Thanks to the expert airbnb hunting of our daughter Denise— we found a perfect location where we could just walk 15 minutes to Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha), 15 minutes to the JR Station that could bring you anywhere in Japan, and 10 minutes to Keihan Railways Fushimi-Inari Station, a short train ride to Gion District, where our geisha-spying adventure awaits.
When we last visited Kyoto 5 years ago, we missed this on our list since (as I narrated in a previous post), my mother died while we were traveling there. 🥺
Fushimi Inari is an important Shinto shrine in Kyoto owing to its thousands of beautiful vermilion torii gates, which are pathways to trails that lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, named after the Shinto god of rice.
You’ll see foxes sculptures at the gate entrances since back in the olden days they were thought to be Inari’s messengers.
The Japanese people are one of the gentlest and most amiable people we’ve every known. Just ask them nicely about anything and they are ready to help, and perhaps too eager to please. We’ve never wasted time finding directions because anybody whom we asked helped willingly. Some of them even walked us to the exact locations we were looking for.
We loved taking pictures with young Japanese girls and couples in their kimono. They were so cute and so giving. They would willingly smile in the photos and even volunteer to take Dutchie’s and mine, too.
Of course, we’ll always find time to take our #AlmostAKiss photos, an idea that began from our first travel to Europe together, that was in Venice— inspired by the Bridge of Sighs. As Dutchie enjoys a full kiss 😄, I’d like to collect photos of us in an “almost a kiss” pose, just short of a few seconds before we hear the song in our hearts as our lips touched. Because that fulfilling moment should be ours and ours alone and not to be shared to the world.
Now, the story behind the “almost a kiss” photographs: It was an idea that began from our first travel to Europe together, that was in Venice— inspired by the Bridge of Sighs. As Dutchie enjoys a full kiss 😄, I’d like to collect photos of us in an “almost a kiss” pose, just short of a few seconds before we hear the song in our hearts as our lips touched. Because that fulfilling moment should be ours and ours alone and not to be shared to the world.
SWT Tip: Always look for audio guides in English, in any museum, shrine or wherever required just so your cultural immersion (an important goal when traveling) is ✔️.
Mid-way through traversing the torii gates (we entered through the twin torii gates, right side of the Sembon Torii), we found a small shrine dedicated to a sacred cedar tree. On a bench there, we ate snacks bought the previous night from Lawson convenience store. SWT Tip: Traveling anywhere in the world we always carry our picnic bag to make sure we won’t be trapped by touristy restaurants around our itinerary. But how can you avoid the smell of grilled wagyu beef along the food stalls at the entry/exit to the shrine? You just can’t!
SWT Tip: And of course, part of our sojourn is to go to the side streets (away from the tourists!) in the village to find small restaurants that offer authentic Kyoto lutong-bahay.
Although as much as possible we stay away from touristy places, we really had fun in this visit since the sight of the red-orange gates are breath-taking by themselves! Once you pass beneath them (just walk leisurely, don’t rush!) you’ll feel being enveloped by a happy vibe—perhaps, a gift from the happy colours that surround you. Gising na gising ka talaga!