The youth hostel/ryokan my sister picked out was making me sad every time I thought about only having one coat hanger, not having any soap, being so loud, and my sister told me just to go find my own place, so I left. I was tired of following her around to her stores anyway and needed to get away for a while. It was good for me, since I got to walk around a lot like I usually like to do. But early in the day, Kyoto was feeling like a large pain in my ass. It’s like a giant Japan-Disneyland for dumpy foreigners. I thought Americans were dumpy but the Europeans walking around Kyoto were just as bad.
My first stop was to the Kyoto Tourist Bureau where they told me the town was full and there was only one place they knew of. But the opening was for two people and they wouldn’t let me stay as a single even if I paid double. So I just bought a day bus pass and put my stuff in a rental locker and headed towards Fushimi Inari. The buses were packed and I couldn’t get on the first one (which turned out to be the wrong bus anyway), so I just walked to the shrine.
On the way, at 9:45AM, I saw a line in front of a ramen shop. I figured it was people lining up early but there were people already inside and the place was full. The place must be tasty.
So it was off down the roads of Kyoto to Fushimi Inari Jinja Shrine.
I knew I was getting close when I saw tacky looking stores and people who looked like ferners.
I must have found my way in the back way.
Then it was off up the mountain. According to an old song, there’s 3,333 shrines up there.
And there’s a bazillion gates up there too.
Early on, in a break in the gates was a sign.
Up a weird looking trail.
There was a normal looking shrine.
But next to the shrine was this statue. You can check out the instructions. You make a wish and ask for the statue to become heavy. If that happens you get your wish. Then you make another wish and ask the statue to become light and if it does you get your wish. I can tell you it got heavy both times, though it felt heavier the first time.
I’m not sure what this is.
Then it was back to the bazillion shrines and gates.
After all that I saw this map. I’m not even halfway to the top yet.
About the time I thought I as at the top and saw this great view, it was tie for another loop.
Downhill meant the last part would be downhill as well.
If you can see this map of a small section of the mountain, there’s 190 shrines in this area.
Of course, I took an AWFUL picture of them.
There’s also places with running water that make you want to go to the bathroom.
I thought this sign said I was at the top.
You can guess what was around the next corner.
This, I think was at the top.
Downhill wasn’t much easier.
And I knew I was almost done when things got more garish.
I went back to the station on the train and went to JTB to ask about hotels. They said they had one cancellation for ¥44,000 or something. Then they said if I just paid twice a single person rate it would be less. Then they checked around some more and found nothing else in Kyoto or Osaka. So I decided since I’ve seen the poor end of things, I’d also see the richer end of things. This is a $600 hotel room. I also got the ¥2,000 breakfast thrown in (times two). It took all afternoon to get ahold of my mom, but we’re in the room (more about it later). I gave them my bags and it was off to see Kiyomizu Temple.
Why is there so much climbing? My mom said this just about killed her.
The main gate of Kiyomizudera Temple.
Another view of the pagoda.
Dear camera, thanks for focusing on the leaves. With my glasses on, I can only tell what’s in the frame, not how well it’s focused.
The temple bell.
This, by the way, is the reason all the hotels are full.
And on into the temple.
Lots of women in kimonos walking around. There’s places you can rent kimonos to wear around Kyoto.
Here’s the famous water of Kiyomizudera Temple.
This is Jishu shrine behind Kiyomizudera Temple with all of its gimmickry. It’s a shrine to ensure you get married.
The statue you pour water on.
The statues you rub to get your wishes.
The view of Kiyomizudera Temple is nice from a short distance away. You can see the balcony and the shrine behind the temple.
Once you make it to the pagoda on the edge of the grounds, you can gaze upon the temple.
This is with your back to the pagoda.
On the way down the hill I had some green tea and some sweets.
Then I went to Sanjyusangendō to see the Thousand Armed Kannon which you can’t take pictures of. It’s a huge long hall and it was one of my favorite parts of my Kyoto trip.
I went back to the hotel and waited for my mom and then my sister and Lim. We also ran into my dentist! We knew he’d be in Japan about the same time, but not in the same fancy hotel.
Then it was off to dinner. Here’s what Lim had.
My mom’s pasta and fluffy eggs.
My sister’s mushroom pasta in cream sauce.
I had seafood pasta and pizza. The duck and leek pizza was eaten before I could take a picture.
So, about the hotel. First, here’s the view.
It’s the Granvia Hotel, which is usually located INSIDE the train station. Turns out my room is on the TOP floor, behind a security door (there’s restaurants up there too) and down a LONG hallway. There’s complimentary soft drinks in a lounge with a view in a different direction. I wish my pictures from earlier in the evening turned out better. You can see the lights of Kiyomizudera Temple.
Other than that, the room is big and quiet and has a tub/shower with a rain head and body shower that I’ve always wanted to try. There’s free toothbrushes and soap and hangers and I don’t know why that all makes me so darn happy, but it does.
Tomorrow we’re all staying at the Hearton Nishiumeda, which is OK, but you can see the difference between ¥8,000 and ¥45,000. I’ll probably never stay at a place this expensive again, so let me have my fun for now.