Friday, April 13, 2018

Japan Days 10 & 11: Tears and Torii

Chilly temperatures, rain, and a sick and teething baby had us abandoning our day trip plans to Nara. We attempted a few small outings but generally tried to stay warm and keep Baby rested. Kyoto had gone from 27 degrees to 9 within the span of five days. It was even as cold as -1 when we awoke in our very cold apartment early one morning, thankfully the heater was in Baby's room. We were pleased with the few experiences we did manage to share despite the challenging conditions.

Our walk through the torii gates in Fushimi Inari Taisha was a sure highlight. We were on the hillside by 7 am meaning we had sections of the path to ourselves and the early morning light cast long shadows through the forest. The crisp air hummed with the sounds of nature and the quiet admiration of our fellow visitors. Gate after gate stood closely together for tight sections, then opened to shrines. The site was built in 711 for the god Inari, and foxes adorn the complex. They are said to be messengers to the gods.

We enjoyed our best meal out of the trip at Kushikura where we got to sit in our own private room, an experience we'd both been looking forward to. We had a feast of a meal with a bento box full of goodies and skewers on the side. The matcha cake and ice cream dessert were especially exquisite.

For an easy outing on our last day, we took the subway back to the Philosopher's Path. The change in scenery was remarkable. We were so thankful that we'd arrived in Kyoto when we did and had headed right there. There were basically no blossoms left on the trees. The walk was pretty but not nearly as stunning.

All in all, we loved our time in Kyoto and would highly recommend spending a few days to a week here to fully appreciate all that there is to see. With a week, we did not even make it to half of the 17 UNESCO world heritage sites in the city, though some of our favourite sites are not on the list (yet).

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