Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 58 : Kyoto Station, Fushimi Inari, Tofuku-Ji and Sanjo dori

On this Saturday, a French friend of mine (called Alex)  I had not seen since I passed my baccalaureat arrived in Kyoto. He has actually been living in Korea for more than 1 year, so he decided to come to Japan for one week since he was on holiday. It's quite weird to see each other in Japan after so much time !

I got up at 7o'clock and went to the Kitaoji subway station by bike, to meet him at the Kyoto train station, one of the most dynamic places in the city. It was also the first time I went to that place !

The famous Kyoto tower, just next to the main train station of the city

There, I met Alex, waiting for me next to a McDonald's (the perfect rendez-vous point, that's common knowledge !). Since all the students of the I House were planning to go to Fushimi Inari (one of the most famous places in Kyoto) at 1pm, we thought it could be interesting to join them. Before going there though, we still had time to do some stuff. We walked towards the closest temple we could find on his map and stopped there to take some pictures and enjoy the view.

This is located about 10 minutes walking from Kyoto station.

Another picture of the same place

After we walked a littlebit in the streets of Kyoto, we decided to go to the Kyoto station to take the train to the Tofuku JR train station. Indeed, we found out that there were plenty of nice things to see around Fushimi Inari. We thought it could be interesting to go there while waiting for the others to arrive. After we finished dealing with the crowd and the complex architecure of the building, we finally went in a train to go to the station.

From the station to Tofuku Ji, we had to walk a littlebit. We first went to a supermarket to buy some food, and continued our exploration of the area.

The atmosphere was really amazing around Tofuku Ji. Everything was so quiet and calm, and the scenery was really beautiful to see.

A picture I took while walking on a bridge that lead to Tofuku Ji.
This one too !
The place was absolutely amazing. It is divided in two main parts : the outside and... the inside. Well, not really, since we could only enter one specific place in Tofuku-Ji. Here are some pictures of the outside first :

And now............. tadam ! The inside ! It costs 400¥ to get inside. Even if the whole place was quite small, I think it was worth it ! We took the occasion to rest about half an hour there, just enjoying the view and the quiet atmosphere.

It was now time to go to Fushimi Inari ! We walked a littlebit to the South of the city, and finally reached the entrance. While looking at some souvenir shops, we saw that the people we were waiting for had just arrived too.

Fushimi Inari is a shrine built on the Inari mountain in Kyoto. What makes it so unique is that there are more than 1000 torii (gates) between every important place of the shrine ! It was going to be a tough walk !

The place where we had to purify ourselves with water, as always when you want to enter a sacred place in Japan

This billboard means that there are about 1000 gates... let's go !
To reach the top of the mountain, some people say it only takes 30 minutes if you take the shortest way and you don't take the time to look around and enjoy the view. Since we were talking with each other, taking pictures, and since we also needed to stop occasionally to have some rest, I would say we've been able to reach the top after 2 hours of walking. It was very tiring !

The meaning of all those kanji is... the name of the company who gave this torii to the city of Kyoto, and the year it was built.

Cool people !

Bwah !

A little pause half of the way to the top of the Inari mountain.
"Top of the mountain", YAY
The survivors of fushimi inari !
One of the various little shrines we've been able to see during the walk.
While going back...

Something weird is that we only took 30 min to go back to the entrance ! After such a tiring walk, we all stopped at some souvenir shops to buy some stuff. I only bought a big golden coin with some inscriptions about Fushimi Inari.

After that, since it was only the beginning of the evening, we all thought about going to the restaurant together and have fun at Sanjo. The area around the bridge of Sanjo dori is well known for gathering a lot of people at night. It's also a good occasion to see some bands or artists performing for free and sometimes distributing free stuff to get known.

We took the train and arrived in Sanjo. There, as always with Japanese people, we waited during 30 min without doing anything because they didn't know where to eat. We ended up going to the first Korean restaurant we saw. Since I'm not a big fan of spicy food, I just took something random. It was really really good !

After that, we all decided to go to the Namco Wonder Tower to have some fun playing video games. We played Mario Kart, the famous racing game, Taiko no Kiban, a traditional Japanese drums game in which you can perform recent songs as well as anime or video game songs, and some UFO Catchers (I won a Super Mario shell, but this time, I had to waste 500 yen before getting it). Lots of fun !

We also did purikura ! Well, I have to admit it was a failure, since we all tried to enter the Purikura cabin made for around 8 people only... But it was also quite funny ! Purikura is a kind of photobooth in which you can make fancy pictures. You can use some effects to change the color and the size of your eyes, write stuff, etc...

One of the few purikura that wasn't "that" bad !
When we finished everything, we all stopped at the combini to buy some drinks and ice creams, and went to the riverside. Unfortunately, since it was nearly midnight, and that the subway was about to end, I had to accompagny Alex to the subway station and go back to Kitaoji to take my bike and go back to the I House. Anyway, that day was absolutely amazing !

one of the performances we could see that night

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