After a busy day traveling around Kyoto we were ready for some serene temples on day 3. We got up early and took the bus to The Golden Temple (Kikakuji – michi) and took about 40 mins.(details at the bottom of the page). When we arrived we were met with the beautiful gold foil building once owned by aristocrats but ‘acquired’ by an Ashikaga Shogun after his death it was turned in a temple. Lee tried to explain what a Shoegun was to me for a long time but in the end he just found it easier to say they were old Japanese Gangsters. I realise historians out there may be shaking your head in anger at that blase reference but for my simple mind it helped. You can’t enter the building but it was a lovely sight to behold. Lee didn’t know what we were going to see so he was extremely impressed by the view that met him. We wandered the grounds and walked to the near by shrine. Here you can buy a candle for what ever wish you may have. I think it said a lot about humans that the only candles that were sold out were ‘Let me find love’. We went for the ‘keep my family safe’ candle. We aren’t Shinto Buddhists but it is always better to be safe than sorry…right?
At this point we both noticed a fortune machine. These fortunes cost 100 yen and can be found at some shrines in a vending machine style box. This shrine is so popular than they had an English option. We aren’t superstitious but we both ran to the box hoping to find out what lay ahead. We got one each and luckily we both got excellent ones…..apart from the travel section, which was ….um…. less than comforting. Ahh well you can’t win them all.
After that it was back to Kyoto station before getting a train to Inari. Here we could see something i’ve been looking forward to seeing for a long time, The Fushimi Inari Shrine, or as you may know them, the orange gates. I didn’t know much about these gates until my friends visited and I saw their lovely pictures but these gates are all owned by businesses and have been there for hundreds of years (since 1589 infact), they are meant to bring good luck to the people named on them. We decided that if we were going to do it, we’d do it right and ended up walking the entire route of the gates, we have to earn all our sushi and noodles some how! The loveliest part of the walk was arriving at small family shrines. People come and honor their ancestors. A lot of the time they honor them with a shot of sake. There were lots of little glasses of sake open for the ancestors to enjoy. These Japanese ancestors must be able to handle their liquor with the amount of sake they had left for them. I have now requested the same when I kick the bucket, but maybe a bottle of wine instead…or ten.
It was a tiring day but we rewarded ourselves with a trip to Nishiki market where we ate far too many delicious things. We still haven’t quite mastered waiting to eat the octopus balls (or Takoyaki) once they cool down since we are too greedy so at the moment they are all octopus napalm to us. The squid on a stick was a particular weird edition to my palette but it was still really tasty.
And that was it, we headed back to our hotel shattered and ready to head to Osaka the next day…..but we had to do one more thing before we left. We had to try the in-room Karaoke. The remote luckily had English and we embarrassingly sang the night away while jumping on the bed and drinking cherry beer. We assume the room was sound proofed since no one complained. We had far too much fun. My new life mission is to now have noreabang (Korean karaoke but in a private room) in my own house. In hindsight 4am may have been a tad too long to sing until….opphs. Aww well , in the words of our friend Emmett we definitely ‘smashed’ Kyoto.
How to get to the Golden Pavillion (Kikakuji – michi) :
We took the 205 bus from Kyoto station, which was located on stand B3. There was also a bus running from stand B2 that took you there (number 101). It cost us 230 yen and weirdly in Japan you seem to pay for the bus as you are getting off so make sure you have the right change or a Icc charge card. When you get off the bus you can just follow the crowd but its on your left and a short way up the hill. It costs 480 yen (about 3 pound) to get in.
How to get to The Fushimi Inari Shrine:
We traveled from Kyoto station and got a train to Inari. As soon as you exit the station you will see the large orange shrine. It’s hard to miss. We didn’t have to pay to get in which was an added bonus.