Kyoto, Sunday 30-Oct

Yes, we visited another temple today. It had aspects of several others we've seen; built on a mountain like Kiyomizu, took a while to walk through like Kinkaku, and had a long tunnel of torii like Nezu. It was, however, more so for each of those aspects. We also went through another shopping arcade, Nishiki Market.

Our first destination of the day was once again Kyoto Station, this time to the subway. Like at the bus stop, people lined up following markers on the ground. These indicators aren't at all the stations, but at others, there are diagrams of feet to show where at least the first person should wait. When we took the subway today, there were again lines at one station but not another. I don't remember seeing signs like this in Tokyo.

From what I've seen, the Japanese generally both pretty obedient and pretty oblivious to signs. I've seen jaywalking a few times, but mostly across very small streets when it's obvious no one is there. But I've also seen several cars go through an intersection after the signal turned red, and most signs in the subway which indicate which side of a staircase to use are ignored. At the same time, most “Keep out”-style signs seem to be aimed at tourists, since they're predominantly in English. For construction zones, all it takes to keep Japanese out is a simple bar hooked over a couple traffic cones. Similarly, small, discreet barriers keep people out of non-public areas, but places where a lot of tourists go have large and multiple signs. On the other hand, several signs indicating that selfie sticks shouldn't be used in Gion were gleefully ignored.

So yeah, some classes of signs are obeyed, while others are ignored.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Our train ride was a quick two stops. Leaving the station, we crossed the street to the entrance of Fushimi Inari Shrine. When you first approach it, you see orange all over, from the several giant torii to the gate to the washing station to the shrine. After working your way around these buildings, you get your first glimpse of the thousands of torii which create tunnels as you walk up the hill. At some points, they're about as close as you can reasonably build them with one-by-one installation (separate foundations for each). You don't have to crouch down to walk through them, either.

It being the weekend, there was a large crowd and it took quite a while to make it through the first tunnel. We then saw two parallel torii paths; very clear signage indicated which was for those going uphill, and which for those going downhill.

Every now and then there were small shrines, many with small torii stacked up on the top. These small torii were donated by people. In fact, you can donate to add or replace the full-sized torii but those are, understandably, much more expensive (more so as you get higher up the mountain).

As we gained altitude, we saw fewer people on the trail. In fact, the most popular point to turn around is at the Yotsutsuji intersection, about halfway up. There's a pretty good view from there, but a better one is just before, where you got a wide panorama of Kyoto. We continued on the loop which took us to the top, about 750 feet. There was another shrine up there, but we couldn't really see off the mountain.

Having had our exercise for the day, we continued on the loop to descend the mountain. There were a few places with multiple paths, but the exit path was marked. At one such fork, one path seemed to go uphill and the other down, but the sign indicated we should take the uphill one, assuring us that it would start to go down again within 80 meters. It did.

Back to Kyoto

By the time we took the short train back to Kyoto Station, it was time for lunch, but first, we went to try to get reservations for the Shinkansen to leave Kyoto. Unfortunately, they were both sold out, but the agent assured us we should have no trouble getting a seat in the unreserved cars.

Lunch. There are several restaurants in the station itself, but more in a connected mall named Porta, so we went there. They make their own udon noodles, so that's what we had. I got the set, which adds a few pieces of tempura, rice, and some pickles, so we shared those.

We then boarded the subway for the first time in Kyoto and went a couple stops to Shijo Dori, a pretty posh shopping street where musak was being played along the sidewalks. After going a few streets, we found the Nishiki Market, another shopping arcade but very narrow, similar to the shopping streets and arcades we saw in Tokyo. It was mostly food, and the most interesting thing we saw were small, cooked octopus small enough that a quail egg could be cooked inside the head.

Deciding to turn around, we went down Teramachi, a mall (little wider and quite a bit more modern than Nishiki Market) which seemed to cater to younger people (but not as young as Takeshita Dori). We dropped back down to Shijo Dori to get to the subway, returning to Kyoto Station. Since we were there, we decided to get dinner from the basement of the Kyoto Station Isetan where they had a store and a large area with prepared foods (sort of like a deli but lots of different options). We picked up a couple things, and they put a small(smaller than my palm) packet of ice on top of each to help keep them cool.

All of our loot made it back to the room with us, where we ate and were done for the day.