Last Night in Japan

It’s gone by so quickly. I can’t believe that I’m leaving already. The last few days just flew by, and now I’m here thinking that maybe I should have spent the entire trip here. Too bad the tickets are not refundable. Besides, if I tried to stay, I would be stranded because my rail pass expires tomorrow.
I’ve had so much fun here, met some fantastic people, and learned enough of the language to bump along that I don’t want to leave. It seems like it could get so much better with a few more weeks.
Oh well, Japan isn’t going anywhere, I can come back and visit it again, and I know I will.
Today I went to Kyoto, in the last minute dash to see a three day city in half a day. I saw the one thing that I wanted to see, the shrines at Inariyama. These are the ones you see in every document on Japan, with hundreds of shrine gates placed together to form a tunnel. The walk is pretty long, and it is impressive that there are so many gates. I think I walked about 2 miles, all of which was under these gates spaced two feet apart center to center. If you do the math, that makes about 5000+ gates, which seems a tad high, but I’m sure that someone out there can look up the exact number of gates, post it as a comment, and put the matter to rest.
What doesn’t seem to be in any of the photos is that this is the front view. From the back, each gate has an inscription on the pillars. Each is different. Also, traditionally, when you pass through a gate, after praying, you are supposed to turn back, face the shrine, and bow again. Strictly speaking, it appears that you would really have to be really devoted to visit this place. Everyone I saw bowed at the end of each tunnel.
I tried to see the Kyoto Castle, but I arrived there at 16:06, and they stopped selling tickets at 16:00. This is my fault for staying up too late doing laundry (1:30am!), consequently oversleeping an hour, and then having difficulty finding the hostel I’m staying in tonight (hey, at least you’re getting updates because of it).
I’ll have to come back to Kyoto again, which might happen sooner than you think.
Here is a picture of the shrine, better ones exist, but this one is mine.

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2 Responses to “Last Night in Japan”

  1. lisa Says:

    Cool picture, can’t remember if I’ve been there.

  2. Delia Says:

    Mike,
    I love reading your blog. I couldn’t find the number of gates but found this info:
    The entrance to a traditional Inari shrine will typically be through one or more vermilion torii gates. The 4 kilometer-long tunnel of thousands of torii gates at Fushimi-Inari were donated by families individuals, or Japanese businesses, with the donor’s name being inscribed on the back of each torii.

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