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Japan, Day 11: Tokyo (and Kyoto…)

May 25, 2009

Okay after the mess last evening, here we were back in Shinjuku. We had to go back to Kyoto to get our luggage from the hotel… We got up super early to catch the 6-something a.m. Shinkansen to Kyoto, and got there later in the morning around 9 or so. Thank goodness for the JR pass, or else this would have been another three hundreded dollars per person.

Since we were back in the Kyoto area, we figured we could go see the one last thing I wanted to see, the Fushimi-Inari Taisha, famous for the lines of Torii.

Unlike the rest of the shrines, this shrine has foxes as the stone guards:

Inari guard

And here are the famous Torii:

Torii

Gates

Torii

It’s quite spectacular walking through the Torii:

Gates from one side

then you turn around, and there are all these inscriptions on the Torii:

Gates from the other side

Turns out, Inari is the god of business, and the Torii are donated by business to ensure good fortune; so the inscriptions are the names of the companies and the dates.

Another unique thing about this shrine is the Ema (the wooden plaque for writing wishes); here they are in the shape of foxes:

Kitsune Ema

Kitsune Ema

It’s quite entertaining to look through some of the drawings on them!

On one side near the entrance is a statue of two foxes with a hole between their heads; you are supposed to throw a rock and if it goes through the hole, apparently a wish gets granted:

Stone throw

The Shrine complex is huge, and a hike up to the top (lined with thousands of Torii) takes several hours. Since I got a pretty good flavor of the area, we decided we should pick up our luggage from the hotel and head back to Tokyo.

The weather was nice, and on the way back we were treated to a splendid view of Mt. Fuji from the Shinkansen:

Mount Fuji from the Bullet Train

Once back in Tokyo, we rested a little and then went back to Harajuku for some crepes, then went back to the hotel to pack.

About 10 days in Japan, and it was amazing all the different things we saw!

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