Spirit of the Fox: Kyoto
We checked out of our hotel in Tokyo and headed over to Tokyo Station where we would catch our Shinkansen train to Kyoto. Dining on a quick pick up from Starbucks, we found our platform and reveled in the timeliness of trains in Japan. The ride from Tokyo to Kyoto was about 2h45mins. Once we retreated from the city, we were met with the beautiful Japanese countryside, and some rain on occasion. When we finally arrived in Kyoto, we decided to forgo waiting for the shuttle bus to our hotel and took a cab. I don’t think I’ve ever taken so many cabs before I lived in Asia. Our hotel was upscale, which provided a nice reprieve from the rest of the traveling we’d been doing. We treated ourselves to a king-size bed, great food, relaxing atmosphere, spa-like bathroom, everything.
The main reason I wanted to come to Kyoto was to visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The torii have always fascinated me, and the shrine has been on my to-visit list since I took Asian religions in undergrad.
Had the weather been cooler and not threatening rain, I would have liked to walk other torii trails along the mountain. Considering dusk was on its way and we were being eaten alive by mosquitos, we ventured back to the hotel, unsure of where or when we’d find another taxi to take us back. We found one after wandering through some back alleys and praised the air conditioning. We had a lovely evening back at the hotel and just relaxed.
I couldn’t keep myself from responding in Korean when saying the basics of “yes”, “thank you”, and “hello” to the Japanese people we encountered. While amusing in hindsight, it was a bit frustrating. We prepared ourselves to get up at 5:30 the following morning to catch an early taxi to the train station. The phone rang at 6:00. Thankfully we packed the night before. We rushed out of the room, checked out, I held my breath through every red light, and we made it with some time to spare. Once again, thank you Japan for having trains that run on time. Our trip to the airport went smoothly and I picked up a couple of postcards as well as some delicious KitKats you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
It would be an easy thing for me to stay longer in Kyoto. It’s not nearly as sensory overwhelming as Tokyo, and I would love to visit more of the shrines. I found it as peaceful as I was expecting once we ventured outside of the major city areas. If you have any reservations at all about going, please take this as my recommendation. Go. You’ll love it if you take the time.
And now, pictures!