Tag Archives: kyoto travel blog

Fushimi Inari, Kyoto

November 2018
Day 3 in Kyoto we will be visiting attractions closer to town starting with Fushimi Inari shrine. Taking the JR Nara Line from Kyoto train station, we got off at JR Inari station. It was a short 15 minutes train ride. As soon as you exit the JR Inari Station, you will see the first reddish coloured main gate of the shrine right across the station.

If you have taken a train using the Keihan Line, you’ll be getting off at Keihan Fushimi-Inari station. This is a different station from the above and you’ll have to do a fair bit of walking to get to the entrance of the shrine, 500 meters or so.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Entrance to the shrine as seen from JR Inari station.

Fushimi Inari shrine

JR Inari station (in the background) right across the entrance to the shrine.

Fushimi Inari is a shrine famous for it’s thousand of gates called torii. The reddish color represents the colour of the sun. These gates were paid for or donated by local businesses and individuals. On the left of the torii, are the name of the company or person who donated it. On the right, you will see the date it was donated.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Another torii before the main gate.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Main gate of the shrine.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Inari Fox watching from the main gate.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Area map of Fushimi Inari shrine.

The shrine is open 24 hours with no entry fees. The best times to come is in the early mornings and late evenings to avoid the crowds. The walk along the torii involves stair climbing, but nothing strenuous.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Dance stage after the main gate.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Entrance to Higashimaru-jinja shrine. A shrine within a shrine.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Miniature torii souvenirs and good luck charms

On the day of our visit it started to drizzle when we reached the shrine office. Past the shrine office, you will see a flight of stairs that will take you to the torii leading to the inner shrine. Just when we were about to start our walk at the torri pathway, the drizzle turned into a heavy downpour, true to the weather forecast for the day. Luckily there was a shelter nearby and we waded for the rain to pass by.

Fushimi Inari shrine

First steps after the shrine’s office towards the torii pathway to the inner shrine. Umbrellas already up.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Heavy downpour starting. Those without umbrellas were drenched.

Fushimi Inari shrine

With the downpour subsided, time for the cameras, hand phones & selfie sticks to come up.

The path of these torii will lead to the inner shrine taking you through an impressive arcade of giant torii. Further in, the toriis are much smaller and shorter in height, The walk isn’t long and soon we reached the inner shrine and the drizzle started again.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Further in, the toriis are smaller in size.

Fushimi Inari shrine

During this section of the torii, it started to drizzle again.

Fushimi Inari shrine

The inner shrine with many students around.

From the inner shrine, the walk to the upper shrine gets you through yet more torii. Go this way to reach the upper shrine. We did not continue further as the drizzle was getting heavier and we decided to turn back. Half way down, you will have to take a detour out of the torii for an exit route to the entrance. On the way out, we took shelter at a tea house waiting for the rain to stop.

Fushimi Inari shrine

A small stream just before the tea house.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Autumn foliage starting.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Tea house overlooking towards a small garden.

Once the rain was over, crowd of visitors started to arrive. We couldn’t imagine how big it will grow especially the rain halted visitors for a good hour or so. And we couldn’t imagine how the ‘traffic jam’ be like in the torii with visitors stopping to pose for photos and selfies.

The rain was actually a blessing for us as we got a ‘clear’ path with few visitors when we went through the torii right after the rain subsided. My wish of getting a few photos of the torii empty realised.

Fushimi Inari shrine

After the rain, the crowd starts to come.

Fushimi Inari shrine

Kimono girls also making their way out.

Kimono Forest, Kyoto

November 2018
A 5 minutes walk from Togetsu-kyo bridge takes us to Arashiyama tram station of the Keifuku Line. It’s located just opposite the main entrance to Tenryu-ji Temple. Towards the back of the station, you will find another type of ‘forest’ that is lesser known. Not as famous as the bamboo forest it’s trying to replicate, this ‘high tech’ forest certainly will be a delight for the eyes and a fantastic photo spot.

Kimono Forest is a collection of cylindrical shaped 2 meters high acrylic pillars with what seems to be in a variety of colours and patterns of kimono designed cloth warped inside it. It is considered a ‘forest’ since the pillars are clustered like bamboo trees in a forest. The pillars are installed over the station grounds and each pillar has a unique kimono design of it’s own. Rather than a forest, it’s more of a mini art installation with rows of colourful columns framing the path way.

Kimono Forest

The Kimono forest are spread around the Keifuku Line tram station.

Kimono Forest

The Keifuku Line Arashiyama tram station.

Kimono Forest

Signboard almost hidden by the Kimono poles.

Kimono Forest

The tram serving the Keifuku Line.

Along the path, you will find the ‘Pond of the Dragon’, which serves as the guardian of the station to ensure safe journey for everyone. The Kimono forest is free to walk through.

Kimono Forest

Beautifully designed Kimono cloth.

Kimono Forest

‘Pond of the Dragon’.

Kimono Forest

Residential houses besides the tram station.

We ended our day of touring attractions in the Arashiyama area at the Kimono Forest. A 10 minutes walk will take you to the JR Saga-Arashiyama station, for the train back to Kyoto.

JR Saga-Arashiyama station

JR Saga-Arashiyama station.

The Romantic Train ticket office

The Romantic Train ticket office just besides the JR Saga-Arashiyama station. The Romantic Train has a station of it’s own, Saga-Torokko.

The Romantic Train ticket office

A retired steam engine outside the Romantic Train ticket office.

Tenryu-ji Temple & Togetsu-kyo Bridge, Kyoto

November 2018

Tenryu-ji Temple

The Tenryu-ji Temple located adjoining to the bamboo forest, is accessible from the forest via the temple’s North Gate entrance. Many visitors are unaware of this gate and mistaken it for an entry to a private property as notices are in Japanese. The North Gate entrance actually leads to the ticket office. Most visitors will make their way to the temple from the main entrance close to the Tenryuji-mae bus stop opposite Arashiyama tram station of the Keifuku Line.

Tenryu-ji Temple

This is the North Gate entrance to Tenryu-ji Temple as seen from the bamboo forest pathway. The small building inside is the ticket office.

If your visit to the bamboo forest starts from Arashiyama-Torokko station, the North Gate entrance is half-way past the dense and best photographic parts of bamboo forest pathway. Making a detour into the temple at this point, you will not miss much of the remaining sight of  the bamboo forest. Better yet, your walk from the ticket office through the gardens will all be downhill to the main entrance.

Tenryu-ji Temple

Past the wall of the temple, is the dense bamboo forest. It’s from here on, the bamboo forest become a picturesque spot till the end.

At the temple’s ticket office, you can choose a temple only, a garden only, or a combo ticket. Then make your way downhill through the gardens and then the temple buildings. Spend some time exploring it’s exquisite gardens and enjoying the calmness of the surroundings. The temple is considered one of the top 5 Zen temples in Kyoto. Although the grounds was busy with visitors, it was not as packed as the pathway of the bamboo forest.

Tenryu-ji Temple

Tickets and pamphlet to the temple.

Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple

 

Katsura River
Finished exploring the temple grounds and gardens, we exited through the main entrance and took a short-cut for the Katsura river bank and the Togetsu-kyo Bridge.

Walking route from the North Gate of Tenryuji Temple to the banks of Katsura river. Taking the blue route out of the temple will be via the main gate to Tenryuji-mae bus stop.


Togetsu-kyo Bridge
Other than it’s historical value, this iconic bridge looks ordinary and nothing special. Cross this bridge and you’ll get to the Monkey Park on the other side of the river. Bus services are available within the vicinity of the bridge with convenient stops nearby that will take you back to Kyoto or other location. The Togetsu-kyo bridge is within 5 minutes walk to the Arashiyama tram station served by the Keifuku Line.