Fushimi Inari Shrine

This post was kind of hard to write, because I edited and edited, but had a lot of trouble cutting it down to the required number of images. If I put more than about 10 in a given post, the page takes forever to load. So instead, I did something I’ve been meaning to do for quite a while. I made an embedded slideshow. It’s meant to have some animations, and captions, and I need to write the script that will atuo-generate one of these, and maybe I’ll get around to adding those eventually, but I don’t want to let perfect be the enemy of done here. It’s just a blog after all. Hand-rolled artisanal slideshow.

So. If you recall the previous post, we crashed out early and woke up early due to jet lag, and so did our friends we were travelling with, and they suggested we try to get to this shrine for the morning golden hour. Half an hour cab ride plus 5am sunrise meant we sort of just had to drop everything and go, so we did.

We got there early enough that there wasn’t really that many people there. None of the vendors were open. We got coffees from a vending machine on the way. If you haven’t had the experience, it’s a little like one of those starbucks double shot cans, but available black and hot. So, thusly energized, we started up the hill.

When we started, I didn’t really grasp the extent of this place. I was thinking of the golden temple we’d seen the day before, which was spectacular, but small, and figured this would be something on the same scale. But no, this is a whole complex of shrines and sub-shrines, sprawled out on the side of a mountain. The hike to the top is about 2 hours of stairs, what with the constant stopping to take photos.

But/and, there are gates the whole way. Some ancient stone ones, but too many orange wooden ones to count. They’re on different scales, at different spacings, and in various states of repair the whole way. At one point, we came across a spot with just a hole in the ground where a gate was going to be planted later that day. The mental state that all the repetition and variation and physical exertion produces is very strange. Or maybe it was from hiking on an empty stomach. Disorientation, along with a sense of wonder.

So: definitely go. Definitely do it at dawn, before all the other assholes wake up (remember you’re an asshole too, in this scenario). Maybe bring snacks and water, although as you leave the temple mid morning, there are street food vendors that will sell you food that has no business being that good.

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Posted by Matt on 2018-11-07 11:25:41 -0800