Monday 11 May 2015
Highlights: Shrine Gates at Fushimi Inari-Taisha, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Sushi train.
An early morning start leaving our hotel in Hiroshima for Kyoto that include two trains, the first was about 1 hour 30 minutes to Osaka and then another 15 minute bullet train to Kyoto. Our hotel (Ibis Kyoto) was right across from the station so a quick bag drop at reception and we were off to see the Shrine Gates.The Japan Rail Passes definitely got a lot of use today. The Fushimi Inari-Taisha shrine gates are very famous, even I had seen them without knowing there exact location. On visiting you undertake a traditional prayer; two head bows, two loud handclaps, a prayer and then bow again.
During the visit three Japanese school girls approached my to take part in a survey which was really a test of their English skills. This finished with a photo and one of the girls giving me an origami flower as a thank you. A nice touch.
We returned to the main train station and Ted showed us some ‘unusual’ restaurants. One of the unusual aspects was ordering the meal from a vending type machine, then waiting outside for the staff to fletch you to a shared table, weird but very efficient.
The train station was massive and had a huge array of shops many boutiques and higher end plus a posh hotel. In many ways it was a high end shopping complex with a major train station attached.
Next up was an optional visit to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. There was a problem with the trains so we took a bus. The Bamboo path was like a step back in time to another place.
We also walked the countryside with about half the group, including myself going to another shrine which was memorable for the cemetery , and the other half going to a very nice small
The night time was free time but a number of the group got together and visited a sushi train restaurant that was enjoyable to watch you potential food rotated around the room. Being a Monday they didn’t refill the train often but I liked my choices 🍤😎