, but it's kind of the whole mountainside, with a temple complex at the bottom and a bunch of shrines all up and down the hillside, and most importantly, literally thousands of torii, the iconic vermilion gates. You start off with a couple huge ones at the bottom, then there's a trail up the hill with big ones, and after a bit it gets to a section where they're smaller and spaced so closely that they form a tunnel. I started off trying to count them, but when we got to the tunnel part I realized it was a foolish ambition and gave up.

We got there around 10 am, and there were many, many other sightseers, but they thinned out as you went uphill. A surprising number of them were dressed up all fancy to go hiking up a mountain. You can climb all the way to the summit, and we got about halfway of the way up (about 3 miles walking) before we decide that our legs were tired, we'd seen some good vistas, poked into lots of nooks and crannies, and that was far enough. On the way back down we managed to get off the main trail and onto some back way, where we saw even more out of the way shrines, so that was all good. (And kitties! Probably feral, but totally acclimated to humans.)

We took the train back to Kyoto Station, got lunch (curry udon) at a place in the underground mall, and then came back to the ryokan to rest a little.

Afterwards, we went back to Kyoto Station and poked around the station itself a bit -- it's an impressively large structure with some interesting architecture -- and then Jerry wanted to do some clothes shopping, so we went to the Uniqlo in the Yodobashi-Kyoto building, most of which is a gigantic department store that sells sensory overload. Oh, and speaking of sensory overload, we also walked through a pachinko parlor and arcade looking for a photo booth. Wow.

So anyway, then we decided to take the elevator up to the top of Kyoto Tower to see the city. It's an architectural oddity from the '60s and kinda kitschy, but we were up there at sunset and the view was really nice, and it was only 770¥, so what the heck. It was fun.

The couple places we looked at for dinner were full and we were both pretty pooped and not super-hungry, so we grabbed some stuff from a convenience store (Lawson) and called it a day.

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