I really wanted to take Ryan to see Fushimi Inari Shrine, so we hopped on three different trains to get to Fushimi station. Fushimi Inari is known for having over 40,000 torii there (purchased by businesses and individuals for blessings), but is more widely known in Japan as being the head temple of a large (Taisha) sect. The Vatican to Catholics is Fushimi Inari to the Taisha sect. It's a pretty big deal. :-)
|The shrine was getting ready for their own celebration a few nights later, so the temple staff was busy stringing up hundreds of lanterns along the entrance to the shrine.|
|The gates to the actual shrine...where Ryan got to see and hear monks chanting.|
|I adore the roofs made of natural materials...|
The temple is a wonder in and of itself, so I think it's best to let the picture speak for themselves. But in short- there is a walkway that winds up the mountain that is a little over two miles. Every inch is covered with or by torii.
|These little torii were available to purchase for $7 each that you could hang/place at the temple.|
After we left the temple, Ryan and I with a combined 10+ mosquito bites from the bamboo forest...we headed to Kyoto Station. Kyoto Eki is a mammoth, modern structure that existed back when we were there in '97, and it's still impressive.
|What I call 'the longest escalator ride in the world.' Don't know if it's true, but it extends from ground level to the very tippy top of the building. I think it takes 15 minutes to ride from the bottom to the top.|
|The serene roof top garden that the escalators lead to|
|There is also a panoramic rooftop deck/viewing area of the entire city up there|
|Another gorgeous feature? The glass covered walkway that felt like we were walking above the city skyline in the clouds...|
|Kyoto Station replica made entirely with Legos!|
|Gorgeous yukata-clad people everywhere for Gion Matsuri!|
|For $10 each, you could go up and check it out up top. Since Rich had done so years ago (and at the time, as a female, I was not allowed up), we opted to skip it this time, much to Ryan's (aka Mr. Unemployed-with-no-Money-Management-Skills) dismay.|
|One of the many ladies handing out free uchiwa (fans) on the corner (we hoard these for my mother, who then covers them with origamai/washi paper and gives them to friends).|
|The streets of town were filled with festival food and games|
We found a large number of stores selling kimono and yukata (tis the season!), and finally found one with a yukata long enough for Ryan. (He really wanted one.) Though most places had no dressing rooms, the one we chose (as luck would have it) was connected to a photo studio. One of the employees actually took us upstairs to the studio so Ry could try on his yukata (something the other places had declined to allow us to do). I was so floored by the kindness and gorgeous spring-colored kimono filling the studio floor!
|The kodomo (children) sized kimono|
While cruising around town, we happened to run into this ceremonial parade of men donning a lot of animal skin (clearly they've never run into PETA before).
We ended our day with a mile-long walk back home with one very happy, exhausted little boy who fell asleep within one minute of being carried. :-) (Hence, why we insist on stuffing his 5-year old body into a tiny stroller when traveling... We often walk around from dawn to dusk, and in the heat/cold we often travel in, it's just too much for him and/or us to have to carry him. So to all the peeps who question this move- suck it! You try carrying a sweaty 5-year old for a mile!) ;-)