京都物語 Tales from Kyoto

I’ve been sleeping off my trip to Kyoto and, you know, working.

So to start with, here’s a quick overview of our Kyoto trip. I went with Erin and Greta and we stayed with Lilith. When Greta tallied up her shrine book, she had added eleven new signatures in the three days we were there… and I think I got a couple that she didn’t. Wow.

Here’s a brief selection of photos from each shrine we visited. Hopefully a more detailed overview with more pictures will be coming soon!

Day 1: Fushimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社

Kyoto (Fushimi Inari) Kyoto (Fushimi Inari)

Shrines in Kyoto are pretty… intense.

Fushimi Inari Shrine is a hike. You know you’ve gotten to the right place because the train station is decorated with that distinctive Shinto orange, and then you hike up a mountain to the top. Whew!

After Fushimi Inari, we went to Sanjusangendo, which is beautiful, but you aren’t allowed to take any pictures of the sassy guardian gods.

Day 2: Heian Shrine 平安神宮 and Yasaka Shrine 八坂神社

 Our first stop of Day 2 was Heian Shrine. It’s huge but kind of… boring looking, honestly. I think the big shrines are cool, but the Kyoto aesthetic is different from the shrines in Tokyo and I’ve found the little ones are often much more interesting.

We were tourists in Kyoto, though, so as self-respecting shrinehoppers, we had to hit up Heian Jingu even though we were still exhausted from hiking up Inari Mountain yesterday.

Kyoto (Heian Jingu)

Hi there! My mom always complains that I don’t post pictures of myself exploring, so here’s one.

Kyoto (Heian Jingu)

Shrines in Kyoto? are massive.

This is not the main part of the main building, it’s just like a side turret. I think only Meiji Jingu near Harajuku has anything on the shrines in Kyoto, and that’s the only one nearly this huge.

Next up was Yasaka Shrine, also known as Gionsha.

Kyoto (Gionsha)

Oops, I only got one good photo and it’s just the gate.

The sakura in Kyoto were much prettier than the cherry blossoms in Tokyo this year. I’m glad I got to see some lovely flowers while I was away!

Day 3: Daishogunhachi Shrine 大将軍八神社, Seimei Shrine 晴明神社, Kenkun Shrine 建勲神社, Imamiya Shrine 今宮神社, and Hirano Shrine 平野神社

Phew!

Our first planned stop of the day was Seimei Shrine, but along the way, we had to walk down Youkai Street (literally, Demon Street) and there was a lovely little shrine called Daishogunhachi that we stopped at to look around. The priest there was excited to see us and complimented my shrine book, which really made my day.

Kyoto (Daishogunhachi Shrine) Kyoto (Daishogunhachi Shrine)

We got some interesting stuff to read (and in English!) that I’ll share when I get around to indivudal posts about each of these shrines. I think this might be my favorite one that I visited the whole time I was in Kyoto and we didn’t even mean to find it!

… but I guess that’s just the joy of #shrinehopping, right?

Next up… Seimei Shrine!Kyoto (Seimei Shrine)

I walked three miles in the rain and all I got was this small and weirdly commercialized shrine…?

We spotted a cool looking shrine not far away across the street, but by then we were all exhausted, so it’ll have to wait until next time I’m in Kyoto, because we were on a mission to Kenkun Shrine, a shrie to Obu Nobunaga.

Kyoto (Kenkun Shrine)

This one was up a big hill, too.

Kyoto isn’t easy on my knees.

From there, we walked to the last shrine of our trip, the beautiful Hirano Shrine.

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I bought a new shrine book here for when I finish my current one! There was a lovely cherry blossom garden on the grounds, but we didn’t stay long because we had to get back to pick up our bags and catch our train home.

Kyoto (train)

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京都行った

Despite my best efforts, I did not get to all of the shrines in Kyoto in three days. I tried really hard, though, and it left me exhausted. I made it in safely last night but I’m still too tired to put up a post that will do my trip any justice.

Instead, here’s a picture of something I bought at Fushimi Inari Shrine:

Miku Shrine ?!

No, that’s not a shrine to Hatsune Miku!

 

There might be a rule against displaying the torii like that, but I don’t know… I smile every time I see it over there!

Behind them are my three(!) shrine books: the original one I purchased at Hakone Shrine in October 2012, a special Ten Shrines of Tokyo pilgrimage book, and a new, blank book from Hirano Shrine in Kyoto. (Also, my mother’s copy of Rubyfruit Jungle, which she gave me for my birthday.)

I cleaned out the bottom shelf to make space for my research books and the pamphlets that come with shrine signatures. Tomorrow, I’ll start posting more detailed accounts of my Kyoto trip.