DAY 12 - KYOTO
Weather was better today so we started the day by walking upto Kiyomizu-dera Temple. To get there you have to walk up Goji Street, which is filled with tourist shops and packed with people. Including lots of people in traditional dress.
After an amazing and traditional Kyoto lunch (OBANZAI) at Sugar Hill, we set off for the afternoon.
In the afternoon we headed to Fushimi Inari Shrine. I'd been looking forward to visiting here and seeing the many Torii gates. First you enter a temple area similar to many others but once you move through that area, you reach the famous mountain trails.
A couple of skeletons posing for photos infront of the temple, as you do.
Built in the name of Inari the Shinto god of rice, the Fushimi Inari shrine rests at the base of Mt. Inari, which looms in the distance as an impressive backdrop. There are the thousands of brightly-coloured torii gates, each donated by a Japanese business to bring luck and fortune.
Foxes are regarded as Inari's messengers. Many fox statues can be found scattered around the shrine, with keys in their mouths. The keys are for opening Inari's rice granaries.
The gates climb all the way up the mountain and it takes about three hours total to arrive at the summit - we probably walked for 40 minutes or so leaving behind the main crowds lower down the trails.
We were after somewhere decent to go for a drink. Finding nice bars is much harder than finding restaurants, the Japanese don't seem to go out drinking in the same way we do back home. With this being the case we asked our concierge to recommended somewhere. Hidden behind a sliding wooden gate, with only a tiny sign in the street, revealed a long pathway leading to this amazing little traditional Japanese bar, where the interior decor and also the drinks where impecably presented. I've never been in a bar before where everything was concealed, not one drink was on display. It was beautiful!
For dinner we fancied Japanese beef again, so we headed to Hiro's restaurant on Kiyamachi street which is overlooking the Kamogawa river. Originally, Hiro was a small family-owned butcher's shop located in the Sanjo street covered promenade. The shop started 35 years ago by Hiroki Nishida and was passed down to his 2 boys. Tetsuya, after working there with his older brother for 7 years, decided to open up a restaurant in his father's name.
We ordered a platter of cuts, which came with a selection of pastes and seasonings. Its great fun cooking the meat yourself just the way you want it. Yakiniku perfection.
As I mentioned its hard to find bars, lots of places are within buildings with only a sign on the side of the building saying whats inside. Being unable to read Japanese its nearly impossible to tell what anything is. On the hunt for a few drinks to finish the day we checked out a few places until we ended up finding this place. Wall to wall bottles. I went for a Nikka Japanese whiskey.