Japan Day 6: Nara and Fushimi Inari Shrine
We woke up and almost immediately set out in search of coffee! We stumbled upon a place that appeared to be a chain, about a block away. It was called Holly’s coffee, so naturally we had to stop.
While sipping our coffee, we decided that we’d head to Nara for the day. Nara is approximately a 45 minute train ride from Kyoto on the JR Nara line (which was included on our JR pass) if you do not have a JR pass it is approximately 6$ CDN for the trip. Take the express train, the local train will take 70 minutes! Once we exited the station in Nara, it was incredibly simple to follow the flow of pedestrians into the heart of Nara. The walk is basically one straight line from the train station to the main sights, and of course the deer. We picked up a free tourist map at the train station (complete with adorable drawings of deer!)
One word of warning, you will encounter many warning signs about the deer. Heed the warnings, the deer can be really aggressive. The worst we encountered were bites, but the deer’s teeth can be very sharp, even through denim! Also, if you decide to purchase any food to eat for yourself, climb a tree in order to eat it in peace.
We stopped to see Kofuku-ji Temple and Three Story Pagoda before continuing our wander through the trees towards Toudaiji Temple (with the giant buddha). Along the way, Jives purchased a bundle of deer cakes and feed the deer. There are vendors selling roasted potatoes along the pathway as well. I love potatoes, so I decided to stop and purchase one. It was so delicious……. until…… I became the target of every deer in the immediate vicinity!!
After abandoning my potato lunch to the deer gang of Nara, we visited Toudaiji Temple (probably our favourite temple in Nara)! The giant buddha inside was breath taking, and best of all, the deer are unable to enter the temple!
For the second half of the day we decided to visit Fushimi Inari-taisha 伏見稲荷大社 (Shrine) in Fushimi, Kyoto. We took the JR train from Nara back to Kyoto then from Kyoto to Fushimi Inari (later on we realized that we took an unnecessary trip and could have visited Inari temple without travelling back to Kyoto first ooops).
Fushimi Inari is an iconic Shinto temple, on the outskirts of Kyoto. You’ve probably seen photos of the bright orange tori gates winding there way up Mount Inari. The temple is dedicated to Inari, the god of rice. There are many fox-like statues on the grounds of the temple, that is bacause Inari takes on the form of a fox-like creature… not to be confused with an actual fox! Got it?!
We arrived at Fushimi Inari, and followed our noses to a Yakisoba booth. Sharing a large portion, we re energized for the climb up Mount Inari. And then….. it was time to begin!
The pathway starts out nice and easy, with lots and lots of visitors… but as you climb the visitors lessen, but the leg work increases! Here are a few of our best “climb photos”!
After our Nara adventure, we took the train back to the city centre. This was certainly our busiest day in Nara, but definitely my favourite and most memorable day too.