When I write about Japan, I write a lot about Osaka, and about other places, but so far, I've neglected Kyoto, the tourist capital of Japan. Because it's not easy to write about Kyoto... many people who come there are a bit disappointed, because it's not that Old Fashioned Japan Wonderland they think it might be.
Actually, downtown Kyoto is pretty drab, expensive and doesn't really have any nightlife. It's best feature is Nishiki Market, an amazing covered food market. The secret with Kyoto, I have found, is to spend lots of time there, preferably not in one go, and explore the thousands of temples scattered around the city, otherwise you'll get templed out. I'm planning to introduce some to you over the next weeks (I have by no means seen more than two dozen of them yet ;) ).
|someone having a torii party|
My favourite has become Fushimi Inari Taisha, a shinto shrine in a suburb of Kyoto, dedicated to Inari, the god of rice (as in inari sushi, delicious rice stuffed sweet tofu pouches), who, mysteriously in the world of shinto, comes in the shape of a fox-like being.
Fushimi Inari has lots of foxes and more amazingly, it's set around a mountain covered in torii (those red entrance gates you'll see at all shinto shrines). Whether you have a thing for shinto and Japanese mythology or not, everyone will enjoy wandering along these – it's an easy but interesting hike and you'll come across many awesome things as you walk along them.
|main shrine building|
|people writing their wishes on foxy boards|
If you have been to Kyoto, what was your favourite temple/shrine?
|even the train station had inari!|