A Side Trip from Kyoto – Fushimi Inari Taisha

Kyoto is the storehouse of Japan’s traditional culture. It probably has the most sights that make up the popular image of Japan – beautiful temples, bamboo gardens, and geisha; each worthy of a separate post. But this time I will introduce a unique and amazing place that is 5-minute-train-ride away from Kyoto.

After a short walk from the Inari train station, here is the entrance to Fushimi Inari Taisha. This amazing shrine was dedicated to the gods of rice and sake by the Hata family in the 8th century.

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The shrine complex includes trails up the densely wooded Inari mountain that spans 4 kilometers and takes approximately 2 hours. Mostly we walked in arcades of torii.

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Each of the torii here was donated by a Japanese business. Their names, dates, and occasions were carved in neat black characters.

Hmmmm… which side should we take?

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The characters appear on one side of the torii only, thus looking ahead and looking back gives somewhat different views.

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Once in a while, we saw mini-shrines like this.

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It was a great experience hiking up and down the mountain, with totally fascinating surroundings and views. The complex was well maintained and not very crowded. Therefore I was able to capture photos with no people in it. 🙂

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I don’t think we explored the whole area, but we did get the essence and enjoyed it immensely. Here is a map in case you plan to visit. Highly recommend!

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Travelogue (VI)

Hello again! I meant to attend to my blog sooner, but I have been busy catching up with work and other things after those busy trips in February. And my ‘milestone’ birthday came and went before I even got a chance to properly reflect! Oh well. Life is still good and I am still young. 🙂

After reading my travelogues, a few friends commented that they wish there were more photos and details from each place. Yes, I definitely plan to write about selected places, right after I am done with the lists. You see, ‘overview first, details on demand’ is a mantra in information visualization. 🙂

2011

I went to New York City 14 times this year – made it to Silver/Gold/Premier/Select status in a couple of hotel chains, United Airlines and Amtrak. 🙂 Also discovered the Hell’s Kitchen area, which was one of the reasons why I gained so much weight. 😦 Other trips include –

  • Spent a weekend in Atlanta, mainly to see the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest exhibit with a huge 6.3 million-gallon-water tank accomodating several whale sharks. It was very cool.
  • Another road trip to New England. Stayed for a few days in Maine – Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, followed by a drive to Cape Cod.
  • October was almost as crazy as my recent back-to-back flights – I spent the first week in New York City, second week in London, third week in Washington DC, and fourth week in Beijing. 🙂 No new places or experiences though.
  • Asia trip – visited my family in Beijing and saw the Great Wall again. I also went to Shanghai on China’s new speed train (300+ km/h), and Xi’An to see Terra Cotta Warriors. Then spent a few days in Japan – Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I was very impressed with how polite and efficient Japanese were, and their wonderful train system, including Shinkansen. I was excited to see Geishas wandering on the street of Kyoto, and a glimpse of Mount Fuji from the airplane.

I started this post planning to include 2011-2013 altogether. But now I realize 2012 was sort of complicated, and including two more years would make this post too long. So the lazy me decided to do only one year at a time. Hope you don’t mind! Till next time…