We left early this morning in the pouring rain to go to Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, especially to visit and walk through the Torii Gates. We each left with an umbrella from the Hyatt. Getting there early (we got there around 8:30) was a blessing because as we were coming down after only walking up halfway (which took about 45 min), there were busloads of school kids in their school uniforms. I wondered if these kids ever actually went to school, since we also saw so many kids in their school uniforms two days ago at Kiyomizu Temple. Kathie said it was a religious holiday today called Shichi-go-san.
After Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine and the Torii Gates walk, we wanted to go to the Choken-Ji Temple, but got a cab to the Chushojima train station in Fushimi because the cab driver could not tell from the map I showed him where the Choken-Ji Temple was.
From there we asked a couple if people where it was and finally found it. It’s an intimate Buddhist temple with pretty grounds, founded in 1699 dedicated to the Daigo school of Buddhism. Only one other person showed up and he came to pray. In her book, Kyoto: Seven Paths to the Heart of the City, Diane Durston recommends that you just meander the streets in Fushimi and have lunch at a sake restaurant.
Since it was raining and Kathie wasn’t up for lots of walking, I really wanted to find the sake museum, at least, because Fushimi is renowned for sake making. However it was not to be since we could not find it easily and even though it looked close to where we were on the map, said map was no help in locating it. It was still raining and Kathie (and I suppose I, too) was ready to get into a cab and head for one of the paper shops before lunch so we abandoned the search.
The paper shops are in the Nakagyo Ward, which is the downtown area (Nakagyo-ku means “central capital ward”). The cab from Fushimi cost $25, so it is quite a distance from where we were. Kyoto is very large and spread out so it’s no wonder everything looks close on our little map.
Recommendation for anyone coming to Kyoto is to purchase a good Kyoto map book ahead of time. I tried to but I was unable to receive it from Amazon on time. I should have just gotten the older edition of the map!
We went to 2 of the paper shops, Suzuki Shofudo first and Rokkaku second. We liked Suzuki Shofudo best. After browsing the shops, we enjoyed another Italian lunch at a nice little place in the Nakagyo Ward called Trattoria Altrettanto, very inexpensive and good food.
According to the weather reports, today is the last day we’ll see any rain while we’re in Japan, in fact, we should experience clear sunny days in Hakone so we’ll be able to see Mount Fuji very well. Keeping our fingers crossed!