Japan 2015: Day 5 – Nishiki Market and Fushimi Inari

It’s been a busy and exhausting week but I finally have time to write another Japan post!

I was changing hotels on this day and as my next hotel would be at the Kyoto Station and not within easy walking distance of Shijo Kawaramachi I decided to walk around some first before going to the next hotel. In my meanderings, I stumbled upon the Nishiki Market.

Lots of Japanese foodstuff on sale.

How do they keep it all looking so clean?? *thinks of markets at home*

There were quite a lot of people there so it took some waiting and some luck to get a relatively uncrowded picture like this one.

I walked down the whole Nishiki Market street and then back up to the regular areas… and found this shop somewhere. Duck Tail. hehe

Stopped and stared for a few moments at this because it looked exactly like the crab outside the famous restaurant in Osaka. Kani Doraku is in Kyoto too?

After wandering round Shijo Kawaramachi, having lunch at my favourite omuraisu place (which I had been to with Yang and Danny but couldn’t remember the exact location of the last time I was in Kyoto), and taking a peep at the Takashimaya and IOIO malls, I caught a cab and went to the Kyoto Station.

This time I stayed at the Granvia Hotel, and it was the fanciest hotel of my stay. Biiiig room (by Japanese standards), right at the station, and I had a view of the train tracks from 9 floors up!

Anyway, I soon trotted out again and headed for Fushimi Inari Taisha. The JR Pass meant I could take the local train to the JR Inari station at no extra cost so… off I went. It was just about 15 minutes by train I think.

Just outside the JR Inari station.

To my absolute delight, Fushimi Inari was right there. Just a few steps across the single lane road.

Ema, a standard at all shrines.

Evidently, a Star Trek fan passed by sometime ago. :P

I didn’t read all the ema – I was taking several close-up photos and suddenly saw this one hidden behind several others.

The front section of the shrine is the usual few buildings, but walk up the stairs and you’ll see what makes Fushimi Inari famous.

Rows and rows and rows of bright orange torii that have been donated by different people over the years. There are so many that you can walk all the way up the hill mostly under cover of these torii.

There were so many tourists there though :(

It took quite a bit of standing around and waiting for an opportune moment to grab people-less shots like this one.

Or this one. (Ok, evidently in high tourist season this would be nearly impossible except at dawn or later in the evening. This being low tourist season meant I didn’t have to wait as long for moments like this to appear.)

Black and white pic! Taken on my iPhone.

After the first double lane of torii, there’s another shrine or two.

The ema here are like fox heads. (From Japan Guide: “Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds.”) I was very amused by how pretty much everyone had decided to draw faces on them. Some people clearly had lots of artistic talent. hahaha


Then it’s up another path of torii!

I decided to try making use of the many people walking up and down… But this would have needed a tripod to work better. Kind of an amusing ghostly effect though.

You go up… and then down… for a bit anyway. haha

Midway point! (Red dot indicates where you are on the map.) You could circle back to the first section, or go up and follow the trail to the top of the hill. (There are fewer torii on the trail up though.) Maybe one day I’ll do that…

I didn’t feel like going up the hill, especially as it was already past 5PM. So I opted to make the loop back. No torii at this part.

A small pond. (It was drizzling at this point. Boy, was it cold…)

Then I decided… I’ll just go back up again. HAHA

By this time there were fewer people around – the large groups of tourists had gradually left.

Put my camera on the ground for this angle. I rather like it.

The lights started coming on as the sun set.

And the lamplight between the torii pillars created interesting patterns on the ground.

Got this pretty blurred shot when I was trying to focus on a light some distance away.

Properly focussed, it looks like this.

Night fell, and so did the number of people.

But I got nice photos!

The shrine has no opening/closing hours so you can walk in and walk around at any time. I quite liked the peaceful quiet atmosphere. It was cold but hey, no mosquitoes!!!

*puts camera on the ground again*

I liked the “line” created by the light reflecting off all the torii.

There was a photoshoot going on too. The photographer was shooting a model dressed as a geisha. I badly wanted to take a picture but decided it would be impolite, so I settled for the back view of the photographer and one of his assistants.

The main shrine by night. (I was there for about 2 hours – much longer than I expected to be there! But it was nice. Mum, if we go to Kyoto again I’ll take you there, ok? haha)

The station by night. So much quieter.

I had dinner at Kyoto Station. Sat down at a restaurant and had some pasta. I magically made it through without speaking English at all. (That said, the menu was in Japanese and English, and I did have to look up some words before I asked where I was supposed to pay. haha)

The view from my room! I mostly liked watching the trains. The brightly-lit section there is the bullet train platform. Below it are the local train lines, including the one that goes to Nara (and goes past Inari).

Got anything to add or say? :D