Friday, December 5, 2014

Japan Day 5: {Southern Kyoto} Fushimi Inari

Fushimi Inari Shrine is a great Kyoto attraction to visit with kids. This temple is the shrine of Inari, the god of rice. The place is most famous for the thousands of red toriis (Japanese gates) that curl up around the mountain. My kids enjoyed seeing all the fox statues here. The foxes are regarded as messengers and they often hold a key to the rice barn in their mouth.

From Nishiki Market in downtown Kyoto, we traveled south to Fushimi. Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station. For help with how to plan your commuting itinerary, read my post here.

A short stroll from the train station and we are faced with this view. The giant posts signal the entrance to Fushimi Inari 
at the gate of the shrine

the approach to the shrine

The Li'l Man wanted to take some photos using the DSLR, he took his job as photographer seriously and took some decent photos during the trip.

 There were quite a few pocket gardens along the way before you actually reach the torii gates.

Hahaha! Do not ask why we posed for photos here.  I don't know why also.  I think we were just waiting for C so we can all go in the shrine together.

Just one of the numerous fox statues in the shrine.

There were literally thousands of red-orange torii gates that starts with two parallel row of gates that line the pathway up to the top of Mt.Inari. These torii gates are actually donations from individuals and companies who are firm believers of Inari.
this is the starting point of the trails, these two parallel rows eventually merge
If you look at the back, you can find writings indicating the name and the date of donation. The cost of every gate varies depending on its size.

My kids are naturally very inquisitive, especially B.  We take frequent stops almost everywhere because they want to take a closer look at something... well, most of the time, they want to look at everything.:)  I do not remember what caught their interest here.

The walk up the mountain is gradual at first but eventually becomes steeper and with several stairs. When you get higher, the number of torii also gradually lessens. The walk can take 1-2 hours depending on your pace. They say, climbing upto the top can take half-day, but that is a task for the brave.:)

We only made it upto the restaurant which offer locally themed dishes such as Inari Sushi and Kitsune Udon ("Fox Udon"), as B was adamant that she wanted to try the Kitsune Udon, feauturing pieces of aburaage (fried tofu), said to be a favorite food of foxes. She already researched and printed out long list of food to try in Japan, and we did not want to disappoint her.

The menu is hand-made, and English menu is provided since there are a lot of tourists here.
Prices are quite reasonable and the servings are medium-sized.

Everyone had the Kitsune-udon becasue after B swayed everyone to walk up an hour (or two) for it,
kailangan ma-try din namin! hahaha!

Some Inari Sushi, too.  This sweetened sushi rice wrapped in fried tofu is said to be the favorite food of the fox.
And because everyone got so hungry after the trek up, another round!

We just stayed a few more minutes after eating to enjoy the view and to rest our tired legs.  We still had one more destination for the day - Nara.

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