We decided to check out our travel arrangements in the Kyoto main station. To do this we also decided to walk into town from our studio. This is really not difficult because of the street grid system. We had spotted one of those ‘no smoking’s zones on the way into the centre which we wanted to check out. As we wandered along we stopped from time to time to check where we were on our map. Each time someone came to help us. Mostly they had more difficulty with the map than us! Barry is an ace map reader. I’m fine if I turn the map in the direction I am going, like most women. En route we came across a wonderful covered market. Only problem was it was very crowded with a great many tourists. It is probably in the Holy Planet (Lonely Planet) or the Rough Guide, both of which we ignore! I am sure we miss ‘must see/visit’ places but we have our own personal experiences of places we are visiting. One is only passing through so can’t expect to see everything. It is the essence of a place we try to experience. The market was actually fascinating, The variety of goods on sale was mind blowing.
We sorted our travel arrangements and headed further south to visit Fushimi Inari Shrine. The only logic in this choice was that it was not far from the main station and was on a JR line for which we could use our passes.
It is situated just outside the station and on arrival we discovered that this shrine must have been on the ‘must visit’ list in Trip Adviser-enough said, it was thronged. We were somewhat surprised when we reached the shrine that there was a Japanese rock group belting out their music. Directly behind there was some sort of Buddhist ceremony going on in the open temple. A couple of people were sitting there but by far the bigger crowd was watching the rock group. We were, however, surprised by the fact that most of the visitors were very young.
Behind the temple, steps rise up through huge wooden arches. Many of these are in a bad state of repair but then the shrine was built in the 12th century, I think. Half way up, we were trying to find a secluded spot to have our picnic. We were sneaking up a side path when this young woman, dressed in kimono, asked us in French, if we would take a picture of herself and her friend. She wasFrench but living in Japan! We did manage to have our picnic!
Mentioning the kimono reminds me to say that many, many people, mostly young, wear traditional dress during Golden Week. They are quite splendid. They also love to be photographed.
We are now heading to an island tomorrow