Fushimi Inari Shrine is the most famous of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari across Japan. This shrine ended up being my favourite one in Kyoto.
It had a very peaceful and spiritual atmosphere.
Fushimi Inari Shrine is also famous for the countless torii gates, offerings by worshippers, which cover the hiking trails of Inarisan, the wooded mountain behind the shrine’s main buildings.
These paths wind up through the mountain and you get to walk underneath thousands of bright orange torii gates all the way.
You had a choice of two paths that both ended at the same place. I walked the short path as I had boots on and the day turned out to be quite hot. I left Michael to do the long one alone. It takes about two hours to walk along the whole trail and we still ended up reaching the end about the same time.
I had a leisurely walk back and even stopped for a drink and something to eat at a sweet little place next to the road between all the shrines and statues that lined my way.
Kitsune Udon (“Fox Udon”), a noodle soup topped with pieces of aburaage (fried tofu), a favorite food of foxes, is served at most of these small restaurants along the hiking trail so I had to try it. It was lovely and very filling. Inari is the Shinto god of rice, and foxes are thought to be his messengers. Therefore, many fox statues can be found at Inari shrines.
I enjoyed exploring this shrine and was very reluctant to leave.
Nanzenzi Temple was next on my list. This temple wasn’t what attracted me, it was the beautiful arches of the aqueducts. On top of these ducts still flow small water streams. Nanzen-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple established in 1291. This large brick aqueduct that passes through the temple grounds was amazing.
Built during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), the aqueduct is part of a canal system that was constructed to carry water and goods between Kyoto and Lake Biwa in neighboring Shiga Prefecture. Paths run alongside the canal that leads into the surrounding forest.
It was amazing just walking around and looking at all the people.
I got onto a bus and headed to the other side of town where I went to Tenryuji temple which dates back to 1345. The best part was walking through the bamboo forest behind the temple with an ice cream.
A wonderful way to end my weekend in Kyoto!!