Thursday, April 05, 2007

This Last Weekend's Adventure: Part 2

Sunday started out in much the same way as Saturday; I got up early and headed into Kyoto. Terri met me at Kyoto station a few minutes after I arrived and we headed off to a place called Fushimi Inari Shrine. By the end of the day, it became known as the evil shrine with no end. Inari is a god of grains and protection. Farmers worship Inari so she brings them a good harvest but people will also come to her and ask her to watch over someone that needs help or protection.

For anyone that watched the movie version of, "Memoirs of a Geisha", this is the shrine that where scene with her walking through all of the bright red gates was filmed. It is kind of out of the way from the rest of Kyoto but it is worth going to see at least once. I may go see it again, but there is no way I am walking the whole thing again. What Terri and I did not know when we went to the shrine was that once you get to it, its a four kilometer hike, most of which is up a rather steep mountain.

Overall, it was an interesting hike and I was glad to do it but my feet were ready to fall off by the end of the walk. I will get to that in a minute. Here are some pictures.

This is the entrance to the shrine, it looks so nice and peaceful but gives no warning that you are about to go on a long uphill excursion:

These are the gates, they are meant to scare away evil spirits when you walk through them. Some people must be very troubled because there are thousands of gates to walk through. There are also several thousand more small gates that hang around the place:

This is a shot I like of some smaller gates. People buy them in memory of relatives and have their names written on them, they are then left at the shrine:

Many temples have what are known as "temple cats". These are simply cats who have come to call the temple or shrine home. Some temples have been inhabited by cats for hundreds of years and most likely, these cats are the newest generation of a family of felines that has lived here long before anyone living today. Either way, they are cute:

After the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Terri and I headed back into Kyoto. My feet were killing me. Having walked on them all of the previous day and then going on our little hike up the evil shrine with no end, they were finished. The problem is in my shoes, since there are not any shoes in Japan that fit me, I have worn the same shoes almost everyday for the past year and a half. Once upon a time, they were Sketchers, now they are just leather husks that conform to my hobbit-like feet. The soles are cracked, there are small holes in each of them, and they have no padding anymore. Basically, they are worn to keep my feet from getting cut while walking. Other than that, they don't do too much for me anymore.

Anywho, after the hike, Terri and I went to Kiyomizudera so she could see the sakura. I just limped around looking for places to sit down. The day was ended by a trip to Wendy's and then a train ride home.

The following day, Terri and I went to Himeji. We did this for two reasons, to see the castle, and to pick up Terri's rental car so she could move her stuff up to Tokyo. The castle was nice and it was cool to see the blossoms coming out. The only complaint was the fact that everything was overcast...again. None of these pics really need much of a description, cherry blossoms and a castle. Enjoy!

So there you have it, my weekend of adventure. If this part seems a little rushed, it is due to the fact that today is Friday for me and if I keep going at this speed, its going to be the weekend again. This weekend, I am going back to Himeji castle to see the sakura in full bloom. In the pics above, the blossoms were only out about halfway. I am also going to go to the temple in which parts of the movie, "The Last Samurai" were filmed. It is shaping up to be yet another busy couple of days. I will keep everyone posted and more pics are definitely on their way.


At 11:19 AM, Blogger Just Some Gal said...

I couldn't get past the fact that your shoes are so worn out! Mogwai!! Check your email!


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