Saturday, June 3, 2017

Kyoto - visited two major Shrines today - Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Kiyomizu-dera Temple

The first Shrine we visited after arriving in Kyoto was the Fushimi Inari Shrine.  Think thousands of vermilion (orange) torii gates which straddle a network of trails behind its main building.  It is a photographer's paradise.  The gates create a magic tunnel, and then you see all these women wearing beautiful kimonos and men in traditional garb walking through the tunnels, and you just have to stop and take pictures.  The street scene around the temple is amazing, with lots of street vendors selling all sorts of street foods that we had not seen elsewhere.  It was very crowded with people enjoying themselves munching on street food.

Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.  This shrine, dedicated to the god of rice and sake in the 8th century, also features dozens of statues of foxes.  The fox is seen as the messenger of the god of grain foods, Inari, and the stone foxes are often known by the same name.  The keys often depicted in the fox mouths are keys to granaries.  This shrine is the central location for some 40,000 Inari shrines throughout the entirety of Japan.

Great Street Vendor Scene

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kiyoumizu Temple is located on Mount Otowa with a commanding view of the entire city of Kyoto. Officially known as Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera, it is an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto. Many Japanese people visit dressed in their traditional garb.  We saw kimono rental stores as we drove up to the temple.  We walked the route that went around the circumference of the temple. The place was crawling with people, but despite that it was an incredibly beautiful place with beautiful views, birds singing, peaceful waters, clean air to breath and green everywhere.  Japan is an amazingly beautiful place.

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