Our first stop was Nishiki market, just a short walk from our hotel. I have rarely seen so many food items that I don’t recognize!

…and some unusual characters…

Pounding sesame seeds

Using our JR pass we took the train to Arashiyama to see the bamboo forest which wasn’t quite as dramatic as I’d imagined, but it was pleasurable to walk through the towering bamboos on a hot day.

We didn’t make it to Fushimi-inari during the golden light, but it was lovely to see the shrine illuminated. The next day, I made the short train trip back to see it during daylight.

Fushimi shrine is an important  Shinto shrine just two train stops south of Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates which straddle a network of trails leading into the forest of the sacred Mount Inari. The shrine is dedicated to Inari, the deity of rice and sake. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital’s move to Kyoto in 794.

These torii are mesmerizing. I would have liked to spend the day, but we are onward to Tokyo.

Kyoto tower by night.

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