Kyoto Day 4: Temples, Shrine, and Food!
Destination: Fushimi-Inari (伏見稲荷大社) & Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺), Kuromon Ichiba Market
It was our last day in Kyoto as we were heading back to Osaka later that night. Because we missed Fushimi-Inari the other day due to pure exhaustion and because I refuse to go home without seeing Fushimi-Inari first, we trekked our way early morning to visit the shrine.
It was actually raining pretty hard that day but the persistent pattering of the rain didn’t deter a large crowd from visiting the shrine. Granted, there was probably less people there that day but there were still quite a large number of people braving the weather in order to pay their respects to the shrine.
Fushimi-Inari Shrine is an important Shinto shrine that is well-known for its thousands of vivid vermilion-colored torii gates. These gates lead deeper into the sacred Mountain Inari and the bright vermilion color represents the sun and so the torii gates are painted in this color. Since foxes are said to be Inari’s messengers, statues of foxes can be found all over the shrine.
The shrine itself is actually dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice and abundant crops and eventually became associated with business and wealth. In the older days, having an abundant amount of harvest was a sign of wealth and so eventually Fushimi-Inari came to be associated with success in business. The original story that I heard regarding this shrine was that merchants used to pray for success here before heading towards their final destination. If sales were good, they would return and build a torii gate to the god as a token of their gratitude. Even today, this tradition still remains as a large number of these gates were donated by local and national businesses.
The entire hike will take about 2-3 hours, including going up and coming back. After 30 – 45 minutes, you will reach the Yotsutsuji intersection, which is ,roughly, the halfway point. A lot of people will turn back after here because the density of the torii gates decrease and trial doesn’t change much from this point on. We went a little further before turning back but I would like to come back again and make it all the way up to the top when it is not raining so hard.
We snapped some more quick photos on the way back. There seemed to be a lot of smaller shrines integrated inside Fushimi-Inari.
Kiyomizu-dera, which translates to “pure water,” is a sacred and popular stop for many tourists as well as for those seeking love.
As the Jishu Shrine is located right above the Kiyomizu-dera and it is home to the “love stones”which are 18 meters apart from each other, roughly 60 feet. According to legends, if you can make it from one stone to the other with your eyes close, your wish for love will be fulfilled. You can also have someone guide you but if you do then that means that person will be instrumental in helping you find your love in real life as well.
If you want to have a go at this, I suggest coming early in t he morning to beat the crowds as there are a lot of people walking around this area.
This area also sells a lot of cute love charms that you can buy. There are sets for singles, couples, and even ones made for grandparents. The grandparent one is super cute and I would definitely recommend this as a souvenir to take home.
I opted for an easier charm. There was another stand across from the one that sold all of the love charms. lHere, you can buy a little person-shaped piece of paper and write your worries on it. After you have written them, you can toss it into the bowl of water and watch it dissipate.
On the way out, we visited Otowa Waterfall. The main stream is divided into three, small waterfalls for visitors to drink from. Each of these streams represent three different things: longevity, success in school, and success in love. Drinking from all three of these stream is considered to be greedy. We didn’t have time to stop and try it as there was a long line of people waiting to try.
We stopped by Zuigudo Hall afterwards. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any pictures of this place but I think this is still a pretty unique stop that you should make if you have time. We just happened to stumble upon it but when you descend into the hall, the entire place is pitch-black and you cannot see anything in front of you. Follow the rope to make your way around until you come to the main room. In the center of the room, there was a giant stone sitting on a glowing pedestal. You’re supposed to put your hand on the stone and make a wish. The entire hall is simulates the womb of the mother and is dedicated to Daizuigu Bosatsu, mother of Buddha. According to legends, any wishes made here while touching the stone will be granted. It’s a pretty neat experience overall.
Kuromon Ichiba Market
Unfortunately, it was the Respect for the Aged Day Day when we visited and so many of the stores were closed. Well, unfortunate for us but it’s a good to remember to show our appreciation and gratitude towards the elderly. We did manage to get some snacks though.
The Katsukura store inside the Kyoto station is well-known for their tonkatsu so we decided to stop here for dinner. Actually, I wasn’t quite sure what meal I was eating but as long as I could keep it down, it counted. Tonkatsu is a deep-fried bread pork cutlet and is often served with rice, miso soup and freshly shredded cabbage.
We decided to go with the smaller order since we were still kind of full.
You can grind up your own sesame paste here and you can add other condiments as well. The restaurant also serves fried shrimp and deep-fried vegetables in case you’re not a fan of pork. The tonkatsu was crispy and fried to a perfection–a must try!
By the time night fell, we arrived back in Osaka, ready to do some more eating and shopping. Lugging around a souvenir filled bag didn’t sound like a good time us so we saved the majority of our shopping for Osaka since it was our final destination.
End Day 4