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Day 15, part 2: Fushimi Inari Taisha

Second part of our last day is a special moment and we decided to spend it in a really special place.

That special place is Fushimi Inari Shrine, dedicated to god of fertility, rice, industry and so on. Soon you will see what's special about it.

We wanted to visit it in a second half of a day for a variety of reasons including the recommendation to visit it in the evening because it's scarier that way.

Next train Display in Kyoto
Display at the train station announcing a train and also how many cars it has and what symbol to look for to determine where those cars stop an where their doors will en up being.

Car stop sign at Kyoto station
Since there are many different kinds of cars in Japan and they have different door placement, of course it's only natural that several markings are employed.

Entrance to Fushimi Inari Taisha
Finally we have arrived. The Entrance to Fushimi Inari Taisha, behind these two torii gates is a Romon gate.

Fox guardian at Fushimi Inari
Inari is served by foxes (Kitsune in Japanese). They are messengers of the god too. Usually used as guardian statues and come in pairs: male and female.

Fox guardian at Fushimi Inari
Often prortrayed with a key (to a rice granary), a jewel (like in a previous picture), a scroll

Fox guardian at Fushimi Inari
Or a sheaf of rice.

Some shrine at Fushimi Inari Taisha
Some other shrine at the complex.

Senbazuru, Thousand paper cranes
Senbazuru, a thousand of origami cranes. It is an old Japanese tradition that a person who will make a thousand of paper cranes will get a wish granted by a crane. Such as a long life or recovery from illness.
It's a powerful luck charm to have at home too. These could also be gifted to a newlyweds by the folder to wish them a thousands years of happiness and prosperity, or to a newborn for a long life and good luck.

Senbazuru, Thousand paper cranes
Also used as a powerful matchmaking charm for a Japanese girl when she turns 16. She would fold a thousand of paper cranes and give them to an admired boy.

Shrine workers and shops in background
A priest and priestess pass by numerous souvenir shops.

Monks praying
Two priests are worshiping in Honden.

Monk reading a scroll
Another one is reading a sutra scroll aloud.

Papers with wishes in Fushimi Inari Taisha
Pieces of paper with wishes written on them.

Cemetery in Fushimi Inari Taisha
A cemetery looking place that is not quite cemetery.

Beginning of Torii gates passway to inner shrine on Inari mountain
The main attraction. A pass up the mountain covered with torii gates so close to each other that they form a tunnel.

Beginning of Torii gates passway to inner shrine on Inari mountain

Path lined with torii gates

Path lined with torii gates
Inari is also a god of business, as such businesses are trying to appease the god. Each of the gates was donated by some business.

Path lined with torii gates
Soon one big tunnel turns into two smaller ones.

Fox guardian on the path
Kitsune are guarding even in the tunnel

Path lined with torii gates

Path lined with torii gates

Path lined with torii gates

Path lined with torii gates

Path lined with torii gates

Path lined with torii gates
At the back of the gates you can see signs telling who donated the gate and the signs we have seen span entire Japan.

Path lined with torii gates
We chose one of the tunnels and after some time we can see the end of it.

It led us to inner shrine area.

Inner shrine worship place
Inner shrine worships place. Looks like people are drawing their own fox faces here too.

Some altar at inner shrine
some sort of torii altar.

Japanese girls at Fushimi Inari Taisha inner shrine
Soon after we entered the area a group of Japanese girls appeared.

Japanese girls and Omokaruishi
They wandered around and finally went to Omokaruishi.

Japanese girls and Omokaruishi
Omokaruishi means "heavy light rock". People need to lift the (nornally pretty heavy) rock. If you feel the rock is light, then your wish will be granted.

Japanese girls in Torii gates tunnel
After some time the girls went away.

Path lined with torii gates
This is a continuation of the pass-way uphill from the inner area. A really-really long uphill trail.

Path lined with torii gates
more torii tunnels

Outside of the gate tunnel
This is how it looks outside

Staircase covered with torii gates
After some time the road turned into stone staircase.

Some gifts to gods?

Some gifts to gods?
On a ground just outside of tunnel we have seen some dolls. White kitsune (the magical kind that Inari employs) and a Daruma doll

Schoolgirls about to enter torii gate tunnel
While we were busy doing pictures, two Japanese schoolgirls passed us. We think these are attending a public school. Their uniforms even though similar are a bit different and one has a backpack while another has a handbag.

Path lined with torii gates
A ravine outside of the tunnel.

Monk walking in a torii gate tunnel
Another priest, this time walking in the tunnel.

Fox guardians
Two more Kitsune. Look to be pretty old.

O-Tsuka stone monuments
O-tsuka stone monuments. Originally we thought these are tombstones. But in fact people believing in Inari sometimes give another name to the god, write that name on a stone and put that stone near a shrine. There are more than 10,000 such stones in the area.

Staircase covered with torii gates
Another staircase

Fox fountain at Ganriki-sha
A fox fountain at Ganriki-sha. Ganriki means "eye-power" and it is believed that the god will cure people of eye disease.

Kitsune with jewel
Kitsune with a Jewel

O-Tsuka stone monuments
More O-Tsuka stones

Stone lantern on the way
A change of settings, now we see a stone lanterns alley ;)

Ichi-no-mine. The first peak
And finally after 10 more minutes we arrive at a first (and the highest) peak Ichi-no-mine.

Dragon fountain
10 more minutes bring us to the second peak that did not leally looked very different from what we have seen before. No pictures of the peak itself, but there was this nice dragon fountain.

A bit later we have reached the third peak and then went back.

The sun was not visible any more and the atmosphere around started to look somewhat scary indeed. The crows became vocal too and Ksusha got somewhat nervous. At least the road was mostly downhill on the way back so it was easier. It took us around two hours to go all the way up.

Japanese girl in torii tunnel
Close to an inner shrine we have seen a couple participating in some sort of a photo-session.

Japanese couple near torii tunnels
Here is the couple.

Torii tunnel at dusk

Torii tunnel at dusk
And some more pictures of the tunnel at dusk.

Torii tunnel at dusk
It is believed that you can actually meet kitsune in those tunnels. And it is believed that kitsune like fried tofu (aburaage) so bring some with you too. If it so happens that you don't meet any, just leave the tofu near one of the statues. But if you do meet the Kitsune, make sure not to follow them to the God's land as it's a strange place and you won't be able to find your way out of there.

A very interesting place to visit and it's free too! Though the road uphill is somewhat hard. If we came there on our first day to Japan we probably would not be abto to even reach the top. But we were trained by the previous days already, so did this somewhat easily. And even our legs did not hurt anymore.

This concludes our last day in Kyoto.

Next day we woke up pretty early and headed to Kyoto train station from where a fast Shinkansen took us to Tokyo

Shinkansen Trains. 700-series left, N700 at right.
Shinkansen that we took (at the right). It's the most modern and fast one so far, the model is N-700.

And in Tokyo we switched to NEX Airport Express, got to the airport and departed home.

This concludes the trip description, hooray! Almost a year since our visit which demonstrate that we probably need to take less pictures, or process them faster.

We really enjoyed this trip and we will definitely visit Japan again. Hopefully soon.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip too.

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