On our 8th day in Japan, we made our pilgrimage to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3915.html
It was a hard slog up allll those stairs but the view at the top was worth it. Walking through the forest reminded me a bit of the New Zealand bush. The vermillion Torii make it a magical adventure up the slopes of the mountain, behind the shrine.
I particularily the fox statues. The kitsune (fox) is said to be the messenger of Inari Kami (god).
I found myself enjoying the red gates and great views of the city despite the hordes of tourists and stacks of stairs. After meeting Inari we went back to Kyoto station for lunch. I got Mcdonalds and Rach got a bento box from the supaa (convenience store) up the road from our hotel Citadines on Gojo Street.
After a rest we then made our way back to the bus stop where we met our cooking teacher,Taro.
The Golden Pavilion was an amazing building on the edge of a large pond. The top two levels are gilded in gold and the surrounding gardens have a mossy floor with meticulously manicured gardens.
After paying about $5 each and a walk around the pavilion we wandered down the road, a little, to Ryoanji where a famous rock garden is situated. Its 500 years old... lucky its a garden of rocks or it would have died.
The surrounding gardens are the best we have seen yet! Pretty Sakura and an even bigger pond (Im sure there is no competition between Shrines though /wink /wink)
A unique wash basin of stone. "Tsukubai":
As we had to catch the train from Arishiyama back to the hotel, Rachel had an amazing idea! To head back to the Bamboo forest.... a stroke of genius. At 5pm there were only a handful of people about so we were able to enjoy the light rain in the bamboo and the peaceful serenity of ancient Japan. I also got a few great photos of the upper forest without any tourists spoiling the outlook.
After the bamboo forest success we headed past the station to get a few shots of the Moon Crossing bridge and the cherry blossoms in the hills around Iwatayama.
Now it was time to head home and rest our weary feet. We trekked back through surburbia to the JRstation and made our way through the rain back to our Hotel. The city at night is actually quite pretty in the rain.