On our second morning in Kyoto, we found this awesome little bakery, right around the corner from our hotel, Boulangerie Shinshindo. Japanese bakeries really do rival their French counterparts, in my opinion.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Of all the amazing things we saw on this trip, this was my favorite. Fushimi Inari Shrine is an important Shinto shrine dedicated to Inari, the god of rice. The shrine itself was beautiful, but even more impressive were the 1,000 + torii gates, side by side, extending all the way up a mountain trail. The trail leads to the top of Mount Inari, which is about a 2-3 hour hike. We did not climb to the top this time, but I would love to do it in the future.
Cats are revered in Japan. In Japanese folklore, cats had protective power and symbolized good fortune, so you will often see stray’s, even in the heart of the city. Eva noticed these kittens high up in one of the torii gates. Kawaii! (The paparazzi then ensued!)
Most of the side streets in Japan are very narrow and look like one-way streets, but are actually two-way streets, like this one. Sometimes it feels like you are in a live video game, with bikes, pedestrians and cars coming at you from every angle!
Next up, the Toji Temple. This monument’s claim to fame, is the five storied pagoda, which is Japan’s tallest. The pagoda is also illuminated at night and is one of the first landmark’s seen when entering the city.
This is the temple. We were not allowed to photograph inside, but it had enormous Buddha statues and other artifacts.
At this point, Matt admitted to being “templed out”, so we headed to the Nishiki Market area for the afternoon. There were many covered shopping streets, like this one on the way to the market, selling everything you could imagine.
We walked along Kawaramachi Street on our way back to the hotel. This is the high end shopping area, with stores from every imaginable designer. I loved how the entire length of the street was lined with this overhang, which was nice, rain or shine. Classical music was also piped in on speakers. Loved this!
We spent the evening, (both of them, as a matter of fact), walking Gion, the geisha district. (I loved this area SO much, that it gets it’s own blog!) Luckily, we did find a much better restaurant for dinner. A little hole in the wall, called ChaoChao Gyoza, and it was packed with locals. Always a good sign, right?
Another great day, with a much nicer ending! Gion, the geisha district, up next.