Fushimi Inari Taisha...Finally!

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010 | 0 comments

   I know that I said I'd do a post about our weekend day trip to Izu, but I figured that I'd finally better finish up the pics from our Kyoto trip early last month, or else I'll never get to them. So Izu is going to be put on the back burner for a bit longer.
  Fushimi Inari Shrine had been at the top of my must-visit list for quite a while, but Yuki and I weren't able to make it when we visited Kyoto in November unfortunately. For this trip with Andrew though, I was determined to make it there no matter what.
 After Kiyomizu Dera, we raced down to Tofukuji Station. And there's where the problems began. I'd been doing incredibly well at not screwing up too much in terms of getting around, but, as everyone well knows, things tend to go wrong when you're pressed for time. It was getting dark, and I was in a rush to see the shrine while there was still enough daylight left. Considering this and the fact that Tofukuji Station is NOT foreigner friendly, it's no wonder that I screwed up our tickets.
  When you go to the station, you first see a set of ticket machines to your left, and the gates are in front of you. This is perfect if you happen to be taking the Keihan Line train. It is not perfect if you're wanting to take the JR Line and assume that the ticket machines are for the JR Line.
  If you want to ride the JR, you must go through a tiny little passage to the left of the ticket machines and wind your way upstairs, where you then buy tickets and go through the JR ticket gate. You should by no means buy tickets at the first set of machines, because what results is that when you and your brother finally make your way up to the JR ticket gates, you set off their buzzers and cause a human log-jam as a result of your mistake.
  After we'd rectified that fun situation thanks to a kind JR clerk, we raced down the stairs for the train that would drop us off at Inari Station, just across the street from the shrine. I bet you can guess where this is going, right? Right. We got to the platform just as the doors closed, at which point I almost lost it. (Keep in mind that it gets dark fast here in Japan, and I have never claimed to be a patient girl). Luckily for me, I have a brother who is usually as mellow as I am high-strung. Or at least, the things that upset me never seem to upset him. Whatever the case, he managed to calm me down, and we simply got on the next nice, new train that pulled up.
  At which point we began to realize our (my second) mistake. Word of advice: if you don't want to take the express train, which doesn't stop at every station, don't board a train that has rows of seats running perpendicular to the way the train is going. Local trains have just 2 rows of seats, both running the length of the train.
 By then, the doors had closed though, and we were well on our way PAST OUR STOP! AHH!
 Somehow this turned out to be rather funny instead of frustrating, and the next stop was thankfully only 3 past our intended one. We got off, caught a local train back, and managed to get in some good shots of the famous thousands of torii (wooden gates) before complete darkness set it. All's well that ends well!
  *** If you think that Fushimi Inari Shrine looks familiar, you may have watched Memoirs of a Geisha. The girl (Chiyou, aka Sayuri) is seen running through the gates at one point in the movie ***

              Andrew's 'Where are we??' face

      THIS is a local train. Local trains are good! Rapid Express Trains = BAD!

                      Fushimi Inari is famous for its kitsune (fox) statues

       And of course for its thousands of red (orange?) gates

         One of the many minature shrines dotted alongside the mountain paths