Fushimi-Inari Taisha –
It was hot, crowded, and full of color. The colors mixing with the sunlight created a kind of drunk feeling. Maybe it was the fever I was most likely running that week, but I like to think it was the colors and sunlight. They danced with the shadows and mixed with the hum of people talking and moving about. Obon week in Kyoto is a crowded experience. Deciding to go to one of the most popular destinations in the city ensures that you will get to share the experience with a large number of people. That isn’t as bad as it sounds.
The constant hum of the crowds didn’t actually become apparent until it disappeared. Despite the insane crowds, there were still areas of Fushimi-Inari that were practically deserted. Fushimi-Inari is a massive shrine complex. It has a lot of torii…I mean an insane amount. It also has a lot of offshoots.
My plan was simple. Get up, dressed, and to the shrine early in the day before heading out to a few other sites. Yes, I felt awful. A head cold had become a chest cold that morphed into an infection of some kind. It hurt to breath. I was hot and cold. Basically, I probably should have stayed in Kanazawa and rested but I had already booked the trip and did not want to spend my vacation feeling miserable in my apartment. I told myself I was fine. I got up, got dressed nicely, and headed out into the heat.
By the time I arrived at the shrine I was a sweaty mess. It was crowded but I figured I could be in and out in two hours. About five hours later I finally left Fushimi-Inari. Five hours and I didn’t even see the whole complex. There are so many offshoots from the main path to the top of the mountain. Going down those offshoots is like traveling down a rabbit hole. One minute you’re headed up the mountain and the next, you can’t tell which way you’re headed.
So there I was, hot and sweaty, in a skirt, nice top, and flip flops – and I was climbing a mountain. Now, when I say I was climbing a mountain, it wasn’t really a mountain, there were stairs and such. But still, it wasn’t the easiest climb to make in flip flops. I did make it to the top. I learned a couple of things on my way there. The higher up the mountain you go, the less people there are. There were even stretches where I did not see anyone. Also, the higher you go the more expensive beverages become. Japan is the land of the vending machine, and yes, there are vending machines on the mountain!
By the time I made it down the mountain all I wanted to do was take a nap! I grabbed a quick lunch of cold udon and headed back to the hostel for a much needed nap.
I hope you all enjoyed the photos! Please let me know what you think and if you have any questions feel free to ask!