Tuesday, August 2, 2016



Another day trip to Kyoto with another different guide.  A  representative (he is from Thailand)  from Tour Company came to meet us.  They really take an extra afford to get know the customers and get their feedback!

Today is truly a hot day.  Even though the coach was provided for us today, we still have to walk quite a distance.  The pink sign behind us is a cat cafe.  

The Fushimi Inari Shrine located at the base of the Mt. Inari  and the hiking up will take around 2 hours and up to 233 metres above the sea level.  The Inari god shrine was founded in 711  and is a god/protector of rice and sake. 

The guide explaining to us the etiquette of entering the shrine and they even have a graphic leaflet to show us the "etiquette at the station"; etiquette at lavatory"; etiquette for throwing away rubbish" and most important ...

the etiquettee of "sampai"  (how to pray)  at the Shrine:- 1: bow,  2: toss coin; 3: ring the bells, 4: bow twice, 5: clap twice and lastly another deep bow from the waist. 
Before entering of course, the "temizu" cleansing ritual. These traditional wooden/bamboo ladle are known as "hishaku".        

the temple grounds... 

There are over 10,000  thousands of torii gates,  way up on the right side and come back down on the left side.  These torii gates are always painted in this vermillion colour because in Shinto religion, this colour  is believed to expel evil and diseases.

Depending on size and location, the cost of a torii range from 200,000 yen to 700,000 yen!. 

Apparently some of these torii are infested by dampness and need to be replaced every 5 to 6 years. 

Each of this torii gate is donated by a Japanese businesses as offering and  prayers for success and increased prosperity. 

These mini torii gates are worship as shrines  

Statues  of "Kitsune" (Japanese word for "foxes") are aplenty around the shrine and they are messengers of the god Inari (the deity of fox) This has a sheaf of rice in his mouth. 
Rice is very important in Japanese culture from the planting to harvesting and the Japanese has 4 words for rice:- "ine" (the plant itself),  "kome" (the grains of rice)  "gohan" (cooked rice in a rice bowl) and "raisu" (cooked rice on a plate served with western dishes). At the Fushimi Inari Shrine, there is a rice-planting ceremony held every 10 June and the rice harvest ceremony on 8 November. 

Another Inari statue

even the ema here are designed like the red torii gates..

again we can see barrels of sake (empty of course!) being donated to the temple.

Plenty of street vendors outside the temple... Okonomiyaki - a Japanese savoury pancake with mainly with cabbage and other ingredients 

Tofu and beancurd are very popular food items and this small shop in the center of the square sells all sorts of tofu and beancurd products.  
Here is where the Inari sushi is name after the Shinto god, Inari whose favourite food is believed to be the fried tofu "abura-age".  It's a deep fried bean curd pouch stuffed with rice.  There is also the "kitsune udon" (udon noddles served with the deep fried beancurd pouch).   The waters around here are so clean and pure that the production of tofu and sake top the list.

Arashiyama, refers to the  mountains on the southern bank of the river but is now commonly used to name the entire district.  The seasonal changes of the mountain makes this a very popular destination.

You can imagine the amazing foliage around Arashiyama during the Cherry Blossom and autumn colours season! 

This is the view from the window of the cafe where we had our lunch... the Togetsukyo Bridge.

As the tofu is so popular in this  area, the cafe serve fresh vegetables and smooth tofu in soyabean broth... thumbs up!

Kare rice with  fresh organic veggies and silky soft handmade tofu..

Dessert- Mochi sprinkle with soyabean powder

Ice Green Tea Latte served with a cinnamon chocolate stick!

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