First time in Kyoto, 1 year anniversary, and it’s Valentine’s Day. What a great way to spend the day with a 2 hour stair climb! Mandu and I decided to do a day trip to Kyoto because it’s only 2 hours away from Tokyo and we have a JR Railpass, easy! From Kyoto Station, take the Nara JR Line to Inari station. The shrine is right outside the station, so you can’t miss it.
Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社?) is the head shrine of Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan. The shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari which is 233 metres above sea level, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span 4 kilometers and takes approximately 2 hours to walk up.
Since early Japan, Inari was seen as the patron of business, and merchants and manufacturers have traditionally worshipped Inari. Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha is donated by a Japanese business. First and foremost, though, Inari is the god of rice. –Wikipedia
Arrived early in the morning and there where already students and tours happening. Honestly, you don’t need to pay for a tour to see this place. Save your money and go solo. Bring water, because you’ll need it. It’s a 2 hour stair climb to the top.
There is a shortcut, but you have to go through the woods on the right side of the mountain. Kinda scary path though…
As you walk through each torii, the orange gates, you get a sense that you are somehow in another period in time… Pretty cool. There are pit stops for those who can’t hold their bladder, but the bathrooms are old school, you have to squat.
Half way up, there is a nice restaurant that brings you back to the Edo period. The view and the restaurant’s theme is pretty romantic, perfect for Valentines Day. Seriously though, a good place to re-fuel yourself and rest your feet.
Did I mention it took 2 hours to get to the top? Yea, you have to walk back down also if you want to go home…
Don’t worry though, it’ll feel a lot faster and by the time you come down, the food vendors at the bottom will be cooking some delicious grub. Pork skewers, steak skewers, potatoes, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, yakisoba, and so much more.
There are going to be moments where you want to quit and say, that’s as far as I’ll go, let’s head back down. Don’t, finish and reach the top. Getting to the top of the shrine I got a sense of clarity about life and how to succeed. Keep pushing yourself and drink water. You’ll see what I mean when you make it to the top.
By the end, both our feet were on fire. We didn’t think the stairs up would be so challenging, and our shoes didn’t have gel inserts to help comfort our feet. With our stomachs full and feet in pain, we decided to go to Kyoto’s Pokemon Center afterwards… Which I will post in another blog soon.
Note: Buy a JR Railpass if you plan on visiting more than 1 city during you stay in Japan. It’s worth it. You can do day trips to Kyoto without hurting your wallet. Note that you can ONLY take the Nozomi or the Hikari line, because they are JR. Nozomi stops at every station, and Hikari doesn’t.