Day 7 was my first full free day! Needless to say, I was pretty excited about it. That day I planned on exploring around some of Kyoto’s most famous areas- Fushimi inari, Kiyomizu dera and Gion with my roommates. We grabbed breakfast and left as quickly as we could.
Fushimi inari is found in the southern region of Kyoto city. It was really far and out of the way, so we decided to go there first. As usual, we took a bus there. After we got off the bus we still had to walk quite a bit through the town. The suburbs of Kyoto have a charm of their own, with little shops selling a variety of different things.
We also walked past a river/ canal to finally reach our destination (there were ducks!). And what a wonderful surprise- there were stalls selling street food! This was the perfect opportunity to try some and fill our tummies.
I decided on buying the first thing I saw- takoyaki. I absolutely love takoyaki- it’s soft on the inside with little bits of squid, topped with various sauces. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
There were also stalls selling taiyaki, small okonomiyaki, yakisoba and so on. There were also giant chestnuts, I’ve seriously never seen roasted chestnuts so big.
Anyway, we continued on to Fushimi inari. All 3 of the places I went that day were full to the brim- this is to be expected as these areas are hot favourites of tourists. Fushimi inari was probably the most crowded, but definitely the place I enjoyed the most.
Of course the shrines in the area were really beautiful and there were lots of big ones and plenty of smaller ones. We didn’t bother buying fortunes or praying here though, it was far too crowded.
There are also plenty of statues and references to foxes, which are regarded as messengers in the shrines. You can buy cheeky fox key chains and tablets.
But the real beauty of Fushimi inari had yet to reveal itself. The reason that Fushimi inari is still absolutely worth going to is the one that has made the shrine most famous- the hundreds upon hundreds of red torii gates that carve a path along the mountain.
The mountainous regions of Fushimi inari bring another advantage- the higher you go, the less people there are. And this mountain is seriously beautiful. There are also little tea houses along the way where you can stop to have a drink while taking in the beautiful view.
I highly recommend that you climb all the way up if you visit, I’ve heard the view is stunning. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time, so I climbed about 3/4 way up. The way down was really beautiful as well. This place is well worth it despite the crowds.
Next of course was Kiyomizu dera! We took a bus (this was the day I used the unlimited free pass given by the university) that took us straight there. Kiyomizu dera was also on top of a hill, so we slowly made our way up.
Kiyomizu dera is known for 2 things- fresh water and its spectacular view. For some reason some of the maple trees here had already withered, although they had not everywhere else.
There were plenty of great spots to take in the natural surroundings and take photos.
The path down also had some tea houses surrounding the maple trees.
Next was a structure that had 3 streams of water flowing down-for money, love and studies (or so I’m told). You have to chose one to drink out of to receive good fortune in that area, but you must not drink from more than one stream as it will cancel out the effects! You had to chose one and stick with it (much like anything else in life).
After walking around we decided to get something to eat. The trail down from Kiyomizu dera had plenty of food options, and we settled for yakisoba. We then continued downhill to take the raku bus (this goes to most tourist destinations at a standard price, 230 yen). Before going into Gion, we decided to explore the nearby maruyama park.
We then walked around Gion for a bit. The famous street is filled shops selling traditional crafts and food items.
By this time we were all extremely tired, and not in the mood to walk anymore, so we decided to find a bus stop to head back to the dorm.
And then, out of no where, we saw a protest! This may seem like nothing special to most people, but I come from a country where protests are completely unheard of. This was the first time I’ve ever seen a protest, and it was pretty darn exciting.
Once again, I was too tired to get out and find a place to eat (I think I contributed to at least half of 7/11’s profits in December- you’re welcome 7/11). But don’t judge, I walked a whopping 26402 steps that day.