As planned, we are waking up early this morning for our Day 2 activities to explore Kyoto. We had on our list to visit today: Fushimi Inari Taisha and Kiyomizu Dera. We did have a good night sleep last night, the futon was comfortable. The apartment was actually pretty cold in the morning even with windows all shut, but we enjoyed cold weather better anyway. Both places were high on our priority list, and arguably most famous tourist destination in Kyoto.
Fushimi Inari Taisa
We took the train from Shichijo station to Fushimi Inari station which was just two stops away. Of course we didn’t know which way to talk to once we got off the train, but as rule of thumb: just follow the crowd 🙂 And that exactly what we did to lead us to this famously known for its thousands of vermilion torii gates shrine.
From what I read, Fushimi is one of many shrines that is dedicated to Inari (the Shinto God of Rice). And foxes are known as their messengers hence you’ll find many fox statues throughout the shrine, fox-themed souvenirs and snacks. There it is the big red torii gate in front of the shrine and there are already a small crowd gathering at the cleansing water station. And behind the main building of the shrine is the entrance to the torii gate-covered hiking trail, which starts with two parallel rows of gates.
Oh my, those were seriously a lot of stairs to climb, much more than we had expected! I am fit enough to walk and climb stairs, but not super fit to think this walk is nothing. Thankfully the weather was nice and the beautiful scenery helps to take my mind of giving up. I couldn’t imagine I would do this walk over hot summer days, though. We almost gave up and walked back down once we reached the Yotsutsuji intersection. This point is about half way up the mountain, where you can enjoy nice view over Kyoto then the trail splits into a circular route to the summit.
The view from here was breathtaking, I wouldn’t want to miss this! And that was the reason for us to keep going up the trail to the summit, hoping that there might be another point with incredible view up there. Sadly there was none! Nonetheless, the hike after that point was not as crowded and in the quietness I felt the hike was more enjoyable. It took us about 3 hours to complete the whole trail and back; and yes that was rewarding! Came back down and we saw the crowd has grown much more by this time.
And from here, we went to Kiyomizu-gojo station. Turned out we need to walk around 25 minutes from this station to the beautiful Kiyomizu-dera temple. But there were many interesting shops along way so it didn’t feel that long of walk. Only later on, we found out there are buses that go here from nearby our AirBnb. There were many shops nearby Kiyomizu-dera that offered kimono rental. I was tempted to try out one, but heard that it took a while to get dressed, make-up, and styled properly so I didn’t end up doing it.
Kiyomizu-dera (or it’s literal translation: Pure Water Temple) itself is beautiful, the building, the structure, the garden – everything was mesmerizing. However, the most famous part of this temple is its wooden stage out of its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. And at the time of our visit, the view from there was just amazing – all that colorful maple tree leaves in fall! Unfortunately, there was a renovation going on until March 2020 – so the main hall was covered and so were some parts of the wooden structure underneath that famous stage.
Another famous feature of Kiyomizu-dera is the three-stream waterfall, which each stream is said to bring longevity, successful at school/work, and fortune in love. The Otowa Waterfall is located on the base of the main hall, very noticeable as people lined up to drink the water from a cup that is attached to a long pole. Please do remember to not drink directly from the cup, rather pour the water to your palm and drink from there.
From there, we walked to Gion area and along the shopping street of Shijo Dori, such an eye candy for window shopping 🙂
What we ate on day 2?
Along the street from the shrine towards Fushimi Inari station are packed with food vendors and local souvenir shops. We were so hungry at this point and we got to try many things – all delicious, except the chicken skin dumpling 🙁
Kyoto Avanti B1 F
(It’s the dark gray coloured building behind Kyoto Station, in the same building is the Don Quixote)