Day 6: Temples & Toriis

Today our fearless travellers must sample Natto, make their own Kansai-style Okonomiyaki for lunch, and visit three temples, battling the possibility of rain.  

Kyoto – A temple for every week, and an Izakaya for every day of the year.  It’s the Japanese version of Norwich, or so it feels.

A city of 1.4 million people, it has forests and mountains, and seems to have an interesting inner peace that you just don’t find in Tokyo with the bustling crowds.  Unless, of course, you happen to be at a shrine.

We started the day off with a wonderful breakfast where I finally had the chance to sample Natto.  Seriously people, it’s not that bad, mix it with rice and you’re god to go.  That said, I admit it’s not something I need to have again.  I will say, that I love it when people dismiss trying new things.  For years, people have told me how gross Natto is, and people who don’t even know what it is saying, “Eww that looks nasty”.  *shrugs* I’m quite happy exploring new foods and such.

We then headed out and visited three shrines and a shrine of convenience in the day:

  • 7-Eleven – A shrine of convenience where we had to get money from the ATM
  • Heian Shrine – A beautiful shrine just around the corner from the hotel where we are staying
  • Kiyomizu-Dera Shine – In the mountains and provides some amazing views of Kyoto, better than the Kyoto Tower
  • Fushimi Inari Shrine – Which has a two-hour hike to see all the Torii

The first Torii we saw was at the entrance of the Heian – HUGE, you can see that I’m a speck relative to the size of it.

There’s an indescribable sense of peace that you feel when you visit a shrine, and they’re gorgeous.

To get to the Kiyomizu Shrine, you go through a residential area, and then you go through an area of shops selling all things Matcha and Hello Kitty, among other items.  You then see this gorgeous shrine, which you know is going to have an amazing view.

On the way down we stopped for strawberry ice and also Match soft serve ice cream.  All so good!

We headed to Kyoto Station to head over tot he Fushimi Inari Shrine, stopping for lunch at Avanti, for Okonomiyaki.  No we didn’t make it, but we did think it would be a fun for someone during the Amazing Race Canada for the next season to have to serve Okonomiyaki.  *GRIN*

We encountered, what is probably my favourite piece of Jengrish, I had to have a picture taken with it.  You’ll see it below.  There are a few interesting pieces of Jengrish in the picture set below as well.

I’ve mostly picked pictures that Scott took today, as he’s learning to use our Rebel T4i and the various lenses.  He’s done a great job!

I’ve noticed that two of the shrines were actually sponsored by companies.  In one case, FujiFilm, and the other Hitachi.  Also, at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, companies and families will donate a Torii for good luck, etc…  It’s an accepted part of society here.

We ended the day off with an amazing meal at the hotel.  Prior to dinner, we stopped in the lounge for a drink and some cheese. Out of nowhere, the staff brought a small snack of tomato soup, chicken, curry, and shabu shabu. That really impressed us and it was tasty!

Our feet, legs and backs are both hurting.  It’s been worth it, though.

Off to Hiroshima in the morning via Osaka, staying overnight and then back to Tokyo.

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